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URI Providence Campus

80 Washington Street

Providence, RI 02903

Phone: 401-277-5000

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Master of Public Administration


The URI-RIC cooperative program is a member institution of the National Association of Schools of Public Administration and Affairs (NASPAA) and as such its core curriculum conforms to the guidelines of NASPAA. The MPA matriculating students take seven core courses at The Providence Feinstein Campus. These courses are offered during the academic year and are conveniently taught in the evenings. Free parking is provided by URI in the Convention Center Garage. Prospective students may take a limited number of MPA courses with the permission of the MPA Director as long as the student has completed their undergraduate degree program.

Core Curriculum

PSC 501 Administrative Theory (3)

Theoretical constructs and models in fields of public administration; theories of Weber, Riggs, Dorsey, Simon, Presthus. Lower-level models in subfields of organization, communications, and decision making. Task-oriented subject matter such as personnel, budget, and program administration related to theoretical formulations that seek to explain them. (Lec. 3) Pre: 491 or permission of instructor.


PSC 503 (or LRS 503) Problems in Public Personnel Administration (3)

Development of personnel administration, including problems of recruitment, examination, promotion, and staffing within public service. Emphasis on evaluation of employee performance and collective bargaining in public service. (Lec. 3) Pre: graduate standing or permission of instructor.


PSC 504 Ethics in Public Administration (3)

This course explores through case studies, class discussion, films, and readings how ethical deliberation in the public sector is an essential commitment and skill for public administrators. (Seminar) Pre: graduate standing or permission of instructor.


PSC 505 (or SOC 505) Public Program Evaluation (3)

Research design and methodologies associated with the evaluation of governmental programs and activities. (Lec. 3) Pre: STA 308 or equivalent or permission of instructor.


PSC 506 Seminar in Budgetary Politics (3)

Examination of federal, state, and local fiscal and budgetary processes, focusing on the politics of the budgetary process and models of budgeting, with emphasis on contemporary issues. (Seminar)


PSC524 Seminar in Public Policy Problems (3)

In-depth exploration of selected problems of policy formulation: intergovernmental relations, regionalization, citizen participation and control, priority setting for public sector programs. (Seminar) Pre: 491, 501, or permission of instructor.


PSC 573 Administrative Law (3)

Legal aspects of interaction among government agencies, individuals, and public interest groups. Systematic analysis of leading cases, evaluating the courts as an instrument for protecting the individual’s rights in administrative action. (Lec. 3) Pre: 113


Elective Courses

Students complete their degree by choosing 5 electives from among the many graduate offerings available at URI and RIC in a number of disciples. Those courses are chosen under the guidance of the Director of the MPA Program and are part of a formal Program of Study developed with the student paying particular attention to their professional development. Students have chosen course work in government finance, grant writing and contracting, labor relations, planning, organizational behavior, communications, public safety among many others at both institutions. MPA students who have been away from Higher Education for a time or who are new to the field can take elective courses designed to introduce students to the field of Public Administration. Two examples are PSC 491 Principles of Public Administration and PSC 498 Public Administration and Policy Formulation.



Students with limited public sector experience are required to complete a 6 credit internship. This internship counts for two of the electives. Students work in a public setting under the supervision of an administrator on site and a faculty member. Students are expected to complete projects that agencies find useful and assist the student in their professional development.


Directed Studies

More experienced public administrators sometimes are offered the opportunity to undertake advanced specialized topics as part of their Plan of Study in the form of a directed study to work on projects of particular importance to their agency or professional development.


Other Curriculum Requirements

All MPA students must complete an introductory course in statistics before graduation. This course may have been taken as an undergraduate prior to admission to the program and can be fulfilled also by enrolling in a social science research methods course. Similarly a student must demonstrate basic computer proficiency before graduation from the MPA program which may be demonstrated by successfully completing an undergraduate course, or completing professional training, or by virtue of the requirements of their current professional position.