All Master of Public Affairs students are required to select an area of concentration. There are two concentrations to choose from—public and nonprofit management or public policy. Students complete at least 9 s.h. of coursework taken in their area of concentration.

Public and Nonprofit Management concentration

This concentration focuses on the management of public and nonprofit organizations. It provides students an understanding of the principles and foundations for successful leadership, management, and communication in public and nonprofit organizations.

Nonprofit Management

  • Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness I
  • Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness II
  • Nonprofit Organizations: Structure, Governance and Strategy
  • Nonprofit Organizations: Advocacy, Collaboration and Fundraising
  • Nonprofit Ethics and Governance

Public Management

  • Public Human Resource Management
  • Strategic Management of Public and Nonprofit Organizations
  • Grant Writing

Strategic Communication

  • Public Policy and Persuasion
  • Digital Strategic Communication
  • Leadership Communication
  • Foundations of Strategic Communication

Public Policy concentration

This concentration focuses on public policy, including public policy analysis, the public policy process (including the political process), and policy areas such as environmental policy, education policy, housing policy, etc.

Students in the public policy concentration are required to take either PBAF:6340 Public Policy Analysis or PBAF:6201 Analytic Methods II as well as six additional semester hours within the concentration.

Courses are organized by topic but do not indicate sub areas of concentrations. Select from any topic or combination of topics of interest.

Criminal Justice

  • Communities and Crime
  • Crime and Public Policy
  • Environmental Criminology

Economic Development Policy

  • Poverty Policy
  • Economic Development Policy
  • Financing Economic Development for Poverty Alleviation

Educational Policy

  • Higher Education Policy
  • K-12 Education Finance and Policy

Environmental Policy

  • Environmental Economics and Policy
  • Environmental Policy
  • Systems and Scenario Thinking
  • Resilient Infrastructure and Emergency Response
  • Politics and Economics of the Food, Energy, Water Nexus
  • Environmental Law
  • International Environmental Law
  • Water Wars: Conflict and Cooperation

Health Policy

  • Designing Sustainable and Healthy Cities
  • Health Policy
  • Health Policy Analysis
  • Federalism and Health Policy

Housing and Community Development Policy

  • Poverty Policy
  • Housing Policy
  • Community Development Through Creative Placemaking


  • Analytic Methods II
  • Public Policy Analysis

The Politics of Public Policy Making

  • Public Policy and Persuasion
  • Native American Public Policy
  • Strategic Political Communication
  • The U.S. Congress
  • Immigration Politics
  • Interest Groups
  • State Politics in Iowa
  • Campaigns, Elections, and Voting Behavior
  • Public Opinion
  • Politics of Aging

Sustainable Development

  • Environmental Economics and Policy
  • Designing Sustainable and Healthy Cities
  • Sustainable Systems
  • Politics and Economics of the Food, Energy, Water Nexus
  • Sustainable and Green Building Concepts
  • Environmental Impact Analysis
  • Environmental Justice

Transportation Policy

  • Transportation Policy and Planning
  • Transportation, Urban Form and Sustainability