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Public Administration and Public Policy - MPA, PhD, Graduate Certificates

Degree Program:

Graduate Certificates:

The Department of Political Science offers the Master of Public Administration (MPA), and the PhD in Public Administration and Public Policy is offered jointly by the Auburn University Department of Political Science and the Auburn University at Montgomery Department of Political Science and Public Administration. Graduates from the MPA program are employed as managers, planners, and directors in city, state, and local government agencies and federal government programs; they also serve as program officers, development directors, executive directors, and senior administrators in local and national nonprofit organizations. The Department of Political Science also offers two graduate certificates: Graduate Certificate in NonProfit Organizations and Community Governance and Graduate Certificate in Elections Administration.

For more information about the MPA program, see http://www.cla.auburn.edu/polisci/graduate-programs/mpa/.

For more information about the PhD program, see http://www.cla.auburn.edu/polisci/graduate-programs/phd-in-public-administration-and-public-policy/.

Master of Public Administration

The Department of Political Science offers the MPA. It is a professional degree program for leadership in public service at all levels of government as well as in nonprofit organizations. The program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration. Highly qualified students may pursue concurrently the Master of Community Planning.

Application Process

Applicants for the MPA must have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from an accredited college or university. The General Test of the Graduate Record Examination is required. The admissions committee will evaluate the undergraduate transcripts, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, a writing sample, and any public sector experience in government agencies or nonprofit organizations. The program is not limited to political science majors, but successful applicants who have little background in public sector institutions and processes may be required to take additional courses.

Applicants should ensure these materials are sent to the Graduate School web application:

  • Official scores from the General Test of the GRE
  • Official transcripts from every institution attended
  • Other information listed in the application

Web applications are located at: https://web.auburn.edu/GWAAP/default.aspx.

Applicants should ensure these materials are sent to the graduate program officer for the MPA program in the Department of Political Science:

  • Personal statement of purpose in pursuing the MPA degree
  • Three letters of professional or academic recommendation
  • Writing sample

Send materials to:

MPA Program Administrator
Masters of Public Administration Program
Department of Political Science
8030 Haley Center
Auburn University, AL 36849
Telephone inquiries, call 334.844.5371

Degree Requirements

Students have to comply with four prerequisites to be considered for the MPA program. Once they are admitted, the program requires 42 semester hours and a portfolio. Eight core courses for a total of 24 hours credit are required of all students. Students take an additional 12 hours of electives in either public administration, broadly conceived, or an approved concentration in a related administrative field or policy area. The final 6 credit hours consist of either an administrative internship in a governmental agency or nonprofit organization or participation in a research project pertaining to the public sector. Students without substantial public sector experience will complete an internship, while those who have prior experience will likely complete a research project and paper.

Details about the requirements are provided below.

Prerequisites
Competency Measure
EnglishVerbal GRE of at least 150, writing sample, or a course in advanced composition
MathQuantitative GRE of at least 141 or course in college mathematics
United States GovernmentUndergraduate course or experience
EconomicsUndergraduate course
Microcomputer applicationsUndergraduate course or demonstrated competence

Students who have not satisfied these competencies before they enter the program may take them concurrently with MPA courses. It is important to complete the prerequisites as soon as possible to gain full benefit of the regular MPA courses.

Core Curriculum (24 Hours)
POLI 7000Research Methods3
POLI 7140Public Budgeting3
POLI 7150Public Personnel Administration3
POLI 7260Organizational Theory and Administrative Behavior3
POLI 7330Seminar in Administrative Leadership, Responsibility, and Democratic Government3
POLI 7350Seminar in Public Administration3
POLI 7360Seminar in Policy and Administration3
POLI 7520Program Evaluation3
Practical Experience through Internship or Applied Research Project (6 hours)

The program requires a total of 6 credit hours of internship and/or applied research. Students without significant prior public sector experience take an internship (). Students with direct experience with government agencies or nonprofit organizations will likely complete an approved research project (POLI 7930 MPA Research Project), although they may take an internship with the approval of the MPA director. Students may also design a combined internship and research project with the approval of the MPA director.

Electives (12 hours)

The MPA requires 12 credits of electives. This requirement may be fulfilled in any one of the three following ways:

  • By taking 12 credits of classes approved by the MPA director that support the generalist public administration curriculum
  • By completing the Dual MPAMCP Degree with Community Planning
  • By completing one of the following two formal specializations:Graduate Certificate in Elections Administration or Graduate Certificate in Non-Profit Organizations and Community Governance
Portfolio

Successful completion of the degree includes preparation and presentation of the MPA Portfolio to MPA core faculty. The MPA Portfolio demonstrates mastery of the competencies established by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.

The MPA Portfolio reviews are scheduled typically in the final semester of course work. Students who do not pass the MPA Portfolio review have one additional opportunity to present their material to MPA faculty in the following fall or spring semester.

