• dualdegreebanner

    MPA Course Descriptions

    Required Courses

    GPA 8000 Foundations in Public Administration
    This course introduces students to the professional study of public administration. The course provides a historical overview of American public administration and each of its significant subfields, as well as an introduction to contemporary reform efforts, both within and outside the public sector. Students learn to integrate their own experiences with key concepts in public administration and to use these experiences and concepts to plan the rest of their master's programs.

    GPA 8010 Professional Ethics
    This course explores selected theories of ethics and fundamental principles of ethical management, with a focus on practical approaches to dealing with ethical dilemmas across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

    GPA 8020 Organizational Theory and Behavior 
    This course examines the concepts, analytical tools, and personal skills relevant to the study of behavior in organizations. The course uses simulations, case studies, and discussion. It explores planned organizational change, the relationship between accomplishing tasks and fulfilling a mission, and other crucial topics in organizational life.

    GPA 8030 Public Fiscal Management 
    This course analyzes government revenue and expenditure policies, with an emphasis on the Minnesota state budgetary process. Topics include principles of public fiscal management, tax and spending systems, revenue sources, intergovernmental relations, and the administrative and political aspects of fiscal policy.

    GPA 8040 Public Policy Analysis 
    This course evaluates a variety of approaches and models used to analyze the making of public policy by examining the assumptions and limitations of each model. Current policy issues are explored. Each student designs and completes a significant research project on a selected public policy issue.

    GPA 8050 Human Resource Management for Government
    This course examines current case law, regulations, and trends that define and influence the personnel function. Topics include recruitment, selection, compensation, employee motivation, collective bargaining, organizational philosophies, and legislation and regulation.

    GPA 8061 Administrative Law 
    This course has been designed to be user-friendly to the non-lawyer and has as its goal to acquaint students with the fundamental principles and concepts of administrative law. Taught from a public administration perspective, the course provides students the opportunity to explore the interplay between and among politics, democracy, and bureaucracy; to examine bureaucracy's relationship to the legislative branch of government and to the courts; to learn about the administrative process at the local, state, and federal levels; to focus on the regulatory aspects of administrative law with particular attention to controlling risks, solving problems, and managing compliance; and to take a look at some contemporary substantive issues through the lens of administrative law.

    GPA 8070 Research Methods 
    |This course enhances students' management skills for becoming better customers of qualitative and quantitative research studies in work and non-work environments; for supervising the planning and conducting of research; and for dissecting and evaluating studies and reports.

    GPA 8490 Capstone Skills Development for Government  
    This class is the capstone for the MAPA degree. The capstone must be a student's last or second to last class in seeking the MAPA degree. Students cannot register for this class online. No departmental signature is required to register for this class. Registration for this class must be completed with a paper registration form found on the Registrar's Forms Page (use the Degree & Additional Licensure Registration Form).

    This course requires students to integrate the diverse materials mastered in the core program, formulate business recommendations, and communicate findings in oral and written form. In a series of structured simulations of contemporary problems commonly encountered by administrators, students receive the opportunity to practice managerial skills and demonstrate the leadership necessary for effective managerial performance.

    Elective Courses

    One elective course is required to complete the degree. The elective course can be from the public or private sector courses that are offered through the Hamline School of Business. Or a specific non-profit elective can be chosen. Listed below are some of the past elective courses.

    GPA 8120 Labor Relations
    This course offers a wide review of Labor Relations. The course assumes a general understanding of relationships between management and organized labor and other core graduate courses specifically organizational theory and human resource management. The instructional approach is in the survey form and will employ lecture, readings, guest speakers, student presentation, and case study to achieve its objectives. It is not intended to train students for specialized careers in labor relations in a single course, but to acquaint the student with the underlying values, systems, laws and procedures shaping Labor Relations and the pertinent topics affecting the workplace today.

    GPA 8130 Housing and Economic Policy 
    This course examines economic development theories and housing policies in the United States. Emphasis upon understanding how economic and housing markets operate and how national, state, and local governments can influence business investment and job development decisions and the construction and rehabilitation of housing for different populations.

    GPA 8201 Public Dispute Resolution
    This course is an introduction to the public policy formation and implementation process. Public organizations encounter many situations where negotiation skills and mediation training in a public context is useful. Neighborhood disputes, development issues or special interest concerns require public officials to negotiate and mediate between parties in order to reach consensus and resolution to different opinions and points of view. These skills are different than the typical policymaking and implementation training that most public officials are used to. In today’s world of public participation and citizen awareness, negotiation and mediation skills are essential.

