The School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at Indiana University is the largest school of public affairs in the United States and is recognized as one of the best. U.S. News & World Report ranked SPEA’s Master of Public Affairs (MPA) program among the best in the nation and ranked six specialty programs at our Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses in the top 10, including the No. 1 ranked program in Nonprofit Management.
SPEA’s interdisciplinary approach to teaching, scholarship, and service yields:
- Exceptional professionals who tackle society’s problems in innovative ways and are successful in all sectors
- Timely, practical research by our accomplished faculty, including 2009 Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom
- Stronger communities for people throughout the world
Innovative Online Programs
The SPEA Connect online programs—the first of such programs offered by a highly ranked school—are another example of SPEA’s leadership in public affairs education. Our online MPA and certificates are designed to prepare talented professionals to take their careers to the next level, while studying where and when it’s most convenient.
SPEA’s MPA program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).
The SPEA Connect online MPA curriculum begins with six required core courses—your foundation to move up in the public affairs field. With the help of the faculty director, you will also design an advanced curriculum of at least six electives that is suitable for your professional goals.
MPA Core Courses
Public Management (V502)
Managing a public organization is no easy task. This course arms you with confidence to take the lead. Gain an understanding of the concepts, methods, and procedures involved in public management, with a focus on these four topics:
- The historical and contemporary contexts of public management
- Managing processes and programs in the public and nonprofit sectors
- Managing resources in the public and nonprofit sectors
- Old and new roles for public and nonprofit managers
Statistical Analysis for Effective Decision Making (V506)
Open your eyes to new observations. Draw fresh conclusions about a population from data you’ve seen before. A successful professional in this field must be able to analyze statistical data in relation to public and environmental affairs. We’ll get you there.
Public Management Economics (V517)
Money and economics will be important factors in practically every decision you’ll make in your public affairs career. In this course, you’ll learn about demand, production, cost, pricing, and benefit-cost analysis, so you can apply your knowledge to public sector management decisions and policy analysis.
Law and Public Affairs (V540)
At some point in your career, you may need to seek help from an agency’s legal counsel. We’ll teach you how to identify when you should seek that help, and how to do so. Understand your role in the relationship between public agencies and law, both with the U.S. legal system and other national legal systems.
Public Finance and Budgeting (V560)
Become a master at budgeting and financial management in the public sector by learning all about:
- Concepts and terminology in public budgeting and financial reporting
- Major revenue systems
- Nature and characteristics of budgetary processes in the U.S. government
- Capital budgeting and debt management
- Basics of budgetary and fiscal analysis
Capstone in Public and Environmental Affairs (V600)
You can only learn so much from a book. We know the best way to learn is by applying your knowledge in a real-life setting. And that’s exactly what you do in our capstone project. Pick a current policy or management issue and spend the semester using analysis and problem-solving skills to address it.
MPA Advanced Curriculum Electives
The regularly offered courses for the advanced curriculum include:
Data Analysis and Modeling (V507)
Used correctly, data can be invaluable to solving problems and making decisions in the public sector. You’ll learn about analytical models and how to use them in this course.
Public Management Information Systems (V516)
We all know technology drives society. Information technology, specifically, provides both opportunities and challenges for government. Familiarize yourself with all information technology has to offer and become that IT know-it-all that everyone wants in their organization.
Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector (V521)
You’re passionate about nonprofits and volunteerism. But do you understand this sector through and through? Its history, its current and future challenges, the attitudes and viewpoints that keep it alive? Delve into these topics to make yourself as influential in the nonprofit and voluntary sector as possible.
Human Resource Management in Nonprofit Organizations (V522)
Managers have a lot on their plates. How do you balance the needs of the paid staff and volunteers with the needs of the organization? Explore the issues affecting human resource management in nonprofits and be prepared when it’s your turn to play that role.
Management in the Nonprofit Sector (V525)
Quality management in nonprofits is a concern these days. In V525, transform into a much-needed leader in this area by gaining knowledge of this sector and the required management and analytical skills.
Financial Management for Nonprofit Organizations (V526)
The language and concepts of nonprofit financial management can seem tricky, but this course takes you from a novice to an old hand. Be able to make financial decisions like the leader you are. Computer software like Microsoft Excel is used.
NGO Management for International Development (V534)
Make a difference on an international level—learn the skills to manage a nongovernmental organization (NGO). Understand this sector’s function in nations around the world, and explore the three environments that NGO managers deal with: the external macro-environment, the operating environment of primary stakeholders, and the internal environment.
Benefit-Cost Analysis (V541)
Decision making is hard. And when you’re a leader in the public eye, it’s even harder, with people looking to you to achieve the greatest good. That’s where benefit-cost analysis comes in. Develop a framework for BCA, and hone your ability to analyze the trade-offs in a situation so you can choose the best option.
Risk Analysis, Management, and Communication (V550)
Before you make any decision involving others, you need to understand the risks involved. How might your decision affect people’s health? Their safety? The environment? Learn how to identify risks, ask insightful questions about them, and evaluate them.
Proposal Development and Grant Administration (V557)
Get your hands busy in this workshop-style course. Select an organization, create a funding proposal for it, and develop real-world understanding of the principles, challenges, and processes in grantmanship.
Fund Development for Nonprofits (V558)
In another workshop format, this course guides you through the fundraising process for nonprofit organizations. Select an organization and create a usable fund development portfolio for the nonprofit. When it comes time to apply these skills in your career, it’ll seem natural.
Public Human Resource Management (V561)
See the world through a manager’s eyes. You’ll be presented with a wealth of human resource issues, including hiring, maintaining, and laying off employees. This is a practical, rather than technical, course, enabling you to make better decisions as a manager in the future.
Public Program Evaluation (V562)
Governmental and nonprofit agencies provide services for others, but are they always providing the biggest possible benefit? Program evaluations are one way to find out. In this course, you’ll research methods to develop a program evaluation plan and use the results.
Research in Public Affairs (V590)
You’ll consult with a faculty member to create a research project related to your interests.
Governing and Leading in a Global Society (V598)
As a public affairs professional, you are faced with a myriad of societal issues today. Dive deeper into these issues—take this foundational course that focuses on professional development, globalization, governance, ethics, and leadership to further your understanding.
Workshop in Public Affairs (V601)
This course qualifies as an internship.
Public Program Management and Contracting (V654)
Skill in program management is one of the top hiring needs for public managers, according to a recent SPEA survey of Indiana state and local managers. Make yourself more marketable with this course: learn the necessary skills in project/program management and public sector contracting, and understand the value of public service and professionalism.