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Public Policy and Administration

Academics

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Public Policy and Administration

Address:
West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Department of Public Policy and Administration
College of Business and Public Management
Fifth Floor
Business and Public Management Center
50 Sharpless Street
West Chester, PA 19383


Phone: 610-436-2438
Email: mpa@wcupa.edu

Name: Dr. Allison Turner
Position: Department Chair

Name: Lillian Miller
Position: Program Coordinator

Name: Abraham Sanchez
Position: Department Secretary


Facility and Directions

Academics

Master of Public Administration (MPA)

The Department of Public Policy & Administration is housed in the College of Business and Public Management at West Chester University and includes the Master of Public Administration program, the Doctor of Public Administration program and the Center for Social & Economic Policy Research. There are seven full-time faculty, a program coordinator and a program assistant.

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) is a professional degree that offers concentrations in general public policy and administration and Nonprofit Administration. We also offer graduate certificates, which can be coupled with the MPA general degree, in such areas as Urban and Regional Planning, Sports Management & Athletics, and Healthcare Management. The degree is designed to equip students with the skills necessary to enhance the field of public service through positions both inside and outside of government in the nonprofit and even private sector (e.g., as consultants to governmental organizations or as governmental service providers). The MPA curriculum provides students with a foundation in the practice of public administration. Beyond that, students earning the degree will possess a high level of competency in administrative processes for the public sector.The program currently offers online and face-to-face instruction

The degree is designed for individuals with professional work experience who desire to enhance their administrative and public management skills as well as pre-service students who do not have professional experience. Students who lack work experience will incorporate a relevant internship or other job experiences into their programs.

MPA Curriculum

(36-39 semester hours)

The curriculum consists of 18 semester hours in the public administration core, a 3 semester hour capstone and 15 semester hours in a selected concentration area:

  1. Administrative core (required): PPA 500, 501, 502, 503, 504, and 505 (18 semester hours)
  2. Elective courses or an optional area of concentration (15 semester hours)
  3. Capstone (3 semester hours)
  4. Internship (3 semester hours -- required for pre-service students)

In addition, those pursuing the general degree can earn a graduate certificate concurrently with their MPA such as a graduate certificate in Urban and Regional Planning, Sports Management & Athletics or Healthcare Management. Students pursuing full-time study (9 credit hours or more per semester) can complete the degree in two years (or even less if enrolled in available summer courses). Students needing to complete an internship will require additional time or will have to increase their number of credit hours in one semester to finish in two years.

Comprehensive Examination

No comprehensive examination is required for the administrative core. However, in lieu of an examination, each of the six administrative core courses must be completed with a grade of at least "B." In addition, all students are required to complete a Capstone Seminar that will serve as a culminating experience for the program as well as a required competencies portfolio.

Certificates

For students who do not wish to pursue a Master's degree but who are seeking to specialize in a specific area, we offer graduate certificates in the following areas:

  • Certificate in Nonprofit Administration
    The certificate in nonprofit administration is designed for those who desire to enhance their management and supervisory skills within the context of a nonprofit organization. To earn the certificate, students must complete the 12-semester-hour nonprofit administrative core (PPA 530, 531, 533, and 534) and six semester hours of nonprofit administration electives with a minimum grade of "B" in each course. Degree students in the MPA Nonprofit Management concentration also may apply for the certificate after completing the stated requirements.
  • Certificate in Public Administration
    The certificate in administration is designed for persons who desire to enhance their management and supervisory skills. To earn the certificate, students must complete the 18-semester hour administrative core (PPA 500, 501, 502, 503, 504, and 505) with a minimum grade of "B" in each course. Degree students in the MPA General Concentration may also apply for the certificate after completing the stated requirements.

Certificates are designed for persons who desire to enhance their management and supervisory skills in these particular areas. To earn the certificate, students must complete 18-semester hours with a minimum grade of "B" in each course. Those interested in the certificate option must follow and meet the same admissions criteria as master's degree students.

Core Courses

The following represents Administrative Core Courses for the MPA program.

