Master of Public Affairs (MPA) - Accelerated Online

Apply Now Print PDF

Master in Public Affairs (MPA)

The UTRGV interdisciplinary MPA online program prepares graduates to advance into more rewarding positions in governmental agencies and non-profits.

If a career in the public sector interests you, a Master of Public Affairs degree online could be your next step to influence change in your community or a career path in government agencies at various levels. The UTRGV MPA degree program enables graduates to serve in areas of public policy analysis, grant writing, managing local government, non-profit professions and political and public administration research just to name a few. Coursework is robust and provides the latest theories, trends and real-world practice-based scenarios that result in the skills you need for more rewarding opportunities.

Duration  Complete in as few as 12 months
Credit Hours  36 credit hours
Per credit hour Per 3-credit course Total program cost
Tuition MBA Financial Planning  444.44 Tuition MBA Financial Planning  1,333.32 Tuition MBA Financial Planning  16,000*
*We estimate the tuition and fees will total no more than the rates shown above; however,rates are subject to change.
  • Admission Requirements

    Step #1: Submit a UTRGV Graduate Application at The university application fee of $50 ($100 for International Applicants) can be paid online by credit card or electronic check (in the online application). All application fees are nonrefundable.

    Step #2: Request your official transcripts to be sent electronically to or mailed to:

    The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
    The Graduate College
    Marialice Shary Shivers Bldg. 1.158
    1201 W. University Drive
    Edinburg, TX 78539-2999

    *Please Note: If you are a graduate of UTPA, UTB, or UTRGV you do not need to request an official transcript to be sent to the Graduate College.

    Review and submit all Program Requirements:

    • Undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0.
    • Official transcripts from each institution attended (must be submitted directly to UTRGV).
    • Personal  Statement  detailing  professional  goals  and  reasons  for pursuing the graduate degree indicating references to previous employment and experience.
    • Three names of individuals who may be contacted for personal or professional recommendation.

    Additional requirements for domestic applicants who attended foreign universities and international applicants:

    • TOEFL or IELTS Language Proficiency Test with minimum scores: 550 on paper-based, 213 on computer based, or 79 on internet-based for the TOEFL; 6.5 for the IELTS. TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for 2 years. For additional information, visit the Additional Documents for Domestic Applicants who Attend Foreign Universities section of our website.
    • English translation of educational records.
    • Transcript Evaluation by the Foreign Credentials Service of America (FCSA) or the World Education Services (WES). For additional information, visit the Academic Credentials/Transcripts Evaluation section of our website.

    *Students in fully online programs are not eligible for I-20 or student visas however international applicants can study from their home country.

    Check Program Availability in Your State

    Higher Education Act of 1965 include changes in regulation for State Authorization that may impact online, distance, and correspondence education providers. Please review Check Program Availability in Your State for more details.

  • Program Contact

    Program Director: Dr. Aziza Zemrani

    Phone: (956) 665-2545

    Office: Edinburg Campus, LABN 229


  • Deadlines

    Online Accelerated Application Deadline:

    Spring 2018 Module I Spring 2018 Module II Summer 2018 Module I Summer 2018 Module II Fall 2018 Module I Fall 2018 Module II
    December 3 January 28 March 25 May 20 July 22 September 17
  • Course Requirements

    Master of Public Affairs

    PAFF 6301: Graduate Seminar in Public Administration

    This course is the introduction to the study of public administration. Students are introduced to basic concepts and foundational theories relating to bureaucratic analysis, organizational theory and behavior, functions of public management such as personnel administration, budget decision-making, government regulations and administrative law. In addition, students are introduced to the necessary critical thinking techniques and intellectual standards of thought that will be essential in the rest of the course work in the program.

    Duration: 7 weeks
    Credit Hours: 3

    PAFF 6302: Scope and Methods

    The primary objectives of this course are to help the students gain skills in research methods and the quantitative analysis of data. This course introduces students to the basic concepts, tools, techniques and uses of applied quantitative and qualitative research relative to public administration. Topics discussed include: research design, data gathering, statistical analysis and the methods of formal preparation and presentation of reports. This course also covers advanced topics in applied research including the various steps in the creation of a research design. The course includes laboratory assignments that cover univariate and bivariate analysis as well as multiple regressions. A survey of advanced statistical methods is also provided. Students will get hands-on experience using SPSS.

