The Master of Public Affairs program offers both full- and part-time options.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In both the full-time and part-time regular program options, students may choose to specialize in any of seven policy areas:
- International Affairs
- Urban and State Affairs
- Social and Economic Policy
- Technology, Innovation and Information Policy
- Public Management and Leadership
- Nonprofit and Philanthropic Studies
- Natural Resources and the Environment
Each specialization requires 18 credit hours of approved coursework, including a 3-hour Professional Report in the second year.
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 680 PA and PA 680 PB: Policy Research Project, parts I and II
- PA 383C: Politics and Process
- PA 384C: Public Management
- PA 393L: Advanced Policy Economics
- PA 397C: Advanced Empirical Methods for Policy Analysis
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.)
- 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.