MPAff Regular Program: Full-Time and Part-Time Options

The Master of Public Affairs program offers both full- and part-time options.

Full-Time Option

Most students in the LBJ School are enrolled full time in the regular program, which includes two years of intensive training in public policy analysis and management.

Program Structure

The program is organized so that formal coursework in theory and skills is reinforced by opportunities for practical application. For students who enter without substantial public service or administrative work experience, a required internship between the first and second years provides direct contact with the operating realities of government, nonprofits, and advocacy organizations. Students may follow a general program of study or may specialize in one of seven policy areas. The regular program requires a total of 48 semester hours of credit.

Part-Time Option

Individuals who for employment or other reasons are not able to enroll in the LBJ School full time may select the part-time option. Part-time students are not eligible for financial aid from the LBJ School.

Program Structure

Part-time students complete the same course requirements (48 credit hours) as their colleagues in the full-time regular program. To accommodate the scheduling needs of part-timers, the school tries to offer at least one core course in the evening each semester and one or two courses during summer sessions. In accordance with University policy, all LBJ School coursework and degree requirements must be completed within a six-year period from the time of first enrollment in the school. A typical part-time student who takes two courses per semester can complete the master's degree program in four years.

Degree Requirements

All students enrolled either full- or part-time in the regular program must complete the following requirements.

27 hours of common and flexible core courses:

  • PA 397: Introduction to Empirical Methods for Policy Analysis
  • PA 393K: Applied Microeconomics for Policy Analysis
  • PA 391: Public Finance Management
  • PA 383C: Policy Development 
  • PA 384C: Public Management
  • PA 389D: Communications for Public Affairs 
  • 2 Advanced Anayltic Courses 
    • PA 397C: Advanced Empirical Methods
    • PA 393L: Advanced Policy Economics
    • PA 391F: Advanced Public Financial Management
    • PA: 384F Advanced Public Management
  • PA 680PA & PA 680PB: Policy Research Project (the PRP is a minimum of a 3 credit PRP class, and it can be 6 credits/2-semester class, or 6 credits total consisting of a 3 credit PRP class combined with an official 3 credit LBJ partner class per LBJ policy).

18 or 21 hours of electives, selected from among the following:

  • PA 388K Topics Courses: Advanced Topics in Public Policy
  • PA 388L Topics Courses: Advanced Topics in Management
  • Approved elective courses in other UT Austin departments
  • PA 396K: MPAff Internship Course (in cases whereby the internship is completed for academic credit and applied towards completion of elective requirements). The internship requirement, which can be completed for academic OR administrative credit, is typically pursued between the first and second years. The internship requirement may be waived by the graduate adviser in cases whereby the student provides documentation of comparable professional experience.
  • PA 398R: Professional Report* (students pursuing a general program of study may take the 3-hour Professional Report course as an elective; students pursuing specializations or dual degrees are required to complete a Professional Report.)

Internship requirement:

  • 0-3 hours Internship**

*Students pursuing a general program of study may take the 3-hour PA 398R: Professional Report course as an elective; students pursuing specializations or dual degrees are required to take the course.

**The internship requirement can be waived if a student can provide documentation of comparable professional experience. The internship can be taken either on a noncredit basis or for 3 hours credit as an elective.