Master of Public Administration

Message from the Director

In the aftermath of significant catastrophic events, such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012, who leads the recovery, tends to the displaced, and works to put people’s lives back together? During challenges such as these, it is the joint efforts of the public and nonprofit sectors that enable communities to return to normal. The Master of Public Administration trains the professionals that help neighborhoods, towns and cities to recover.

The challenges that face our region are not always this abrupt. Connecticut towns and cities were alarmed when it was announced that General Electric was leaving Fairfield after over 40 years, In April of 2017, the Public Administration Program brought together a panel of political leaders and economic experts to address the challenges that G.E.’s departure created. Working to address the economic and other changes resulting from dislocations such as these is an example of the ongoing hard work done by public administration professionals.

If you are seeking a vocation that is impactful, provides you with an opportunity to help others, and puts you on the front lines of assisting those in need, the MPA is your surest path to building a career in either the nonprofit or public sector. Fairfield’s MPA provides training in the core competencies of public administration – leadership, human resource management, analytics and financial management – which when combined with courses on essential skills, such as grant-writing and project management, results in a powerful degree for those seeking to be leaders in the public sector.

The faculty urge you to consider what the Fairfield MPA can offer, and encourage you to explore the program further. If you have questions, please contact:

Mark LeClair
Director of the MPA Program
203-254-4000 x2295

The Fairfield University Master of Public Administration (MPA) program is designed for those working in the public and nonprofit sectors, recent college graduates, or those looking for a career change. Working professionals in this exciting field examine pressing social, ethical, and professional issues and develop strong leadership abilities for advancement in their chosen fields.

Fairfield’s state accredited program is ideally suited for students interested in a public administration degree. Students in this program will study current theories, trends, and issues related to the field of Public Administration and will engage in active learning, critical reflection and experiential practices that are the hallmarks of a Jesuit education. Courses emphasize theory, research, and application to advance careers in the following areas:

  • State Governments
  • City Governments
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Healthcare Management
  • Private Research

As a graduate student in this program, you’ll work closely with faculty to tailor your curriculum to your personal, professional, and academic goals. The MPA program offers flexibility for students' busy schedules and provides the highest quality graduate educational experience.


To earn the Master of Public Administration degree, students choose from a range of courses that have been designed specifically for the MPA program and may also take up to two courses in allied areas.

Students, in consultation with the program director, select courses to suit their academic, personal, and career goals.

MPA 0410Introduction to Public Administration3
MPA 0405Research Methods3
MPA 0400Financial Management and Budgeting3
MPA 0415Human Resource Management3
MPA 0420Leadership3
Select 6 elective courses, including:18
Three courses from a concentration of choice
Two courses in Communication
One course in Ethics
MPA 0500Internship6
MPA 0510Capstone Experience3
Total Credits42


In addition to courses offered by the MPA program, students may also choose from the following, with approval by their advisor and the offering department:

AC 0380Not-for-Profit Accounting 13
CO 0440Ethics and Communication3
CO 0524Negotiation and Conflict Management: Communication Approaches3
CO 0540Intercultural Communication3
ENW 0335Technical Writing 13
ENW 0339Grant and Proposal Writing 13
IS 0520Project Management3
MG 0503Legal and Ethical Environment of Business3
MG 0504Managing People for Competitive Advantage3
MG 0507Negotiations and Dispute Resolution3
MG 0510Management Communication, Influence, and Power3
MG 0520Diversity in the Workplace3
MG 0560Career Planning and Development3

Available to MPA students with permission of the Director. Additional course work required.

MPA 0400 Financial Management and Budgeting3 Credits

This course will examine the proper role government has to play in today's economy and will provide the fundamental and technical skills necessary to understand public budgeting and finances. Topics include the reasons for government involvement in the economy (market failure and redistribution), budgeting techniques at all levels of government, and sources of tax revenue. There will be a strong emphasis on issues related to state/local governments. By the end of this course students should have a strong understanding of the budgetary process at all levels, but in particular at the state/local level of government.

