Areas of Study


Welcome to the world’s only bilingual Masters of Public Administration (MPA) program, provided in American Sign Language (ASL) and English here at Gallaudet University. We prepare deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing professionals for public service and careers in government as well as nonprofit organizations. 

What is MPA?  A Master of Public Administration (MPA) is an interdisciplinary and professional degree that prepares students for leadership and public service through employment in government and nonprofit organizations. Our graduates are trained with the values and knowledge to lead their diverse communities. 

The MPA program prepares future leaders inside and outside of the deaf community with a wide range of courses. These courses include budgeting, leadership, public policy, nonprofit management, and social equity among others! Course offerings are updated and refined often to ensure up-to-date teaching and learning. 

What to expect – The MPA Program is a synchronous program with two tracks to provide maximum flexibility for students wanting to enter public service and professionals who are already in their careers. Students may enroll full-time or part-time. A full-time student can expect to graduate in two years.

Online Track: We have an online track (all courses meet online via Zoom) Students need to attend synchronous classes biweekly from 5 – 8 PM eastern. 

Hybrid Track: We also provide a significant face-to-face component, where most of your core courses are on campus at Gallaudet University, the closest university to the U.S. Capitol. Our face-to-face courses are provided in the evenings, so you can work, get internship experience, or even join prestigious fellowship programs at the same time you take courses! Most of the electives are provided online to allow students to interact and mix with students in the online track as well. 

Sample Two and three-year plans 

Our Alumni 

  • Sabina Shysh, G-’21
    “The faculty and staff at Gallaudet University truly believe in you and the curriculum is designed to help you successfully complete your program. There is nothing like engaging in a small, close-knit cohort that continuously supports each other along the way. The skills and knowledge I have gained through this program have qualified me for so may incredible professional opportunities.”
  • Jessica Fein, G-’21
    “I am very thankful to have been a part of Gallaudet University’s MPA program. The faculty were very supportive and are clearly leaders in the field of public administration. My MPA degree has definitely opened doors for me aned empowered me to pursue my dreams.”
  • Min Woo Lee
    “Having great MPA professors with extensive experience in the 21st century world opened my mind. If you want to change the world for the better, Gallaudet is the right place for opportunities to learn how to use tools, resources, and other people in order to impact the world!”

Who’s eligible for our program? The public sector needs people from all backgrounds to ensure the successful governance and leadership of communities and nations. We welcome students from all backgrounds, including communication, government, business, psychology, and more! Students should have a desire to serve the public and respect for the values of public service. Here is a link to the American Society for Public Administration’s Code of Ethics

We serve students at all levels of their careers, from emerging to experienced professionals. Some of our students are right out of college and are training to jumpstart their career in public service; other students are already in their careers looking to advance their future prospects with a graduate degree in public administration. 

About The MPA Program

We use an exciting and challenging curriculum to prepare students for careers in government and nonprofit organizations. Public service is about working together to address difficult problems and make our communities stronger. Our faculty are also researchers bringing the most recent trends in public administration to the classroom. We value high-quality teaching and learning through American Sign Language (ASL) and English in all classes. We also strongly believe in social equity, where we train graduates to serve their communities, including the deaf community. 

MPA Mission StatementThe Master of Public Administration Program provides students with the professional, analytical, and affective skills to be leaders in government and nonprofit organizations. Our curriculum prepares students to serve and advocate with integrity, excellence, and professionalism for more equity and inclusion in the workplace and in society.

Teaching Philosophy –  Our program embraces innovative bilingual teaching strategies to prepare students for the real world. Our curriculum emphasizes the theory and practices that public sector employees use in their daily lives. The work you do in and for class directly prepares you for your professional careers. Our class activities and assignments are places for you to practice what you will be tasked with in public service, preparing memos, presentations, workshops, budgets, and so forth. As a professional program, we practice what you will do every day in your professional and leadership roles. 

Commitment to Students – The Public Administration program is a professional program training you for service and employment during the program and after graduation. We are proud of our diverse program. We celebrate our racial, ethnic, Deaf, Deafblind, Hard of Hearing, gender, sexual orientation, gender, disability, language, and political diversity. We are committed to ensuring that every student has a safe environment. We are also committed to providing a high-quality education that will prepare you to succeed in public service.  [from the GU MPA handbook]

Looking for Professional Resources related to Public Administration?

Career Outlook

What kind of public sector job can I get? Almost any job you want! An MPA degree prepares you to succeed in leading any type of public organization. Our graduates are prepared to succeed in the nonprofit sector, where our graduates have gone on to become leaders in Deaf and mainstream non-profit organizations, and some have even gone on to found their own non-profit organizations.

