Curriculum

Build from a solid base

The O’Neill School MPA curriculum prepares future leaders to face vexing societal challenges. The foundational core addresses universal topics of social equity, climate change, ethical responsibilities, racial injustice, and diversity. Through these courses, you’ll learn leadership-focused, applicable skills needed to put knowledge into action.

Curriculum highlights

  • Emphasis on data- and evidence-based problem solving, decision-making and policy-making
  • Course-level focus on social equity and justice
  • Leadership and project management courses and training workshops
  • Wide array of diversity in all courses across authors, readings, case studies, session topics, and guest speakers
  • Capstone project with the option for an immersive international experience working with global clients in their home country
  • A choice between an international or a domestic context on public institutions, or both
  • The necessary economics, law, budgeting, and finance skills needed for professional success

Tailor your degree

Combine the MPA core with your choice of electives to customize your learning experience. With five top-ranked curriculum areas, you'll learn from experts in the field no matter your area of focus.

The O’Neill Online MPA curriculum begins with 10 required core courses (24 credits)—your foundation to move up in the public affairs field:

  • Leading and Managing Public Affairs (3 credits)
  • Social Equity and Justice (1.5 credits)
  • Designing and Managing Complex Projects (1.5 credits)
  • Statistical Analysis for Effective Decision Making (3 credits)
  • Problem Solving for Effective Decision Making (1.5 credits)
  • Public Management Economics (3 credits)
  • Law for Public Affairs (1.5 credits)
  • Policy Process and Institutions (3 credits)
  • International Policy and Institutions (3 credits)
  • Public Finance and Budgeting (3 credits)
  • U.S. or Global Capstone (3 credits)


*Students can choose to take Policy Process and Institutions or International Policy and Institutions

With the help of the faculty director, you will design an advanced curriculum of at least five electives that is suitable for your professional goals. O’Neill Online offers four advanced curriculum areas: Public Management; Nonprofit Management; Policy Analysis; and Public Financial Administration.

  • F526 Financial Management for Nonprofit Orgs
  • F542 Governmental Financial Accounting and Reporting
  • F609 Seminar in Revenue Theory and Administration
  • F610 Government Budgeting and Program Analysis
  • F667 Seminar in Public Capital and Debt Theory
  • H549 Health Policy
  • I516 Public Management Information Systems
  • I519 Database Management Systems (tentatively first offered spring 2023)
  • L563 Community Development
  • L564 Local Government Management
  • M561 Public Human Resource Management
  • M575 Comparative Public Management
  • M602 Strategic Management of Public and Nonprofit Orgs
  • M654 Public Program Management and Contracting
  • N521 Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector
  • N522 Human Resource Management in Nonprofit Orgs
  • N525 Management in the Nonprofit Sector
  • N557 Proposal Development and Grant Administration
  • N558 Fund Development for Nonprofits
  • P507 Data Analysis and Modeling for Public Affairs
  • P541 Benefit Cost Analysis
  • P562 Public Program Evaluation
  • V550 Communications for Public and Nonprofit Affairs
  • V550 Designing Studies to Address Public Problems
  • V550 Environmental Policy
  • V550 Global Governance in the 21st Century
  • V550 Global Security in the 21st Century
  • V550 Marketing Management for Public and Nonprofit Orgs
  • V550 Program Planning, Design, and Implementation (Hybrid)
  • V550 Risk, Trust, Credibility, and Public Participation
  • V550 US Foreign Policy and African Development
  • V551 O’Neill Online Week - one week, in-person course