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Claremont Lincoln University
Online MPA
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Claremont Lincoln University Degrees A longer, more complete description.
Online MPA
Contact us Today

Online Master's Degree:Public Administration

Facilitate Collective and Innovative Solutions for a Common, Public Good — The Master in Public Administration is a contemporary degree program that provides competence for practitioner scholars in the public, nonprofit, and for-profit sectors during these changing and uncertain times. The program is being co-designed with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and will equip students with the knowledge and skills needed for facilitative leadership in public policy, governance, and resource stewardship toward equitable, cross-sector solutions to complex societal problems. Students will be able to assess and effectively lead socially responsible initiatives within organizations and across systems. Students will learn how to critically analyze issues from and with diverse stakeholders in order to develop and ethically promote program and policy responses for the common good.

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Online Master's Degree in Public Administration


The Master in Public Administration aligns with the mission of Claremont Lincoln University to produce leaders capable of respecting differences and collaborating with those of different viewpoints to resolve problems.


  • Develop: Develop strategies to lead a nonprofit or government organization so that it can achieve long term comprehensive and equitable goals.
  • Analyze: Analyze and choose among policy alternatives in order to develop and implement public policies.
  • Assess: Assess the political environment (local, regional, national, or global) and develop strategies to achieve specific goals.
  • Facilitate: Facilitate collective action to achieve solutions that respect and include diverse stakeholder perspectives and achieve equitable results.
  • Readiness: Be ready to integrate ethical, equitable solutions to social, economic, and/or ecological problems across business, government and civic sectors.


Students that are ideal for the M.A. in Organizational Leadership with a concentration in Public Administration include the following career and civic sector interests:

  • Nonprofit executive
  • Public agency executive
  • Philanthropic program director
  • Lobbyist
  • Policy Advocate
  • Elected official


A completed Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution is required to apply to Claremont Lincoln University. Neither a GRE or GMAT score is required for enrollment.


The Admissions process has been streamlined for applicants to complete the online application in 15 minutes or less. Unofficial Transcripts and a current Resume or CV are required to be uploaded with the online application. The Enrollment Committee will then review the application and determine an acceptance status within 24 business hours. A determination letter will then be sent, and in return, an acknowledgment of its receipt will be needed. The Admissions, Financial and Student Services Team will finalize any other necessary items to complete Enrollment.

Claremont Lincoln University reserves the right to request additional items as deemed necessary by the enrollment committee to determine student readiness for the graduate level workload. Claremont Lincoln University reserves the right to accept, provisionally accept, or deny students upon the evaluation of all admission documents.

Required Degree Courses

The curriculum for the Master in Public Administration begins with a professional assessment that guides you towards self-awareness and defining your own values. You then learn about how to apply those values to leadership and decision-making in the context of various ethical, economic, philosophical, cultural, religious, humanistic and contemporary worldviews.

Public Administration courses are taken along with courses from The Claremont Core®. These courses teach the engagement skills necessary to implement the theories and ideas from the concentration courses. You'll also have the opportunity to interact with and learn from students in other programs.

Public Administration Courses

MPA 5301
The Claremont Core®

In this university-wide foundational course, learners begin their engagement with the four domains that make up the Claremont Core domains: Mindfulness, Dialogue, Collaboration, and Change. These four domains consist of transferable skills and resources that support leadership and facilitation capacities that accentuate students' professional work.

MPA 5302
Public Leadership

This course analyzes various aspects of public leadership, including political leadership, administrative leadership, and civic leadership, and helps students place their own distinctive public leadership skills in context. In this course, students will engage with theory and practice that will help to clarify their current leadership approach and learn practical skills to navigate the challenges that arise with often competing interests in civic and organizational settings. Students will be able to analyze these challenges, and devise strategies to overcome them. This foundational course in the MPA program offers students the grounding and broad skills necessary to be an effective leader in public and/or non-profit sectors.

