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Program Handbook: Master’s In Public Affairs

General Information About the MAPA Program

Program description

The M.A. in Public Affairs program is designed for full- and part-time students who are seeking, or are currently engaged in, professional careers as administrators, project directors, staff analysts, supervisors in government and human service agency delivery systems, trade unions, and interest groups and teachers of social studies. This M.A. provides students with interdisciplinary education in “core” public administration skills such as policy analysis, administrative management, budgeting, and public administration. This program is also designed for those students interested in international development and comparative administration or becoming Foreign Service professionals. Students choose one of the six following areas of specialization: Local Government Management, Human Resources Management, Planning and Regional Development, Human Services Administration, Criminal Justice Administration, or International Development Administration. Descriptions of each of these specializations are below.

Admission requirements

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

Degree requirements

The Master of Arts 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 the six interdisciplinary field specializations.

MAPA Program Outline

I. Methodology Core: 6-9 credits*

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 MAPA coordinator for exemption from PLSC 500.

II. Public Administration Core: 12 credits

Students must complete the following four courses:

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

III. Field Specializations: 15 credits

A. Local Government Management: 15 credits

Field Core: 9 credits
PLSC 554 Metropolitan Problems
PLSC 555 Intergovernmental Relations
PLSC 575 Public Sector Leadership Accountability

Electives: 6 credits
GEOG 532 Urban Geography
GEOG 534 Political Geography
GEOG 564 Land Use Policy
ELR 621 Labor Relations
PLSC 631/Human Resource Management in the Public Sector
ELR 631

B. Human Resources Management: 15 credits

Field Core: 9 credits
ELR 610 Employee Rights Law
PLSC 631/Human Resource Management in the Public Sector
ELR 631
ELR 632 Compensation Administration

Electives: 6 credits
ELR 526 Case Studies in Labor-Management Relations
ELR 622 Discrimination in Employment
ELR 641 Contract Administration
ELR 651 Conflict Resolution

C. Planning and Regional Development: 15 credits

Field Core: 6 credits
GEOG 550 Introduction to Planning
GEOG 552 Planning Methods

Electives: 9 credits
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 Planning
GEOG 623 Regional Development

D. Human Services Administration: 15 credits

Field Core: 9 credits
SOC 711 Human Services Administration
SOC 754 Social Inequality
SOC 756 Social Change

Electives: 6 credits
SOC 710 Sociology of Human Services
SOC 721 Sociology of Health Care
SOC 732 Addiction and the Family
SOC 740 Community Development and Social Policy
SOC 757 Aging and Society

E. Criminal Justice Administration: 15 credits

Field Core: 9 credits
CRIM 600 Criminological Theory
CRIM 610 Legal Issues in Criminology
CRIM 632 Organizational Dynamics within the Criminal Justice System

Electives: 6 credits
CRIM 601 Proseminar
CRIM 765 Criminal Justice Planning and Evaluation
CRIM 770 Seminar in Contemporary Corrections

F. International Development Administration: 15 credits

Field Core: 6 credits
PLSC 521 International Organizations
PLSC589 Developing Nations

Electives: 9 credits (at least 3 credits must be at 600 level)
PLSC 520 International Law
PLSC 587 Latin American Politics
or PLSC 582 African Politics
or PLSC 583 Asian Politics
or PLSC 584 Middle East Politics
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

IV. Directed Research Requirement: 3 credits

Students must complete one of the following:

A. PLSC 795 Thesis
B. PLSC 690 Practicum

The summer practicum combines significant professional work experience in an agency appropriate to the student’s field with a concurrent seminar in public administration practice. Students are expected to complete a research project and a series of administrative assignments as part of the practicum. For non-traditional students and mid-career professionals, the focus of the practicum will be to create and conduct field-based research.

Political Science Faculty

David D. Chambers — Ph.D., University of Illinois (Political Science), 1990. Joined IUP Political Science Department in 1988. Teaching and research areas and interests include American Public Policy, Public Administration, the Presidency, Intergovernmental Relations, and Research Methods.

Dighton Mcglachlan Fiddner, Jr. — Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh (Public and International Affairs). Began teaching for IUP in 1999; joined IUP Political Science Department full time in 2004. Teaching and research areas and interests include World Politics, Information Security Policy, Intelligence Process, National Security, and Military Affairs. Dr. Fiddner is the advisor to the Political Science Student Leadership Committee.

Mary Jane Kuffner Hirt — Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh (Public Administration), 1986. Joined IUP Political Science Department in 1992. Teaching and research areas and interests include State and Local Politics, Public Sector Leadership and Ethics, and Research Methods. Dr. Hirt is the advisor to Pi Sigma Alpha.

Steven F. Jackson — Ph.D., University of Michigan (Comparative Politics and World Politics), 1994. Joined IUP Political Science Department in 1994. Teaching and research areas and interests include Comparative Government, International Relations, and Asia/Pacific Rim Politics.

John F. Sitton — Ph.D., Boston University. Joined IUP Political Science Department in 1987. Teaching and research areas and interests include Political Theory—Classical, Modern, and American; Marxism; and American Politics. Dr. Sitton is the department’s chairperson.

Gwendolyn Torges — Ph.D., University of Arizona (Political Science), 2004. Joined IUP Political Science Department in 1998. Teaching and research areas and interests include Constitutional Law, Judicial Process, American Government, Federal Indian Law, and International Studies. Dr. Torges is the university’s Pre-Law director and is the co-advisor to the Political Science Student Leadership Committee.

Sarah Wheeler — Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh (Public Affairs and International Affairs), 2001. Began teaching at IUP in the Political Science Department in 2001 and joined the department full time in 2002. Teaching and research areas and interests include Latin American Politics, Developing Nations, and World Politics. Dr. Wheeler is the advisor to Pi Gamma Mu and the department's graduate coordinator.

Selected Political Science Course Descriptions

PLSC 500 Research Methods in Political Science: 3 credits
Provides students with a working knowledge of the statistical techniques commonly applied to the study of political phenomena and an understanding of the basic assumptions, limitations, and theoretical foundations of these various techniques. Focuses on measurement principles, research design and data collection, univariate distributions, sampling, and bivariate analysis.

PLSC 520 International Law: 3 credits
Study of the development, nature, and function of international law, including recent trends.

PLSC 521 International Organizations: 3 credits
Inquiry into the purposes, structures, and actions of contemporary international political organizations, such as the United Nations, regional, and functional organizations.

PLSC 550 The Presidency: 3 credits
Examines the office of the President with attention to constitutional foundations, evolution, structure, powers, and functions. Comparisons are made between presidential and parliamentary systems and between the offices of the president and governor.

PLSC 551 Legislative Process: 3 credits
Legislative process in the U.S. with emphasis on Congress. Focus on organization and function of legislative bodies, with American legislative institutions compared with those of other nations.

PLSC 554 Metropolitan Problems: 3 credits
Analyses multiplicity of problems facing our metropolitan areas, such as urban renewal, shrinking tax base, federal aid to cities, subsidized mass transit, municipal authorities and political consolidation.

PLSC 555 Inter-governmental Relations: 3 credits
Explores the characteristics of the federal system of government with emphasis on theories, origins, institutions, and problems in intergovernmental relations in the U.S. Federal system.

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