All MPA students must complete an approved values elective course worth 3 or 4 credits. Please note that this course must be taken for a grade.

Learning Objectives

Values, ethics, and equity elective courses must provide students with:

  1. Opportunities for critical reflection and examination of various aspects of their own values, biases, and ethical commitments, and how these commitments might be pursued;
  2. Deeper understanding of the frameworks that explain how policy and management shape and are shaped by values, cultural norms,  or structural inequities (overall or in a specific policy area);
  3. The means to engage respectfully with the values and ethical ideals of others in a diverse and pluralistic society;
  4. The capacity to understand and evaluate ethical claims and arguments in public policy, management, and deliberation;
  5. The practical knowledge and tools needed for ethical service as a public leader.

To be considered as a values elective, a course must have at least one major assignment focused on values, ethics, or equity and values, ethics, and equity must be pervasive in the syllabus. The following courses meet these criteria.

Approved List of Values, Ethics, and Equity Elective Courses

PUBPOL 503 Executive Leadership
PUBPOL 504 Leadership Ethics in the Public Interest
PUBPOL 506 Ethics and Public Policy
PUBPOL 510 Foundations of American Democracy
PUBPOL 531 Development Management and Governance
PUBPOL 536 Diagnosing and Reforming Corrupt Systems (formerly PUBPOL 537)
PUBPOL 539 Values in International Development
PUBPOL 541 NGOs in International Development
PUBPOL 559 Quadruple Bottom Line Performance
PUBPOL 566 Community Economic Development
PUBPOL 567 Community Engagement and Urban Governance
PUBPOL 568 Values and Social Justice in Public Policy
PUBPOL 569 Race and Public Policy
PUBPOL 573 Crime and Punishment Policy
PUBPOL 573 Equity in Employment
PUBPOL 573 Public Policy, Law, and Equity
PUBPOL 576 Poverty and Anti-Poverty
PUBPOL 582 Communicating Climate Change
PUBPOL 596 Environmental Risks and Values
PUBPOL 599 Values and Bias

To see which PUBPOL values electives will be offered this year, please view the MPA Course Planning Guide

Courses in Other UW Departments

MGMT 504 Ethical Leadership and Decision Making (note: this course is currently only open to Foster MBA students. Any concurrent MPA/MBA students are welcome to count this course as their values elective.)
URBDP 564 Planning History, Theory, Ethics

Historical Values Electives

The following courses were historically approved to count toward the values elective requirement. Students who started prior to 2017 can use these courses to satisfy the requirement. 

PUBPOL 558 Collaboration and Management Across Sectors
B H 535 Medical Ethics and Jurisprudence
EDLPS 521 Introduction to Philosophy of Education
G H 511 Problems in Global Health
GEOG 541 Feminist Geographies
HSERV 510 Society and Health
HSERV 518 Social and Ethical Issues in Health Services
HSMGMT 518 Ethical Issues in Health Services
INFO 444 Value Sensitive Design
LAW E 513 Theories and Tools for Combating Corruption
LAW B 576 Climate Justice Seminar
LAW H 540 / GH 516 / JSIS 578 Health and Human Rights
PHIL 407 International Justice
PHIL 416 / ENVIR 416 Ethics and Climate Change
PHIL 440 Ethics
SOCW 504 Social Work for Social Justice
SOCW 527 Globalization, Neoliberalism, and Social Welfare Policies and Services

Students may also petition to satisfy the values elective requirement with courses not on the approved list by emailing Student Services with the course number and name as well as a copy of the syllabus and getting written approval.