Graduate Certificate in Public Management

Graduate Certificate in Public Management


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The Graduate Certificate in Public Management at George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government offers a variety of courses in public management including an overview of the operations required in public management and the processes that support them. This graduate-level certificate prepares you to succeed in managing today’s increasingly complex public and nonprofit organizations. The public management certificate program, made up of five courses, is designed for middle- and senior-level managers who want to expand their knowledge and skills but do not require the full 12-course MPA degree program.



  • Completion Requirements: 5 courses (15 credits) listed below
  • Duration: 1.5 years on average
  • Semester of Entry: fall and spring

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Notice:
Mason has moved to virtual instruction for its on-campus programs for the spring 2020 semester. Faculty and staff who normally work on-campus are teleworking and are fully available to support students. Visit Mason's Coronavirus Information page for more information, including affected dates and frequently asked questions. For questions as a prospective student, please don't hesitate to contact the Schar School Office of Graduate Admissions at

Certificate Program Requirements

REQUIRED COURSES (3 courses | 9 credits)

Students are required to take the following three courses:

PUAD 502 – Administration in Public and Nonprofit Organizations
Graduate introduction to field of public administration. Focuses on structure, functions, and processes of executive branch agencies of national, state, and local governments. Emphasizes nonprofit organizations as co-actors with government in policy-making/policy implementation nexus.

PUAD 520 – Organization Theory and Management Behavior
Considers behavior in context of public organization, and consequent changes required in management. Focuses on such issues as perception, attitude formation, motivation, leadership, systems theory, communication and information flow, conflict theory, and decision theory.

PUAD 540 – Public Policy Process
Processes of making public policy, including detection of public issues, consideration of alternatives, and adoption and implementation of solutions. Highlights major actors in policy process, and environment within which they work.

ELECTIVE COURSES (2 courses | 6 credits)

Select two elective courses of your choosing. Courses vary semester to semester, but past elective courses available to students have included:


Earn your master's degree faster by starting with a certificate program. Students can apply up to 12 credits from a certificate program toward a Schar School master's degree upon acceptance into a master's program. Upon completion of this certificate, many students go on to pursue the Schar School's Master's in Public Administration, Master's in Public Policy, and Master's in International Security degree programs, among others.


Have questions about this certificate program? Contact the Admissions Office.