    GPA 8221 Public Negotiation Skills Building
    This course is designed to give the student a working knowledge of the theory and practice of negotiations in various public sector settings. The course is structured to allow the student to spend considerable time in realistic role-play exercises and will cover employee to employee, labor and community interest group dispute resolution through the use of bargaining skills and tactics. Participants will be involved in team negotiations with other members of the class.

    GPA 8222 Public Mediation Skills Building 
    Conflict is not necessarily good or bad. Conflict can be dysfunctional, and it can be difficult and dangerous for personal, business, or institutional relationships. Conflict often requires a third party neutral to assist parties in resolving their disputes and in creating valuable and workable relationships after their disagreements. This course provides students with the basic skills to become a mediator, and it provides students with an understanding of common mediation principles and practices. Students will also learn how mediation fits into the broader area of Alternative Dispute Resolution.

    GPA 8223 Contemporary Social Policy Issues 
    This course is open to advanced master’s level students. This course examines the historical context, theoretical arguments, and political controversies surrounding current and emerging social policy issues. Consideration is given to the impacts of changing social policies on vulnerable populations, the delivery of health and human services, and society at large.

    GPA 8225 Critical Issues in Public Administration
    This course explores in-depth those changes that are likely to have the greatest impact on local government managers in today's environment. External factors such as changing demographics, rising citizens' expectations, and the evolving nature of federalism will be examined as context for how effective managers must now respond. Several important internal issues such as how to motivate the new work force, how to determine the costs and benefits of technology in service delivery, and governing body expectations for successful managers will also be covered.

    GPA 8228 Public Arbitration Skills Building 
    This course is designed to make students familiar and comfortable with arbitration as a dispute resolution process in the public sector. Students will have a chance to participate in several scripted arbitration proceedings that will give them knowledge of the legal requirements and tactical underpinnings of this common workplace process. Employees will be made aware of the State Statutes governing public employee disputes and will become familiar with both salary and discipline arbitration proceedings.

    GPA 8230 Municipal County Administration
    This course is a survey of contemporary issues facing municipalities specifically in Minnesota and generally in the upper Midwest. The semester will explore the practicalities and politics of managing a municipal organization using a variety of current practitioners in the field. Areas of concentration will include: community roles and power structures, city council and staff relations, public safety and public works issues, land use and community development, employee relations, finance, legal authority and emerging issues of governance and the role of citizen participation. Students currently will find this class a good way to acquire a broad-based understanding of municipal operations and the complexities of this occupational field.

    GPA 8233 Social Policy Administration
    This course is designed to look at the administration and implementation of social and human services policies at the agency/street level. Students will have the opportunity to concentrate on the policy analysis, evaluation, development, and implementation implications surrounding the provision of social services, especially in relation to our ever-growing, culturally diverse community. Course activities will include on-site meetings with community groups and work with local social service agencies. Through course readings, community focus groups, on-line discussion, an analysis of census data, direct engagement with community groups, and other classroom events, the student will have the opportunity to assess and increase her/his own knowledge of issues surrounding implementation and administration of social programs as well as improving understanding of cultural competency issues.

    GPA 8235 Strategic Planning and Decision Making in the Public Sector 
    The first half of the course is a survey of strategic planning, to include: organization of the planning process; the mission statement; analysis of environmental strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis); and identifying strategic issues or goals. We will also review the effectiveness of strategic planning in government. Students will examine strategic plans and work in teams on planning exercises. As strategic planning should lead to decision making in an organization, the second half of the course is on normative and behavioral decision making. Several normative models of decision making are introduced and contrasted with findings from psychological research and behavioral decision theory on how individuals and groups make decisions in practice. Research shows that people often do not think in the best way or make the best decisions to reach their own goals. Topics include utility theory, expert systems, Kohlberg’s stages of moral thinking, and the effectiveness of individual versus group decision making. Psychological biases are shown to occur in probability estimation, hypothesis testing, preference reversals, framing effects, and risk avoidance.

    GPA 8250 Legislative Practicum
    An in-depth exploration of how the state legislative processes operates and how knowledge of the law-making process is critical to public policy management and advocacy. The course will employ reading, discussion, guest presenters, on-site visits, and a project that requires students to follow a bill from start to finish.

    GPA 8260 Alternative Service Delivery 
    This course is open to advanced master’s level students. State and local governments are facing their worst fiscal crises in years. As a result, public officials in Minnesota and across the United States are seeking either more cost effective or alternative ways to deliver public services, including the employment of what President Bush calls "faith-based initiatives." This course examines the theoretical underpinnings, debates, and track record of the various alternatives to delivery public services. Topics include: privatization, vouchers, contracting out, public/private and public/nonprofit partnerships, and the use of market incentives and competition to improve service delivery. We shall also examine several policy areas where alternative means to deliver services have been tried or advocated including criminal justice, education, health care, welfare, energy, and transportation.

