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Department of Public Administration University of Illinois Springfield

Student Handbook: Curriculum

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Core Courses of the MPA Degree

The UIS MPA Program involves 40 credit hours of course work, a total of 10 courses, half of which are core courses.  The material covered in the core courses is designed to provide professional-level competence in the basic areas of public administration.  The MPA core courses are:

  • PAD 501-Introduction to the Profession      
  • PAD 502-Organization Dynamics                  
  • PAD 503-Analytical Tools                             
  • PAD 504-Budget and Finance                       
  • PAD 505-Human Resource Management

It is to the student’s advantage to complete all core requirements as early as possible. Students are also advised to try to take the courses in order, 501 to 505, to the degree to which their schedules allow, since the later courses build on topics covered in the earlier courses.

Closure Requirement

MPA majors take PAD 571-Capstone, a four-credit course to complete the degree.  This course is designed to synthesize the topics you have studied across the public administration curriculum, and is generally taken in the last semester of study.  The faculty strongly recommends that majors enroll in the Capstone Seminar after completing PAD 501-505; however, majors may enroll simultaneously in the Capstone Seminar with no more than one core course yet to be completed during their last semester in the degree.


The elective portion of the curriculum allows the MPA student to meet his or her own career development needs through advanced professional development courses.  You should talk with your adviser about your general career/job development goals and needs before taking electives.  If those goals involve a specific future position, identify the skills and competencies it requires.  Then assess your experience, prior academic course work, and your work in the MPA core courses to identify the gaps that still exist between your knowledge and skills and those the position demands.  Your discussion with your adviser can clarify goals and allow you to strategize the most appropriate schedule.

Please note that the courses toward the graduate certificates may fulfill the MPA electives.

Please see the UIS catalogue (MPA) for compete elective requirements.