Master of Public Administration and Policy

Program Coordinator: Dr. Shiko Gathuo
Phone: 508-929-8892
Email: sgathuo@worcester.edu

The Master of Public Administration & Policy (MPAP) is offered to students interested in careers in public service.  Specifically, this program was created for policy makers and analysts such as legislative aides, and municipal, regional and state policy and planning staff.  Courses are offered in a blended format, combining face-to-face and online interaction to meet the scheduling needs of students. As part of a vibrant Urban Studies department, this program capitalizes on Worcester State University’s urban location and supports the development of public leaders for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and beyond.

The MPAP has an interdisciplinary core faculty drawn from many academic disciplines including Urban Studies, Sociology, Political Science, Economics, Management, and Criminal Justice. A two-course Capstone component at the end of the program allows for real-life experience and a synthesis and evaluation of coursework.

Admission Requirements

  • Online application with essay and application fee (www.worcester.edu/apply)
  • Bachelor’s degree in political science, urban studies, criminal justice, economics, management or related field with a minimum GPA of 2.75.
  • Two letters of recommendation from a professional or academic source.
  • Official GRE, GMAT or MAT scores.
  • Prerequisite courses: Introductory courses in Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, Political Science and Statistics.
  • Students may take up to six (6) credits before matriculation.

Program Requirements

Core Courses(24 credits)
PA-901Policy Analysis3
PA-903Economics for Policy Analysis3
PA-934Ethics & Management of Human Resources3
PA-942Organizational Theory3
PA-945Public Budgeting & Financial Management3
PA-949Strategic Leadership & Planning for Public Organizations3
PA-951Negotiation & Conflict Resolution for Public Organizations3
PA-990Analysis and Interpretation of Quantitative Data for Public Policy3
Elective Courses 1(6 credits)
Any two electives offered in the program, including an independent study and/or an internship6
Capstone Fieldwork(6 credits)
PA-980Capstone Fieldwork I for Public Administration & Policy2
PA-981Capstone Fieldwork II for Public Administration and Policy4
Total Credits36

1 Students may choose any two electives offered in the program.  They may also choose to do an independent study and/or internship.  The Independent Study and Internship count as elective credit.  Only one Independent Study may be taken during the student’s program of study.  All electives, the Independent Study and the internship are three (3) credits.

Courses

PA-901 Policy Analysis

This course provides an introduction to policy analysis. An applied social science, policy analysis attempts to define and frame public problems, identify and evaluate policy options for addressing those problems. and recommend solutions. Through the use of primarily case studies, this course will help students to develop the foundational concepts of policy analysis as well as practical policy analytic tools. students will learn to be both savvy policy consumers and producers.

Every year. 3 Credits

PA-902 Internship

With the help of an internship coordinator, local students who do not have nonprofit experience and all international students will identify suitable nonprofit organizations in which to do an internship. The internship must provide valuable, career-related experience and learning goals. The goals of the internship will be established in conjunction with the coordinator and the host organization. These goals should take into account the student's career interest, for example, development, fundraising and grant-writing, human resources management, financial management etc. Students must complete a minimum of 100 hours in the organization and write a summary of the internship experience.

Every year. 3 Credits

PA-903 Economics for Policy Analysis

This course utilizes both microeconomic and macroeconomic concepts and tools with an emphasis on applications to public management and policy analysis. Decision-making in the public sector is made within a political context and involves different considerations than decision-making in the private sector. This course is designed to help public policy administrators and managers address real-world issues and problems from an economic perspective to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their organizations. Central issues will include the following: the economic justification for government involvement, the balancing of efficiency and equity, and the development of policies to improve the well-being of citizens.

Every year. 3 Credits

PA-908 Legal, Regulatory & Ethical Issues in Health Care

An overview of the legal and regulatory framework governing health care from both the manager and the client's point of view. Legal rights and duties of patients and health-care providers, hospital liability, hospital-physician relationships, patient's rights, informed consent, privacy and confidentiality, negligence and malpractice.

Every year. 3 Credits

PA-934 Ethics & Management of Human Resources

Leaders and managers of nonprofit and public organizations face moral and ethical dilemmas in dealing with their publics (clients, staff, volunteers, donors, government agencies, board of directors, collaborating partners, the community, etc.). These dilemmas are particularly pronounced because these organizations operate under strict ethical guidelines, are accountable to the general public, and have to deal with many different publics. This course will explore the ways in which leaders resolve these ethical dilemmas while sustaining their organizations. Additionally, this course will explore the human resources management functions including planning, recruitment and selection, motivation, compensation & employee services, development, labor relations, etc.

