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Degree, Minors and Certificates Offered

General Information


Undergraduate Programs

Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees from the Colleges of Arts and Sciences

Professional Programs


Public Administration

College of Social Sciences
Saunders Hall 631
2424 Maile Way
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-8260/(808) 956-3691
Fax: (808) 956-9571
Email: pubadmin@hawaii.edu
Web: www.puba.hawaii.edu


*Graduate Faculty

*C. Grandy, PhD (Director)—economics
*J. Ady, PhD—communication studies
*S. Chandler, PhD—social work
*M. Johansen, PhD—public management
T. Kim, PhD—public administration
*D. Nixon, PhD—political science
*R. Pratt, PhD—political science

Cooperating Graduate Faculty

T. Brislin, PhD—Academy for Creative Media

Adjunct Faculty

P. Martin, JD
R. Alm, JD

Degree and Certificate Offered: MPA, Graduate Certificate in Public Administration

The Academic Program

The Public Administration Program (PUBA) builds leadership in public service in Hawai'i and the Asia-Pacific region. Located in the College of Social Sciences, it offers a 30-credit master's degree and a 15-credit certificate. The program's format emphasizes interdisciplinary learning, collaborative teaching, and the development of close relationships among participants. It creates an environment in which many of the complex issues facing those with public responsibilities are addressed while also giving participants specific skills useful to their work.

Financial support for the degree and the certificate is available through the Herman S. Doi Fellowship and the Pacific Island Health Administration Scholarship. For further information, contact the program office in Saunders Hall 631 or call (808) 956-8260. Applicants may also apply to the East-West Center.

Graduate Study

Master’s Degree

The master's degree consists of a core year, an individuated concentration, a practicum experience, and a capstone. The core year and capstone must be taken first and last in the program, respectively. Once the program begins in the fall, new admissions are not made until the following year.

The core year is an integrated, collaboratively taught curriculum offered in a format that balances lecture and discussion sessions. The curriculum is highly interdisciplinary and integrates a series of perspectives and skills important to effective work in public service. These include communications, the political context of public institutions, economic processes, public ethics, budget and policy processes, administrative law, bureaucratic structure and organizational change, and the role of personal and organizational culture.

The individuated concentration is intended to balance the common work of the core year. It allows each student to design a program of study built around a theme of special personal and professional interest. The concentration is satisfied by completion of 9 credit hours in course work, directed reading, or directed research. Themes are created by the student working in conjunction with a faculty advisor. Anyone electing the thesis (Plan A) option may substitute thesis work for concentration credits with approval of the faculty advisor. The thesis option requires the student to take at least one graduate level research methods course.

The practicum is designed to place individuals in a setting where they may compare organizational structure and processes, study leadership styles, understand community dynamics, gain an international perspective, or develop specific skills. The location of the practicum varies according to the student's learning goals. In some cases placement in one organization may be modified to become work on a project that takes place across several organizations. Students are encouraged to undertake a practicum that will have the greatest personal and professional benefits.

The capstone consists of a 1-credit planning seminar, taken during the semester preceding that in which graduation will occur, and the concluding 3-credit seminar. The focus of the capstone is on group analysis of a public issue of importance in Hawai'i and the Asia-Pacific region.

The program welcomes a diversity of professional and educational backgrounds and sees these as contributing to the learning environment. The course work is compatible with the schedules of people working full-time.


MPA candidates must complete 14 credit hours of core requirements, 9 credit hours of individual concentration, 3 credit hours of practicum, and 4 credit hours of capstone. The student must earn at least a grade of B in the practicum and both capstone courses. The thesis option may be selected to replace some or all of the concentration credits.


Up to nine credits of the MPA degree can be counted toward graduate certificates in related fields. Call the program for additional information.

Certificate in Public Administration

The program offers two certificate tracks: (1) public service leadership, and (2) nonprofit management. Each is 15 credits.

The track in public service leadership consists of the 14-credit core year, plus a 1-credit applied professional development seminar, co-designed by those in the certificate program working with an advisor, and taken in the second semester of the core year. The core year surveys issues facing those in public service while providing skills for addressing those issues.

The track in nonprofit management is made up of two 3-credit core courses that provide an overview of issues in the field; 6 credits of electives; a 3-credit practicum.

Courses in both tracks are compatible with working schedules, and each utilizes a cohort model to enhance learning. The nonprofit management certificate may be taken in conjunction with the master of public administration (MPA) degree. The track in public service leadership shares the degree's core year and some restrictions apply to how it can be counted toward the degree.

PUBA Courses