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Department of Public Administration & Policy


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    Graduate programs: spagrad@american.edu

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Master of Public Administration (MPA) and LLM

American University’s School of Public Affairs (SPA) and the Washington College of Law (WCL) jointly offer a dual degree program in law and public administration. The program is especially attractive for attorneys who hope to practice and innovate in the political, governmental and not-for-profit realms. The program provides a broad theoretical grounding in public administration and management, while also providing students with a practical education in the analysis and implementation of policy and law at all levels of government.


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). For entering law students, applications for this program are first reviewed by the WCL. Upon admission to WCL, the application is forwarded to SPA for review and decision. Currently enrolled WCL students may apply during their studies at WCL.

Admission to either the MPA or LLM program does not guarantee admission to the other. Students who have been admitted to the MPA program may apply to WCL. Students may begin their studies in SPA in their first semester of the LLM program.


Dual Degree Requirements

  • 39 credit hours of approved graduate coursework, including 24 hours of MPA coursework in SPA, and 15 credit hours of law coursework in WCL.

MPA Degree Requirements

  • 39 credit hours of approved graduate course work including at least 24 credit hours of MPA course work in SPA, and up to 15 credit hours from WCL.
  • Capstone Experience: PUAD-610 Public Administration Capstone

MPA Course Requirements

Core (21 credit hours)


  • PUAD-601 Quantitative Methods for Policy Analysis I (3)
    PUAD-605 Quantitative Methods for Public Managers (3)
  • PUAD-612 Introduction to Public Administration and the Policy Process (3)
  • PUAD-630 Public Managerial Economics (3) (students with completed equivalent may substitute another course with approval)
    PUAD-670 Economics for Policy Analysis (3) (students with completed equivalent may substitute another course with approval)
  • 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) (approved topic)
  • 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-696 Selected Topics: Non-recurring (1-6) (approved topic)

Public Finance, Financial Management, or Government Budgeting

Complete one course from the following, or other course approved by MPA advisor:

  • PUAD-631 Financing Government Services(3)
  • PUAD-633 Budgeting and Financial Management (3)
  • PUAD-685 Topics in Policy Analysis and Management (1-3): Public Finance in Developing Countries (3 credit hours required)

Capstone (3 credit hours)

  • PUAD-610 Public Administration Capstone (3)


LLM Degree Requirements

18 credit hours of coursework required for the LLM, including:


  • LAW-601 Administrative Law (3-4)
  • Other approved course
3 credit hours from the following:
  • LAW-580 American Lawyer Seminar
  • LAW-892 Washington Lawyer Seminar

Apply to SPA Graduate Programs

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