Government Product News has profiled a variety of master’s in public administration (MPA) offerings in its series on graduate degree programs and their value to government administrators. The University of Houston (U of H) program is the latest profile in GPN’s MPA series.

With the campus situated only a few miles from downtown Houston and in the center of over 5 million people, 133 cities, 79 independent school districts, 727 municipal utility district, and hundreds of special districts, the University of Houston MPA Program is appropriately metropolitan-driven. The MPA program’s director, James Thurmond, describes to GPN some of the unique features of the U of H MPA.

GPN: Please describe your school’s MPA degree.

James Thurmond: The MPA program has produced over 400 graduates. For nearly 50 years, the UH MPA program has been the go-to graduate degree program for educating public service leaders in the Houston metro area.

Engaging in all the activities of government at every level, our graduates include elected officials, community leaders, public and non-profit managers, policy analysts and advisors to government, non-profits and the private sector. The program is based in a leading global city and metropolitan area with well over 1,000 government units.

The MPA program offers a real world, metropolitan-driven and leadership-focused educational experience. Many of our faculty are former and current practitioners with established ties to local government, the public and non-profit sectors.

The low-cost program delivers an individualized structure on an ethnically diverse campus. Evening classes are available for the working student. The program offers a unique educational opportunity for learning, discovering and engaging in public service in Houston and beyond.

GPN: What subject areas does the U of H MPA degree serve?

JT: Our program offers many opportunities to specialize in various fields that are thriving in Houston and its surrounding areas. These specializations include:

•    Oil and Gas Policy and Administration
•    Healthcare Policy and Administration
•    Public Management (local/state/federal)
•    Emergency Management
•    Non-Profit Organizational Management
•    Educational Policy Administration
•    Environmental Policy and Administration
•    Urban Planning

GPN: Thank you, James Thurmond, for your views.

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