Many of our students work for the federal government in a wide variety of fields! And, of course, we have students engaged in successful careers at the state and local levels, in various roles from vocational rehabilitation to resource management. 

Our graduates work in a variety of jobs as specialists, auditors, analysts, and managers at various state and federal agencies. 

Some federal agencies our graduates have worked at:

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • U.S. Department of the Treasury
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
  • Department of Defense
  • Homeland Security
  • U.S. Postal Service
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • U.S. Agency for International Development • (USAID)


Below is a list of courses we teach in the program. Our selections are updated on a regular basis!

Core Courses

  • Introduction to Public Administration
  • Budgeting in the Public Sector
  • Strategic Leadership
  • Economics for Managers
  • Quality Management in the Public Sector
  • Ethics in Public Administration 
  • Communication in Public Administration
  • Organization Theory and Design
  • Capstone Portfolio

Elective Courses

  • Human Resource Administration
  • Basics of Management
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Nonprofits and Social Change
  • Successful Grant Writing
  • Data Visualization
  • Leadership Roundtable
  • Foundations of Public Service 
  • Deaf Leadership Research
  • The Policy Making Process
  • Social Equity
  • Women in Public Administration
  • Public Administration for People with Disabilities


Who are the faculty in the MPA program? 

Dr. Geoffrey Whitebread

Program Director, Assistant Professor

Bilingual (ASL/English) teaching; statistics and qualitative analysis; intersectional identities in the public sphere; experiences and services for Deaf people/ people with disabilities

Dr. Stephanie Dolamore

Assistant Professor

National guidelines for public administration curriculum; social justice in the public sector; grant-funded program evaluations; cultivating empathy in government and nonprofit organizations

Dr. Hao Sun

Assistant Professor

Research methodology; data analysis/visualization; public service; public policy; public economics

Sean Maiwald


Leadership; public policy; qualitative methods; advocacy, local governance; innovation and entrepreneurship in the public sector; outcome disparities of deaf people 

Courses & Requirements

The program is especially appropriate for deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing professionals working in federal government agencies. This level of appropriateness was validated by the Deaf in Government (DIG) support group in a letter of support for the program where Mark McKay (former DIG president) said:

“DIG regards this program as a way to fill a need for Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals seeking a professional graduate-level degree for managers and aspiring managers in the executive levels of Federal, state, and local government.”

The need for this program was also confirmed by the Federal Office of Personnel Management’s Center for Leadership Development and its Eastern Management Development Center (EMDC). The OPM and the MPA program entered into a formal collaboration that allows Deaf federal employees to be accepted into the MPA program and then take elective courses through the OPM’s Center for Leadership Development.


The Master of Public Administration Program prepares deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing professionals working in public sector and non-profit organizations to lead with a sense of direction, to focus on results, to develop others’ capability to perform, and to serve with integrity.


The Master of Public Administration Program is the premier graduate program in the United States and throughout the World for preparing deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing professionals who work with deaf and hard of hearing colleagues, to manage and lead in public sector organizations. Our vision for the program is driven by a set of core values. We value:

A culture of respect and dignity

Deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing students who work with deaf people are treated with respect and dignity in the MPA program. They are perceived as our most important stakeholders-our customers. As our most important customers students are welcomed into our program and courses with open arms and with emotional support for those who may lack self-confidence in their ability to perform at the graduate-level.

Diversity within our student body and among our faculty is valued and honored, including diversity of communication styles and preferences. We have zero tolerance for religious and cultural bigotry, overt prejudice, bullying (verbal or physical), and other forms of overt discrimination often identified using nouns ending with “..ism.”

A culture of sacrificial service

The faculty and staff in the MPA program practice “sacrificial service” because we care about our students. Within the context of the MPA program sacrificial service is defined as doing what it takes to help our students and doing it without complaint and it means going out of our way to serve their academic needs, interests and abilities.

A culture of personal responsibility

Students in the MPA program are expected to take personal responsibility for their learning. Faculty members in the program, full-time, part-time and adjunct are expected to take personal responsibility for designing and delivering effective lessons in their courses and for satisfying university-wide and program-specific expectations for their performance.

We value the highest principles of professional and academic integrity among our faculty and students. We strictly enforce professional and academic codes of conduct, including academic integrity policies and procedures.

A culture of fun while learning

Faculty use team projects, guest speakers, student presentations, and small group discussions to engage students in learning about key concepts and principles that will help students become effective manager and leaders. These activities are designed to make learning fun.

A culture of success and excellence

The MPA program is built on a foundation of success and excellence. The MPA program is a popular graduate program because learning is fun, networking opportunities are abundant, and our graduates get lucrative jobs.