    Duration: 7 weeks
    Credit Hours: 3

    PAFF 6306: Public Personnel Administration

    Analysis of the major personnel management problems and issues in government. The recruitment, selection, development, advancement and evaluation of personnel will be examined. Employee-employer relations, affirmative action, collective bargaining and interpersonal and ethical relationships will be studied.

    Duration: 7 weeks
    Credit Hours: 3

    PAFF 6303: Policy Implementation and Program Evaluation

    Policy Implementation and Program Evaluation is an advanced course with the application of quantitative methods to the evaluation of public policies and programs regarding their implementation. The main objective of this course is to provide the students with up-to-date tools of program evaluation. This course will examine key concepts, methods, and approaches in the field of evaluation research. Students will be exposed to the theoretical and methodological diversity inherent in current evaluation practices across a number of substantive areas (e.g., social services, education, and business). The comprehensive range of activities involved in designing, implementing, and assessing the utility of social programs will be a primary focus of the course. Practical training in program evaluation is provided as students learn techniques in all phases of designing and implementing a program evaluation. Included in the training is the development of a model, conducting the study, analyzing the results, and writing the evaluation report. Students are expected to fully design an evaluation plan capable of implementation in a real-life setting of public management. Students successfully completing this course should be able to understand an evaluation study in great detail and form a well-grounded judgment about its value. Complemented with appropriate technical background or help, they should be able to design an evaluation study best suited for the program and the practical constraints at hand.

    Duration: 7 weeks
    Credit Hours: 3

    PAFF 6304: Public Budgeting and Finance

    Coming soon

    Duration: 7 weeks
    Credit Hours: 3

    PAFF 6305: Political Leadership: Decision-Making and Management in Public Organizations

    This course defines leadership and identifies critical attributes that make for good leadership. It also examines the role of public institutions in promoting leadership. The examination covers various leadership styles and the theories of leadership attributed to them.

    Duration: 7 weeks
    Credit Hours: 3

    PAFF 6310: Public Service Ethics

    This course provides students with the tools and techniques for ethical analysis of public policies. This class is designed to enhance understanding about the ethical debate that surrounds most public policies and to deepen the awareness of the ethical standards in public administration or public services, in general. Starting with the foundations of ethical study, this course introduces: the major ethical philosophies; the application of these principles to decision making for a better understanding of the "values" that underpin or prescribe public policies; and the codes and standards of ethics in public administration. This course applies the standards of thought found in the critical thinking materials and techniques.

    Duration: 7 weeks
    Credit Hours: 3

    PAFF 6319: Public Finance Administration

    This course examines basic principles of financial management with a focus on governmental operations. The following topics are covered in depth: budget as a financial instrument, cash and debt management, capital budgeting, risk management and pensions, purchasing, and basic public sector accounting principles and procedures.

    Duration: 7 weeks
    Credit Hours: 3

    PAFF 6314: Formulation of Public Policy

    This course covers various processes used by public policy analysts in understanding the nature of the problem to be analyzed, structuring the research strategy, gathering data and other information, formulating the answer to the problem, and writing the memo or report. Innovative techniques for accomplishing the above steps are covered including cost benefit analysis, problem definition techniques, and different types of commonly encountered policy analysis situations. (The case method is used in this course.)

    Duration: 7 weeks
    Credit Hours: 3

    PAFF 6315: Management of Governmental Information Systems

    This course analyzes computer software applications including word processing, spreadsheet, database management, graphics, desktop publishing, and statistical analysis software. Also covered in this course are important changes in data management through new technologies and how public organizations budget for and manage their IT departments.

    Duration: 7 weeks
    Credit Hours: 3

    PAFF 6311: Intergovernmental Relations

    This course analyzes the political, administrative and fiscal relationships among governments in the American political system, the constitutional and theoretical basis for federalism, the national-state-local government relations and regional arrangements.

    Duration: 7 weeks
    Credit Hours: 3

    PAFF 6362: Public Administration Capstone: Past, Present, and Future

    A comprehensive review of the major eras of public administration during the 20th century. An in-depth look at public administration in the first decade of the 21st century. A futurist look at reasonable expectations of public administration during the next few decades.

    Duration: 7 weeks
    Credit Hours: 3

    PAFF 6317: Grant Writing & Fund Development

    This course is a survey of the field of grant writing and fund development for nonprofit organizations. This class reviews the various types of funding nonprofit organizations depend on, including state and local revenues, foundation grants, federal government.

    Duration: 7 weeks
    Credit Hours: 3