MPA Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

Explore every aspect of public administration in these web courses: NMU's MPA is 100 percent online!

PA 500 Research Methods of Public Administration, 4 cr.
An examination of quantitative research methods designed for students of public administration and public policy. It introduces the scientific method, research design, data measurement and analysis.

PA 501 Seminar in Public Policy Analysis, 4 cr.
This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the basic theories and methods of public policy analysis. This objective will be accomplished through a series of readings, projects, discussions and lectures on a topic or topics of current political importance, e.g., health, environment, transportation, education or welfare.

PA 507 Principles of Public Administration, 4 cr.
An introduction to theory and practice of the management of public affairs. Particular emphasis is placed on several themes and conceptual problems consistently appearing in the professional literature of public administration (e.g., ecology of administration, bureaucratic efficiency, administrative responsiveness and responsibility). Selected case studies and works of fiction may be utilized where appropriate.

PA 509 Seminar: Intergovernmental Relations, 4 cr.
Examination of the relationship between the levels of government within the federal system in providing public services. Extensive use of case studies and intensive analysis of selected units of local government.

PA 511 Ethics and Public Administration, 2 cr.
Study of ethical dimensions of personal and professional behavior in the public sphere as it relates to administrative roles. Topics covered will include foundations of ethics, implementation of ethics, ethical frontiers, social contract theory, the ethics of policy choices, social justice and the challenges of ethics in public administration.

PA 516 Organizational Theory, 4 cr.
A thorough study of classical and modern organizational theories and an analysis of their contributions to contemporary administrative practice. Emphasis will be on institutions engaged in public service. Case studies, employment experiences of students and works of fiction may be utilized where appropriate.

PA 517 Seminar: American Government, 4 cr.
A study of the significant problems of American political institutions with an emphasis on the legislative processes.

PA 519 Municipal Management, 2 cr.
The dynamic and changing relationships between local governments, elected and appointed officials, and city, county and state governments. This course attempts to identify the nature of those changes and the forces that are driving change.

PA 520 The Politics of Education, 4 cr.
A study of the politics of education at national, state and local levels.

PA 521 Grant Writing for Public Administrators, 2 cr.
Basic proposal writing skills as well as an overall perspective of grantsmanship. Topics covered include the various elements of grant proposals, how to research grant opportunities, and the role of collaboration in proposal development. Students will have an opportunity to prepare an actual grant as a special project.

PA 522 Public Budget Management, 2 cr.
The major concepts, approaches, techniques and formats of public budgeting in the U.S., especially as these are applied to the local government setting. The objectives are to delineate and understand the various components and practices of budget planning, development, execution, auditing and evaluation. Additionally, the course will serve to enhance participant awareness and understanding of management issues and typical problems involved in the budgeting cycle and the methods used to address these.

PA 524 Politics of Public Budgeting, 2 cr.
The historical, institutional and political context of public budgeting in the U.S. Examines both the characteristics of the budgetary process, as well as the main substantive issues involved in the assembly of contemporary budgets at the local, state and federal levels. In addition, the political self-interest, norms, and roles and behaviors of various budgetary players will be discussed and the impact of their actions on budgetary dynamics and public policy will be explored.

PA 528 Seminar in Public Personnel Administration, 2 cr.
Study of the practice, theory, and political setting of managing human resources in public organizations. Topics covered will include merit system, classification, staffing (planning, recruiting, selecting, examining and placement), employee motivation, employee diversity and the constitutional setting for public employees.

PA 529 Seminar in Public Personnel Law, 2 cr.
Study of the practice, theory and application of the legal aspects of public personnel. Topics covered will include Title VII, Americans with Disabilities Act, Affirmative Action, sexual harassment, age discrimination, gender gap, Family Medical Leave Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

PA 530 Seminar in Administrative Law, 2 cr.
Study of the practice, theory and application of administrative law and governmental regulation. Topics covered will include growth of the administrative system, democratic accountability of the administrative process, rulemaking, order making, administrative discretion, judicial review, suing the government and balancing societal and individual rights.

PS 545 Political and Administrative Aspects of Community Development, 4 cr.
The political and administrative dimensions of community development. Students probe the administrative aspects of managing a planning process while considering the political realities of implementation.

PA 560 Principles of Health Care Administration 2 cr.
An introduction to the American health-care system. Familiarizes students with the actors, processes, language and institutional relationships of this system. Public, private, and voluntary health-care agencies at the state, local and national level are analyzed.

PA 561 Political Aspects of Health Care Administration, 2 cr.
The political, economic and social forces influencing the contemporary administration of the health care system in the United States. How health care policies are developed, analyzed, adopted, implemented and evaluated. Emphasis is on how national policies and politics impact local and state health-care issues. Coverage includes how health policy outcomes are affected by political ideology and leadership, governmental processes, bureaucracies, interest groups and the public through the use of relevant contemporary case studies.

PA 562 Program Evaluation for Public and Nonprofit Agencies, 2 cr.
Contemporary program evaluation and assessment theory and methods. Evaluation and assessments are presented as continuous improvement exercises involving program staff and/or outside reviewers, funders, clients and the general public. Students are trained in setting goals, tracking performance, making midcourse corrections and analyzing program impact.

PA 591 Supervised Internship in Public Administration, 2-8 cr.
Designed principally for graduate students in the graduate program in administrative services who wish to pursue an internship with a governmental unit or agency engaged in public service.

PA 592 Experiential Applications Seminar, 2 cr.
Prerequisite: Students must complete a minimum of 24 semester hours prior to enrolling in this seminar. In addition, pre-service students (those without one year’s prior relevant work experience) will be required to satisfy a two-credit internship requirement prior to or concurrent with the seminar. This seminar serves as a capstone experience. Students will engage in discussions, make oral presentations and write reports relating practical work experience to concepts and theories addressed in courses and readings.

PA 595 Special Problems in Public Administration, 1-4 cr.
Individual or group study of a significant topic or problem in public administration. The requirement of this course may be met by completing a course not ordinarily offered, or through participation in seminars, colloquial workshops, study abroad or directed readings.

PA 598 Directed Study in Public Administration, 1-4 cr.
Prerequisite: Approval of the department head, the program coordinator of the graduate program in administrative services and the instructor who will direct the study.  Individual research on a significant topic or problem in public administration. This course is designed for students who are writing a master’s thesis in public administration or for those students who wish to pursue an applied study project option in the graduate program in administrative services.

PA 599 Thesis in Public Administration, 4 cr.
The student develops a thesis with the help of a three member thesis committee (chair and two readers). The student will submit a three-to-five page research proposal which must be approved before registering for credit. Appropriate thesis forms must be completed prior to enrollment. The thesis must be approved by the thesis committee and the College of Graduate Studies. The student should consult with the department and the College of Graduate Studies for specific requirements.