The MPA program also creates multiple career paths for students. Our graduates get jobs in federal, state, and local government agencies. Others get leadership positions in non-profit agencies. Some use their degree to start non-profit agencies. Some students also use the MPA degree as a starting point for a doctoral-level degree.

A culture of teaching, learning, and scholarly activity

The MPA program values teaching and learning. The program is not a research unit, it is a teaching unit. Nevertheless, faculty are expected to engage in scholarly activity as broadly defined by Ernest Boyer (1990) in his seminal article “Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate”; that is, legitimate scholarly activity includes:

  • The scholarship of discovery: original research that advances knowledge;
  • The scholarship of integration: synthesizing information from across disciplines;
  • The scholarship of application: application of disciplinary expertise within or outside of the university that can be disseminated; and,
  • The scholarship of teaching and learning: the systematic study of teaching and learning processes.

Direct communication with our students

We seek to admit students who already possess sign communication skills so they can communicate directly with their peers in classes, on campus, at work, and in social events. However, we recognize that there are Deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing non-signers who may apply for admission to the program. Those non-signers who are admitted to the program will be required to learn ASL as a graduation requirement. Interpreters or CART services are provided in those courses with non-signers enrolled.

Public Service Values

We believe that leaders and public servants in public administration and non-profit agencies must always act with integrity to best serve the people to whom they are accountable as “servant-leaders.” Leaders in the public and non-profit sectors must also comply with ethical values of our society and they must comply with laws that affect the work their agencies and departments do. As a Master of Public Administration program in Gallaudet University, we are seek to prepare leaders who can make the world a better place for deaf and hard of hearing people.

Democratic Values: we believe that the rule of law is of paramount importance for leaders and managers in public sector and non-profit agencies. Leaders must comply with national, state, and local laws in their efforts to serve the public interest.

Professional Values: we believe that public administration professionals must lead and manage with a sense of direction, focus on results, develop others’ capacity to perform, and serve with integrity.

Ethical Values: public administration professionals must act at all times in ways that uphold the public trust by complying with common standards of ethical behavior. We value the highest principles of professional and academic integrity among our faculty and students. We strictly enforce professional and academic codes of conduct, including academic integrity policies and procedures and we emphasize how these same standards apply to leadership positions

Social Justice Values: we believe that leaders and managers in public sector and non-profit agencies must exercise of authority and responsibility that is clearly guided by respect for human dignity, fairness, and social equity. These values permeate our MPA program.

Course-Specific Student Learning Outcomes

The program of study for the MPA degree is 39 credits. Each course in the program will have 3-5 course-specific student learning outcomes with accompanying learning opportunities, and learning targets.


  • Bachelor’s degree from a university or college with a graduating GPA of 3.0 on a 4 point scale.
  • A 500-word essay describing career goals and how this program will help achieve those goals.
  • At least 1 year of paid professional experience in a public sector or non-profit organization is preferred.

Admissions Procedures and Requirements

Applicants for the Master of Public Administration must complete the application procedures and meet the requirements for graduate study at Gallaudet University. Visit the Graduate Admissions website for more information and a checklist of application requirements.

Due Date for Completed Application: June 30
First Date for Consideration of Application: after receiving complete application

Program Specific Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree from an university or college with a graduating GPA of 3.0 on a 4 point scale.
  • A 500-word essay describing career goals and how this program will help achieve those goals.
  • At least 1 year of paid professional experience in a public sector or non-profit organization is preferred.

Graduation Requirement

All MPA graduates are expected to have ASL proficiency equivalent to the course titled ASL III.

Career Opportunities for Graduates

Professionals enrolling in and graduating from the MPA program will be able to use their degree for professional development opportunities within their current organizations or agencies. The MPA degree will also be helpful for graduates who are seeking new leadership opportunities in governmental and non-profit agencies. Examples of employment opportunities for our alumni include:

  1. Administrative Officer;
  2. Analyst;
  3. Program Assistant;
  4. Director of Operations;
  5. Diversity and Inclusion Specialist;
  6. Ethics Officer;
  7. Executive Director of a 501 (c)(3) Public Charitable Organization;
  8. Program Coordinator;
  9. Graduate Assistant;
  10. Human Resource Specialist;
  11. Immigration Services Officer;
  12. Occupational Communication Specialist;
  13. Special Teacher;
  14. Business Technologist;
  15. Immigration Services Officer;
  16. Director of Basketball Operations/Scout;
  17. Administrator;
  18. Legislative Analyst; and
  19. Human Resource Recruiter

A recent poll of our alumni income ranges indicated:

  • $39,999 or less (42.1%);
  • $40,000 – $59,999 (31.6%);
  • $60,000 – $79,999 (0%)
  • $80,000 – $99,999 (10.5%); and
  • $100,000 – $119,999 (10.5%)
  • $120,000 – $139,000 (5.3%)

Summary of Requirements

Fall Year I

This course is a basic introduction to public administration for professionals working in public sector and non-profit agencies. Topics include the role of bureaucracy in the political process, theories of public organizations, bureaucratic discretion and accountability, policy implementation, and the changing nature of public administration. This course is designed to use lectures, student presentations, group discussion, and field assignments. The ultimate goal of the course is to help students develop a solid understanding of public administration theory and practice.

