Larry Hubbell, PhD, Institute Director
Lindsay Ohab, MPA, Graduate Program Coordinator
Programs and Courses for the Institute of Public Service
Mission of the Institute of Public Service
Seattle University’s Master of Public Administration program educates public service professionals primarily in the Pacific Northwest. We develop our students’ leadership and administrative potential to solve public problems in the government and nonprofit sectors. Our program is guided by the following values, consistent with Seattle University’s Jesuit tradition.
- Social justice and the empowerment of diverse communities through policy and service
- Ethical standards of accountability, integrity and transparency in pursuing the public interest
- Positive relationships that foster respect and fairness for colleagues and community members
In our program, students will learn:
- Practical skills to address organizational problems
- Management and leadership skills that incorporate collaboration, teamwork and self-reflection
- Oral and written communication skills that emphasize cogency and professionalism
- Critical thinking skills to competently develop and design empirical research and engage in logical analysis
- Advocacy that facilitates civic engagement and collective action
Institute of Public Service Standards
Seattle University’s Institute of Public Service educates working professionals for positions of responsibility and leadership in public service. The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program, consistent with the mission of Seattle University, “is dedicated to empowering leaders for a just and humane world.”
Students and graduates are expected to meet high standards of professionalism, trust, and stewardship. The Institute’s academic program is responsive to the evolving character of public service and to the changing problems our public leaders confront. The Seattle University MPA offers students:
- A nationally accredited curriculum emphasizing active learning
- A blend of management studies and public-policy analysis
- Emphases in nonprofit management and government administration
- Small classes, offered evenings and Saturdays
- An MPA degree designed for working students
- The choice of fall, winter, spring, or summer admission
- Mentorship, internship, and independent study options
Bachelor of Public Affairs/Master of Public Administration
Upon completion of the Seattle University Bachelor of Public Affairs program (BPA), a Seattle University public affairs student may apply for the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program. For BPA graduates admitted into the MPA program, there is a reduced, 42-credit requirement for the MPA program. See the Graduate Catalog for a description of the MPA program
Master of Public Administration
The MPA degree is designed for the in-service student who holds or seeks a managerial or professional position in a public or nonprofit organization. Typically, students are in their late-20s to mid-30s, with considerable professional experience and are employed full-time in a career position in the government, nonprofit, or private sectors. Students bring a wealth of professional and life experiences to the classroom, providing real world learning opportunities for other students.
The MPA courses blend theory and practice, providing students with the analytic capacity and the understanding of organizations and policy that are essential to effective public management. Students in the MPA program learn about the political, legal, and economic environments of public sector and nonprofit administration. Students explore the differences between profit-seeking and public-serving missions, and the central importance of ethical and moral expectations for those serving the public. Required courses teach analytical and interpersonal skills and perspectives required to manage and lead public sector organizations. Topics include organizational behavior and theories for management, public sector finance, research techniques, and policy making and policy analysis. The Area of Emphasis requirement allows students to further explore important topics in government, management processes and nonprofit administration such as the legal environment, advanced policy analysis, government finance, nonprofit governance, and resource development. The diverse offering of elective courses allows students to pursue other areas of interest, and includes emphasis in nonprofit leadership or local government administration.
The faculty members have extensive public sector and nonprofit experience, a complement to their academic qualifications. They maintain regular contact with the practice of public administration through research, consulting, professional associations, and community service projects. The program has an outstanding adjunct faculty of public service professionals.
The curriculum and the other aspects of the program meet the standards established by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) and reflect both the mission of Seattle University and the program’s experience in offering the MPA degree for over 35 years.
Students can complete the program entirely on weeknights, Saturdays, or a combination of the two. Students may enter during any academic quarter, including summer. A full complement of courses is offered each quarter. MPA students may register for up to nine credits per term without permission of the director. Although the University’s limitation of 10 transfer credits will apply to most students, those who transfer from another university’s MPA program may be allowed as many as 18 quarter credits in transfer.
A variety of student services are offered to MPA students to assist them in their academic and career progress, including internships, individual career counseling, alumni events and networking, MPA Connections mentor program, and MPA Student Association activities. The MPA program also participates in the Pi Alpha Alpha honor society, the national honor society for the fields of public affairs and administration. Qualified students are invited to join Pi Alpha Alpha once per year.
Graduate Certificate in Public Administration
The graduate certificate in public administration is designed to provide public service professionals with practical “hands-on” experience and best practices in policy analysis, human resources, finance, and management skills. The certificate is appropriate for individuals who are currently working in, or seeking employment in the public or nonprofit sectors. Graduates will develop their public administration skill set and will prepare for positions of responsibility working within federal, state, and local government and nonprofit organizations.
Certificate students can apply for admission to the Master of Public Administration (MPA) upon completion of the certificate requirements. Up to 12 certificate credits can be applied towards the MPA degree. Certificate students must complete the certificate program with grades of “C” or above and a GPA of 3.0 or above in order to be admitted to the MPA program, and in order to have the certificate courses applied to the MPA degree.
Courses are offered both as a hybrid blend of on-campus meetings and online instruction, or in the traditional on-campus format. The 12-credit certificate can be completed in one year or less.
The certificate program is guided by the values of social justice, analytical rigor, ethical decision-making, and service to communities. Our focus is on public administration theory and practice, human resource management, the policy process, budget and financial management. The certificate prepares students to diagnose and analyze sector specific issues and offer prescriptions for change. Students will evaluate the financial condition of a public sector organization, analyze public policy problems, address workforce development issues, such as hiring processes and equity, and develop plans of action.
The faculty emphasize applying coursework to real-world problems, ethics, and promote justice through research, leadership, and service. They are experienced practitioners and scholars in the public administration field.
While applications are accepted all four quarters, admission is competitive. Applicants are evaluated on their individual merits rather than on a comparative basis. Applicants are required to submit the following documents for consideration:
- Completed application for graduate admission and non-refundable $55 application fee (waived for Seattle University alumni).
- Evidence of a four-year equivalent bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.
- Minimum grade point average of 3.00 as calculated from official transcripts of all post-secondary educational institutions attended in the last 90 quarter/60 semester credits of the bachelor’s degree, including any transfer credits earned during this time, and any post-baccalaureate course work. Applicants with a non-graded baccalaureate degree must submit official GRE or MAT scores in lieu of a GPA.
- Current résumé reflecting at least one year of continuous full-time work experience.
- Two completed Seattle University MPA recommendation forms: at least one should be from current or former supervisors who can speak to qualifications.
- Two-page maximum letter of intent summarizing interest in the MPA program, commitment to public service, and discussing ways in which the MPA will assist in reaching career and educational goals.
- If English is not applicant’s native language, official English proficiency scores meeting the university’s entrance requirements must be submitted. See policy 2008-01 in Admissions Policies for details.
Programs and Courses for the Institute of Public Service
ProgramsGraduate MajorGraduate Certificate