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M.A. in Public Affairs

The M.A. in Public Affairs program is designed for full-time and part-time students who are seeking or are currently engaged in professional careers as administrators, project directors, staff analysts, and supervisors in government and human service agency delivery systems, trade unions, and interest groups; teachers of the social studies; and those interested in international development and comparative administration or in becoming foreign service professionals.

Admission Criteria

The requirements for admission are (1) an undergraduate cumulative grade point average of 2.8 or better; (2) undergraduate course work in political science, economics, and public or international affairs or equivalent professional experiences (in some cases, this may require specific remedial course work that will not count toward degree requirements); (3) for international students, a TOEFL score of 550 or better

Program Requirements

The M.A. in Public Affairs requires 36 or 39 graduate credits, including a thesis or a practicum. Students develop a core competence in methodology and in public administration and also select one of six interdisciplinary field specializations.

Public Affairs (36-39 cr.)

1. Methodology Core (6-9 cr.)

Students must complete both of the following two courses:

PLSC 500 Research Methods in Political Science*
PLSC 674 Analytical Techniques

Plus one additional course from the following:

CRIM 605 Research Methods
GEOG 612 Quantitative Techniques in Geography and Regional Planning
GSR 615 Elements of Research
SOC 761 Microcomputing Applications in Sociology

* A student whose undergraduate transcript shows a “B” or better in a political science research methods course AND who passes a research methods exam administered by the Political Science Department may petition the Master of Arts in Public Affairs coordinator for exemption from PLSC 500.

2. Public Administration Core (12 cr.)

Students must complete the following four courses:

PLSC 570 Introduction to Public Administration
PLSC 666 Public Policy Analysis
PLSC 668 Public Sector Financial Administration¹
PLSC 671 Seminar in Public Administration

3. Field Specializations (15 cr.)

1. Local Government Management
a. Field Core (6 cr.):
PLSC 554 Metropolitan Problems
PLSC 555 Intergovernmental Relations
b. Electives (9 cr.):
GEOG 532 Urban Geography
GEOG 534 Political Geography
GEOG 564 Land Use Policy
ELR 621 Labor Relations
PLSC 631/ELR 631   Human Resources Management in the Public Sector
PLSC 678 TEthical Dimensions of Leadership
2. Human Resources Management
a. Field Core (9 cr.)
ELR 610 Employee Rights Under Law
PLSC 631/ELR 631 Human Resources Management in the Public Sector
ELR 632 Compensation Administration
b. Electives (6 cr.)
ELR 526 Case Studies in Labor-Management Relations
ELR 622 Discrimination in Employment
ELR 641 Contract Administration
ELR 751 Conflict Resolution
3. Planning and Regional Development
a. Field Core (6 cr.)
GEOG 550 Introduction to Planning
GEOG 552 Planning Methods
b. Electives (6 cr.)
GEOG 531 Population Geography
GEOG 554 Planning Design
GEOG 558 Land Use Law
GEOG 564 Land Use Policy
GEOG 568 Planning Theory
GEOG 614 Thought and Philosophy in Geography and Regional Planning
GEOG 623 Regional Development
4. Human Services Administration
a. Field Core (9 cr.)
SOC 711 Human Services Administration
SOC 754 Social Inequality
SOC 756 Social Change
b. Electives (6 cr.)
SOC 710 Sociology of Human Services
SOC 721 Sociology of Health Care
SOC 732 Addiction and the Family
SOC 757 Aging and Society
5. Criminal Justice Administration
a. Field Core (9 cr.)
CRIM 600 Criminological Theory
CRIM 610 Legal Issues in Criminology
CRIM 632 Organizational Dynamics within the Criminal Justice System
b. Electives (6 cr.)
CRIM 601 Proseminar
CRIM 765 Criminal Justice Planning and Evaluation
CRIM 770 Seminar in Contemporary Corrections
6. International Development Administration
a. Field Core (6 cr.)
PLSC 522 International Law and Organizations
PLSC 589 Developing Nations
b. Electives (9 cr.)
PLSC 578 Political Studies: Latin America
or PLSC 582 Political Studies: Africa
or PLSC 583 Political Studies: Asia
or PLSC 584 Political Studies: Middle East
PLSC 675 International Political Economy
ECON 545 International Trade
ECON 546 International Payments
GEOG 531 Population Geography
GEOG 623 Regional Development
ELR 621 Labor Relations in the Public Sector
SOC 710 Sociology of Human Services
SOC 711 Human Services Administration

4. Directed Research Requirement (3 cr.)

Students must complete one of the following:

  • PLSC 698 Political Science Internship (3 cr.)
  • Or PLSC 795 Thesis (3 cr.)
  • Or PLSC 699 Independent Study* (3 cr.)

*Only allowed for students who are already employed in a relevant field. Must be approved by Graduate Coordinator.

Total Program Credit Hours: 36–39 credits

  • School of Graduate Studies and Research
  • Stright Hall, Room 101
    210 South Tenth Street
    Indiana, PA 15705-1048
  • Phone: 724-357-2222
  • Fax: 724-357-4862
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Summer: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.