MPA 0405 Research Methods3 Credits

This course will introduce students to research methodology and hypothesis testing. The first part of the course will focus on understanding basic research techniques in the social sciences, including data collection, data analysis and reporting of results. The second half of the course will emphasize methodology. Students will be required to conduct a major research project in a laboratory setting and produce a finished report. Students must have taken a prior statistical methods class.

MPA 0410 Introduction to Public Administration3 Credits

This course provides an overview of the history, practical nature, function of public administration and policy making at the federal, state at the local levels. It will examine the theories and concepts of bureaucracy, as well as the formulation and implementation of policy. Among the topics covered are organization theory, federalism and regulation, ethics and accountability, decision-making, and leadership and budgeting. Case studies will be used to facilitate class lectures and discussions.

MPA 0415 Human Resource Management3 Credits

Students choose from MG 0505 or MG 0525.

MPA 0420 Leadership3 Credits

Students choose from CO 0522 or MG 0500.

MPA 0425 Grant Writing3 Credits

This course will prepare participants to write effective proposals and reports. It will also provide information on planning special fundraising events, requesting funds from donors and seeking funds from corporations and foundations. Students will learn to define and write problem statements, objectives, plans of action, assessment documents, budgets and project summaries. In addition, students will sharpen their teamwork, editing, writing, audience awareness and design skills as they engage in collaborative projects with a nonprofit organization or government agency.

MPA 0430 Economics of the Nonprofit Sector3 Credits

Prerequisites: MPA 0405, MPA 0410.

This course will examine both the role that nonprofits play in the U.S. economy and how charitable organizations are managed and financed, including the interplay between the government and the Third Sector. Particular attention will be paid to distinctions between successful (impactful) nonprofits and those that are less effective in pursuing societal needs. New forms of philanthropic organizations will be examined, including benefit corporations and social marketing enterprises. In addition, new ethical practices, including impact investing, will be surveyed. Case studies will be utilized to illuminate the economic circumstances that can impact Individual nonprofits.

MPA 0450 State and Local Government3 Credits

Prerequisite: MPA 0410.

This examines the political processes and institutions of U.S., state, and local governments. By the end of the course, students will be able to discuss the state/federal/local relationships within the context of the American Constitution and political process, examine the various governmental structures and functions of state and local governments and how these structures impact the political process, demonstrate an understanding of the role states and localities play in the elections and the political process, understand the institutions of state and local governments including how they vary, and the various policy issues before the states and local governments.

MPA 0470 The Dynamics and Challenges of Administrative Corruption3 Credits

Corruption is a reality in the public sphere, both in the nonprofit and governmental sectors. The various forms of corruption, from simple gratuities to outright subversion of the political process will be examined. The modern democratic state has necessarily instituted controls that suppress corruption, but the complexity of governance may enable the undermining of those controls. Public administration students will likely encounter numerous instances of corrupt practices in their careers, and understanding corruption will enable students to respond professionally when confronted by malfeasance. This course will also cover institutional structures that either encourage or discourage corruption in other nations.

MPA 0500 Internship3 Credits

Students are required to complete six credits of internship at a position relevant to their interests. Those in the city/state government track will be assigned to internships at local government and state offices, while those in the nonprofit track will be offered relevant positions at local not-for-profits. This requirement may be waived for those who already have experience working for a nonprofit or a government agency.

MPA 0510 Capstone Experience3 Credits

The Capstone Experience is intended to complement the student's coursework and complete the chosen program of study. It is undertaken with the close supervision of a faculty advisor and can take the form of a specially designed course, independent study, or a master's thesis.

Professors in the program are full-time faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Dolan School of Business, or are affiliated faculty with expertise in critical areas.


LeClair, Director (Economics)
Mainiero (Management)
Schlichting (Sociology and Anthropology)

Associate Professor

Downie (Politics)
Murray (Economics)
Pagano (Communication)

Assistant Professor

Alberda (Politics)
Arendt (Communication)

Affiliated Faculty