Credits: 3
Distribution: Graduate, Masters

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an introductory overview of the knowledge base in microeconomics and macroeconomics, with an emphasis on the concepts administrators will utilize in practice. At the completion of this course, the student will have first-hand practice critically analyzing common economic concepts such as supply and demand, prices, the price system, markets and market structure, utility, production and costs, marginal analysis, economic indicators, monetary and fiscal policy, international trade and data, opportunity costs and other pedagogies. Critical thinking skills will be gained through understanding of the underlying theoretical basis for these concepts, how they are interrelated with each other and with the overall economy, and how they are applied in policy decisions is also introduced in this course. In addition, students will, through examples based on business and government policies, obtain an introductory understanding of how these concepts are applied in everyday situations, providing additional critical thinking, communication and analytical skills.

Credits: 3
Distribution: Graduate, Masters

Spring Year I

This course focuses on core principles of quality management in public and non-profit agencies; for example, customer focus, continuous improvement, employee involvement, and process improvement. Students analyze case studies and design a field project to gain first-hand knowledge of how to implement quality management principles. Students will also learn about the Baldrige National Quality Award program.

Credits: 3
Distribution: Graduate, Masters

Ethics is one of the four foundational pillars of public administration. Given the important role of ethics in public management, this required class is critical for your development as future public servants. Using a seminar format, this course focuses on practical and applied learning about ethical decision-making tools that you can use in the real world. Relying on texts, cases, and simulations, this challenging class will cultivate personal and professional growth to help you face complex public sector situations.

Credits: 3

Summer Year I

Fall Year 2

This course examines the philosophical, political, and practical issues that surround the allocation of funds to publicly supported and not-for-profit agencies, institutions, and other entities. The course of study involves exploration of the structure of government in the United States at the federal, state, and local levels, along with various theories and strategies for raising and distributing public funds, especially within the educational sector. Case studies of public and private educational institutions provide capstones for student achievement.

Credits: 3
Distribution: Graduate, Masters

This course will provide students with an introduction to strategic leadership, strategic analysis, strategic planning, organizational structure and culture, performance based management, and organizational development and change. The focus is on developing innovative and ethical change aspects capable of utilizing internal and external environmental data to lead organizational transformation in complex organizations.

Credits: 3
Distribution: Graduate, Masters

This course will help students review the skills needed to effectively and empathically navigate communication in the public sector. Using applied learning activities and real-world case studies, this course will highlight the importance for informed communication strategies in the public sector. Topics explored will include the fundamentals of writing as a professional, accountability for intent and impact of communication, and cultivating strong intrapersonal communication as a professional.

Credits: 3
Distribution: Graduate, Masters

Spring Year 2

Students are introduced to principles of organization theory and design. They examine topics such as organization design; the external environment of organizations; the impact of organizational goals on organizational effectiveness; organizational technology; organizational bureaucracy; classic organizational structures; the impact of structure on innovation, change, information, and control, decision-making in organizations; power and politics; integrating all parts of an organization; and organizational learning and renewal.


MPA 838 or Permission of the Instructor.

Distribution: Graduate, Masters

This course is taken in the final semester of the MPA program. Students reflect on their experiences in the program and build a portfolio that demonstrates their best work. Students will complete various assignments to strengthen their portfolios for the types of jobs to which students are currently applying. At the end of the course, students will have a portfolio of their best work that to show to prospective employers.

Credits: 3



Women have an enduring, though often unacknowledged, legacy in public administration. This course will explore the intellectual history and persistent challenges of women in the field and practice of public administration. This class is a seminar class that focuses on student-driven learning and application about the role of women in public administration. Relying on texts, cases, and simulations, this class will enhance personal and professional knowledge of future public servants about the important role of women in public administration.

Program Outcomes

Domain 1 - Leadership and Management: Students will demonstrate the ability to lead and manage in public governance;

Domain 2 - Public Policy Process: Students will demonstrate the ability to participate in and contribute to the policy process;

Domain 3 - Critical Thinking and Decision-Making: Students will demonstrate the ability to analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make decisions;

Domain 4 - Public Service Advocacy: Students will demonstrate the ability to articulate and apply a public service perspective; and,

Domain 5 - Communication: Students will demonstrate the ability to communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry.


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