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Master of Public Affairs
The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs is housed in Sid Richardson Hall, adjacent to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum. The Edie and Lew Wasserman Public Affairs Library operates a media facility and offers access to computerized data sources in addition to its 86,000-volume collection in law and policy science. The library is a federal documents depository; this collection and collections of Canadian, Texas, and city documents give researchers access to reports on paper, fiche, and CD-ROM.
The school's computation center maintains a Microcomputer Laboratory and terminal facilities with interactive access to the Internet and to the University's academic computing network. The laboratory is reserved for public affairs students and is available twenty-four hours a day.
Graduate study in public affairs is interdisciplinary, research oriented, and built around public policy problems. While there is no concentration requirement, students may elect to organize their study around fields such as social policy and human resources, international policy, urban and metropolitan policy, environmental and regulatory policy, and strategic management and governance. Depending on his or her qualifications, a student can pursue the Master of Public Affairs degree through the regular program, a joint program, or the executive-midcareer option. The master's degree program provides students with the skills and understanding required for effective professional performance in developing and implementing public policies. The doctoral degree program in public policy is a research-oriented program designed to give the student substantial knowledge of one or more disciplines, an understanding of the policy process, and technical mastery of advanced research skills. It is intended to develop research scholars and university teachers who can make substantive contributions to our understanding of complex public policy problems and who can conduct research in multidisciplinary settings.
Admission decisions are made by the Admissions and Financial Aid Committee. The committee considers an applicant's academic and employment records, his or her scores on the Graduate Record Examinations General Test, three letters of recommendation from professors or employers, and an essay in which the applicant expresses an interest in a public affairs career. A sample of the applicant's writing is also required.
While there are no prescribed course prerequisites, students entering the master's degree program are expected to have completed coursework in three areas: mathematics and statistics, economics, and American government. Many students find it useful to take a review course in college algebra or calculus the summer before entering the program. Applicants to the doctoral degree program must have a graduate degree from a policy-related academic or professional program.
Additional information on degree requirements and the application process is available from the Office of Student and Alumni Programs.
Master of Public Affairs
The curriculum for the Master of Public Affairs consists of fifty-three semester hours of credit. It combines courses in policy development, political economy, quantitative research methods, and management with a practical applications sequence that includes an agency internship and client-oriented policy research projects; it also allows the student to develop an area of specialization. A typical program of study includes seven one-semester core courses, two policy research projects, a twelve-week internship completed between the first and second years, three electives, and a professional report. The student must fulfill all academic requirements within six years of his or her entrance into the Master of Public Affairs degree program.
Most students are admitted to the regular program, which they are generally expected to complete in two years of full-time study. A student who cannot attend full-time may choose to complete the regular program on a part-time basis; the applicant must submit a written request for admission on a part-time basis when he or she applies for admission to the regular program. A student enrolled in the regular program full-time may be allowed, for good reason, to change to part-time status.
Each year a small number of applicants with substantial work experience are admitted to the executive-midcareer program. In general, an applicant should have ten years of experience, including at least five years in substantive policy-level or administrative positions related to the public sector. The applicant must submit a written request for admission to the executive-midcareer program when he or she applies for admission to the school; the request must be accompanied by supporting material detailing the applicant's public service and policy-level work experience. The midcareer student must earn at least thirty-five semester hours of credit in public affairs.
In cooperation with the following divisions of the University, the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs offers programs leading to both the Master of Public Affairs and another degree. Each joint program allows the student to earn two degrees simultaneously in less time than it would take to earn them separately.
School of Law, Doctor of Jurisprudence
College of Engineering, Master of Science in Engineering
Graduate School of Business, Master of Business Administration
College of Communication, Master of Arts with a major in advertising, journalism, radio-television-film, or speech communication
Language and Area Center for Latin American Studies, Master of Arts with a major in Latin American Studies
Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Master of Arts with a major in Middle Eastern studies
Center for Asian Studies, Master of Arts with a major in Asian studies
Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Master of Arts with a major in Russian,East European, and Eurasian studies
Students seeking admission to a joint program must apply through the Graduate and International Admissions Center; those seeking admission to the MPAff/JD program must also apply separately to the School of Law. The student must be accepted by each individual program in order to be admitted to the joint program.
Doctor of Philosophy
Each doctoral degree student pursues an individual program of study approved by his or her advisory committee. A typical program consists of at least thirty semester hours of coursework beyond the master's degree (in addition to the dissertation course) and includes supporting work in courses outside public affairs. The supporting work is intended to deepen the student's understanding of a discipline and its application to public policy.
In addition to the dissertation courses, required courses include Public Affairs 390C, 391C, and 392C. This sequence is designed to move the student from a disciplinary to a multidisciplinary approach to public policy by developing his or her understanding of the theoretical and methodological contributions of individual disciplines and professions to public policy. A student without a graduate degree from a policy-related academic or professional program may be required to complete supplementary coursework in addition to the number of hours required for the doctoral degree. This coursework is intended to ensure that the student has adequate skills and knowledge before beginning doctoral degree work.
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Mailing address: Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin, P O Drawer Y, Austin, Texas 78713-8925