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Master of Public Administration

The Political Science Program in the College of Business and Social Sciences offers a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree for those interested in public management and service. The MPA degree prepares students for careers in the public sector and offers those already in public service the opportunity to enhance and hone their competencies.

Utilizing a cohort model with both evening and online classes, this MPA is specifically geared towards busy professionals. Potential students include public service professionals interested in enhancing their credentials, those seeking a career change, and recent college graduates.
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowOur Program
Program Objectives
The objective of the MPA program at WVSU is to develop public administrators and policy analysts to become visionary leaders in public service. Graduates will be able to:
  1. Formulate and analyze policy initiatives.
  2. Apply appropriate business management practices to the public and non-profit sector.
  3. Analyze competing policy proposals by utilizing evidenced-based decision-making.
  4. Evaluate the quality of public policy proposals.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to professionally communicate.
Having completed coursework in public administration, public management, and policy analysis, graduates of the MPA program are well prepared for a wide range of careers, including:
  • Program Director
  • Program Coordinator
  • Program Manager
  • Policy Analyst
  • Budget Analyst
  • Research Associate
  • City/Urban/Regional Planner
  • City Manager
Benefits of this program include:
  • Value – WVSU offers some of the most affordable graduate programs in the area
  • Flexibility – all classes are either in the evening or online
  • Location – close proximity to the State Capitol provides experiential education and professional development activities
  • Opportunity – professional growth enabling career advancement, salary increases, and career change
Students will enroll in two classes each Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters for two years.
Students with relevant professional experience will complete the Program in 36 credit-hours, while pre-professional students will be required to take an additional 6 credit-hours of internship for a total of 42 credit hours. In order to graduate with the degree in Public Administration from WVSU, every student must complete all coursework with a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Students who accumulate more than two (2) “C” grades will be dismissed from the WVSU MPA.
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowAdmission Requirements
  • A completed application
  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.70.
  • Standardized test scores from exams (GRE, GMAT, LSAT or MAT) completed no more than seven years prior to the application submission to the program (if available).
  • Candidates who have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher are eligible to waive the standardized test requirement.
  • Candidates who have experience working as a manager or an administrator of a company or government agency can request to waive the standardized test requirement.
  • A current resume or curriculum vitae.
  • Two letters of recommendation.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of American Government.
  • At least one course in statistics or research methodology.
  • All candidates for whom English is not their native language must take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the IELTS Exam. On the TOEFL, a minimum of score 500 (paper-based exam), 173 (computer-based), or a 61 (Internet-based) is required. On the IELTS, a minimum score of a 6 is required. These candidates may choose to submit the TOEFL or IELTS exam. Graduates of English speaking universities will have TOEFL requirements waived.
  • $27 for in-state applicants, and $37 for out of state or international applicants.
  • Full consideration for admission will be given to students who have completed the admission requirements by April 1 for Fall Semester Admission.
  • Applicants can be granted conditional admission
MPA Graduates will have a mastery of the skills necessary to serve in leadership positions in the public sector as well as the analytical policy skills necessary to develop, implement, and evaluate the impact of public policies.
600 Introduction to Public Administration
This course will introduce the student to the field of public administration. It is an exploration of the foundations of the system. It begins with how intergovernmental relations impact local program management and administration. The major areas covered are historical and constitutional aspects of federalism, intergovernmental relations, public policy making in a federal system, regulation in the intergovernmental context, and ethical decision-making within the public realm. Students will become familiar with the legal, ethical and political foundations of the discipline and the current theories regarding its practice.

605 Public Policy Process & Analysis
An analysis of the policy making process with emphasis on the various factors that influence the content and consequences of public policy. A discussion of intergovernmental relations, private and public interactions, and how an understanding of each shapes policy is necessary. The course will highlight specific issues that are crucial to the practice of public administration.
610  Human Resource Management in the Public Sector
This course will examine the traditional and contemporary human resource management apparatuses for the public and non-profit sector. The course explores these systems in relation to the institutions and individuals involved. The course discusses the complexities of the five categories of the human resource systems, namely political appointees, professional careerists, general civil service, unionized workers, and contractual employees. Emphasis will be placed upon the inherent value to the role each one plays within the functions of government.

615 Research Methods for Public Affairs
This course is an introduction to the concepts and methods relating to public administration and affairs research. The course will expose the student to the role of theory in research, forming hypotheses and research questions, identifying variables, and gathering and analyzing statistical data. Emphasis will be placed upon developing good writing skills, gathering and operationalizing data, using computers for basic statistical evaluation.
620 Public Accounting, Budgeting & Financial Management 
This course will examine the standard practices of accounting, budgeting and financial management in the public and non-profit sector. Topics to be addressed include revenue streams, expenditures, operating budgets, short- and long-term budgetary decision-making, capital budgeting, the preparation and interpretation of budgetary reports, and the analysis of budgetary forecasts. Special emphasis will be placed on the utilization of best practices in accounting and financial decision-making, the analysis of budget cycles, and the ability to produce budgets in standard formats.

625 Statistical Analysis for Public Affairs
Building upon what the students learned in 615, students will undertake a practical opportunity to apply quantitative analysis to a problem or question facing the field of public administration. The students will execute a semester-long research project and produce a professional quality report on said project.

630 Organizational Theory and Management 
This course introduces students to the principles and practices of organization theory and management relevant to the public administrator. It will address organizations as complex systems and emphasize the management of organizational structure, processes, and change in the public and non-profit sector. Leadership, planning, organizing, and controlling complex organizations will be emphasized.
635 Program Evaluation and Performance Measurement
The course introduces the student to the basics of program evaluation and performance measurement in public administration and affairs. The student will learn the foundations of professional judgment when assessing programs. Special emphasis will be placed upon the organizational and methodological skills involved in program evaluation and performance measurement in public administration based on the analysis of quantitative and/or qualitative data.

640 Economic Analysis for Public Administrators 
This course will introduce the student to the theories and concepts of economics as related to public administration and public policy analysis. While viewing economic considerations as both a tool of public administration and an input into the public policy making process, this course will examine the importance of scarcity and resource allocation in the public realm, the use of both cost-benefit analysis and statistical tools of economic analysis in assessing the relative value of competing policy proposals, as well as the economics of monopolies, oligopolies, competitive firms in the marketplace. 

645 Contemporary Issues in Public Policy
This course will introduce the student to the most pertinent topics and literature regarding public policy, particularly the policy that is critically connected to public administration. The course will consider notions of policy intentions and outcomes. The relevant policy topics will be presented using practical examples and case studies. This approach will require the student to critically engage the policy through standard approaches of analysis and problem solving.
650 Contemporary Issues in Public Administration Seminar 
This course will introduce the student to an examination of the most important and topical issues in public administration, paying particular attention to the newest trends in public management theory and practice as well as ethical considerations related to the field. The course is designed to integrate and synthesize the information and knowledge gained throughout the students’ time in the MPA program.
655 Capstone Research Experience
This course will connect and synthesize all of the MPA coursework and extant academic preparation to the student’s professional career. The student will utilize the theories, the critical thinking skills, and the statistical methodologies as well as the policy analysis, ethics, and managerial skills to engender an understanding of their role and approach to public administration.

Faculty & Staff

Mrs. Patty
Mrs. Patty Goff
Academic Program Associate
Phone: (304) 766-3065
Kathy Smith
Phone: (304) 766-3180
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