The first graduate public affairs program to blend academic theory with practical experience—exposing students to diverse opinions and real public life challenges.
Master of Public Affairs
Shaping public policy and tackling the greatest issues of our time.
The Master of Public Affairs (MPAff) program combines formal coursework in theory and relevant analytical skills with ongoing opportunities for practical application. The graduate degree program requires 48 semester hours of coursework, 27 of which are satisfied by core courses. The balance of the coursework consists of general electives drawn from LBJ School offerings, approved courses offered by other units on campus or courses that meet specialization requirements.
An internship between the first and second years provides direct contact with the operating realities of government, nonprofit and advocacy organizations.
LBJ School's Dean for Local and State Government Sherri Greenberg on what makes the MPAff program unique
The core curriculum in public affairs provides a general foundation for understanding the economic, political, analytical and management principles of policymaking.
This three-hour course is focused on the application of economic theory and techniques to a specific area of public policy.
This course provides students with an in-depth understanding of and hands-on experience with a specific quantitative method useful in policy analysis.
Students learn to identify the relevant economic analyses for their strengths and weaknesses in relation to the economic principles involved, and to comprehend and assess what professional economists can contribute to the public sector.
Typical topics include issues in political values and ethics and in natural resources, transportation, health, environmental, international, regulatory, urban, and labor and human resources policy.
Students develop an understanding of how to use basic quantitative tools in policy analysis with an emphasis on broad exposure of techniques and appreciation of their contributions as well as their limitations in policymaking.
A unique component of the LBJ School curriculum, the Policy Research Project is a two-semester group research course on a topic of concern to an external client agency. Through an emphasis on interdisciplinary research on real-life policy problems, students develop and integrate their research ability, quantitative skills and financial knowledge; appreciate the realities of administrative and legislative processes; experience the impact of political pressures and conflicts; and practice effective oral and written communication with policy practitioners.
Students cover the development and adoption of public policy in American government, using different substantive policy concerns to explore how individuals and institutions initiate and/or give legitimacy to public policy.
This course provides a basic understanding of U.S. governmental financial activities at all levels. Students may develop their capabilities to analyze financial operations, coordinate with relevant public policies and programs and effectively manage the resources of public entities.
Through substantive instruction in administrative policymaking and implementation, students are introduced to the role and method of administration in meeting policy expectations, resolving issues, responding to new requirements and evaluating performance.