    GPA 8440 Social Demographics
    This course will look at some of the details impacting our society and specifically how immigration, aging, and policy converge in our society and ultimately in our policymaking. Any one of the three issues covered in this course could be a separate, semester long course. This course covers basic concepts present in each of the three areas.

    GPA 8498 Business of the Media 
    The media play an enormous role in society, yet the system is so rapidly changing, diverse, complex and controversial that it often defies public understanding. This course seeks to raise the level of understanding, particularly of the disruptive forces that are reshaping the media business; to illustrate the growth of information and of the ways in which it is distributed; to study how the interests of the media coincide or conflict with those of other sectors; to examine the strengths and shortcomings of various branches of the media; and to show how the media can be used more effectively to build capacity for critical thinking and as a source of continuing education.

    GPA 8498 Issues of Government Contracting  
    The course includes practices, laws, political, fiscal and ethical issues involved in contracting and privatization of all levels of government services. We will examine and discuss federal contracts, particularly the controversial contracts used in Iraq, and all state contracting issues with a focus on controversial medical, technological, road and bridge contractors. Students will be able to better understand, create, manage, identify, implement and/or provide oversight for government or business contracts. Students will recognize ethical and legal challenges as well and be able to differentiate between services that can be safely and cost-effectively contracted from those that may be more appropriately performed within government. In general, students will be able to compare privately versus publicly performed government-financed services.

    GPA 8498 Introduction to Planning
    Planning for the future is a core function in many organizations. This course will provide an overview of the field of planning. It seeks to understand what planning is, why organizations plan, and how this process contrasts with budgeting and other management tools. Special emphasis will be placed on the role of planning in land use, housing, and other policy areas.

    GPA 8522 E-Government 
    This course uses information, computing and telecommunications to transform government performance. This course describes six types of e-government activity, identifies major functions for which e-government is used, and works through a strategic approach using e-government at state and local government and nonprofit organizations.

    GPA 8523 Contemporary Social Policy Issues 
    This course examines the historical context, theoretical arguments, and political controversies surrounding current and emerging social policy issues. It considers the impacts of changing social policies on vulnerable populations, the delivery of health and human services, and society at large.

    GPA 8524 Housing and Economic Development Policy
    This course examines economic development theories and housing policies in the United States. Emphasis upon understanding how economic and housing markets operate and how national, state, and local governments can influence business investment and job development decisions and the construction and rehabilitation of housing for different populations. This course first provides an overview on how economic and housing markets function. The discussion will include discussion of basic principles of macro- and microeconomics and then analysis of specific views of economic development, including export base, core-periphery, and locational theories. The course then provides specific analysis and evaluation of the different policies and techniques governments have used to secure economic and housing goals. Among the techniques examined will be: tax incentives and TIFs, bonding, public subsidies, public/private partnerships, infrastructure development, and direct government investment in, or ownership of housing and economic development entities.

    GPA 8527 Alternative Service Delivery 
    State and local governments are facing their worst fiscal crises in years. As a result, public officials in Minnesota and across the United States are seeking either more cost effective or alternative ways to deliver public services, including the employment of what President Bush calls "faith-based initiatives." This course examines the theoretical underpinnings, debates, and track record of the various alternatives to delivery public services. Topics include: privatization, vouchers, contracting out, public/private and public/nonprofit partnerships, and the use of market incentives and competition to improve service delivery. We shall also examine several policy areas where alternative means to deliver services have been tried or advocated including criminal justice, education, health care, welfare, energy, and transportation.

    GPA 8600 Strategic Planning and Decision Making in the Public Sector 
    The first half of the course is a survey of strategic planning, to include: organization of the planning process; the mission statement; analysis of environmental strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis); and identifying strategic issues or goals. The effectiveness of strategic planning in government is also examined. Students will examine strategic plans and work in teams on planning exercises. As strategic planning should lead to decision making in an organization, the second half of the course is on normative and behavioral decision making. Several normative models of decision making are introduced and contrasted with findings from psychological research and behavioral decision theory on how individuals and groups make decisions in practice. Research shows that people often do not think in the best way or make the best decisions to reach their own goals. Topics include utility theory, expert systems, Kohlberg’s stages of moral thinking, and the effectiveness of individual versus group decision making. Psychological biases are shown to occur in probability estimation, hypothesis testing, preference reversals, framing effects, and risk avoidance. Doctoral students will lead discussions and write papers on assigned topics.