MPA6200- Research Methods and Evaluation
This course is designed to provide the essential tools for conducting and evaluating quantitative analysis. Students will acquire and practice the basic skills necessary to make and assess causal claims, culminating in a research project featuring original analysis of data using statistical software. Emphasis is placed on different types of data, both experimental and observational, and the appropriate methods of analysis in order to evaluate claims. The course covers a variety of topics including research design, concept operationalization, descriptive statistics, bivariate and multivariate analysis and effective communication and presentation of research findings.
MPA6300- Public Sector Economics
This course is designed to introduce and develop the tools of economic analysis that are employed by public administrators and policy analysts in understanding the role and scope of government intervention in a market economy. This course is specifically geared towards master degree students in public administration. Specifically, the descriptive (positive) tools of economics are explained, and applied to the normative goals of economics: efficiency, equity, and stability. The causes of market failures are explained, and analyses of the spending, regulatory, and tax implications are explored.
MPA6400- Public Affairs Internship/Strategic Capstone
There are two subsets of students- pre-service and in-service. Pre-service students are those who are “coming straight from their undergraduate institutions.” These students do not hold full-time employment in the public or nonprofit sector and are looking to equip themselves appropriately to succeed in an agency upon completing their degree. In-service students are often either looking to further themselves in their current full-time positions or make a shift to a new type of work.
The purpose of the Internship/Capstone course is to provide pre-service/4+1 MPA students with: first-time, hands-on experience in their desired professional field of employment; the opportunity to build a professional network; and apply their developing MPA classroom skills in a tangible way. The project/capstone will be “internshipcentric” for this group of students. Students will work with the Director to find a placement in an organization in a public affairs field. They will complete an average of 20 hrs/wk in their new assignment.
Those students who are currently employed full-time (minimum 35hrs/wk) (in-service) in an organization in a public affairs field, may petition the Director to have the fieldwork hours waived. They can apply their current position to fulfill the fieldwork hours, and will be assigned a Strategic Capstone project- an in-depth analysis of their current profession which can be used to further their career enhancement/career development.
The Internship/Capstone course thus allows in-service students to complete an alternate project or study in lieu of the fieldwork hours. In-service students with fieldwork hour waivers will complete this alternative assignment not required of their pre-service classmates. In-service students will receive an assignment focused on a particular aspect or additional short-term function in their current position and complete it under the supervision of a faculty member. For this group of students, the project/capstone will be “academic/theoretical centric”.
Prerequisites: Graduate standing and consent of the Director
MPA6500- Public Administration
This course is designed to allow students to develop an understanding of public administration as a field of academic study and an area of professional practice. This course is considered to be the one of the “foundations classes” for the MPA program. Specifically, it focuses on the evolution of public administration as an academic discipline and a profession in the real world, the context in which public administration takes place, the meaning of public service in a democratic society, and the importance of personal and professional ethics. The course will be conducted as a seminar. Students must be prepared to discuss reading assignments and participate in analysis of case studies.
MPA6530- Public Budgeting & Financial Management
An in-depth review of the funding of state and local government budgets and capital plans. This review will include the specific processes and timelines for ratification and/or adoption of each. The best practices for allocating scarce financial resources, tracking the status of capital projects, and the effect that state laws and local bylaws/ordinances have on making financial decisions will be presented and discussed. Coursework includes an in-depth review of the following public sector documents: Annual Operating Budget, Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), and Official Statement (OS). There will be a special focus on tracking the Massachusetts State Budget from submission by the governor through the state legislature’s review and adoption process.
MPA6540- Intercultural Communication
This course will examine scholarly research and current events with concerted attention towards the improved practice of communication in intercultural, international, and public affairs settings. The primary questions investigated in the course will address the dynamics of culture, ethnicity, religion, and identity in terms of issues of representation, inequality, and empowerment against the backdrop of global transition in the 21st Century. The course will pay particular attention to the ways ethnic identity influences decision-making and orientation to one’s world at the individual, community, national and international levels. This course will closely interrogate communication practices between people of varying international and co-cultural backgrounds with an eye towards engendering intercultural communication competence. The course will call upon research from critical and functional perspectives that utilize qualitative and quantitative methods of inquiry.
MPA6570- Immigration Policy
This course studies shifting immigration policy in the United States over history, with a focus on the modern era and the challenges of crafting immigration policy in an increasingly global world. The course is taught from an interdisciplinary platform, considering the philosophical, political, economic and social foundations that have inspired various policy trends as well as the effects and outcomes of policy on both the host country (the United States) and home country (country of origin). Students will also consider the various distinctions between categories of those entering the United States. The focus of the course in on immigration and human movement as it relates to the United States, although the course will also give attention to international dynamics in the current world.
MPA6580- The Public Executive
This is a graduate level course which draws on the material from the foundation level courses in the Master of Public Affairs program. The focus is on enhancing executive level decision making and leadership skills. The context is executive level management of local government and nonprofit organizations, but lessons learned will have broad applicability for mid-level and senior managers in all government agencies and other public service entities. The course will provide the student with an in-depth perspective into the environment, challenges, and responsibilities of a public sector executive.