Master of Public Affairs | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

Master of Public Affairs

Applications are now open! Apply by Dec. 1.

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


We Bring Policy to Life

Core Program

The core curriculum in public affairs provides a general foundation for understanding the economic, political, analytical and management principles of policymaking.

2 Advanced Analytic Courses

Students must take two advanced classes and they can be any of the following classes: PA 397C: Advanced Empirical Methods (AEM; 3 credits) (Pre-requisite-IEM) PA 393L: Advanced Policy Economics (APE; 3 credits) (Pre-requisite- AMP) PA 391F: Advanced Public Financial Management (3 credits) (Pre-requisite PFM) PA: 384F: Advanced Public Management (3 credits) (Pre-requisite PM)

Applied Microeconomics for 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.

Introduction to Empirical Methods for Policy Analysis

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.

Policy Research Project

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.

Policy Development

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.

Public Financial Management

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.

Public Management

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.

Customize Your Degree

With scores of electives and courses cross-listed with other units on campus every semester, students have a great degree of flexibility in designing a program of study that meets their specific policy interests. The MPAff program also offers three formal mechanisms for customizing a degree.

A community of doers with a lifelong connection

A strong tradition of smart action. Viable solutions for society's challenges. Contributions to today's social dialogue. The LBJ experience puts you in the middle of it all. Experience a lifelong connection that begins now.

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