*All are required for all MPA students

  • PPA 500 Foundations of Public Service
    Introduces students to the practice and discipline of public administration and the values of public service. Special emphasis is placed on the concepts of pursuing the public interest with accountability and transparency; serving professionally with competence, efficiency and objectivity; acting ethically to uphold the public trust; and demonstrating respect, equity and fairness in dealings with citizens and fellow public servants. Students are also introduced to the ethics of public administration and nonprofit organizations.
  • PPA 501 Research Methods in Public Administration
    Application of the logic of scientific methodology and research design construction to the practice and discipline of public administration. Emphasizes hypothesis development and testing, data collection, measurement problems and theory application.
  • PPA 502 Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation
    This course introduces students to the practice of policy analysis and program evaluation. Emphasis is placed on the applied nature of both. Students are introduced to both quantitative and qualitative methods of evaluation.
  • PPA 503 Public Budgeting and Finance
    This course introduces students to the principles and procedures of public budgeting and finance, with emphasis placed on the budgeting process.
  • PPA 504 Public Human Resource Management
    This course introduces students to human resource management in the public and nonprofit sectors. Topics include: federal and state employment laws, job analysis, recruitment and selection, performance evaluation, compensation and benefits, training and development, labor-management relations and human resource information technology.
  • PPA 505 Public Sector Organization Theory and Behavior
    This course introduces students to the study of organization theory within the context of the public sector. Issues of organization design and effectiveness are explored. Schools of thought include: classical, neoclassical, human resources, modern structural, organizational culture and open-systems theory.

Program Plans

  • MPA: General Degree
    This general degree is designed to equip students with the skills necessary to enhance the field of public service through positions both inside and outside of government in the nonprofit and even private sector, e.g., as consultants to governmental organizations or as governmental service providers. This program plan is designed for individuals with professional work experience who desire to enhance their administrative and public management skills as well as pre-service students who do not have professional experience. Students can pursue this option concurrently with a graduate certificate such as Urban and Regional Planning, Sports Management & Athletics and Healthcare Management.
  • MPA: Concentration in Nonprofit Administration
    This concentration is designed for those who want to enhance their knowledge of nonprofit administration. It is appropriate for individuals pursuing careers in a wide range of nonprofit fields, and is intended to provide a core set of skills and knowledge for people who desire to enhance their management and supervisory skills within the context of a nonprofit organization.

 

Five Year Fast Track

In just five years earn both your undergraduate and graduate degrees with WCU's Accelearted MPA Program. Note that all majors are eligible. You may still pursue a minor, a double minor, or even a double major under this plan since there are numerous slots for electives. You can also take 3-15 credits of internship under this plan.

  • Take six credits of graduate courses for undergraduate credit in your senior year. Upon completion of your bachelor's degree, these credit requirements will then be waived when you begin the MPA program.
  • Maintain at least a 3.0 GPA
  • Complete 12 credits (two courses during each summer session) of graduate coursework in the summer after you finish your bachelor's degree
  • Complete 9-12 credits per semester for one academic year to earn your MPA
  • At the end of five years, you will have both a Bachelor's and a Master's degree

Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)

The Doctor of Public Administration degree at West Chester University is designed to meet regional employer and student needs by preparing individuals to advance the practice of public affairs and administration at the highest levels. D.P.A. courses will focus on the development of core competencies in the areas of strategic management, public sector economic and financial decision-making, and policy advocacy and leadership. Through a sequence of three methodology courses, students will be prepared to engage in the highest levels of program and policy evaluation. The acquisition of methodological competence through the evaluation lens will assist students in identifying the most effective and efficient solutions to the problems they encounter in practice. In consultation with an advisor, concentration courses will be selected from among the departments of Public Policy & Administration, Criminal Justice, Geography and Planning, and Graduate Social Work. Finally, students will complete a series of capstone seminar courses where they produce a piece of applied scholarship that demonstrates a high level of competence in applying the DPA student learning outcomes to the solution of an actual organizational or public problem/issue.