PhD in Public Administration and Public Policy

POLI 8000Doctoral Seminar in Public Administration3
POLI 8010Research Design and Analysis3
POLI 8990Research and Dissertation10
GRAD TRANPUAD 7020: Public Policy Seminar from AUM3
GRAD TRANPUAD 7060: Policy Research and Analysist from AUM3
POLI 6000-899953 Hours of Advisor Aprroved Courses53

The PhD in Public Administration and Public Policy is offered jointly by Auburn University’s Department of Political Science and Auburn University at Montgomery’s Department of Political Science and Public Administration. Only students with master’s degrees from accredited universities or colleges will be considered for the AU/AUM joint PhD program. Applicants having an insufficient background in public administration and public policy may be required to take additional prerequisite courses as determined by the admissions committee.

Application Process

Applicants must submit transcripts, a CV or resume, a statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, and GRE scores. Normally, scores of approximately 150 on the verbal, 150 on the quantitative, and 4.5 on the writing sections of the GRE are expected for admission.

Applicants should ensure these materials are sent to the Graduate School web application:

  • Official scores from the General Test of the GRE
  • Official transcripts from every institution attended

Applicants should ensure these materials are sent to the PhD administrators in the Department of Political Science:

  • CV or resume
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose

For more information, see the website for the PhD in Public Administration.

Requirements

The PhD curriculum includes core courses, a research methodology sequence, the student’s choice of either the Public Administration or Public Policy track, and a series of electives where students develop expertise in chosen area of specialization. Details about the requirements for both tracks are given below.

Core Courses

All students in the program take the core courses in Public Administration and Public Policy.

Research Methodology Courses

Students will take a three-course methodology sequence covering a broad scope of political inquiry, research design, qualitative methods, and quantitative analysis. Students must earn a grade of A or B in each of the methodology courses before they can progress to the general comprehensive exams.

Tracks

The PhD program has two tracks, Public Administration and Public Policy. Students are required to take at least three courses within the track they choose. For the Public Administration track, required courses are as follows: public finance, human resource management, and organizational theory. For the Policy track, students should choose three of the following five courses: American politics and public policy, comparative politics and public policy, international relations and public policy, political theory and public policy, and public law and public policy.

Electives

The other five courses are chosen in consultation with the student’s advisory committee. These electives should help the student develop expertise in a particular area of specialization.

Minimum Credit Requirements

Hours of formal PhD course work39
Minimum hours of formal course work at each campus9
Hours of dissertation credit10
Total hours for PhD course work49
Hours needed past bachelor's degree75

Comprehensive Exams, Oral Exams, and Dissertation Defense

During the spring or fall semester after the course work is completed, students take comprehensive exams administered by the department. The exams will consist of sections testing core and track knowledge as well as one section focusing on students’ areas of specialization. Students will have two opportunities to pass the comprehensive exams and must pass each written examination before scheduling the oral examination. Upon successful completion of the comprehensive exams, students should prepare a prospectus to present to their dissertation committee during their oral examinations. Admission to doctoral candidacy is contingent upon successful completion of all elements of the written and oral doctoral exams. After completion of the dissertation, the students must pass a final oral examination defending their dissertation work before their committee and a University Reader approved by the Graduate School.

Graduate Certificates

Two graduate certificates are offered in public administration and public policy: Graduate Certificate in Elections Administration and Graduate Certificate in NonProfit Organizations and Community Governance.

Application Process

Applications for graduate certificates include the same items as applications for the MPA degree with the exception that GRE scores are not required.

Applicants should ensure these materials are sent to the Graduate School web application:

  • Official transcripts from every institution attended
  • Other information listed in the application

Graduate Certificate in Elections Administration

Required Classes

These courses are required for the Graduate Certificate in Elections Administration.  Corresponding 5000-level classes taken as an undergraduate fulfill the graduate certificate requirement but do not count toward the 42 graduate credits needed for the MPA. Substitutions require permission of MPA Director.

POLI 6150Intergovernmental Relations and Federalism3
POLI 6170Election Law3
POLI 6270Election Administration3
Select two courses from the list below:6
Special Topics
Administrative Law
Theory and Practice of Mediation
Nonprofit Management
State Politics
Seminar in Administrative Leadership, Responsibility, and Democratic Government

Graduate Certificate in NonProfit Organizations and Community Governance

Required Classes

These courses are required for the Graduate Certificate in NonProfit Organizations and Community Governance.  Corresponding 5000-level classes taken as an undergraduate fulfill the graduate certificate requirement but do not count toward the 42 graduate credits needed for the MPA. Substitutions require permission of MPA Director.

POLI 6370Nonprofit Management3
POLI 6550Issues in Public Administration1-3
POLI 7920MPA Internship3-6
or POLI 7930 MPA Research Project
Select two courses from the list below:6
Administrative Law
Theory and Practice of Mediation
State Politics
Seminar in Administrative Leadership, Responsibility, and Democratic Government
Program Evaluation