Every year. 3 Credits

PA-940 Leadership Skills & Group Dynamics

Explores the nature and principles of effective group and organizational leadership. Students participate in a group which studies its own leadership process. Examples will be taken from therapy groups, business/organizational situations, classrooms and other case studies. Emphasis upon the com- ponents of effective leadership and fellowship in small groups and organizations. Group formation, group roles, group stages, and group conflicts are studied.

Every year. 3 Credits

PA-942 Organizational Theory

Organizational theory and development strategies considered. Formal and informal aspects organizations, authority structures, specialization and integration of functions, and the role of professional managers.

Every year. 3 Credits

PA-944 Politics and Public Policy

An explication of the nature of political power and the influence of power upon the delivery of various types of nonprofit, public, health care and human services.

Every year. 3 Credits

PA-945 Public Budgeting & Financial Management

This course provides students with an overview of public budgets and budget processes in the United States. Public agency budgets are the means by which public resources are allocated, and are therefore central to the role of government. This also means that budgets are about reconciling competing public interests and are prepared and implemented within a charged political context. This course will therefore include a discussion of the players and strategies involved in the public budget process, while providing students with the practical skills necessary in understanding, analyzing and preparing budgets.

Every year. 3 Credits

PA-946 Seminar in Program Analysis & Evaluation

Explores philosophical issues, politics, and specific evaluation instruments involved in effective program analysis upon utilization of computer systems.

Every year. 3 Credits

PA-949 Strategic Leadership & Planning for Public Organizations

This course will critically examine the external and internal environments of public organizations through exploration of the strategic planning process. It will involve a discussion of various strategic leadership decisions and the management skills necessary to design and implement a successful plan, in the light of the political dynamics in strategic planning.

Every year. 3 Credits

PA-950 Unions & the Public Sector

An intensive examination of key collective bargaining topics. Topics include grievance-arbitration processes, productivity bargaining, and impasse resolutions in the public sector.

Every year. 3 Credits

PA-951 Negotiation & Conflict Resolution for Public Organizations

Through theory and situational role playing, students will learn effective skills in negotiation, mediation, arbitration and conflict resolution. The course will provide an opportunity for students to diagnose and plan different situations requiring negotiation and conflict management, practice the negotiation process and develop confidence in approaching and diffusing tense situations.

Every year. 3 Credits

PA-980 Capstone Fieldwork I for Public Administration & Policy

Prerequisites: 5 courses From courses PA-901 PA-942 PA-945 PA-949 PA-951 PA-903 PA-934;

In individual (or group) consultation with the instructor, students will identify a capstone topic and write a proposal for the topic. This course will be an opportunity to synthesize the information obtained throughout the MPAP program of study and apply it to a specific public policy issue for a client. Students will identify a client to serve and a policy issue to explore.

Every year. 2 Credits

PA-981 Capstone Fieldwork II for Public Administration and Policy

Prerequisites: PA-980

In individual (or group) consultation with the instructor, students will implement their capstone projects as identified in PA-980.

Every year. 4 Credits

PA-990 Analysis and Interpretation of Quantitative Data for Public Policy

Prerequisites: 5 courses From Courses PA-901 PA-942 PA-945 PA-949 PA-951 PA-903 PA-934;

The ability to understand and analyze data is crucial to policy analysts. This course will introduce students to statistical methods and explore their application to policy decisions. The course will cover the essential elements of descriptive statistics, univariate and bivariate statistical inference, as well as introduce multivariate analysis. The course will emphasize applied statistics and data analysis The goals of this course are: 1) improve statistical literacy; 2) to expose students to the fundamental concepts and tools of statistical analysis, and 3) to prepare students to apply statistical concepts in policy decision making.

Spring only and every 2-3 years. 3 Credits

PA-993 Public Relations for Public Organizations

This course will explore the theories of human interaction as they relate to the public sphere. Students will acquire effective public relations skills that are essential for success in the public sector. This course will review the components of a public relations campaign, and help students learn to develop public relations tools such as news releases, pitch letters, biographies, position papers, crisis communications, and other tools included in a strategic publications relations kit. This is an essential course for managers and administrators of public agencies who must constantly communicate their agencies' position to various, often divergent constituencies.

Other or on demand and other or on demand. 3 Credits

PA-994 Assigned Readings

Independent study under faculty supervision. Student will define area of advanced study in an area of nonprofit,health care, public agency, human service or human resource training and development.

Every year. 3 Credits

PA-996 Public Law

Legal framework and constraints within which nonprofit administrators operate. Discussion of rights and responsibilities, and discretionary limits of managerial decision-making.

Every year. 3 Credits