MPA Curriculum

Overview | Foundations | Curriculum | Faculty

MPA Curriculum

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at Presidio Graduate School consists of 12 required courses. Courses are designed to build on and integrate with coursework completed throughout the program. The curriculum is designed around three program foundations.

First-term courses:

Leadership with Empathy in Public Service

In this course, you will:

  • Analyze the principles of anti-racist public service and leadership in public and non-profit sectors
  • Explore concepts and frameworks that define civic responsibility, accountability, and authenticity
  • Construct a statement of purpose that defines personal commitments and passions for anti-racist leadership
  • Demonstrate integrity and humility through emotionally intelligent strategies
  • Create and manage effective teams that collaborate with diverse stakeholders

Social Systems for Justice and Well-being

In this course, you will:

  • Examine how sustainability and social justice have been conceptualized and employed in business, government, and in broader social contexts (framing how we talk about issues)
  • Analyze social and ecological systems for well-being, including economic, health, education, security, opportunity, trust, community, and natural endowments systems
  • Conduct an analysis of complex systems issues by creating a dynamic systems model identifying feedback structures and linkages and mental models and critique past practices of how such analyses were used in decision making
  • Identify sources and causes of social, economic, and environmental injustice and study methods and innovative solutions to inter-related social and environmental problems

Second term courses:

Effective Communications for Inclusive Action

In this course, you will:

  • Exhibit the ability to develop trust, build relationships, build coalitions, and collaborate with people who have diverse perspectives across business, government, and civil society sectors
  • Model an appreciation for diversity, equity, and inclusion by effectively building a coalition with diverse perspectives
  • Demonstrate effective communication skills through writing, speaking, nonverbal communication, and technology
  • Discover empathetic and effective methods to persuade, negotiate, and manage change

Data Analytics

In this course, you will:

  • Examine the foundational concepts of quantitative data analysis and statistics literacy (including Single Variable, Comparing Variables, Basic Probability, Regression Analysis, multivariant optimization)
  • Recognize the opportunities and challenges that large-scale data companies and artificial intelligence pose in how data is used
  • Produce a visualization of data to tell a story in order to construct meaning and persuade strategies for change
  • Discover the limits of the validity of data in order to create anti-racist approaches to data

Third term courses:

Macroeconomics and Market Failures

In this course, you will:

  • Analyze fiscal and monetary economic systems and their role as root causes of economic inequity and social injustice and identify alternate solutions
  • Analyze the relationship between forms of governance and economic systems, and how the sources and distribution of power impact social justice
  • Examine ecological economics and root causes of environmental problems such as climate change
  • Discuss the development of markets and the causes and effects of markets failures
  • Design holistic solutions for local economies flourishing in a global world and the balance between collective and private goods and resources

Research Methods and Policy Evaluation

In this course, you will:

  • Compare, contrast, and leverage qualitative and quantitative research methods including objective setting and evidence gathering
  • Optimize evidence-based decision-making methodologies including financial, social justice, and climate change factors
  • Lead a community-based participatory action research project

Fourth term courses:

Policy Design and Equal Opportunity

In this course, you will:

  • Design holistic policy solutions in consideration of business, government and civil society
  • Identify, assess, and address the structural and institutional obstacles to policy change while considering feasibility within the context of existing or reformed political and judicial structures
  • Discover complex and dynamic policymaking processes, including strategies, how power structure shape social outcomes, and how policies are reformed
  • Review policy-relevant cause-and-effect relationships in solving climate change, systemic racism, and economic inequity issues
  • Theorize about the role and ethics of technology integration in public governance and policymaking

Government for the Common Good

In this course, you will:

  • Examine the theory and practice of democracy and democratic institutions including civic participation
  • Analyze threats to democracies in America and other countries around the world
  • Explore the meaning of the common good by studying its development and efforts to promote and protect the concept
  • Explain the principles of private, government, and collective governance of social and ecological systems
  • Analyze the development and power structure of regulatory regimes within the context of the protection of rule of law
  • Theorize about the role of government in ensuring political rights and equal opportunity in relation to policies such as public and private health care, education systems, and Social Security

Fifth term courses:

Managing Public Organizations

In this course, you will:

  • Discover methods of effectively, ethically, and equitably managing people in public service, including hiring, employee development, motivation, and assessment, change management and negotiation, and collaboration
  • Analyze effective organizational systems that center equity and values associated with leadership of public projects
  • Design a program with an impact analysis, accounting study and budget, and a project plan with an equity lens

Financing Projects for Climate Justice and Economic Equity

In this course, you will:

  • Discover public finance sources and taxation structures to develop an ethical funding plan for a project
  • Critique various approaches to public-private partnerships
  • Develop forward-thinking approaches to public budgeting through civic engagement
  • Develop methodologies for setting priorities, allocating resources, and assessing equitable outcomes
  • Analyze alternatives to financing adaptation to long-term impacts of climate change

Sixth term courses:

Urban Planning for Climate Justice and Resilience

In this course, you will:

  • Employ the principles and skills developed throughout the program to address climate justice and pollution issues
  • Explore the fundamentals of urban planning and how local systems of transportation, housing, education, health, policing are considered and affected
  • Engage diverse members of a community to create a land use solution
  • Design a physical plan for land use design using Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

Capstone 

In this course, you will:

  • Employ the principles and skills developed throughout the program to address a social or climate policy justice issue
  • Apply systems thinking to capstone focus to compare existing systems and practices and the impact of racism in policy in order to consider alternative systems and reforms
  • Satisfy additional course learning objectives based on Capstone focus