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Gannon Online MPA Courses

Home | Online Degree Programs | Online MPA Program Overview | MPA Curriculum and Course Descriptions

MPA Curriculum and Course Descriptions

The Gannon online Master of Public Administration (MPA) program is a 36 credit-hour program, and includes 24 credit hours of core courses and 12 credit hours of courses in your specialization of choice. The online MPA offers the following specializations:

  • Administrative Specialization: This specialization emphasizes business decision-making skills such as budgeting, marketing and the management of employee relations.
  • Organizational Leadership Specialization: This specialization focuses on skills necessary to develop and implement a vision for public service organizations, as well as techniques for leading and motivating individuals and teams in organizations.
  • Customized Track: Choose any three electives from the specializations offered and customize your studies to mirror your professional goals.

MPA Core Courses (27 credits)


This course will provide you with an overview of the field of public administration: its origins; its evolution; differences and similarities between public, private, and nonprofit management; various theories of organization; policy formulation, implementation, and evaluation; the role of law; ethics in public policy; and the future of public administration.


A study of the technical aspects of the administrative decision-making process. This course will teach you how to use accounting and financial information to support administrative decisions. Also included is an overview of budgeting and marketing concepts as they relate to the offering of public services.


This course explores special problems public administrators face in the decision-making process. We will discuss the policy cycle and use case studies to stimulate your thoughts regarding ethical/unethical behavior; provide you with a framework for making tough decisions; and get you to think about where you stand on various issues of public policy and ethics.


A survey of the elements of probability theory and methods of statistical inference which are useful for decision making. Correlation, regression, and significance testing are also covered.


An overview of managing the modern organization, including a discussion of the functional areas of the organization, history of management thought, and the structure of organizations. Approximately half the course involves discussion of the elements of marketing management.


Basic legal principles and the rules and ethics affecting the administrative process, legislative delegation of powers, administrative investigations, rule making, discretionary powers, adjudication, and judicial review. Legal and political contexts of regulatory administration.


This course will teach you how to do effective strategic planning. Strategic planning is the art and skill of deliberately matching the organization’s resources to the environment in order to maximize the contribution of its mission and its customers.


The course addresses the application of the behavioral sciences to management. The focus is on the analysis of structure and behavior in work organizations as well as classical organizational theory.
Prerequisite: GMBA 531


Through a program of directed study and seminar-type deliberations, this course will seek to conclude and integrate your Public Administration experience. You will apply principles and concepts of Public Administration and develop a culminating portfolio.
Prerequisites: Course must be taken during the last semester in the MPA Program

Administration Track Courses (9 credits)


A study of basic accounting concepts, techniques, and systems with a focus on reporting, analysis, and interpretation of accounting data used for decision making.


A survey of financial decision making, using ratio analysis, the time value of money, the cost of capital, and capital budgeting concepts. Considerable time is spent outlining the environmental (macro-finance) factors that affect financial decisions.
Prerequisite: GMBA 501


A study of the accounting information utilized in the control and evaluation of managerial decision making. The focus is cost accumulation, cost allocation and control. Critical attention is placed upon budgeting, cost-volume-profit relationships, and variance analysis as they relate to production, working capital management, and marketing decisions.
Prerequisite: GMBA 501


An examination of the marketing system and the use of various marketing applications such as marketing research, advertising research, and consumer behavior to assist the marketing manager in the major decision areas of targeting, product planning, channels of distribution, personal selling, pricing, promotion, branding, and development of integrated marketing programs.
Prerequisites: GMBA 531

Administration Track Courses (9 credits), Organizational Leadership Track Courses (9 credits)


Administration, whether it is in the public, private, or non-profit sector, is strongly influenced by various contexts internal and external to the bureaucracy. The major contexts are: cultural, economic, political, governmental, legal and administrative. This course will survey each in an effort to understand its role and, through seminar deliberations, formulate strategies for better performing leadership and managerial roles within large, modern complex organizations.

Organizational Leadership Track Courses (9 credits)


Through extensive reading and site visits, you will explore the many challenges facing nonprofits and examine the functions and roles of nonprofit staffs and boards. You will also reflect on the similarities and differences between the business, government, and nonprofit sectors and the effective ways in which these three sectors collaborate.


Defining community problems and establishing priorities and objectives for the response of the public and private sectors. Program planning and administration, with emphasis on developing comprehensive, coordinated and innovative approaches. Citizen participation and community control.