Master of Public Administration

MPA Program Overview

We offer three areas of concentration:

  • Public and Nonprofit Administration
  • Public Policy
  • Tribal Governance

The MPA program is designed to meet the needs of our students by giving them greater choice not only in the area of concentration, but also in the length of time to complete the program. Students can enroll full-time and complete the program in two years, or they may choose to attend part-time and spread their studies out over as many as six years.


All classes meet in the evening and/or on the weekends, to meet the needs of working adult students.  A typical full time schedule (for concentrations other than Tribal Governance) would entail one night of core classes per week, on Thursday nights from 6-10pm, plus one or two weekend intensive courses, per quarter, for electives.  Tribal Governance meets in five weekend intensive sessions each quarter (three sessions for the core course and two sessions for the concentration course). Each session is 20 hours long and meets Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Full time = 8 or more credit hours per quarter (10 credit hours per quarter needed to complete in 6 quarters/two year track)

Part time = 4-7 credit hours per quarter to remain eligible for financial aid (6 credit hours per quarter needed to complete in 10 quarters/three year track; students have up to 6 years to complete the degree)

The program consists of 60 quarter-credit hours, including:

Core Programs (36 credits)

Year one: Foundations of Public Administration (Fall quarter: Context of Public Administration; Winter quarter: Doing Administration in a Democracy; Spring quarter: Policy, Finance and Budgeting for Public Administration) -- 6 credits each, 18 credits total

Year two: Analytical Techniques for Public Service and Capstone (Fall quarter: Analytical Techniques for Public Service I; Winter quarter: Analytical Techniques for Public Service II; Spring quarter - Capstone) -- 6 credits each, 18 credits total

Two Core programs are required, one during the first year in the program and the other during the second. The Core programs are team taught by MPA faculty. Each class admitted for the upcoming fall begins the Core programs as a group, or cohort, and continue together for the first two years. During the first year, the Core examines: the foundations of public administration; the economic and political context of the public sector; concepts of democratic governance; policy, finance and budgeting; and additional practical knowledge and skills needed to run an organization in the public, nonprofit or tribal sectors.

During the second year of Core coursework, students focus on analytic concepts and techniques, including research methods and the application of analytical techniques in administration (e.g., policy analysis, performance measurement, fiscal analysis, program evaluation, etc.) during the Fall and Winter quarters. The second year of Core culminates in the Capstone course in the Spring quarter. In Capstone, students reflect on their work in the program, integrate experiences by looking at their work holistically and demonstrate what they have learned in the program through a demonstration project (usually with an applied focus, working with an agency, tribe, nonprofit organization or other organization doing public work). Students must complete a minimum of 40 credits before taking the Capstone course. 

In each quarter of Core, students earn six credit hours, for a total of 36 credits for the completion of both Core programs.

Concentration Areas

The work that people do in the public service is vast. To meet this need, the MPA program offers three areas of concentration so students can tailor their learning to meet their particular requirements. The concentrations offered by the program are

  • Public and Nonprofit Administration - Prepares students to begin, or advance in, careers as administrators in public or nonprofit organizations. Coursework covers the critical elements of administration--budgeting, strategic planning, human resources and information systems, public law, leadership and ethics, multicultural competencies, and more--as well as the unique nature and needs of nonprofit and government organizations.
  • Public Policy - Prepares students to begin, or advance in, positions such as policy analyst, budget analyst, or evaluator. Students in this concentration complete Foundations of Public Policy, a course that examines models of the policy process, policy analysis techniques, an advanced discussion of the relationship between policy and politics, implementation and evaluation issues. A second required course is Advanced Research Methods, in which students learn the research design, analysis, and statistical techniques needed to work successfully in this arena. Elective courses are offered in a variety of policy areas including health policy, poverty policy, education policy, environmental policy, etc. Students with other policy interests may study them through individual learning contracts with MPA faculty.
  • Tribal Governance - Develops administrators who can assist both tribal governments and the public agencies with which the tribes interact. Students in this concentration complete five 4-credit courses focusing on issues of critical importance to tribes, including sovereignty issues, intergovernmental relations, regulatory policy, and economic development. Other MPA students can enroll in these Tribal concentration courses as electives.


Electives offer students opportunities to increase in their intellectual growth. A variety of different courses are offered during the regular academic year as well as in the summer. In addition, students may design their own courses through individual learning contracts and internships, or opt to do a thesis. Students may choose elective courses from the MPA or Master in Environmental Studies offerings. Course offerings change annually.

Electives may include courses such as: Grant Writing, Political Advocacy and Organizing, International Administration, Conflict Resolution, The Political Context of State Government, Persuasive Speaking, Issues in Growth Management & Land-Use Regulation, Women and the Global Economy, Issues in State and Local Economic Development Policy, Project Management, and Contemporary Labor and Employment Issues.

Affiliations and Accreditation

Evergreen's MPA program is a member of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) and subscribes to NASPAA's Code of Good Practice.

The Evergreen State College is accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Universities. Re-accreditation of The Evergreen State College occurs every 7 years. The last self study report for re-accreditation was completed in 2008.

The Spring 2003 Interim Report for Reaffirmation of Accreditation describes Evergreen's progress towards recommendations that were made by the Northwest Commission Accreditation Committee in 1998. See the Provost's Office website for other related documents.