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Get the skills to build a better world

Increase your impact as a change agent

Whether your goal is to bring positive change to your local community or to advance a cause you feel passionate about, our Master of Public Administration (MPA) program equips you with the leadership and analytical skills you need to realize your vision. Join us to boost your influence and effectiveness in driving meaningful change in the public sector and nonprofit arenas.

Earn an in-demand credential

The majority of leadership positions in government and nonprofit organizations today are advertised as “master’s preferred.” At the same time, an uptick in retirements in the public servant ranks since the pandemic has created opportunities at all levels and across all sectors. With the Clark MPA as a credential, you are well prepared to bring foundational skills and fresh insights to local, national, and global organizations.

Combine academics with real-world application

The Clark MPA provides you with solid classroom training in research methods, public management, public affairs, nonprofit leadership, marketing, and management. And your Capstone project allows you to demonstrate your knowledge and professional competencies as you apply them to challenges faced by a “real-world” organization.

A lifetime credential that sets you apart

  • Receive your degree from a globally recognized and accredited university – the Clark MPA program is ranked among the top 50 Master’s in Public Administration Programs for 2020 by Intelligent
  • Build key competencies in leadership, policy development and analysis, nonprofit management, educational leadership, and healthcare administration
  • Get hands-on experience in the core areas of public administration and nonprofit management via authentic, real-world challenges
  • Learn in a highly collaborative academic environment with talented peers from all over the world and scholar-practitioners who share their deep leadership experience with you
  • Pursue your master’s degree on your terms – online, on campus, or a hybrid of both – with affordable tuition
Play Video

A Master’s Degree is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Chris Rutigliano, MSC ’18, a City of Worcester employee, said he would never go back to school, but as a Master of Public Administration student at Clark University he has proven himself wrong. He enjoys working with his classmates and has realized that it is easy for him to engage and do the work — one class at a time.

One of the neat things about going to Clark is, it is a diverse group of people and it was great working with people from different cultures. Because I enjoyed these classes so much, it made it a lot easier for me to get engaged and to do work.

The Essentials

Program Overview

Clark’s Master of Public Administration equips students with a solid academic foundation and training in research methods, public management, public affairs, nonprofit leadership, marketing, and management. You can choose to focus your studies in specialized areas such as nonprofit management, public administration leadership, educational leadership, or health care administration.

Start terms for the MPA program are Fall, Spring, and Summer. Students have the flexibility to determine the sequence of their courses and the pace at which they want to complete their degree. Each course is taught by a leading expert in their field.

Learning Outcomes and Competencies – School of Professional Studies

The following sections talk about the specific programmatic outcomes for each credential.  For programs at the Masters level, a core of five core operational competencies informs our theoretical framework for all Clark University School of Professional Studies Master’s degrees. Graduate certificates are not held to the same holistic standard as they are considered to be narrower in focus and more applied in practice.  For the credentials at the Masters level, those competencies are:

Core Competencies for SPS Master’s Degrees
Organizational Systems OR Foundational Elements for STEM Programs Developing an appreciation and understanding of the interdependence of the parts of a system will result in effectively and efficiently assisting an organization by developing its strategy and delivering its intended mission.  For STEM credentials, a solid foundation in analytical and diagnostic competencies which will enable the student to succeed from a technological perspective.
Ethics and Social Responsibility


The SPS curriculum will stress the importance of ethics and corporate social responsibility, so all SPS students are aware of the advantages of ethical behavior in business and professional life, and can act from a moral point of view. The notions of ethics and social responsibility are extended to STEM programming through the lens of the issue of data and programming integrity that can inform systems and analytical architecture that is applied in a fair and equitable manner.
Applied Research As a professional, SPS graduates will have the ability to call upon research methodologies to solve practical problems organizations and individuals encounter.  Our professional focus demands that informed research is a core value to knowledgeable problem-solving.
Workplace Dynamics, Communication, and Career Management OR Core Technologies Necessary to Meet STEM Industry Standards Workplace dynamics involve the relationships among the members of an organization, including departmental and interpersonal relationships. The capacity to communicate effectively is an essential skill for the successful professional. Career is an integral component of a professional’s life, and career can be maximized by an awareness of opportunities available consistent with individual talents.  For STEM-based programs, core technological applications and industry standards will be presented to form a foundation of programming and problem-solving competencies for a successful workplace experience.
Theoretical Grounding Each SPS degree is part of a field of study based upon a collection of theories that have proven to be effective when applied to challenges. Students will develop an appreciation for how arguments are used to explain, predict, and understand phenomena.



