Public Leadership Master's Degree

Person in a warehouse

Master’s Degree in Public Leadership

A master’s degree in Public Leadership from UNT Dallas is an affordable pathway to take your career to the next level. Public leadership graduates will leave UNT Dallas as change agents, equipped to address unique issues and prepared to serve, lead and create lasting change. Ranked as a Top 10 Public Affairs program in Texas by U.S. News & World Report, the UNT Dallas master’s degree in Public Leadership blends research and the practical experience of working and collaborating within local communities. 

Program Coordinator: Dr. Janiece Upshaw

Request More InformationThe Graduate School



Designed for those who see public service as a calling

Choose From Four Concentrations

Utilizing problem-solving strategies designed to develop the skills to be an effective leader in public, private and nonprofit organizations, the UNT Dallas Public Leadership master’s degree allows you to focus on your specific area of interest with four concentrations: Administrative Leadership, Nonprofit & Community Leadership, Public Health Leadership or Emergency Services Administration. Whichever Public Leadership degree concentration you choose, you will join other UNT Dallas students who are driven to empower the underserved and radically change the dialogue to address specific social issues.

Administrative Leadership Nonprofit & Community Leadership Public Health Leadership Emergency Services Administration

Donna Henry Public leadership alumna

Alumni Success

Donna Henry wanted to jump-start a change in her career path, but wasn’t exactly sure how—or if—she could make that happen.
UNT Dallas program looks past low undergrad GPAs to offer a chance for graduate degree - Dallas Morning News

female in business attire with downtown background

Alumni Success

"UNTD exposed me to many issues facing our communities and groomed me to be an upstander- someone who stands up to social injustices by getting involved in the solutions versus a bystander, someone who stands by and does nothing."

-Tyeshia R. Wilson, MSPL ‘18

Master of Science Public Leadership Curriculum

The UNT Dallas master’s degree in Public Leadership is a 36-hour degree that can be accomplished in 18 – 24 months. It requires 21 hours of core courses, 12 hours of electives and three hours of Capstone. Courses are offered in 8-week or 16-week components during the fall and spring semesters, and in 3-week and 5-week components during the summer. UNT Dallas offers its master’s degree in Public Leadership in a variety of forms to fit the needs of our busy students:

  • 100% online
  • Face-to-face classroom setting
  • Hybrid (mix of classroom and online learning)
  • Face-to-face and hybrid courses are on weekday evenings and Saturdays

Courses Include:

  • Public Service & Society
  • Managing Human Resources
  • Managing Financial Resources
  • Data Analytics/Research Methods
  • Leadership in a Complex World
  • Strategic Planning
  • Organizational Theory & Managing Change
  • Professional Practice for Public Leadership

UNT Dallas Public Leadership Concentrations

Administrative Leadership
The Administrative Leadership concentration within the UNT Dallas Public Leadership master’s degree program develops the advanced skills and experience that public leaders need to build and enhance communities, and improve the quality of life of residents. Courses in the Administrative Leadership concentration provide students with a strong foundation in environmental, economic and community development, and with the practical skills necessary to implement policy and evaluation. Students will explore a range of topics such as ethics, organization development, intergovernmental relations, and budgeting concepts and techniques. UNT Dallas faculty in the Public Leadership program use the cutting-edge “community as the classroom” model that connects students with real-world practitioners. Students collaborate directly with local community organizations to systematically develop solutions for the challenges facing governments today.

Career Options

  • City Manager
  • Budget/Fiscal Manager
  • Program Director
  • Operations Manager
  • Public Affairs Director
  • Research Specialist
  • Urban Planner
  • Consultant
  • Law enforcement
  • Parks and recreation management
  • Public affairs and communications
  • Transportation management
  • Urban planning and policy
  • Utilities management
  • Waste management
  • Administrator

Nonprofit and Community Leadership
The Nonprofit and Community Leadership concentration within the UNT Dallas Public Leadership master’s degree program prepares students to deliver effective fundraising, leadership and financial management to improve a nonprofit organization. The nonprofit sector is growing with more than 1.5 million organizations in the United States. These organizations play an integral role in the economic, political and social structure of our nation and the global community. UNT Dallas students in the Nonprofit and Community Leadership concentration will gain the skills and experience to advance a wide agenda of causes, from human rights to environmental causes, to third-world economic development. UNT Dallas students in the Nonprofit and Community Leadership concentration will work directly with nonprofit organizations, mobilize community efforts and learn how to measure the effectiveness of these programs.  

Career Options

  • CEOs and Executive Directors
  • Chief Operating Officers
  • Fundraising Executives
  • Volunteer Managers
  • Program Managers
  • Community Outreach
  • Foundation Directors
  • Policy Analysts
  • Advocacy

Public Health Leadership
The Public Health Leadership concentration within the UNT Dallas Public Leadership master’s degree program prepares leaders and professionals with a passion for the health care sector to create transformational change in health systems and serve the greater good. A master’s degree in the Public Health Leadership concentration will make a difference not just in your life and career, but in the well-being of your community. Students will interact with leaders in the health care space and local governments, mobilize communities on pertinent health care issues, and conduct research that directly impacts health services and patient outcomes. UNT Dallas’ faculty is committed to helping people in need through public health service, and will guide students to a deeper understanding of the issues and challenges our communities face.

Career Options

  • Healthcare Strategist
  • Medical and Health Services Managers
  • Health Systems manager
  • Social and community service manager
  • Health promotion specialist
  • Community Health Specialist
  • Project Manager
  • Health Department Administrator
  • Government Policy Analyst
  • Health Education Specialist
  • Health Promotion Coordinator
  • Public Relations Manager
  • Health Research Analyst
  • Health Policy Analyst
  • Health Services Manager

Emergency Services Administration
The Emergency Services Administration (ESA) concentration within the UNT Dallas Public Leadership master’s degree program is offered completely online, and prepares students for organizational leadership and senior-level positions across the emergency services sector. The program blends theory, practice, research and policy with knowledge, abilities, skills and strategies to take on the demanding management and administration responsibilities in the emergency services profession. UNT Dallas students in the ESA concentration learn from distinguished faculty and work on real-world cases and projects, interact regularly with professionals and are equipped to manage the evolving nature of the highly competitive emergency services professions. These professions increasingly require personnel to further their education to attain promotion and keep up with technical advances. A UNT Dallas master’s degree in Public Leadership with an ESA concentration will set you apart.

Career Options

  • Emergency Services Director
  • Hospital Emergency Preparedness Administrator
  • Policy Analyst
  • Humanitarian Response Manager
  • Fire Chief
  • Fire Marshal
  • Fire Investigator
  • Fire/EMS Training Coordinator
  • Fire/EMS Instructor
  • Fire/EMS Field Training Officer
  • Emergency Management Coordinators
  • Private/Public Sector Safety Personnel
  • Private/Public Sector Rescue Technician
  • Private/Public Sector Hazardous Materials Specialist
  • Insurance Company Investigator