Graduate Public Administration Course Descriptions


PA-501. Introduction to Public Administration and Service. 3 Credits.

Students will learn how to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public sector and non-profit institutions by exploring and applying key paradigms in public administration and organizational behavior. By studying the factors that motivate economic and political behavior, students will learn how to formulate practical plans and strategies to help solve social problems. Studying organizational culture will expose forces that are critical in understanding how to implement change. This course will include an analysis of complex cases that relate to the evolving relationships between the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

PA-510. Ethics and Society. 3 Credits.

Students survey ancient, modern, and contemporary normative frameworks and methods of ethical inquiry. These normative frameworks, derived from moral philosophy, moral theology, and political philosophy, will be engaged to critically question urgent and contemporary social matters and policies. Case studies of ethical leadership and professional ethics will provide models of right thinking and conduct within the professions. Finally, inquiry will be made into how we might understand the common good as well as how to work to achieve it.

PA-511. Internship (Domestic or International). 3 Credits.

Designed to provide students the opportunity to utilize their academic study with exposure to public sector and/or non-profit environment(s). This experience provides students greater understanding of the practical challenges faced by public sector and non-profit entities. Prerequisites: PA-501 PA-510 PA-520 PA-540.

PA-512. Sustainability in Public Administration. 3 Credits.

How can we endure in the face of environmental degradation, climate change, and resource limitations? These questions are integral to the university's commitment to inspire students to lead ethically, serve compassionately and promote justice in our ever-changing urban and global environment. The class will look at the roots of past environmental disasters, as well as alternative responses to avoid future crises. Much of the work in this class will be with local government and/or community advocacy organizations. Prerequisites: PA-501.

PA-513. Advanced Independent Study in Public Admistration. 3 Credits.

PA-514. Health Care Issues. 3 Credits.

By 2020, health care spending (including public, non-profit and private resources) will average almost $14,000 for every man, woman and child. This course will explore ways that government and non-profit organizations can prevent diseases and improve health care in more efficient and equitable ways. Students will study the development, structure, and current issues associated with the delivery and utilization of health services. Health care topics covered include regulation, financing, insurance, and ethics along with a special emphasis on serving low-income communities.

PA-515. Leadership and Organizational Change. 3 Credits.

This course provides the framework and skills that are critical to leading organizations in an environment of new information technologies, globalization, rising expectations, and shifting demographics. Leadership entails making decisions, setting direction, mobilizing people, developing the capacity of actors, and adapting to changes that emerge along the way. Leaders must implement changes in a web of complex, multi-organizational environments. This class will prepare future public sector and non-profit leaders to navigate the political processes and institutions in which changes must be evaluated and implemented.

PA-520. Research and Analytic Methods. 3 Credits.

A variety of research methods can be used to evaluate public programs, inform policy decisions, determine operating and capital requirements, and track the performance of existing programs. This class focuses on selecting and using appropriate methodologies, as well as assessing and communicating the strengths and weaknesses of completed research work. Students will learn tools and techniques that are needed to identify, utilize and interpret research; make informed decisions; and develop recommendations to other public administrators.

PA-530. Public Sector Finance and Budget. 3 Credits.

This course examines how governments obtain and spend financial resources. Students explore the socio-economic and political forces that shape the fiscal environment within which governments operate, as well as the fiscal relationship between local, state, and federal governments. Students will become familiar with the tools and methods used to determine, create, and analyze government tax and major expenditure policies. Key concepts that will be covered include budgeting, revenue sources, cost controls, and financial issues relating to public sector and non-profit institutions.

PA-540. Management and Conflict Resolution. 3 Credits.

This course focuses on models, qualities and characteristics of management and leadership within the public and non-profit sectors. Students will explore concepts of strategic management, team building, shared vision, pluralism, empowerment, agenda setting, and human resource management. Central to this class is the examination of how disputes are resolved from the perspectives of management, law, government, media, labor and the public.

PA-550. Quantitative Methods for Public Administration. 3 Credits.

Public administrators need a solid understanding of statistical concepts and their actual applications. Rather than tedious number crunching and incomprehensible data manipulation, students in this course learn how statistics is really about creative information gathering and analysis. Statistical processes and procedures allow students to extract gems of information from tangled spools of data. Statistics also make it possible for public administrators to see beyond the often chaotic surface, get to the heart of the matter, and make decisions based upon quantitative data. Prerequisites: PA-520.

PA-555. Public Policy. 3 Credits.

Students will study the "who, what, when, where, and why" of the public policy making process by examining specific policy dilemmas and the roles of relevant institutions and actors. The various stages of the policy making process will be explored including defining problems, identifying policy options, evaluating alternatives, and making decisions. The complex inter-relationship between various levels of government, the non-profit and the private sectors will be highlighted. As part of a semester-long assignment, students will identify a local public policy problem and then evaluate potential alternatives to help solve the problem. Prerequisites: PA-501 PA-510 PA-520 PA-530 PA-540.

PA-560. Community Organizing and Development. 3 Credits.

Community organizing is the way people get together to bring about positive change in their lives and their communities. From potholes and litter to jobs and housing, local residents come together to improve their neighborhoods. Community organizing has been and always will be an essential tool to improving the quality of life of people and communities. In this course, through case studies and semester-long neighborhood-based projects, students will learn how community organizing and community development can be effective ways to improve people's lives. Prerequisites: PA-501 PA-510 PA-520 PA-540.

PA-565. Seminar in Social Justice. 3 Credits.

This seminar in social justice introduces the student to principles and public practices of social justice on local, national and global levels. It will think through the social construction of injustice and oppression as well offering frameworks for empowerment and social justice. Once the foundational work is completed in the seminar, students will engage in intensive and specialized readings in areas such as inequality, impoverishment, climate change, racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, etc. as well as in social movements, nonviolent social change, etc. Prerequisites: PA-501 PA-510 PA-520 PA-530 PA-540.

PA-570. Managing Information Technology. 3 Credits.

Information Technology (IT) competency is crucial for 21st century public sector and non-profit managers. IT can improve an organization's efficiency and help meet stakeholders' high expectations for timely and relevant information. In this course, students will learn how public administrators can effectively manage both IT projects and services. Topics that will be covered include IT operations, risk management, and security, as well as rapidly evolving technologies such as mobile, cloud, social media, and open source software. Students will also learn how to analyze the costs and benefits associated with implementing new technologies. Prerequisites: PA-501 PA-520.

PA-580. Capstone Project. 3 Credits.

The capstone course is the culminating experience for students enrolled in the MPA program. Students perform one of the following types of projects to demonstrate their mastery of public administration's principles and best practices: (1) identify solutions to address a public policy problem, (3) recommend improvements to a public or non-profit organization, or (3) develop potential legislation and identify the coalition that would be needed to pass it. These projects can build upon research performed for other classes or internships. They are not merely classroom exercises, but rather documents that will contribute to the communities where Saint Peter's students live, work, and study. Prerequisites: PA-501 PA-510 PA-520 PA-530 PA-540 PA-550 PA-555 PA-560 PA-565 PA-570.