Topics will include:

  • Ethical public leader/steward leadership
  • Contemporary issues in public leadership
  • Leadership that bridges social change movements and political structures.
  • Diverse community stakeholders and coalition-building.
  • Scale and transformative change
  • Boundaries of leading in the public sector
MPA 5303
Policy Development & Analysis

Providing key theories, practices, and challenges in formulating and implementing policy changes, this course examines the current implementation landscape, conventional perspectives on political processes, governance and management, policy and program management, and introduces strategic action fields while exploring organizations, contexts, and case studies. Students in this course will explore the challenges of implementing public policy, setting up campaigns, lobbying, building coalitions with an emphasis on building consensus, facilitating collaboration, and creating policy measures that sustain communities. Students will learn how to elicit, harness, and focus the intellectual capital and goodwill of community members, institutions, and stakeholders to create positive, sustainable social change at the local, national, or international levels.

Topics will include:

  • Overview of policy theories and perspectives
  • Representation, deliberation and participation
  • Implementation at multiple levels: From policy fields to the front lines
  • Success at multiple levels: Policy fields, application and implementation
  • Sustaining policy, sustaining voices: Seeking consensus
  • Understanding implementation and practice: Policy analysis and evaluation
  • Exploring case studies: Challenges and solutions
  • One policy decision begets another: Striving for the highest public good

Student Learning Objectives:

  • Differentiate public policy from both politics and public administration.
  • Evaluate the challenges of the federalist governmental structure in the context of a constitutional republic.
  • Identify the official and non-official actors in the public policy context.
  • Apply agenda setting and other public policy theoretical constructs to the solving of real world societal problems.
  • Evaluate a public policy based upon qualitative and quantitative analyses.
MPA 5304
Governance and Representation

This course focuses on themes and trends that interplay in governance, including social issues, economic inequality, and social justice issues. The course examines the state of democracy and its impact on governance, authentic representation and public participation, and contemporary issues and debates in American government. The value of this course is that it provides students the opportunity to understand the breadth and depth of challenges and opportunities in communities, and the fair representation of diverse stakeholders with diverse interests.

Topics will include:

  • The development of democracy, civic engagement, and representation in the U.S. today
  • Democracy as a form of civic engagement
  • Understanding the challenges to community change
  • Neighborhood democracy vs. global issues and community change – Case examples
  • Surveying the spectrum of public participation
  • Contemporary challenges for democracy
  • The role of the public servant in promoting democratic ideals
  • Diverse topics, diverse recommendations in maximizing democratic participation

Student Learning Objectives:

  • Show the global development of democracy and democratic societies.
  • Interpret the various forms and impacts of democratic participation.
  • Compare claims of advocates for different participatory mechanisms.
  • Evaluate diverse strategies for democratic engagement and decision-making.
  • Apply the skills of mindfulness, diversity, and negotiation in civic leadership.
MPA 5305
Project Management

This course covers the broad range of factors that the student needs to know to design, implement and troubleshoot high quality programs or projects. It details the phases of program development from design to evaluation, and continuous quality improvement. Students will become familiar with project management tools including GANTT charts, flowcharts, RACIS, and others. The course also provides students with various project documentation tools, both paper-based and electronic for team monitoring and communication. Case studies will augment the student's understanding of real-world application of project management tools.

Topics will include:

  • Project life cycle
  • Competencies of the effective, ethical project manager
  • Project management documentation
  • Technology tools for project management
  • Adaptive project resource management
  • Challenges and successes in project management at different phases
  • Customer feedback and continuous quality improvement

Student Learning Objectives:

  • Illustrate the competencies and attributes of the skillful project/program manager
  • Identify the project life cycle from design to program improvement
  • Experiment with current project management tools
  • Construct processes for incorporating evaluation and customer feedback
  • Choose technology solutions for optimizing participant engagement in programs
MPA 5306
Public Finance

Governments face severe challenges related to fiscal systems that support public services given local governments' shrinking revenue streams, climate crises and rapid changes in technology and demographics. Governments face mounting stress as they are expected to do more with less. This course is designed to help students understand public-private partnerships, new approaches to debt and municipal securities, and leading land-based finance strategies, and to finance infrastructure. The course content will support career advancement in urban planning, real estate, treasury, or economic development.

