Program Overview

The work that people do in public service is vast. To meet this need, the MPA program offers three areas of concentration so you can tailor the degree to meet your needs while exploring a core of critical materials for public service.

Summary of Concentration Requirements
ConcentrationCore ProgramConcentration RequirementsElectivesTotal Credits
Public & Nonprofit Administration36N/A2460
Public Policy3681660
Tribal Governance3620460
Orientation workshop

MPA Director and Faculty Member Doreen Swetkis leads a session on coming together as a learning community at the MPA orientation.

The Core Program

The Core program consists of two years of required offerings, with six credit hours of study in Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters. Each class admitted for the upcoming fall begins the Core programs as a group, or cohort, and continue together for the first two years. In each quarter of Core, students earn six credit hours, for a total of 36 credits for the completion of both Core programs.

During the first year, you will examine the foundations of public administration,  the economic and political context of the public sector, concepts of democratic governance, explore policy, finance and budgeting, and gain additional practical knowledge and skills needed to run an organization in the public, nonprofit or tribal sectors.

During the Fall and Winter quarters of your second year, you will focus on analytic concepts and techniques, including research methods and the application of analytical techniques in administration.

Spring quarter of your second year culminates in the Capstone course. In Capstone, you will reflect on your work in the program, integrate experiences by looking at your work holistically, and demonstrate what you have learned in the program through a demonstration project.

The MPA Concentration Areas

Tribal Governance

Dawn Lewis

The biggest take-away for me was the Analytical Techniques I & II comprehensive research bringing together our current and past work as teams and individuals. The amount of critical thinking and statistical data was conformed with law and ethics. I have been able to apply those learning techniques as an Executive board member, manager, and now an Associate Director of a Tribal Coalition.

Dawn Lewis, Chehalis, MPA 2014, Tribal Governance Concentration with an emphasis on Tribal Policy Development

This concentration prepares you to begin or advance as an administrator who can assist both tribal governments and the public agencies with which the tribes interact. The Tribal Governance concentration curriculum has been developed to meet the needs of professionals who wish to gain an in-depth education in the field of indigenous government administration.

Students in this concentration complete the 36 credit Core program, five 4-credit courses focusing on issues of critical importance to tribes, including sovereignty issues, intergovernmental relations, regulatory policy, and economic development, and an additional 4 credit elective. Other MPA students can enroll in Tribal concentration courses as electives.

The Tribal Governance MPA at Evergreen is the only program of its kind in the United States. It was developed in coordination with tribal leaders and the Northwest Indian Applied Research Institute to offer credentials that reflect in-depth specialization in contemporary Tribal governance subject areas.

Public and Nonprofit Administration

Nikki Felker

I chose Evergreen after reviewing many different programs. I loved the diverse and challenging field of nonprofits, so Nonprofit Management was my natural focus. I communicated with other leaders in my field who were Evergreen alumni and they raved about the program. I fell in love with the class structure, campus and the welcoming faculty.

Nikki Felker MPA 2014, Public and Nonprofit Administration

This concentration prepares you to begin or advance in careers as administrators in public or nonprofit organizations. In addition to the 36 credits of the Core programs, students in this concentration take 24 credit hours of MPA elective courses that best serve their learning goals.

Coursework covers the critical elements of administration, including budgeting, strategic planning, human resources and information systems, public law, leadership and ethics, and multicultural competencies. The programs focus on the unique nature and needs of nonprofit and government organizations.

Students with a strong interest in public or nonprofit administration may select courses that feature the financial side of organizations or management, as well as important subjects such as Public Law. We also offer a selection of courses on nonprofits, including Nonprofit Management and Grantwriting. Many students in this concentration will also take a course or two on public policy. 

Public Policy

Matt Lemon

My experiences in core classes and electives during my first few quarters revealed that both my skill set and interests were closely aligned with the public policy concentration. This was solidified during an amazing internship with a public policy focus.

Matt Lemon MPA 2013, Public Policy Concentration, now a Research Associate for Washington State Institute for Public Policy

This concentration prepares you to begin or advance in positions such as policy analyst, budget analyst, or evaluator. Coursework emphasizes a combination of knowledge and skills, including the understanding of various models of public policy, how to analyze current and proposed policies, and how to engage in policy development and advocacy.

Students in this concentration complete the 36 credit Core, 8 credits of required public policy coursework and 16 credits of MPA elective courses in particular public policy arenas and other aspects of public administration.

  • Foundations of Public Policy examines models of the policy process, policy analysis techniques, an advanced discussion of the relationship between policy and politics, implementation and evaluation issues.
  • Advanced Research Methods teaches the research design, analysis, and statistical techniques needed to work successfully in this arena.

Elective courses are offered in a variety of policy areas including health policy, poverty policy, education policy, and environmental policy. Students with other policy interests may study them through individual learning contracts with MPA faculty.