DPA Curriculum

Curriculum Components

Doctoral Study (1 credit)

  • DPA 700 Pre-doctoral Seminar in Public Policy and Administration

Administration Core (12 credits)

  • DPA 701 Advanced Practice and Applied Theories of Public Policy and Administration
  • DPA 702 Strategic Public Management and Governance
  • DPA 703 Advanced Public Sector Economic and Financial Decision Making
  • DPA 704 Advocacy and Leadership in Public Policy and Administration

Methods Sequence (9 credits)

  • DPA 705 Research Design for Program and Policy and Evaluation
  • DPA 706 Quantitative Methods of Program and Policy and Evaluation
  • DPA 707 Qualitative Methods of Program and Policy and Evaluation

Concentration Electives (9 credits)

  • PPA/CRJ/GEO/GSW Concentration elective course
  • PPA/CRJ/GEO/GSW Concentration elective course
  • PPA/CRJ/GEO/GSW Concentration elective course

Capstone Seminar (12 credits)

  • DPA 801 Capstone Seminar I: Research Questions and Framing the Literature
  • DPA 802 Capstone Seminar II: Data and Measurements
  • DPA 803 Capstone Seminar III: Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis
  • DPA 804 Capstone Seminar IV: Findings and Recommendations

Concentration Electives

May be selected from among the following departments: public policy and administration, criminal justice, geography and planning, and graduate social work.

Link to graduate catalog: http://catalog.wcupa.edu/graduate/academic-policies-procedures/course-policies/

 

Comprehensive Examination & Capstone Seminar

Comprehensive Examination

DPA students must pass a comprehensive exam to graduate from the program. 

The Core Comprehensive Exam covers material from DPA 701, 702, 703, and 704, and can be taken after you have successfully completed these courses.  Students wishing to take the exam must notify the DPA Director of their intent to sit for the exam in writing at least 30 days prior to test date. Exams will take place 9 days before the start of the Fall and Spring semesters. 

The exam is comprised of four sections, with each section containing a question or questions related to the core courses.  (In other words, Section 1 of the exam will focus on DPA 701, Section 2 focuses on DPA 702, etc.). Your task is to demonstrate mastery and application of information, theories, and techniques learned in the core courses.  There is not a study guide for this exam and all material related to the course is fair game.  Students should focus their energies on the main topics and take-away points from their lessons. Once the exam questions are made available, students will have 9 days to submit the exam to the DPA Director.

Please note, even though the exams are open-book, you are highly encouraged to adequately prepare for the exam.  It is recommended that students devote at least 3 months to prepare to the exam.  The expectations surrounding this exam are extremely high, and it is unlikely that a student can produce sufficient responses in the allotted time without preparing for the exams.

You are encouraged to work with your peers to prepare the exam; but, remember that the exam must be completed individually and academic integrity rules apply.

Timeline and details related to the comprehensive exam:

Students will be notified of the results of their exam no later than 45 days after the submission date.

Students will receive a grade of Pass or Fail for each section of the exam.

If a student receives a grade of Fail on an exam section or the reviewing faculty find areas of the exam to be deficient in some way, students will be called in for an oral examination.  The oral exam can be completed virtually. The purpose of the oral exam is to provide the student the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of the subject matter that was not apparent in the written exam.  The outcome of the exam is as follows: faculty can award a grade of Pass; faculty can request a student rewrite a portion of the exam; or faculty can award a grade of Fail. 

If a student is requested to rewrite the exam, the exam must be submitted to the DPA Director within 30 days. The resubmitted exam will be reviewed by the original faculty and will be awarded a grade of Pass or Fail.  Students will not be given the opportunity to orally defend the resubmitted exam.

Students that received a Failing grade on the exam will have one opportunity to retake the exam at a later date.  If a student failed one section, they are only required to retake the portion of the exam they failed.  If a student failed two or more sections of the exam, they must retake the entire exam.  Receiving two consecutive failing grades on the comprehensive exam will result in dismissal from the DPA program.

Capstone Requirement

As you start to formulate ideas for your Capstone project, you will need to select an adviser from the department faculty.  This person will provide guidance on your Capstone project.  You will work with this person to establish a timeline for completion and expectations for the project.  Once you have selected your adviser, and this person has agreed to serve as your adviser, please notify the DPA Director as soon as possible.  You will not be eligible to enroll in Capstone courses until you have formally selected a Capstone Adviser

Each Capstone project will be defended to a committee of three members.  You will select this committee with the consultation of your adviser.  Two of your three committee members must be from the Department of Public Policy and Administration.  Your third member may be someone from outside the department or university.  The capstone defense may be conducted in person or virtually, depending on what is most convenient for the student and committee. 

Capstone 801, 802, 803, and 804 will be available in the Fall, Spring, and Summer.  You must enroll in all four courses to be eligible for graduation. Your Capstone adviser will give you recommendations as to when you should enroll in each Capstone course.  Make sure you enroll in correct Capstone course associated with the correct faculty member.

