Advance your career with a
Master of Public Administration

Online Program, study at your own pace.

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  • Public AdministrationPublic Administration
  • Human Resource Management Human Resource Management
  • Budgeting and Finance Budgeting and Finance
  • Organizational Theory Organizational Theory
  • Policy AnalysisPolicy Analysis
  • Nonprofit Administration and Public ServiceNonprofit Administration and Public Service

Public Administration

PUAD 501 - Public Administration.
Advanced analysis of processes of public management; examination of public administrators' involvement in policymaking.

Human Resource Management

PUAD 522 - Human Resource Management
Study of the essential elements of human resource management, including analysis and evaluation of work, and the selection, management, and evaluation of public employees

Budgeting and Finance

PUAD 505 - Budgeting & Finance
Seminar focusing on principles of public finance and analysis of budgeting as a primary tool of public sector management

Organizational Theory

PUAD 504 - Organization Theory
Concepts and theories relevant to the administration of complex organizations, including administrative structure, behavior, process and functions

Policy Analysis

PUAD 503 - Policy Analysis
The role of public administrators in the policymaking process with emphasis on methods of policy analysis and program evaluation.

Nonprofit Administration and Public Service

PUAD 529 - Intro to Nonprofit Orgs
This course is one of the core courses required for MPA students completing the Nonprofit Administration Track. The course provides an introduction to nonprofit organizations and the nonprofit sector within which they are embedded. It investigates such topics as the nature of the nonprofit sector, the diverse kinds of nonprofits in existence, the phenomenon of charitable giving, philanthropy, and volunteering, and the legal framework that establishes nonprofit organizations and regulates their activities.

Complete your degree
while working full-time

Flexible program requirements with custom coursework

Ranked Top 10 in the nation
in nonprofit administration specialization

UM MPA Career Placement


77% job placement within one year

Starting salary $56,000

150+ open positions in Montana

Top 20 Most Affordable in the Nation


Out-of-state and online international students can complete a degree for $15,500

Full-time faculty
teach online classes

Low student-to-teacher ratios encourage strong peer and mentor networks

Network of 1,000 alumni
employed around the globe:

  • University of Montana
  • City of Missoula
  • Lake County
  • State of Montana
  • World Affairs Council of Montana
  • Townsquare Media
  • King County Metro Transit
  • U.S. Senate
  • U.S. Department of State

Meet your faculty

Dr. Sara Rinfret - Director of the MPA program Professor Rinfret has over 10 years of experience examining the role of agencies that make policy via administrative rulemaking. She is a recent recipient for the Fulbright Specialist Roster in public administration and policy. Her most recent work, U.S. Environmental Policy in Action: Practice and Implementation, focuses on the implementation of environmental policy and the relationships between regulators and the regulated community across the U.S.

Dr. Anthony Johnstone - Anthony Johnstone is a Professor at the Blewett School of Law at the University of Montana. He teaches and writes about Federal and State Constitutional Law, Election Law, Legislation, and related subjects. Before joining the School of Law, Professor Johnstone served as the Solicitor for the State of Montana, practiced litigation as an associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York, New York, and clerked for the Honorable Sidney R. Thomas, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He holds a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. with honors from the University of Chicago Law School.

Dr. Andrea Vernon - Professor Vernon has over 15 years of experience in nonprofit administration and is best known for her work as the Director of the University of Montana's Office of Civic Engagement. Because of her expertise, she is able to provide students with service learning opportunities with nonprofit organizations across Montana and the U.S.

Dr. Lisa Upson - Professor Upson has more than a decade of nonprofit administration and local government service. She currently services as Executive Director of a Montana conservation nonprofit and brings a background in law, organizational development, city commission and state agency board work to the program. Professor Upson has a J.D. and has been a professional mediator for 12 years in nonprofit and state court settings.

Dr. Adam Brewer - Professor Brewer has taught political science for 5 years including courses in American Politics, Public Policy, and Public Administration.  His research focuses on the policy process with an emphasis on the role of advocacy coalitions and policy narratives in shaping how policy is socially constructed and ultimately formulated.   His most recent work analyzed the policy process at the state and local level by exploring the failure of a long-anticipated and massive bi-state public works project, the Columbia River Crossing project, to materialize amidst intense public pressure.  

Professor Samuel Panarella - Professor Panarella is an Associate Professor at the Blewett School of Law at the University of Montana and Director of the Max S. Baucus Institute. He teaches and writes about Contracts, Business Transactions, Business Organizations and Renewable Energy Law. Before joining the law school faculty, Professor Panarella was the CEO of Crux Consulting, LLC, a legal process and management consulting firm whose clients include the legal departments of several Fortune 500 companies. Prior to that, Professor Panarella was a partner at Stoel Rives LLP, a leading western law firm, where he focused his legal practice on energy law, with a specialty in renewable energy development, and representing public and private companies in large-scale industrial and commercial project development.

Professor Keri McWilliams - Professor McWilliams has been introducing University of Montana students to the importance, role and purpose of the nonprofit sector since 2014. With more than 15 years of experience in fundraising, grant writing, program management, board governance and nonprofit finance, Keri has worked for, and consulted with, a variety of organizations over her professional career. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Wild Rockies Field Institute, an outdoor, field-based nonprofit organization for college students, headquartered in Missoula, MT. 

Professor Christina Barsky - Professor Barsky has more than a decade of experience leading transformational change in rural and Indigenous communities through her work in public affairs, economic development, and nonprofit management. Her recent research explores the roles of election workers and administrators in fostering confidence in American democracy.




The MPA program maintains a membership with NASPAA (Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration), which is the global standard in public service education.  It is the membership organization of graduate education programs in public policy, public affairs, public administration, and public & nonprofit management. Its nearly 300 members - located across the U.S. and in 14 countries around the globe - award MPA, MPP, MPAff, and similar degrees.