The Master of Public Affairs (MPA)

Program Description

The Master of Public Affairs (MPA) gives students the analytical, policy, administrative, and leadership skills needed to make an impact on Armenian society and beyond. Public organizations need leaders grounded in the perspective that policy challenges are fluid, interconnected, and global. Therefore, MPA students are taught how to ask and answer political questions, design policy solutions to public problems, and administer those solutions with leadership and management skills for public, private, and nonprofit organizations. The program provides a substantive focus on development policy, strategy, and leadership — all essential to the construction of Armenian prosperity and stability. 

Program Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the MPA are equipped to implement good governance practices by leading, motivating, and managing a diverse workplace within and across organizations. The program seeks to make students aware of the manner in which both political and market forces impact organizations, teaching them how to balance between competing public and private sector goals and values for the purposes of realizing good governance both in Armenia as well as internationally.

Students will master how political questions are asked and answered in the real world. They will learn how to analyze and develop feasible policy alternatives and familiarize themselves with a wide variety of policy instruments, using multiple management tools to address social problems. Practical application of policy instruments to praxis is one of the focal points of the degree. Students will have the opportunity to participate in the policy process, communicate policy alternatives, and work effectively with relevant government and nonprofit institutions and community stakeholders.

The MPA will compel students to think critically about public and private problems facing Armenia while remaining conscious of the inherent dilemmas and trade-offs that occur between them. MPA students will develop strong analytical skills that apply theories and tools for public sector decision-making — such as strategic planning, performance measurement, forecasting, program evaluation, and cost-benefit analysis — to managerial and organizational problems.

Graduates of the MPA will not only become effective public affairs professionals, but also upstanding global citizens able to discern between genuine public needs and public wants. Students will grapple with a myriad of ethical dilemmas real-world practitioners face on a daily basis. MPA students will master professional communication skills and be eager to engage with a diverse audience. Above all, graduates will be able to articulate and embody the value of equity, diversity, and inclusion that is to form the foundation of modern public sector operations in Armenia.

Admissions Information/Requirements

Admission into the MPA program will be based on several criteria. The admissions committee uses a holistic approach to assessing each individual candidate, as both a student and potential future practitioner. An undergraduate degree in political science and public administration is encouraged, but not mandatory. Undergraduate degrees in other disciplines will also be considered if the candidate shows strong interest in the program and has an impressive academic track record in their previous field of study. In addition to degree requirements, a candidate must achieve a high score on a standardized English proficiency test to prove his/her English competency meets the rigors of the program. A minimum score of 79 for TOEFL or 6.5 for IETLS is required. Optional interviews of candidates, based on the admission committee’s recommendation, may be undertaken to gain a more in-depth understanding of the motivations and expectations of the prospective student.