The Master in Public Administration offers students the opportunity to develop competencies in the five foundations of organizational systems: ethics and corporate and social responsibility; applied research; workplace dynamics; communication and career management; and theoretical grounding. The concentrations allow the student to specialize in areas that are particular to career paths and industries.

Operational Competency Learning Outcomes
Organizational Systems – to effectively communicate within public service and non-profit sectors. (Course MPA3120 Organizational Behavior and Leadership)
  • Effectively communicate with diverse and changing constituents and demonstrate respect for individual and group differences.
  • Work as an active member in both a leader and participant role.
  • Professionally represent one’s organizations to stakeholders orally and in writing.
  • Give organized and convincing oral presentations.
  • Capacity for empathy for those being oppressed, marginalized or abused by public systems or programs.
  • Practice and promote active listening.
Ethics and Social Responsibility – to apply values and ethics within the public service and non-profit sectors. (Course: MPA3220 Ethics and Professional Life)
  • Identify legal and ethical implications of social equity and diversity in organizations.
  • Analyze action and options in the context of competing priorities.
  • Apply ethics to decision making through the appropriate use of evidence that recognizes stakeholders’ competing values.
  • Articulate the pillars of social responsibility through levels of attainment: awareness, understanding, application, integration, and leadership.
Workplace Dynamics, Communication, and Career Management – to lead, manage, and engage others in public service and non-profit sectors. (Courses: MSC Professional Seminar)
  • Analyze organizational environments from multiple perspectives and apply analysis to determine the alternative course of action.
  • Evaluate appropriate processes and structures to achieve organizational goals.
  • Examine group dynamics to apply insights into building and sustaining team effectiveness.
  • Understand how to collaborate with multiple stakeholders to build strategic relationships to achieve goals.
  • Create and critique personal models of leadership.
  • Understand how leaders can leverage the power of motivation for achieving organizational goals.
  • Determine the factors that allow employees to adapt and thrive in a corporate culture.
  • Construct persuasive written and oral presentations to contribute to the mission of the organization.
  • Understand the value of planning activities and engagement in jobs over the course of a lifetime for better fulfillment, growth, and financial stability. Career is an integral component of a professional’s life, and career can be maximized by an awareness of opportunities available consistent with individual talents.
Applied Research – to analyze information for effective and efficient decision making, (Courses: MPA3900 Research and MPA3999 Capstone)
  • Demonstrated evidence of knowledge of the operational perspective of public service/non profit through the understanding of behavioral and organizational concepts.
  • Ability to identify, analyze and evaluate public problems, issues, and choices.
  • Understand basic performance management.
  • Select, apply, critique, and interpret analysis for informed decision making.
  • Utilization of appropriate research-based methodology within the resource constraints of public service/non-profit.
  • Design and conduct proper research to evaluate public and non-profit problems.
  • Apply processes for adequate resources allocation and management of financial obligations.
Theoretical Grounding – to participate and contribute to the policy formulation process. (Courses: MPA3400 Policy Analysis and MPA3100 Issues and Cases)
  • Development of a keen sense of the ethical dimension of social justice in public administration or community.
  • Participate in the design, implementation, and evaluation of public policy, program, or process designed to impact society positively.
  • Apply theory and research to contemporary human services sector/public sector management challenges and liabilities.
  • Ability to understand, evaluate, and implement changes within an organization to address the demands of the public and government by understanding the relationship between policy formulation and implementation.

We recognize the valuable experience and perspectives that working professionals bring to the class. If you are a student with three or more years in a professional position or hold an industry-standard certification, you can apply for the Assessment of Prior Learning (APL) credit.*

You may be awarded APL credit for up to two (2) graduate courses, enabling you to complete your degree more quickly and cost effectively. (An administrative fee is applied if the APL credit is approved.)

*Applies to the Worcester campus location only.

  • Decision-making skills and problem-solving techniques
  • Policy and program formulation, implementation, and evaluation
  • Human resources, Diversity and Labor Relations
  • Conflict management and conflict resolution skills
  • Core concepts including fundraising, grant writing, project management, and finance
  • Leadership
  • Policy Analysis
  • Issues and Cases
  • Change Management
  • Arbitration, Collective Bargaining and Labor Relations


10 course units

  • 6 core courses, including a Capstone project
  • 4 electives (or 3 concentration courses and 1 elective)

Course Catalog

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