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Public Administration

M.P.A. - Masters in Public Administration

Program Purpose

The Master of Public Administration Program at University of West Georgia is a professional degree program that relates academic study to administrative practice. The curriculum is designed for those individuals who are either now in the public service or who are seeking a career in government or nonprofit agencies. The MPA program is designed: (1) to augment the skills and knowledge of those already in the public service; (2) to provide a professional graduate degree program to meet the growing need for many additional skilled, knowledgeable public administrators; (3) to encourage students to pursue careers in government by providing public administration education; and (4) to equip superior students for research and study at the doctoral level.

Program Mission Statement

The mission of the MPA program is providing service to the West Georgia region by:

  1. Improving the knowledge and skills of in-service managers and preparing a lesser number of pre-service students for management roles or further study.
    Objectives:
    • Promote the understanding of public service values, ethics, democracy and constitutional principles.
    • Teach generalist public management knowledge and skills.
    • Develop the student’s ability to integrate theory and practice.
  2. Engaging in activities that promote the public service.
    Objectives:
    • Interaction with the public through service activities.
    • Forums and presentations on community needs.
    • Student involvement in service activities.
  3. Conducting research that contributes to knowledge about public activities.
    Objectives:
    • Scholarly research.
    • Technical writing and reports.
    • Student involvement in research activity.
Learning Outcomes

MPA students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  1. Public service values including ethics, democracy and constitutional principles.
  2. Generalist management techniques and skills.
  3. The linkage between theory and practice.
The Curriculum

The MPA program at the University of West Georgia requires the completion of 36 graduate course credits. Students with inadequate preparation at the Bachelor's level will be required to take POLS 5200, Principles in Public Administration.

A Core of 7 courses (21 hrs) is required of all MPA students: Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation, Research Methods, Organizational Theory, Personnel Administration, Budgeting, Administrative Law, and Public Administration Theory.

MPA Degree Requirements

The core curriculum includes the following topics as they relate to the public sector (21 hours)

The Elective Track (9 hurs): With the approval of the program advisor, each student must select 9 hours beyond the core courses.  The track courses can be taken from a variety of departments.  Generally, electives should form a coherent whole.  Examples of track emphases include planning, management, and particular areas of public policy. 

The Professional Seminar (6 hours) normally will be taken over two semesters at the completion of the student's degree program. For those not employed in the public service, it includes a three-month internship in a governmental agency under the joint supervision of the agency supervisor and a faculty advisor. A research paper on the internship or agency of employment for the in-service student will be required. The paper will analyze an actual problem which confronts the student's agency, describe the problem-solving and decision-making processes involved in solving the problem, and evaluate the supportive evidence for the decision made. Finally, the paper will evaluate linkages between the internship or work experience, classroom experiences, and public administration literature. An oral defense of this paper before each student's committee is required.

The Program responds to the changing public service environment through: an innovative curriculum, faculty scholarship and service, links to professional organizations, interaction with governmental agencies, and a commitment to state of-the-art technology. Courses are regularly offered in the evening hours, one night per week at the main campus in Carrollton. Courses are also taught at the University of West Georgia Center in Newnan.

Coordination with the Public Sector

The MPA program faculty have demonstrated their continuing concern over the practicality of the program by establishing an MPA Advisory Board. The MPA Advisory Board is composed of alumni, practitioners at federal, state, and local levels of government, and current students. The Board serves as an advisory body for program activities including the following: (1) Curriculum development; (2) Program improvement; (3) Liaison and networking for program graduates; and (4) Career development.

Assessment Plan