Building Leaders to Tackle Societal Challenges: The MPAP degree

Do you want to play a key role in creating an equitable society where individuals can flourish and communities can prosper? Are you driven by a desire to serve the public? Would you like to lead institutions that motivate people to achieve excellence in pursuit of the collective good? Are you ready to do the heavy lifting of crafting and implementing public policies that improve people's lives? If your answer is yes, our MPAP program may be right for you.

Our MPAP program serves a diverse student body representing a variety of public service organizations. MPAP students are mainly mid-career professionals working in government or nonprofit organizations and committed to learning and developing as individuals, administrators, and policymakers. Our seminars are conveniently offered to accommodate full-time jobs. 

The MPAP curriculum emphasizes the integration of practical skills and knowledge with an understanding of the concepts and theories that help leaders adapt those skills in an ever-changing environment. Our classes will develop and improve your skills in policy development and implementation, as well as leadership, personnel, strategic management, fundraising, and program evaluation. You will engage with your peers coming from various backgrounds, learn from each others' professional experiences, and master your ability to work in different organizational settings with diverse groups of individuals. You will engage with faculty whose research, academic training, and professional experience covers a wide array of public administration and policy areas and whose primary goal is to build a cadre of high caliber public and nonprofit leaders to enable our region, state, and nation to address contemporary and future challenges successfully.


UM-Dearborn MPAP program’s mission is to empower individuals to tackle the challenges of public and nonprofit leadership so their organizations can thrive and advance the public interest. To accomplish this, we build on the public service commitment of our students by equipping them with the theoretical and practical knowledge, skill-base and network to advance transformative change on behalf of their communities.

Vision for the program:

We are the destination of choice for public administration and policy students from diverse backgrounds in Southeast Michigan. Governmental and nonprofit employers clamor for our graduates as exceptional leaders who develop the public policy to drive our region forward. Public service providers compete to create partnerships with our students and faculty to address critical organizational challenges and opportunities. We are a source of prominent scholarship that advances understanding and effectiveness of public administration and policy.

Vision for Graduates:

UM-Dearborn’s MPAP graduates work in Southeast Michigan and beyond to move their communities in new and exciting directions. Our graduates excel in their careers and continuously seek new opportunities to enhance their expertise, as well as the expertise of those around them. They lead highly effective organizations and drive policy to advance the public good. They create new solutions, tackle new challenges, build new alliances, and expand expectations for governmental and nonprofit excellence.

Vision for the Sector:

The governmental and nonprofit sector is vibrant and provides professional opportunities and personal fulfillment for those pursuing careers within it. The sector is a vital source of innovation and excellence that collaborates with essential partners to build opportunities for all. It is continuously reinvigorated with dynamic, ethical, and talented individuals who blend a passion for public service with bold and creative ideas to deliver exceptional service that enhances the lives of all.


Michigan Nonprofit Association Scholarship: Provides a scholarship valued at 20% of tuition and fees for the employees of Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) member organizations.  This scholarship is available for degree-seeking students and can be used for undergraduate and graduate programs.

What will I learn?

  1. Decision-Making to apply critical thinking skills to make decisions that enhance performance of governmental and nonprofit organizations or improve public policy and reflect awareness of key elements in these organizations’ external and internal environments
  2. Human Resource Management to effectively manage human resources within governmental and nonprofit organizations
  3. Financial Resource Management to effectively manage financial resources of governmental and nonprofit organizations
  4. Leadership to understand and exhibit behaviors that enable effective leadership of governmental and nonprofit organizations
  5. Effective Communication to communicate proficiently orally and in writing in a manner that facilitates shared understanding, growth, and high performance
  6. Ethical Standards to act in a manner that exemplifies professional ethical standards for governmental and nonprofit administration
  7. Appreciation for Diversity to demonstrate respect for the diverse cultures, values, and perspectives in society in the development, administration, and provision of public services
  8. Equity to uphold professional standards of equity in the development, administration, and provision of public services
  9. Theory-Practice Links to appreciate the role of political, administrative, policy, and organization theory in understanding and structuring practice in public and nonprofit administration and a continuously strive to improve practice through the application of theory

Degree Requirements & Advising

  1. Core & Capstone: 21 credits. 18 in core courses and 3 in capstone seminar (taken at the end of the program).
  2. Electives: 15 credits in elective courses.
  3. Internship: 3 credits (additive). For students who do not have at least one year of administrator-level work experience with a nonprofit or governmental organization. 
  4. Concentrations (optional): 12 credits in the area of Public Policy or Human Resources or Evaluation & Assessment completed as part of fulfilling core and elective requirements. 
Required Core Courses (21 Credit Hours)

Required Core and Capstone Courses (21 Credit Hours)

  • PAPP 502 Politics of Public Policy
  • PAPP 505 Introduction to Public Administration 
  • PAPP 540 Governmental & Nonprofit Finance
  • PAPP 560 Administration of Human Resources
  • PAPP 580 Statistics for Decision-Making
  • PAPP 586 Ethics in Public Administration & Policy
  • PAPP 650 Administration & Policy Capstone
Elective Courses (15 Credit Hours)

Graduate candidates must complete 15 credits of elective course work within the MPAP program but outside the core.

