Credit Hours


  • Master of Arts https://www.stmarytx.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/texas-capitol.jpg


  • In-Person

Public Administration at St. Mary’s

Public Administration is a program that prepares students to become civil servants.

Graduates are prepared to make decisions and administrate projects to carry out these decisions.

The St. Mary’s program is one of the few in Texas with curriculum designed to serve this mission.

Graduate assistantships are offered each academic year beginning September 1 and ending on or about May 1. Students awarded a graduate assistantship must enroll in a minimum of nine credit hours each semester. The number of assistantships is limited. The amount of the stipend is announced annually.

It is the object of administrative study to discover, first, what government can properly and successfully do, and, secondly, how it can do these proper things with the utmost possible efficiency and at the least possible cost either of money or of energy.

President Woodrow Wilson
  • Degree Plan

    Students can specialize in General Public Administration or Urban Management.

    The Urban Management specialization focuses on how local government area administered and managed. Courses address contemporary issues confronting urban managers, such as:

    • Management of scarce resources
    • Ethics and leadership
    • Effective service delivery

    Students can also pursue a combined 5-year program:

  • Coursework

    Courses are taught by highly respected faculty members and practitioners in urban management and public policy.

    • Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • Human Resources Management
    • The Management of Public Budget

    Students also participate in an internship or Applied Public Service.

    See full course details in the catalog:

Earn Multiple Degrees

Combined programs allow undergraduate students to begin graduate studies in their junior year and pay the undergraduate tuition rate, a substantial savings. They also shorten the time it takes to earn two degrees.

The joint program shortens the time it takes to earn both an MPA and a JD.

In addition to separate degree programs in Law and Public Administration, the Law School and the Graduate School also offer a joint program of study leading to the degrees of Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) and Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.). The joint degree program allows a student to complete the requirements for both degrees in three or four years, depending upon the public administration prerequisites required.

The J.D./M.P.A. develops lawyers with special skills in the public and non-profit sectors. Affirmative action, natural resource utilization, land use (zoning, planning, economic development), labor disputes, the administration of justice, social service litigation, and civil rights have placed increasing importance on law in the public and non-profit sectors. For those interested in a career in government or practicing law related to the public and non-profit sectors, an advanced degree in Public Administration would be a valuable asset in their career development.

For the student with the appropriate public administration background, the degrees may be earned with the completion of a total of 108 hours of law and public administration credits, 18 hours less than the normal requirement. To satisfy the 90 hours of law for the J.D. degree and the 36 hours of public administration for the M.P.A. degree, 12 hours of law courses are transferred as elective credit to the M.P.A. degree and 6 hours of graduate public administration are transferred as elective credit toward the J.D. degree. Students credited with law courses must complete a minimum of 24 hours for the M.P.A. degree at St. Mary’s University, exclusive of prerequisites.

The first year of study consists of law courses. During the second and third years, the student completes the remaining law courses and appropriate public administration courses. Admission to the joint program requires application to both schools although application to Graduate Studies need not be made until the student begins law school.

Joint Law Degree Details

Internship Opportunities

The Frank Madla Jr. and Irma Rangel Legislative Internship Program places graduate students as full-time, unpaid legislative staff for a Texas State Representative or Texas State Senator.

The program was named for two St. Mary’s alumni, the Hon. Frank Madla Jr. (B.A., ’59, M.A. ’64), 1937-2006, and the Hon. Irma Rangel (J.D. ’69), 1931-2003. Together Madla and Rangel gave Texas nearly 60 years of dedicated public service and made huge impacts on San Antonio and South Texas.

Both graduates served in the Texas House of Representatives for more than 20 years, and Madla spent another 13 years in the Texas Senate. In this competitive internship, students earn academic credit while studying the Texas Constitution, the Rules of the Texas House of Representatives and Senate, researching and drafting legislation, analyzing policies and proposed bills, interacting with constituents, and following the legislative process. The internship takes place during the Spring semesters of odd-numbered years that coincide with the regular session of the Texas Legislature in Austin.

female advisor meets with student in her office

Learn More

We’re eager to hear from you and answer any questions you have! Feel free to reach out to learn more about St. Mary’s University.

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