Key Executive Leadership MPA Courses

The Key Curriculum is based on courses required for the American University's Master of Public Administration degree, the eighth-ranked MPA program in the country. Coursework, however, is designed solely for the Key Executive Leadership MPA Program. Each course is highly relevant to the complex roles and tasks of public sector team leaders, managers, and executives. Each course is also continually reviewed to reflect changes occurring in business and the public sector.

Key students learn about contemporary issues like the management of technology, private-public partnerships, contracting out, outsourcing, as well as team management, leadership and conflict management.

A complete description of the degree requirements can be found in the University Catalog.

To view the upcoming program schedule, please click here.

Course Descriptions

PUAD 611 Managing in the Information Age
(ECQs: Leading Change, Results Driven, Business Acumen, Building Coalitions)

The use of information technology in public service organizations. Includes basic concepts and terminology, government and nonprofit applications, the systems approach to organizational processes, database concepts, web-engineering, decision support, user involvement, methodologies for developing operating systems, and future trends. (3 credits)

PUAD 620 Public Marketing and Strategic Communications
(ECQs: Leading Change, Leading People, Results Driven, Building Coalitions)

Principles of marketing and strategic communication used by government agencies to identify features of government performance relevant to citizens; market government services; bring about changes in citizen behavior; and enhance the image of government agencies. The conceptual and theoretical framework for developing communication campaigns is aimed at advancing public policy. Also includes marketing techniques such as focus groups and surveys to identify the causes of social behavior as well as citizen preferences and needs. (1.5 credits)

PUAD 621 Topics in Executive Management: Language of Statistics
(ECQs: Business Acumen)

This course will cover a number of techniques and strategies designed to enhance analytic and decision making skills. The primary objective is to equip the student to interpret statistics that are widely used in statistical reports, studies, evaluation, etc., with a focus on how these statistics can aid management policy and decision making and problem solving. (1 credits)

PUAD 622 Leadership for Key Executives
(ECQs: Leading Change, Leading People, Results Driven, Business Acumen, Building Coalitions)

By focusing on the leadership skills of class members, this course is designed to sharpen the capabilities of executives to lead and manage others. Students examine their own managerial style, methods of communication, techniques of motivation, delegation of work, and approaches to group leadership. Class exercises are used to illustrate research findings from the behavioral sciences. (3 credits)

PUAD 623 Executive Problem Solving
(ECQs: Leading Change, Leading People, Results Driven, Business Acumen, Building Coalitions)

In this course, Key Executives study the methods for gathering and analyzing information in ways that lead toward more effective and accurate decisions. Specific techniques for analyzing public policies and evaluating agency performance are examined. During this course, each Key Executive develops a prospectus for analyzing a program or activity within his or her own agency. (3 credits)

PUAD 624 Budgeting and Financial Management
(ECQs: Leading Change, Results Driven, Business Acumen, Building Coalitions)

The use of the executive budget as a device for management planning and control is the focus of this course on public financial management. Key Executives develop their skills in understanding different budgetary systems, the elements of budgetary review and execution, and various strategies and tactics employed by participants in the budgetary process. (3 credits)

PUAD 625 Analysis and Evaluation
(ECQs: Leading Change, Results Driven, Business Acumen)

The broad set of research activities essential for designing, implementing, and appraising the usefulness of government programs. Students assess the effectiveness and efficiency of innovative initiatives, as well as programs already in place, and gain skills critical in implementing the Government Performance and Results Act. (3 credits)

PUAD 626 Legal Issues in Public Administration
(ECQs: Leading Change, Leading People, Results Driven)

This course deals with the legal basis of government authority and the ways in which legal processes authorize yet limit executive action. Using statute and case law, Key Executives study the delegation of legislative power, rule-making, administrative appeals, and judicial review. Attention is focused on the legal issues in which Key Executives are most likely to become involved. (3 credits)

PUAD 627 Politics, Policymaking and Public Administration
(ECQs: Leading Change, Leading People, Results Driven, Business Acumen, Building Coalitions)

Key Executives examine the relationship of the legislative process, congressional oversight, and EOP/OPM review and approval to the administration of government policy. They study response to pressure groups, clientele groups, and the general public. Executives also address their relationship to political executives, the political basis of government organization, and the difficulties of interagency coordination. (3 credits)

PUAD 628 Executive Skill Module: Executive Clarity: Thinking and Writing
(ECQs: Leading Change, Building Coalitions)

This skill module focuses on the elements of effective writing and covers subjects such as organizing concepts and pre-writing, wordiness, parallel structure, paragraphing, subordination, passive voice, transition, report structure, nominalizations, prepositional decay, proofreading, and document design and layout. (2 credits)

PUAD 630 Public Managerial Economics
(ECQs: Results Driven, Business Acumen)

Microeconomic theory as a framework for understanding the problems of public managers. Resource scarcity, consumer behavior, production, cost, economics of efficient management, operation of product markets under competition and monopoly, labor markets, market failure and public goods. (3 credits)

PUAD 634 Acquisition Management
(ECQs: Leading Change, Results Driven, Business Acumen, Building Coalitions)

Provides students with the requisite understanding to exercise leverage in both the award and administration phases of the acquisition cycle. How to influence outcomes that further programmatic goals in support of public policy objectives. Basic rules, regulations, laws, directives and ethical considerations are covered with respect to both competitive and sole source acquisitions. (1.5 credits)

PUAD 638 Strategic Human Resource Management for Executives
(ECQs: Leading People, Results Driven, Business Acumen, Building Coalitions)

How executives exercise discretion in the application of human resource policy to enhance organizational effectiveness. Subjects covered include labor/management relations, merit-based staffing, performance management, employee selections, EEO, employee relations, and other workplace issues. (1.5 credits)

PUAD 639 Ethics for Public Managers
(ECQs: Leading Change, Leading People, Results Driven, Building Coalitions)

Explores ethical philosophy and its implications for executive action and decision making. Includes conceptions of the public trust, conflicting interests, ends and means, deception, personal integrity, work place civility, and the need for the government to keep its promises. Using case studies, students examine the ethical implications of alternative courses of action. (1.5 credits)

PUAD 654 Organization Diagnosis and Change
(ECQs: Leading Change, Leading People, Results Driven, Business Acumen, Building Coalitions)

Alternative theories and methods of intervention designed to bring about effective organization change. Students develop skills by applying theories and models to organization cases. (3 credits)