The Master of Public Affairs (MPA) requires 42 semester hours. As an interdisciplinary program, courses are offered by the School of Planning and Public Affairs and the Department of Political Science, as well as from other units such as Management and Organizations in the Tippie College of Business, Strategic Communications in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, and the Larned Waterman Nonprofit Resource Center in the College of Law.

Required Curriculum

8 core courses (20 s.h.)
1 internship (1, 2, or 3 s.h.)
5 electives (minimum 15 s.h., including 9 s.h. taken within a concentration)
two-semester capstone project (4 s.h.)

Students may select from concentrations in Public and Nonprofit Management or Public Policy. For a full list of concentration courses and course numbers, students should refer to the Public Affairs Student Manual section on Areas of Concentration.

For the capstone project students will engage in analysis of a contemporary public policy problem plus development of recommended action steps. This will be done in tandem with the University’s Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC) which for has been providing public consultation to communities in Iowa for over a decade.

Core Curriculum

PBAF:5117Bureaucratic Politics and Public Administration3 s.h.
PBAF:5120Public Policy Process3 s.h.
PBAF:6200Analytic Methods I3 s.h.
PBAF:6205Economics for Policy Analysis3 s.h.
PBAF:6208Program Seminar1 s.h.
PBAF:6225Applied GIS for Planning and Policy Making1 s.h.
PBAF:6233Public Finance and Budgeting3 s.h.
PBAF:6240Public Management3 s.h.

Typical Schedule for Full-Time Students

First Semester
PBAF:5120Public Policy Process       core3 s.h.
PBAF:6200Analytic Methods Icore3 s.h.
PBAF:6205Economics for Policy Analysiscore3 s.h.
PBAF:6208Program Seminarcore1 s.h.


Second Semester
PBAF:5117Bureaucratic Politics and Public Administrationcore3 s.h.
PBAF:6225Applied GIS for Planning and Policy Makingcore1 s.h.
PBAF:6233Public Finance and Budgeting    core3 s.h.
PBAF:6240Public Managementcore3 s.h.
 Concentration or Electiveelective3 s.h.


Third Semester
PBAF:6209Public Affairs Capstone Icapstone1 s.h.
PBAF:6335Internshipcore1, 2 or 3 s.h.
 Concentration or Electiveelective3 s.h.
 Concentration or Electiveelective3 s.h.


Fourth Semester
PBAF:6210Public Affairs Capstone II                                          capstone3 s.h.
 Concentration or Electiveelective3 s.h.
 Concentration or Electiveelective3 s.h.