Elective courses are offered in the following areas:

  • Finance (including fundraising & grant writing)
  • Human resources
  • Leadership
  • Public policy
  • Strategic management
  • Program evaluation and assessment

These courses will also help fulfill the optional concentration requirements.

Internship (3 Credit Hours) (additive credit, where needed)

All MPAP students must have at least 1 year of administrator-level work experience with a nonprofit or governmental organization and provide documentation to their advisor that verifies this experience.  Candidates without this experience are required to serve in a 3-credit hour internship in addition to the 36 credit hours required for graduation. Whether or not you need to complete an internship will be determined by your faculty academic advisor when you develop your plan of study.


Internship Process:

1. Review your plan of study 

Your plan of study, that you will develop with your MPAP faculty advisor during your first semester will specify whether or not an internship is required and, if so, the number of number of credit hours required.

2. Apply for internship 

About midway through the semester prior to your planned internship complete the online application form which will help the internship director understand your experience and career goals. You will submit your resume as part of the application. After your application is received and reviewed, the internship director will contact you to discuss placement options and internship expectations.

Internship Director: Dr. Nancy Kursman
Phone: 313-593-5164    Fax: 313-593-5645

3.  Secure your internship position  

This will be done with the assistance of the internship director.

4. Complete the Internship Agreement

Internship Agreement: word doc (download and complete)

  • Discuss, and agree upon, with the on-site mentor, specific responsibilities and experiences associated with the internship.
  • Document the agreed upon responsibilities and experiences on the Internship Agreement.
  • Forward the agreement to the internship director for review and sign-off.
    • If changes are needed, the internship director will explain them to you, and you will need to negotiate changes with the on-site mentor.
    • If approved, the internship director will sign the agreement and return it to you to sign and secure the signature of the on-site mentor.
  • Once your on-site mentor signs the agreement, forward it to the internship director
    • The internship director will forward the agreement to CASL Advising and notify the Graduate Studies of approval for you to register for the internship credits.

5. Register for internship 

Receive from the internship director your registration authorization form. Go to the Registrar’s Office with the authorization form to register for the internship credits.


Examples of Past Placement Locations

  • 46th District Court
  • Campaign for Justice
  • City of Ann Arbor
  • City of Dearborn Heights
  • City of Detroit
  • City of Royal Oak
  • City of Grosse Pointe
  • City of Lincoln Park
  • Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Economic Alliance for Michigan
  • Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation
  • Hospice of Michigan
  • Michigan State Senate
  • Oakwood Hospital
  • Republican House Party Office
  • Skillman Foundation
  • University of Michigan Hospital
  • Wayne County
  • Washtenaw County
Optional Concentrations

Graduate candidates may choose to identify a concentration to demonstrate to employers development of knowledge and skills in a particular area of public sector leadership.  Earning a concentration requires students to complete 12 credits in that concentration. The following core and elective courses count for concentrations:

Public Policy 

  • PAPP 502 Politics of Public Policy 
  • PAPP 586 Ethics in Public Administration & Policy
  • PAPP 523 Administrative Law  
  • PAPP 537 Behavioral Public Policy 
  • PAPP 582 Policy Analysis & Development 
  • PAPP 584 Revitalizing Cities: Policies & Politics

Human Resources 

  • PAPP 560: Administration of Human Resources 
  • PAPP 520: Government & Nonprofit Leadership 
  • PAPP 555: Network Collaboration 
  • PAPP 561: Organization Development & Theory 
  • PAPP 562: Government & Nonprofit Labor Relations 
  • PAPP 564: Performance Appraisal 

Evaluation & Assessment 

  • PAPP 580: Statistical Methods for Decision-making
  • PAPP 537: Behavioral Public Policy  
  • PAPP 564: Performance Appraisal 
  • PAPP 582: Policy Analysis & Development 
  • PAPP 583: Program Evaluation  

The full-time faculty of the Master of Public Administration and Policy (MPAP) program provide academic advising regarding program requirements, the student's coursework, educational interests, and professional/career matters. They ensure that the student experiences a smooth transition to the university and the opportunity to have a productive graduate experience.

Upon admission, each student is assigned to a specific MPAP faculty advisor. Students must meet with their advisor before the start of their second semester on campus and to discuss and sign a plan of study. The plan of study will specify the sequencing of courses, internship requirements, and other matters that will help ensure success in the MPAP program. Students are encouraged to meet with their MPAP faculty advisor regularly and consult with him or her in the planning of coursework and career.

Master of Public Administration and Policy Program Director

Vadym Pyrozhenko, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Public Administration

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