Topics will include:

  • Urban Economics and Growth
  • Intergovernmental Fiscal Frameworks, Revenues, Budgeting
  • Capital Budgeting/Accounting and Infrastructure Maintenance
  • Debt/Municipal Securities
  • Land-Based Finance/Land Value Capture
  • Public-Private Partnerships
  • Cost Benefit Analysis – Across Public Finance Instruments
  • Fiscal Impact Analysis

Student Learning Objectives:

  • Classify tools of financial analysis to make strategic decisions
  • Distinguish the government's role in managing land and natural resources especially in urban settings
  • Determine requisite knowledge and skills in urban planning and economic development
  • Adapt financial accountability mechanisms to changing circumstances
  • Model the interplay between finance, urban economics and public policy
MPA 5307
Systems Thinking and Sustainability

Essential in today's global workplace, systems thinking is recognizing the underlying constructs that impact structures and support the interconnectedness of organizational bodies. This course provides a foundation into systems thinking related to a learning organization, leadership skills, and delves into the ways systems impact global change, sustainability, and social issues by fostering action, awareness, and adaptability. Students will gain an awareness and understanding of how systems are interconnected and synergistic and learn to function comfortably in emergence in order to create positive and collectively cultivated solutions to the "wicked problems" of our modern-day society. 3 units, elective.

Topics will include:

  • Costs and benefits of alternative solutions to equitable change
  • The case for collective investments in common ground solutions
  • Tools for aligning and communicating collaborative strategies for change
  • Methods for tracking progress and impact associated with cross-sector initiatives
  • Requirements for supporting partnership success in achieving shared goals
  • Case studies of systems change initiatives, with attention to failures and accomplishments
  • Systems tools and methods in local contexts

Student Learning Objectives:

  • Interpret the interrelationships between different sectors of society
  • Apply a structural lens in solving contemporary social problems
  • Examine methods for seeking common ground solutions among diverse stakeholders
  • Build competence in facilitating integrated strategies for systems change
  • Elaborate the cycle of emergence, growth and regeneration
MPA 5308
CLU Research Methods

This course introduces students to the formal study of research methods, including literature search, hypothesis generation and testing, sampling theory, research design, data analysis, ethics in research and report writing. Application of these methods will be made to research on content specific topics. The student will have an opportunity to practice applying those skills to a current issue in the discipline specific field.

MPA 5309
Change Management

Change management is the discipline that guides how we prepare, equip and support individuals and organizations to successfully adapt to change in order to drive organizational success and outcomes. Change management provides a structured approach for supporting the members of an organization to manage – individually and together – through transitions and/or the impact of extraneous forces beyond the organization's control. In this course, students will dissect individual, organizational and enterprise levels of change management, and will gain tools and guidance for leading an organization through significant periods of uncertainty and flux.

Topics will include:

  • Functions of organizations and their component parts
  • The winds of change in and around organizations in contemporary America
  • The Prosci Change Management Maturity Model
  • Alternative change management tools
  • Case studies of organizations in the midst of significant change
  • Key competencies of leadership of change management processes
  • Application of change management tools in local contexts

Student Learning Objectives:

  • Summarize various factors contributing to massive change in contemporary society
  • Make use of tools designed for change management
  • Assess the characteristics of leaders in change management
  • Formulate deliberation and implementation of change strategies
MPA 5310
Civic Engagement

In this course, students will learn that, across local and global issues, individuals must be mobilized to create the power to promote change within a community. Students will study: 1) how to bring together diverse interests from within a neighborhood/community, 2) how to bring together the political, economic, and social power structure from both inside and outside the community, and 3) how to bring all of these groups together to collaborate for positive change. By the end of the course, students will gain the necessary skills to be effective agents of change and to improve the quality of life for people within their own communities and within communities around the world.

