Master of Public
Administration (MPA) in
Organizational Leadership



230K+ Alumni Worldwide


The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program is for those looking to pursue a leadership career in government management at the federal, state, or local level and nonprofit management. The instruction, case studies, research, and presentations allow you to develop and strengthen skills in financial management, budgeting, quantitative methods, urban planning and redevelopment, personnel policies, politics, and grant writing.

The Organizational Leadership specialization prepares professionals to become proactive, problem-solving, change-oriented leaders in dynamic organizations. The instruction, experiential exercises, and capstone thesis are for those desiring to understand and apply the technical and reflective processes that accompany leadership opportunities in the modern workplace — whether business or nonprofit, domestic or international.

Admission Requirements

A conferred bachelor’s degree or a master’s or doctoral degree from a regionally or nationally accredited academic institution.

Course Details

Required Courses

For the Master of Public Administration degree with a specialization in Organizational Leadership, you must complete eight foundational courses and four specialization courses.

Foundation Courses

Course Name

A general survey course covering the role of the public sector manager in modern American society. This course explores current issues and leading concepts in nonprofit management.

An examination of influences affecting urban politics. This course covers elements of the community that impact the decision-making process, i.e., employee groups, labor influences, community groups, media, and other special interests. Additionally, you’ll explore the relationships between intergovernmental agencies.

This course studies the crucial aspects of personnel management in government, including civil service procedures, affirmative action, employee motivation, and organizational development.

A practical study of graphical methods and statistical procedures used in presenting, interpreting, and solving problems in the public administration field.

An exploration of the role, values, and issues of public management in democratic governance, citizen participation, power structures, and professional codes of conduct.

This course studies the historical development of urban planning concepts, general plans, practices, and their elements in the urban community. You’ll also examine the use of technology in the modern planning process.

A survey of current governmental fiscal management techniques and issues. This course examines the financial and technical assistance presented to quasi-governmental and nonprofit management organizations.

In this two-month capstone course, you’ll work individually or in teams under the guidance of an assigned faculty advisor. You’ll prepare for your MPA project by clarifying your research topic and identifying data sources. Then, gather, interpret, and present your data and research to faculty and classmates in written and oral form. Grading is “H,” “S,” or “U” only.

* You must complete five Public Administration courses — minimum — before taking this course.

Specialization Courses

Course Name

This course studies the formation and development of groups through effective leadership. You’ll examine team communication styles, roles within teams, strategies that foster group creativity, and the impact of technology on teams. Learning occurs as you participate in group activities, observe leadership in small groups, and witness the influence of diverse ethical perspectives.

An examination of emerging forms of leadership, influence, power, and chaos and collaboration. This course analyzes multiple organizations within the private and public sectors while drawing on diverse perspectives, ethical considerations, and applied approaches. You’ll participate in experiential approaches to leadership learning, using the classroom as a temporary organization to be observed and examined in real time.

This course explores the dynamics of change, organizational redesign, and the essential skills necessary for leaders to initiate transformation. You’ll study resistance and acceptance of change initiatives, and how organizational culture can impact both. Instruction, coursework, and problem-solving exercises will combine and strengthen your leadership skills and strategies, enabling you to implement change across organizational contexts.

This course integrates the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for effective conflict resolution and negotiation. Studied topics include interpersonal and intragroup conflict resolution, persuasion, problem-solving, decision-making, and overcoming bias, anger, and retaliation. The goals are to develop leadership and dialogue skills for navigating conflict situations and to detect conflicts as potential clues to organizational challenges.

Learning Outcomes

In addition to the academic outcomes for all Master of Public Administration graduates, students completing the Organizational Leadership specialization will learn to:

  • Distinguish between multiple approaches to leadership and innovation while confronting complex organizational issues
  • Interpret group dynamics and engage in systems thinking to develop organizations capable of innovation, adaptation, and orchestrating conflict
  • Evaluate ethical issues and aid organizational members in creating an ethical culture that supports operating in diverse, uncertain, and unpredictable environments
  • Distinguish between authority, power, and leadership functions, and employ frameworks that serve organizational goals
Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements on a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

National University degrees do not guarantee employment or salary of any kind. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to review desired job positions to review degrees, education, and/or training required to apply for desired positions. Prospective students should monitor these positions as requirements, salary, and other relevant factors can change over time.