Certificate in Public Administration


The Certificate in Public Administration offers public employees the fundamental skills through a series of core courses important for the profession of public administration. These classes provide basic knowledge and skills that enhance the level of professionalism in public service. Many public employees have bachelor and graduate degrees in many technical fields but lack the basic managerial areas of public administration. The Certificate in Public Administration provides a bridge for public service employees to gain skills, knowledge, and training by completing a short set of classes such as public administration, human resource management, budgeting, and organization theory. These classes are critical for understanding public organizations, and enhance the performance of public workers and the valuable services government agencies perform for our society.

Application Process

  • Persons holding a baccalaureate degree from any accredited college or university are eligible to apply. To apply, please submit the required application form online (with a $60 application fee).
  • The application can be completed online at the Graduate School;
  • An official transcript(s) of previous college work (undergraduate degree), a 3.0 or higher GPA is expected;
  • A written statement of about 300 words stating your reasons for seeking the Certificate of Public Administration.
  • Starting March 2018, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis (for fall, spring, and summer semesters). Applications are reviewed by the MPA Admissions committee.


Students must complete 12 credits by completing the following:

Complete 3 courses from the list below:

PUAD 501, Public Administration
PUAD 504, Organization Theory
PUAD 505, Budgeting & Finance
PUAD 506, MPA Applied Research Methods
PUAD 522, Human Resource Management
PUAD 529, Nonprofit Administration

Complete 1 course from the list below:

PUAD 507, Program Evaluation
PUAD 523, Administrative Law
PUAD 525, Strategic Planning & Leadership
PUAD 526, Issues State and Local Government
PUAD 527, Performance Measurement
PUAD 561, Ethics in Public Administration

If you decide you want to pursue the MPA program after completing the certificate, please contact the MPA Director for more information.

Sara Rinfret, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
MPA Director
Co-Director, Social Science Research Laboratory
Department of Political Science
University of Montana 
32 Campus Drive
Office: Liberal Arts 352
Missoula, MT 59812

Email: sara.rinfret@umontana.edu
Phone: 406-243-4702