Core Courses

The Evans School core curriculum provides MPA students with a solid base of knowledge from which they can pursue a wide range of academic courses and professional opportunities in public policy and management. The core courses introduce students to those analytical and managerial skills and perspectives most important in the public and nonprofit environments. 

Management, Leadership, and Budgeting

  • Managing Politics and the Policy Process (PUBPOL 511)
  • Managing Organizational Performance (PUBPOL 512)
  • Public Budgeting and Financial Management (PUBPOL 522)

Managing Politics and the Policy Process positions students as leaders looking primarily outwards to the authorizing environment and a variety of stakeholders. The goal of Public Budgeting and Financial Management is to provide students with language and tools to locate, use, measure, and evaluate the financial resources that organizations need to implement policies. Public Budgeting and Financial Management looks primarily inwards to organizational operations, while recognizing the external pressures and financial considerations that affect them. 


  • Microeconomic Policy Analysis (PUBPOL 516)
  • Microeconomic Management Analysis (PUBPOL 517)

These courses deepen students’ understanding of microeconomic theory and develop their skills in applying it to public policy and management issues. Microeconomic Policy Analysis builds upon introductory microeconomic theory with a deeper discussion of consumer choice and markets. Microeconomic Management Analysis focuses on the problems and opportunities that market-based exchange affords in allocating scarce resources in various situations encountered in real-world policy analysis and management. 

Quantitative Methods

  • Quantitative Analysis I and II (PUBPOL 527 and 528)

This two-quarter sequence aims to help students become critical consumers and competent producers of research and statistical analysis. Students learn to digest and critically assess empirical evidence and understand what analysis is needed in order to make decisions. Throughout the courses, students examine policy questions and related data in order to learn how to apply analytic techniques.

Applications in Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation

  • Public Policy Analysis (PUBPOL 513)
  • Program Evaluation (PUBPOL 526)

The goal of Public Policy Analysis is to equip students to rigorously assess policy responses to public problems. This course develops a framework students can use throughout their careers to be both better consumers and creators of policy advice. Program Evaluation explores the values and assumptions of using empirical information to assess and improve the efficacy of public or nonprofit programs and policies. The bulk of the course focuses on a variety of empirical approaches to program evaluation, and on causal inference methods in particular. 

Course Waivers

It is possible for MPA students with prior academic or professional background and experience in a subject area to waive the relevant core course by taking an exam or submitting prior work:

  • Public Policy Analysis (PUBPOL 513 ): submission of prior work
  • Economics for Policy Analysis and Management I (PUBPOL 516 ): waiver exam during orientation
  • Budgeting & Financial Analysis (PUBPOL 522 ): waiver exam during orientation
  • Quantitative Analysis I: (PUBPOL 527): submission of prior work
  • Quantitative Analysis II (PUBPOL 528): submission of prior work

New students receive details about how to pursue core course waivers during the summer prior to their first quarter.


Through their elective coursework, students focus on one or more areas of specialization and take a values, ethics, and equity elective course. Students can count up to 12 graduate-level credits in other University of Washington departments toward the MPA. 


The Evans School capstone project integrates knowledge and skills gained in the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program. Through the Student Consulting Lab experience, students focus on client-generated, real-world questions. These projects serve as an opportunity to further develop a student’s specialization, expand networks in the community, and create a significant sample of work.

View sample capstone projects: 

To earn an Evans School Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree, students must complete 72 quarter credit hours of coursework, including a capstone project, and also a 400-hour internship. The 72 quarter credit hours of required coursework includes core courses and electives, and must include a minimum of 60 quarter credit hours from within the Evans School.

For more information, contact the Evans School Admissions team.