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Master of Public Administration

Web: Master of Public Administration

Dr. Francis Duffy, Program Coordinator
Hall Memorial Building, Room S233C

The program is especially appropriate for deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing professionals working in federal government agencies. This level of appropriateness was validated by the Deaf in Government (DIG) support group in a letter of support for the program where Mark McKay (former DIG president) said:

"DIG regards this program as a way to fill a need for Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals seeking a professional graduate-level degree for managers and aspiring managers in the executive levels of Federal, state, and local government."

The need for this program was also confirmed by the Federal Office of Personnel Management's Center for Leadership Development and its Eastern Management Development Center (EMDC). The OPM and the MPA program entered into a formal collaboration that allows Deaf federal employees to be accepted into the MPA program and then take elective courses through the OPM's Center for Leadership Development. 


The Master of Public Administration Program prepares deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing professionals working in public sector and non-profit organizations to lead with a sense of direction, to focus on results, to develop others' capability to perform, and to serve with integrity.


The Master of Public Administration Program is the premier graduate program in the United States and throughout the World for preparing deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing professionals who work with deaf and hard of hearing colleagues, to manage and lead in public sector organizations. Our vision for the program is driven by a set of core values. We value:

We value learner-centered teaching and learning. We collaborate with our students to help them design a personalized program of studies that will support their aspirations to move up into managerial and leadership positions in their organizations.

We value direct communication with our students. We seek to admit students who already possess sign communication skills so they can communicate directly with their peers in classes, on campus, at work, and in social events. However, we recognize that there are Deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing non-signers who may apply for admission to the program. Those non-signers who are admitted to the program will be required to learn ASL as a graduation requirement. Interpreters or CART services are provided in those courses with non-signers enrolled.

We value diversity defined in its broadest sense to include diversity of gender, disabilities, sexual orientation, age, hearing status, among other dimensions of diversity. In valuing diversity, we expect our faculty, staff, and students to interact with each other with a high degree of civility while at the same time enforcing ethical codes of conduct that do not tolerate bigotry, hatred, violence (verbal or physical), character assassination, rumor-mongering, and illegality.

We value the highest principles of professional and academic integrity among our faculty and students. We strictly enforce professional and academic codes of conduct, including academic integrity policies and procedures.

We value a culture of teaching and learning. We take these twin dynamics seriously and we assess student learning outcomes to ensure that we are living up to this value.

We value faculty members who are teachers first and researchers second. We recognize that it is the teaching and learning process that will enable our students to develop or enhance their managerial and leadership knowledge and skills. Because of this value we expect our faculty members to be highly effective classroom teachers.

We value faculty members who have up-to-date knowledge and skills. Maintaining state of the art knowledge requires our faculty to engage in scholarly activities that create research projects, books, articles, and other media. Maintaining state of the art skills requires our faculty to participate in professional development opportunities such as workshops, advanced graduate courses, and attending national conferences.

Public Service Values

We believe that leaders and public servants in public administration and non-profit agencies must always act with integrity to best serve the people to whom they are accountable as "servant-leaders." Leaders in the public and non-profit sectors must also comply with ethical values of our society and they must comply with laws that affect the work their agencies and departments do. As a Master of Public Administration program in Gallaudet University, we are seek to prepare leaders who can make the world a better place for deaf and hard of hearing people. 

Democratic Values: we believe that the rule of law is of paramount importance for leaders and managers in public sector and non-profit agencies. Leaders must comply with national, state, and local laws in their efforts to serve the public interest.

Professional Values: we believe that public administration professionals must lead and manage with a sense of direction, focus on results, develop others' capacity to perform, and serve with integrity.

Ethical Values
: public administration professionals must act at all times in ways that uphold the public trust by complying with common standards of ethical behavior. We value the highest principles of professional and academic integrity among our faculty and students. We strictly enforce professional and academic codes of conduct, including academic integrity policies and procedures and we emphasize how these same standards apply to leadership positions

Social Justice Values
: we believe that leaders and managers in public sector and non-profit agencies must exercise of authority and responsibility that is clearly guided by respect for human dignity, fairness, and social equity. These values permeate our MPA program.

Program-Level Student Learning Outcomes

The MPA degree program is designed to help students satisfy a set of "universal required competencies" developed by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). These competencies drive the program's mission and they clearly support public service values. The required competencies are organized as five domains.

Domain 1 - Leadership and Management: Students will demonstrate the ability to lead and manage in public governance;
Domain 2 - Public Policy Process: Students will demonstrate the ability to participate in and contribute to the policy process;
Domain 3 - Critical Thinking and Decision-Making: Students will demonstrate the ability to analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make decisions;
Domain 4 - Public Service Advocacy: Students will demonstrate the ability to articulate and apply a public service perspective; and,
Domain 5 - Communication: Students will demonstrate the ability to communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry.

Course-Specific Student Learning Outcomes

The program of study for the MPA degree is 40 credits. Each course in the program will have 3-5 course-specific student learning outcomes with accompanying learning opportunities, and learning targets.
Student-Selected Learning Outcomes

The program is also designed to comply with principles of learner-centered and project-based teaching and learning. Students are required to design a Personal Learning Plan soon after they are admitted to the program. That plan will include student-selected learning outcomes that must be clearly aligned with the program-level and course-specific learning outcomes.

  • Bachelor's degree from an university or college with a graduating GPA of 3.0 on a 4 point scale.
  • A 500 word essay describing career goals and how this program will help achieve those goals.
  • At least 1 year of paid professional experience in a public sector or non-profit organization is preferred.

Admissions Procedures and Requirements

Applicants for the Master of Public Administration must complete the application procedures and meet the requirements for graduate study at Gallaudet University. Visit the Graduate Admissions web site for more information and a checklist of application requirements. Detailed program information and course descriptions are also available under the 'Overview' and 'Courses' tabs.



