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Department of Public Administration & Policy


  • SPA: Public Administration
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    Graduate programs: spagrad@american.edu

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Master of Public Administration (MPA) and JD

Admission to the Program

Applicants must satisfy the admission requirements of both the Department of Public Administration and Policy (DPAP)/SPA and Washington College of Law (WCL). Admission criteria are the same as those for the MPA. However, students who have been admitted to WCL will not be required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Students may begin their studies in SPA after completing one year or the equivalent of full-time study at WCL. Admission to either the MPA or JD program does not guarantee admission to the other.

MPA Degree Requirements

  • 42 credits hours of approved graduate course work including at least 24 credit hours of MPA course work in SPA, and up to 18 credit hours from WCL
  • Comprehensive examination requirement completed through
    assignments in PUAD-610 Management Analysis and a
    separate reflective essay
  • The research requirement is satisfied by completing two of the following courses with grades of B or better:
  • PUAD-605 Quantitative Methods for Public Managers
    PUAD-601 Quantitative Methods for Policy Analysis I
  • PUAD-610 Management Analysis
  • PUAD-616 Legal Basis of Public Administration
  • PUAD-630 Public Managerial Economics
  • LAW-516 Legal Rhetoric I (2) and LAW-517 Legal Rhetoric II (2)

Course Requirements

  • PUAD-605 Quantitative Methods for Public Managers (3)

    PUAD-601 Quantitative Methods for Policy Analysis I (3)
  • PUAD-610 Management Analysis (3)
  • PUAD-612 Introduction to Public Administration/Policy Process (3)
  • PUAD-630 Public Managerial Economics (3)
  • PUAD 684 Organizational Analysis (3)
  • Two courses from the following:
  • PUAD-602 Quantitative Methods for Policy Analysis II (3)
  • PUAD-609 Topics in Public Management (3)
  • PUAD-615 Public-Private Partnerships (3)
  • PUAD-617 Project Management (3)
  • PUAD-650 Leadership in a Changing Workplace (3)
  • PUAD-652 Facilitation and Team Development (3)
  • PUAD-665 Managing Human Capital Assets (3)
  • PUAD-696 Selected Topics: Non-recurring (3) (approved topic)
  • 6 credit hours from the following:
    • LAW-601 Administrative Law (3-4)
    • LAW-550 Legal Ethics (2-3)
  • One course in public finance, financial management, or government budgeting from the following, or other course approved by MPA advisor:
    • PUAD-631 Financing Government Services:
      Expenditure Analysis (3)
      Taxation (3)
    • PUAD-633 Budgeting and Financial Management (3)
    • PUAD-685 Topics in Policy Analysis and Management: Public Finance in Developing Countries (3)

Area of Concentration

12 credit hours in an area of concentration with approval of the MPA advisor; this requirement is usually completed with WCL courses, as long as at least 24 credit hours for the MPA are taken in approved SPA courses.

JD Degree Requirements

86 credit hours of course work required for the JD, of which 80 credits must be earned in WCL courses, including:

  • LAW-601 Administrative Law (3-4)
  • LAW 550 Legal Ethics (2-3)

Apply to SPA Graduate Programs

Click below to start or continue your School of Public Affairs application.