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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 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.
Careers
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 with relevant professional experience will complete the Program in 36 credit-hours, while pre-professional students will be encouraged 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 fall below a 3.0 CGPA will be placed on academic probation until such time as they regain a 3.0 CGPA. Students who accumulate more than two (2) “C” grades, or students on academic probation who fail to regain a 3.0 CGPA, 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.
  • $28 for in-state applicants, and $38 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
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowCurriculum
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.
 
CORE COURSES
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.

655 Professional Capstone Experience
This course will connect and analyze the knowledge and skills obtained in the accumulated coursework and academic experience of the MPA Program.  Students will be required to utilize theories, critical thinking skills, research methodology, policy analysis, and managerial skills to complete course assignments designed to demonstrate an understanding of the tools necessary to be a successful public manager. 

ELECTIVE COURSES 
612 Administrative Law
The purpose of this course is to provide the students with an in-depth look at administrative law, and most specifically how administrative law decisions affect the measures of control available to the executive, legislative, and judicial branches in terms of dealing with bureaucratic organizations.  Secondarily, the focus will lie on administrative agencies, and the role that they play in blending, as opposed to separating, executive, legislative, and judicial powers.
 
632 Advanced Public Management
The course will introduce students to advanced concepts of public management through a three-dimensional approach.   The idea is that students will learn how each of the three dimensions: structural, cultural, and craft, along with the concept of public management and its relationship to the rule of law affect the management of public organizations.  Being aware of, and being able to manage organizations within the arrangement of these three dimensions, is critical for success in public management.  As is the case with all of courses in the MPA curriculum, the main focus for the students will be to learn to use some tools that will aid them as public managers to create and foster more effective public organizations. 
 
634 Project and Contract Management
Governing and providing services in the modern world usually requires the cooperation of various actors—public sector agencies, private business and organizations, non-profit agencies—to provide goods and services, and to implement programs designed to improve the lives of the citizenry.  Given the proliferation of these various “public-private partnerships” and “governance networks”, the role of public manager has changed in recent times.  One of the additional responsibilities of public managers, and one that they are often poorly trained to deal with, is the role of project and contract manager.  The purpose of this course is to introduce the student to the concept and best practices of managing contracts and projects, given the new realities associated with providing governmental goods and services in the age of privatization and contracting out.  
 
636 Strategic Planning
The course is a study of strategic management as a function of leadership. The three primary components of strategic management, which are strategic planning, strategy formulation, and strategy implementation, are analyzed. Students will be introduced to a model of effective strategic planning, which will provide them with not only a framework to organize strategic planning projects, but also with an ability to analyze and “trouble-shoot” common mistakes made in the strategic planning process.  A case-study approach is used to examine applications in for-profit, non-profit, and public organizations.
 
652 Public Service Internship
This course will involve the student in a seminar and planned field experience of professional development in an appropriate organizational setting. It will be supervised by a designated member of the faculty, the university internship coordinator, and an official representing the cooperating host organization. The scheduled seminar sessions will address a variety of issues designed to enable the student intern to gain knowledge and useful experience from the internship. The intern will apply the knowledge and skilled gained from course work to analyze administrative settings, issues, and problems, and generally to function effectively in an organizational setting. Appropriate readings and a structured written analytical report are required in addition to scheduled seminar sessions.

Faculty & Staff

Mrs. Patty
Mrs. Patty Goff
Academic Program Associate
Phone: (304) 766-3065
goffpg@wvstateu.edu
Kathy
Kathy Smith
(Secretary)
Phone: (304) 766-3180
ksmith2@wvstateu.edu
Dr. Frank
Dr. Frank Vaughan
Professor & Faculty Representative to the Board of Governors
Phone: (304) 766-3046
fvaughan@wvstateu.edu
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