Students must successfully pass DPA 705 before they can take DPA 801 and/or 802.  Under the recommendation of their Capstone Adviser, students must have taken an appropriate methods course to enroll in DPA 803 and/ 804. 

Starting Fall 2016, students must formally defend a Capstone prospectus after completing DPA 802.  The prospectus is essentially a document that details the purpose of the study and a plan to carry out the study.  By successfully completing DPA 801 and 802 students should have the majority of the work completed for the prospectus defense; however, you will need to consult with your Capstone Adviser for details on getting your prospectus ready for a formal defense.  All committee members must sign off on your project before you will be eligible to enroll in DPA 803.

Capstone Director Form

Examining Committee Form

Course Descriptions

The following represents the main administration and methods courses for the DPA program.

DPA 700 Pre-doctoral Seminar in Public Policy and Administration (1 credit)
The pre-doctoral seminar explores the development of the doctorate of public administration. Issues of effective leadership in the practice of public policy and administration are explored. Special emphasis is placed on knowledge and theory application by those with advanced practice doctorates in the field.

DPA 701 Advanced Practice and Applied Theories of Public Policy and Administration (3 credits)
This course engages students in an advanced examination of the scope and theory of public administration. Emphasis is placed on how the evolution and diversification of public policy and administration theory has impacted practice. Coursework will train students in the identification and evaluation of lessons or knowledge derived from the theoretical literature.

DPA 702 Strategic Public Management and Governance (3 credits)
This course focuses on the key internal and external factors that drive strategic management and governance within the public sector. Issues related to the management of human capital in cooperation, collaboration, strategic planning and performance measurement within and among organizations are explored.

DPA 703 Advanced Public Sector Economic and Financial Decision Making (3 credits)
This course trains students on the use of economic and financial management tools and theories to evaluate the impact of public policies and fiscal decisions. Emphasis is placed on the application of economic and budget theory to financial decision making in the fields of public administration and policy. Particular attention is paid to economic and budgetary functions including: control, management, planning, policy and collaboration.

DPA 704 Advocacy and Leadership in Public Policy and Administration (3 credits)
This course highlights the unique role public administrators play in the formation and implementation of public policy. Students are trained in strategies and skills to influence public policy decision-making to maximize policy outcomes for the communities and individuals they serve.

DPA 705 Research Design for Program and Policy and Evaluation (3 credits)
This course covers proper design of empirical research. While research design is discussed broadly, an emphasis is placed on common quantitative and qualitative designs used by public sector practitioners. Topics covered in the course include issues related to proper measurement, sampling and data collection. Students will learn to track program and policy outcomes and establish causation.

DPA 706 Quantitative Methods of Program and Policy and Evaluation (3 credits)
This course introduces statistical theories and techniques commonly used by public sector managers in policy analysis and program evaluation. Topics include probability theory, statistical inference, and advanced statistical techniques such as multivariate regression, regression with limited dependent variables and time-series analysis.

DPA 707 Qualitative Methods of Program and Policy and Evaluation (3 credits)
This course prepares students to properly design and implement qualitative research techniques for policy analysis and program evaluation. Topics include case studies, interviewing, focus groups, participant observations, ethnography and document analysis.

DPA 801 Capstone Seminar I: Research Questions and Framing the Literature (3 credits)
The DPA Capstone Seminar is a series of four courses whereby students demonstrate mastery of required competencies through the completion of a final culminating independent applied research project. Capstone Seminar I is the first in this series of four courses designed to guide and support students in the identification of research questions and tracing the relevant literature.

DPA 802 Capstone Seminar II: Data and Measurements (3 credits)
The Capstone Seminar II is the second in the series of four courses designed to guide and support students in the identification and collection of data and the formulation of appropriation measurement techniques.

DPA 803 Capstone Seminar III: Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis (3 credits)
DPA Capstone Seminar III is the third course and is designed to guide and support students in the evaluation of data using both quantitative and qualitative methods.

DPA 804 Capstone Seminar IV: Findings and Recommendations (3 credits)
The Capstone Seminar IV is the final in this series of four courses designed to guide and support students in completing the capstone project by formulating findings and recommendations.