Academics

The Master of Public Administration program at USC develops collaborative and innovative leaders who manage complex organizations and serve the public good at home and abroad. The program develops skills in two areas of managerial competency: (1) institutions and organizations and (2) analytics. Within each of these areas, students combine core courses that develop foundational skills with elective coursework tailored to their area of interest. Students may select electives to develop professional expertise and pursue a certificate in either Public Policy or City and County Management. 

Students apply the skills attained in the program in two professional application courses:  (1) a professional residency in public administration taken in the first semester (or second) that develops practical skills in public management research, writing, digital literacy, communications and engagement; and (2) a Capstone residency at the end of the program held during the last spring semester in which students refine newly acquired management and analytic skills in pursuit of collaborative problem solving focusing on real world, ‘wicked’ problems with purpose and targeting desired outcomes for a specific client or jurisdiction.

Institutions and Organizations (8 core units as listed below)

540 Fundamentals of Public Administration (4 units)
545 Public and Non-profit Organizational Behavior (4 units)

Professional Integration (6 units)

506e Professional Residency in Public Administration (1 unit)
507e Capstone Residency in Public Administration (1 unit)
546 Capstone in Public Administration (4 units)

Required Analytics (10 core units)

504 Essential Statistics for Public Management (2 units)
503 Economics for Public Policy (4 units)
541 Public Financial Management and Budgeting (4 units)

Management Electives (4 units; select at least one)

648e Performance Management (4 units), or
672 Collaborative Governance (4 units) or
673 Strategic Planning in the Public Sector (4 units)

Analytic Electives (4 units; select at least one)

542 Program and Policy Evaluation, or
554 Foundations of Policy Analysis

Additional Elective Options (8 units to be selected from any management, analytic or elective option)

651 Seminar in the Administration of Local Government (4 units)
555 Public Policy Formulation and Implementation (4 units)
689 The Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy (4 units)
628 Urban Planning and Social Policy (4 units)

Pre-service students ONLY (with less than 2 years of relevant, full-time work experience) (1 unit)

543 Internship Seminar

Total units: 40 (standard) / 41 (for pre-service students)