Topics will include:

  • Democratic participation for democratic reform
  • Building personal and community power
  • Managing difficulties in group dynamics and challenges to dialogue
  • Principles of participatory decision-making in public settings: Urban and rural
  • Knowing your community: Organizing with, Not for
  • Building and facilitating sustainable agreements
  • Civic capacity and community strengths
  • Reflections on community engagement and leadership

Student Learning Objectives:

  • Explain theoretical frameworks to promote equitable community change
  • Compare and contrast methods of facilitation and participatory decision making in a civic setting
  • Critically analyze contexts for community change in neighborhoods, in community-based organizations and institutions, and in government, across local and global issues
  • Appraise strategies of facilitation for purposes of establishing agreement by overcoming conflicts
  • Adapt the skills of mindfulness, diversity, and negotiation in facilitating participatory decision-making
MPA 5311
Foundations of Social Impact

This course will delve into the history and context of social impact innovation, the social issues and opportunities in a global context of history and current social trends. Students will analyze social issues to find points of leverage to participate effectively in change-making and determine where the student chooses to contribute impact. Students will also explore philosophies of social change, leadership styles and competencies, and articulate their own. 3 units, required.

Topics will include:

  • Approaches to social impact
  • Opportunities for change-making
  • Emerging fields for social innovation

Student Learning Objectives:

  • Describe various factors contributing to massive change in contemporary society
  • Analyze tools designed for change management
  • Assess the characteristics of leaders in change management
  • Facilitate deliberation and implementation of change strategies
MPA 5312
Capstone Action Project

The educational experience at Claremont Lincoln University culminates in the Capstone Action Project. This project draws on the entire educational experience including research, analysis, and determining appropriate methods and contemporary strategies for designing and implementing initiatives that generate positive social impact.

Student Learning Objectives:

  • Compose an introduction and literature review appropriate for action research public or nonprofit leadership.
  • Design action research methods for an 8-week pilot project.
  • Evaluate outcomes from an action research pilot project.
  • Construct a final action research project report for public or nonprofit leadership.

Capstone Case Study Examples

CLU's Online Programs Advantages

Claremont Lincoln's master's degree programs all have the distinct advantage of being 100% online, providing the flexibility to determine how and when coursework is performed. CLU master's degree programs can be completed in 12 months. In addition, the Admissions process has been streamlined for convenience. Neither a GRE or GMAT score is required to apply or be admitted.

Online Masters Public AdministrationMaster's
Online Master's in Public Service$25.2k Total
Program Cost
Online Master's in Public Policy100% Online
Online Master of Public AdministrationFlexible
Online Public Administration Grad School12 Month
Online Public Administration Graduate DegreeNo GRE or
GMAT Required

CLU is a Nonprofit University

Claremont Lincoln University is a non-profit, "online-by-design", graduate university providing socially conscious education and multiplying social impact through the work of its students in the world.

As a nonprofit university, Claremont Lincoln University is focused on the student's learning experience as well as their career success. Funds received from donations, endowments and tuition go directly to curriculum and to enriching our students' education.

Since CLU is both online and nonprofit, the university is able to serve students who are not well served by traditional institutions and universities— allowing the university to deliver the innovative education its founder and benefactor David C. Lincoln envisioned.


Public Administration

Claremont Lincoln University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, (510) 748-9001.

The Commission has confirmed that Claremont Lincoln University has satisfactorily addressed the Core Commitments to Student Learning and Success; Quality and Improvement; and Institutional Integrity, Sustainability, and Accountability and is found to be in substantial compliance with the WSCUC Standards of Accreditation.

To obtain a copy of Claremont Lincoln University's WASC accreditation, please contact:

Lynn Priddy
Accreditation Liaison Officer
Student Achievement & Accreditation

State Licensures

Claremont Lincoln University has entered into a complaint agreement for private non-profit institutions with the California Bureau of Post-Secondary Education (BPPE).

Department of Consumer Affairs
Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education

2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 400
Sacramento, CA. 95833

Chief Complaint Unit
Phone: 916-431-6959
Fax: 916-263-1897

View CLU's Graduation
& Retention Rates

What Students Are Saying About CLU

Here is what some of our current and past students are saying about Claremont Lincoln University. We are committed to being a student-centered community and are proud of how we have continued to establish dialogue and long-lasting relationships with our graduates by showcasing their action-oriented and impactful work across the globe.