Due Date for Completed Application: No set date
First Date for Consideration of Application: No set date

Program Specific Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree from an university or college with a graduating GPA of 3.0 on a 4 point scale.
  • A 500 word essay describing career goals and how this program will help achieve those goals.
  • At least 1 year of paid professional experience in a public sector or non-profit organization is preferred.

Career Opportunities for Graduates

Professionals enrolling in and graduating from the new MPA program will be able to use their degree for professional development opportunities within their current organizations or agencies. The MPA degree will also be helpful for graduates who are seeking new leadership opportunities in governmental and non-profit agencies.

Required Courses: 30 credits plus 9 credits of electives for a total of 39 credits

MPA 710Introduction to Public Administration3
MPA 713Budgeting in Public Sector and Non-Profit Organizations3
MPA 714Strategic Leadership and Management3
MPA 715Economics for Managers3
MPA 716Quality Management in Public Sector and Non-Profit Organizations3
MPA 717Capstone Experience in Public Administration3
MPA 796Executive Communication Skills3
MPA 837Interpersonal and Group Behavior in Organizations3
MPA 838Organization Development and the Management of Change3
MPA 860Ethics in Management3

MPA 710 - Introduction to Public Administration (3)

This course is a basic introduction to public administration for professionals working in public sector and non-profit agencies. Topics include the role of bureaucracy in the political process, theories of public organizations, bureaucratic discretion and accountability, policy implementation, and the changing nature of public administration. This course is designed to use lectures, student presentations, group discussion, and field assignments. The ultimate goal of the course is to help students develop a solid understanding of public administration theory and practice.

MPA 713 - Budgeting in Public Sector and Non-Profit Organizations (3)

This course examines the philosophical, political, and practical issues that surround the allocation of funds to publicly supported and not-for-profit agencies, institutions, and other entities. The course of study involves exploration of the structure of government in the United States at the federal, state, and local levels, along with various theories and strategies for raising and distributing public funds, especially within the educational sector. Case studies of public and private educational institutions provide capstones for student achievement.

MPA 714 - Strategic Leadership and Management (3)

This course will provide students with an introduction to strategic leadership, strategic analysis, strategic planning, organizational structure and culture, performance based management, and organizational development and change. The focus is on developing innovative and ethical change aspects capable of utilizing internal and external environmental data to lead organizational transformation in complex organizations.

MPA 715 - Economics for Managers (3)

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an introductory overview of the knowledge base in microeconomics and macroeconomics, with an emphasis on the concepts administrators will utilize in practice. At the completion of this course, the student will have first-hand practice critically analyzing common economic concepts such as supply and demand, prices, the price system, markets and market structure, utility, production and costs, marginal analysis, economic indicators, monetary and fiscal policy, international trade and data, opportunity costs and other pedagogies. Critical thinking skills will be gained through understanding of the underlying theoretical basis for these concepts, how they are interrelated with each other and with the overall economy, and how they are applied in policy decisions is also introduced in this course. In addition, students will, through examples based on business and government policies, obtain an introductory understanding of how these concepts are applied in everyday situations, providing additional critical thinking, communication and analytical skills.

MPA 716 - Quality Management in Public Sector and Non-Profit Organizations (3)

This course focuses on core principles of quality management in public and non-profit agencies; for example, customer focus, continuous improvement, employee involvement, and process improvement. Students analyze case studies and design a field project to gain first-hand knowledge of how to implement quality management principles. Students will also learn about the Baldrige National Quality Award program.

MPA 717 - Capstone Experience in Public Administration (3)

The Masters in Public Administration Capstone Experience engages students in field-based activities that allow them to apply what they have learned in their program of study. This field-based learning activity is offered under the guidance of a program faculty member and a field-based mentor. Students may also include this experience in their Personal Learning Plans that they develop at the beginning of their program of study. Students may design their Capstone Experience in a variety of ways, including designing it as a research project, as an internship, or as a team-based project. No matter how the experience is organized, students must document what they have learned in their program of study and in the Capstone Experience. Documentation will be submitted in the form of a comprehensive portfolio. Students will meet as a group in a seminar format periodically throughout the semester.

  • Prerequisites: Completion of all required courses and completion of at least two of the three elective courses, and a 3.0 grade point average.

MPA 796 - Executive Communication Skills (3)

Grammar is not the problem! Attitude is! This seminar helps the administrator avoid the tics plaguing his or her memos, letters, and position papers--tics such as taking forever to get to the point at hand; using marathon sentences to say what could be said in a dash; mixing metaphors and misplacing modifiers; burying the antecedents of pronouns in the underbrush of prose; and masquerading behind the obscurity of the passive voice. Analysis of style and tone of writing.

  • Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor

MPA 837 - Interpersonal and Group Behavior in Organizations (3)

The emphasis of the course is on interpersonal and group behavior in organizations. Through experienced-based learning activities, small group discussions, and short lectures, students learn about interpersonal interactions and dynamics in an organization setting. Topics include power and politics, decision making, conflict, and organizational culture.

  • Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor

MPA 838 - Organization Development and the Management of Change (3)

This course focuses on the processes of organization development and the management of change. In the course students learn how to diagnose organizational problems and how to plan ways to solve the problems. The process of change management is explored in depth. The course uses a combination of structured activities, small group discussions, and short lectures. Because of the nature of the course, active student participation is essential. It is designed for current or future administrators in schools, universities, and public sector organizations.

  • Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor

MPA 860 - Ethics in Management (3)

A classical seminar offered every other spring semester during even-numbered years by a team of three to four instructors. The nine-evening, once-a-week seminar covers the gamut of ethical concerns dealt with by line and staff administrators. Instead of traditional papers and examinations, the seminar requires class participation.

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