The MPAA is designed to provide students with intensive instruction on public affairs. To this end, Academy topics include:
- The social contract
- Social issues in American society (Focus issue: poverty)
- Global issues (Focus issue: International humanitarian relief and social entrepreneurship)
- The role of media and public opinion
- Leadership skills
- Community partnerships
- Developing a personal commitment to civic engagement
The Academy curriculum is taught through a variety of highly interactive methods. Guest speakers from the Missouri government, media, not-for-profit organizations and the Missouri State University faculty meet with participants and engage them in dialogue.
During the program, a field trip is taken to Jefferson City. The trip includes tours of major government buildings and sessions with representatives from the executive, legislative and judicial branches of state government.