Ely Flores
Master's in Social Impact '15

"Prospective students can expect to be challenged to grow as leaders, collaborators, and change-makers in their field and sector. The knowledge provided by the Social Impact program combines high level theoretical and critical thinking with practical grassroots implementation of learning and tools. This program equips students to become transformational leaders."

"In addition to growing academically, personally, and professionally, I hope students gain a community of thought partners and allies rooted in the mission of social change, love, and justice."

Jorge Bedregal Marzluf
Master's in Ethical Leadership '17

"This master's program led me to be a servant leader and bring about positive change in society."

Meet Our Faculty

Many hard working professionals contribute to a Claremont Lincoln University education. Here are just a few of the great faculty and staff that you will meet at CLU:

Audrey Jordan, Ph.D., Faculty Chair

Dr Jordan's consulting areas of expertise are in capacity building for resident-centered, place-based community change; cultivating community, organizational and collaborative partnership capacities for results accountability; and teaching about and facilitating conversations to promote racial equity and social justice. Audrey is also a certified executive life coach, focused on "accompanying social justice leaders and teams to unchain power for transformation."

Kendra L. Smith, Ph.D., Teaching Faculty

Kendra L. Smith, Ph.D., is the Associate Director in the Office of Community Engagement in the Center for Population Health Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine. She is responsible for expanding the ethical use and knowledge of community-engaged research throughout the Stanford School of Medicine community. Previously, Kendra served as a research analyst at the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University investigating policy trends in homelessness, demographic shifts, and citizen engagement. Also, she worked as a post-doctoral scholar under the direction of Kevin Desouza and a research fellow at the Center for Urban Innovation at Arizona State University, where she researched various topics on local government, crowdsourcing, citizen science, and smart cities.

Kendra specializes in working with diverse communities. She is an affiliate of the Stanford University Muslim Mental Health Lab and works with various internal and external groups on enhancing diversity within Stanford University as well as in community partnerships.

Kendra earned a doctorate in Community Resources & Development at Arizona State University and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma. She has a strong background in university-community partnerships, community engaged research, workforce development, and the utilization of crowdsourcing platforms. Her passion is building healthy communities.

Rigoberto Rodriguez-Villalpando, Ph.D., Teaching Faculty

Dr. Rigo Rodriguez was elected as a Governing Board Member of the Santa Ana Unified School District in November 2016. Dr. Rodriguez is an Associate Professor of Latina/o Public Policy in the Department of Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies at California State University, Long Beach. A nationally recognized expert in community planning, action research, and grassroots leadership development, Dr. Rodriguez has worked with many organizations and communities locally and internationally to improve the lives of children, families, and neighborhoods.

George “Mac” McCarthy, Ph.D., Teaching Faculty

Dr. McCarthy has a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an M.A. in Economics from Duke University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Mathematics from the University of Montana. He is currently the President and CEO of Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, MA., which seeks to improve quality of life through the effective use, taxation, and stewardship of land; it researches and recommends creative approaches to land as a solution to economic, social, and environmental challenges. Mac has served for decades in philanthropy at several foundations with national and international reach, working to address inequities in transportation, housing, land use, and poverty reduction. Mac, along with other staff and faculty, are partnering with CLU to develop the MPA program; their expertise, experiential learning opportunities and other resources will add contemporary, real world and concrete benefits to our students’ learning. (Land Use Planning, Scenario Planning, Legal Frameworks, Public Finance.)

Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of this list of faculty for the current and upcoming terms. However, teacher departures, changes, and substitutions may be made without notice.

Master's Degrees Offered at Claremont Lincoln University

Earn your master's degree online in 12 months while developing the skills, behaviors & mindset required to improve the world for the benefit of all.

Master's Degrees
M.A. in Public
M.A. in Sustainability
M.A. in Human Resources
M.A. in
Healthcare Administration
M.A. in
Social Impact
M.A. in Organizational
Organizational Leadership
Ethics Concentration
Healthcare Concentration
Civic Engagement Concentration
Higher Education Concentration
Human Resources Concentration
Management Concentration
Professional Studies Concentration
Tech Management Concentration