Courses for Master of Public Administration

Course Information

The M.P.A. degree consists of a minimum of 39 credit hours for in-service students and 42 credit hours for pre-career students. For this purpose, in-service is defined as having three years of professional experience prior to being admitted into the program.

 

Core Courses

The program core includes 12 credit hours, as follows:

  • PA 520 - Foundations of Public Management
  • PA 611 - Research Methods
  • PA 612 - Human Resources in Organizations
  • PA 614 - Organization Theory

 

Concentrations

Students select one concentration of 15 credit hours. The choices of concentration are as follows. Students whose past experience or career plans suggest a benefit to customizing this curriculum should consult with their adviser.

Public management focuses on those competencies required for management positions in all units of government as well as those organizations administering governmental contracts and programs. Students concentrating in public management must complete five of the following courses, for a total of 15 credits.

  • PA 615 Public Financial Management (required)
  • PA 620 Metropolitan Politics and Administration (required)
  • PA 643 Strategic Management and Planning (required)
  • PA 616 Public Policy Analysis
  • PA 621 Administrative and Regulatory Law
  • PA 641 Economic and Community Development
  • PA 642 Conflict Management
  • PA 644 GIS in Public Service

 

Urban / regional policy and planning develops the interdisciplinary knowledge, technical skills and leadership abilities useful for the development, implementation, and analysis of policy and planning solutions for urban and regional management. The curriculum focuses on social, economic and political trends, urban policy formulation and analysis, metropolitan governance issues, land use and smart-growth strategies, economic and community development, and intergovernmental / intersector relations.  Students concentrating in Urban / regional policy and planning must complete the following five courses.

  • PA 615 Public Financial Management
  • PA 616 Public Policy Analysis
  • PA 620 Metropolitan Politics and Administration
  • PA 641 Economic and Community Development
  • PA 644 GIS in Public Service

 

Health administration is  structured to prepare graduates to work cooperatively and collaboratively in a variety of health-related environments. Students concentrating health administration complete five of the following courses, for a total of 15 credits.

  • PA 630 Health Administration and Service (required)
  • PA 631 U.S. Health Policy and Politics (required)
  • PA 632 Health Services Financial Management (required)
  • PA 633 Health Economics
  • PA 634 Health Care Law and Ethics
  • PA 645 Aging in Society: Concepts, Controversies, and Challenges for Public Service Administrators

 

Nonprofit management and leadership provides insight into the management of nonprofit organizations and philanthropic institutions, including the relationship between executives and boards, and the ways in which income is generated and monies accounted for. Students must complete five of the following courses, for a total of 15 credits.

  • PA 660 The Nonprofit Sector: History and Ethics (required)
  • PA 661 Nonprofit Management Practices (required)
  • PA 662 Nonprofit Financial Management (required)
  • PA 663 Nonprofit Organizations, Advocacy and Public Policy (required)
  • PA 664 Program Evaluation
  • PA 665 Nonprofit Boards, Trustees, and Governance
  • PA 642 Conflict Management

 

Criminal justice (CJ) is a five-course concentration option for students in the Master of Public Administration program. The Criminal justice concentration was developed to meet the growing demand for well-educated criminal justice administrators. The courses are designed for those who wish to increase their knowledge, improve their productivity, or seek career advancement. Through the collaborative efforts of the School of Criminal Justice and the School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration, this concentration is structured to prepare graduates to work cooperatively in a variety of criminal justice environments.

Students concentrating in criminal justice must complete five of the following courses, for 15 credits.

  • PA 615 - Public Financial Administration
  • CJ 601 - Criminal Justice Leadership
  • CJ 604 - Criminal Justice Policy & Program Evaluation
  • CJ 607 - Criminology
  • CJ 602 - Legal and Ethical Issues 

 

Internship

Pre-career students are required to take at least three internship credits (PA 690 - Public Administration Internship I). Three internship credits normally equates to 300 hours (20 hours per week for 15 weeks). Internships must be pre-approved by the SPNHA internship coordinator. An internship is a course jointly sponsored by SPNHA and a public or nonprofit agency. Through an internship, a student is able to earn graduate credit by serving as an assistant, aide, or apprentice. See the SPNHA internship page for further details.

 

Electives

Students choose 9 credit hours from an array of electives.

PA-related course work. Electives can be PA classes from other concentrations, classes from other graduate programs at GVSU, or relevant classes from graduate programs at other accredited universities. These classes must be related to a student's career objectives.

Workshops. Students may take up to three hours of workshop credit (PA 550..553 - Public Administration Workshops). See the description of upcoming workshops.

Directed Readings. Students may take up to three hours of PA 699 - Directed Readings. Directed Readings allow a student to receive academic credit for a relevant, graduate-level course of study for which there is no graduate course available at GVSU. Before registration, the topic, amount of credit to be earned, reading list, assignments, and evaluation criteria are mutually agreed to by the initiating student and the assenting faculty member, consistent with standards of graduate scholarship.

Second Internship. Pre-career students may take a second three credits of internship (PA 691 - Public Administration Internship II) in addition to the three required. Internships must be pre-approved by the SPNHA internship coordinator. 

Thesis. Students who opt to do a Masters Thesis (see below) will use three of the required six credits of PA 695 toward fulfilling the elective requirement. 

 

Capstone Experience

PA 619 - Management Seminar. Most students take PA 619 - Management Seminar in their last semester. PA 619 is not offered in Spring/Summer, so it must be taken during Winter term if a student plans to graduate in August.

PA 695 - Master's Thesis. Students pursuing policy expertise or those considering going on in doctoral studies may opt to take six hours of Thesis (PA 695 - Master's Thesis). A Thesis can replace PA 619 as the required capstone course for the MPA. A Thesis must follow university guidelines.

PA 693 - Research Project. An exit project (PA 693 - Research Project) may also serve as the capstone experience. Before registration, the topic, amount of credit to be earned, reading list, assignments, and evaluation criteria are mutually agreed to by the initiating student and the assenting faculty member, consistent with standards of graduate scholarship.

 

 

Page last modified December 9, 2013