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Master of Public Affairs Curriculum - Common Core Courses

P A 384C - Public Management

3 credit hours

This course provides substantive instruction in administrative policymaking and implementation. It is usually taken during the first year. Students are introduced to the role and method of administration in meeting policy expectations, resolving issues, responding to new requirements, and evaluating performance. The course covers the following topics: organization structure and bureaucracy, management issues and processes, managerial psychology, managing diversity, leadership, strategic planning, interorganizational relations, administrative law, human resource management, labor relations, personnel administration, performance measurement, program evaluation, information management, and ethics of public service. Each section of the course uses a different aspect of public administration or public management to emphasize these topics. The objectives of the course are achieved by using case studies, simulation exercises, class visitors, and practical exercises which complement the assigned readings and class discussions.

P A 391 - Public Financial Management

3 credit hours

This course provides a basic understanding of the financial activities of governments at all levels in the United States. It is usually taken during the first year. The course acquaints students with the purposes, characteristics, processes, and operations of financial management systems and develops their capabilities to analyze financial operations, coordinate such operations with relevant public policies and programs, and effectively manage the financial resources of public entities. Topics in the course include: the economic, political, and administrative environment of financial management systems and operations; budgeting theory and practice--including program and performance budgets; accounting and internal control; financial reporting; auditing--financial and performance; debt management; capital budgeting; treasury and cash management; and revenue/tax administration.

P A 393K - Applied Microeconomics for Policy Analysis

3 credit hours

This course covers microeconomic policy analysis and is usually taken during the first year. It acquaints students with the ways in which economic analysis bears on public policy issues. Students learn to identify the relevant economic analyses for their strengths and weaknesses in relation to the economic principles involved, and to comprehend and assess what professional economists can contribute to the public sector. The first portion of the course covers microeconomic theory with particular emphasis on determining price and output under perfect competition and other forms of market structure; general equilibrium and welfare theory; and the concept of market failure, including public goods, externalities, and imperfect market structure. The second portion of the course provides a rigorous coverage of the methodology of cost-benefit analysis and demonstrates its application through examination of specific case studies.

P A 397 - Introduction to Empirical Methods for Policy Analysis

3 credit hours

This course helps students develop an understanding of how basic quantitative tools are used in policy analysis. The major concepts discussed include modeling, optimization, sensitivity analysis, statistical inference, estimation, and prediction. These concepts are covered in the context of applications such as constrained decisionmaking based on calculus and on linear programming; policy choices with probabilistic information; evaluating and updating information with Bayesian techniques; estimating the impact of policy factors using regression models; and practical methods for forecasting. As the first course in the quantitative sequence, the emphasis is on broad exposure of techniques and appreciation of their contributions as well as their limitations in policymaking. Students must have fulfilled prerequisites in college-level algebra, calculus, and statistics before enrolling in this course. It is usually taken during the fall semester of the first year.