Public Administration – MPA

Academic Year: 2009 – 2010

The UIS Master’s of Public Administration degree (MPA), in the state capital, strives to advance the public interest and civic engagement. Students are prepared with an innovative integration of theory and practice through access to a networked community of public affairs scholars, practitioners, and students.

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA), the MPA degree offers professional graduate education. The MPA degree is offered on site and online.

MPA curricular requirements are designed to impart knowledge and skills essential to meet pressing public problems and to be successful in professional and administrative employment in public and nonprofit sectors. These knowledge and skills address understanding of legal, political, and administrative processes, organizational structures, the context of public sector and nonprofit organizations; the development of leadership capabilities; and knowledge of state government in Illinois for Illinois students.

Students may elect to pursue one of two graduate certificates as part of their MPA degree: the Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Labor Relations or the Graduate Certificate in the Management of Non-Profit Organizations.

In addition to the 40-hour MPA degree, Public Administration and Public Health have established a joint degree, MPA/MPH.

Students entering the degree without significant professional work experience in the public or private sector are encouraged to undertake internships as part of their program of study through UIS’ Graduate Public Service and Illinois Legislative Staff Internship programs.

Graduates of the MPA degree will be able to understand and demonstrate competencies in:
* the management of public service organizations, including administrative theory and practice, human resources, budgeting and financial processes, and information management;
* the application of quantitative and qualitative techniques of analysis, including policy and program foundation, implementation, evaluation, decision-making, and problem solving; and
* public policy and organizational environment, including political and legal institutions and processes, economic and social institutions and processes, organization and management concepts and behavior, and the structure and functional operations and political environment of Illinois state and local government.

Graduates will also be able to communicate their knowledge and analysis in a clear and effective manner in oral and written forms, and through interpersonal relations.

THE MPA DEGREE

Entrance Requirements
The Public Administration Department faculty reviews and accepts candidates for the MPA degree. Prospective students must also complete a separate application for graduate admission to UIS and provide transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate course work in order to be considered for admission. The UIS application form and the transcripts should be submitted to the Office of Admissions. An overall undergraduate grade-point average of 2.50 or better is necessary to be considered for MPA admission. International students for whom English is not the native language must, in addition, provide TOEFL scores (at least 550 for the paper test, or 213 for the computer-based test).

Applicants to the MPA degree must provide a 1) completed MPA application form, 2) rŽsumŽ, and 3) a statement describing their career goals and how the MPA degree would enhance their professional development. Additionally, applicants to the MPA online degree must submit a statement that explains why the online degree is preferable to on-site education (e.g., geographic constraints, time limitations). Submission of GRE exam scores is optional for both on-ground and online degree programs, but may be useful in cases of lower undergraduate GPA scores or to otherwise enhance application strength. These items should be submitted to the MPA office.

Applicants should note that several of the MPA core courses require prerequisites. Prerequisites include microeconomics, American national government, and basic statistics or equivalent courses. CLEP or equivalent exams for these prerequisites are acceptable. Illinois high school graduates may petition to have the American national government prerequisite waived. Students are also expected to have basic computer competence including skills in word processing and spreadsheet use.

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to obtain application information well in advance of their first term in the department. Initial consideration will be given to applications that are complete by March 1 for fall admissions and October 31 for spring admissions. Applications received after those dates will be considered on a space availability basis. Application materials may be obtained from the MPA Department; or through the telephone number and e-mail address listed above.

The MPA Degree Online
The online degree allows students to participate in dynamic, diverse, and interactive online learning communities and to complete their degrees via the Internet. The online format enables them to complete coursework using the latest networked information technologies for increased access to educational resources, advisors, and materials with no on-campus visits required. The 40-hour MPA online degree follows the same curriculum as the on-campus degree, with a few exceptions. Certificates in Nonprofit Management and Homeland Security are not offered online. The joint degree in MPA/MPH has recently become available through the online program. Electives may vary. For more information, contact the MPA online coordinator.

Application to MPA-MPH Joint Degree
The MPA degree and the UIS Department of Public Health have established a joint degree in accordance with university policy. Students interested in this joint degree can contact either the MPA or MPH offices. This joint degree requires two separate program applications. Students must meet entrance requirements for each.

Grading Policy
Public Administration students may apply up to eight credit hours of C work toward the MPA degree, provided that each credit hour of such work is offset by a credit hour of A work earned in a 500-level PAD course and an approved Student Petition is on file in the Office of Records and Registration. All course work applied toward the MPA under this arrangement must be earned at the University of Illinois at Springfield while the student is enrolled in a graduate degree at UIS.

Writing Competence
Faculty may identify writing deficiencies during courses and refer students to the Center for Teaching and Learning.

Major Requirements
The 40-hour curriculum of the MPA degree requires the following:

Core Courses (20 Hrs.)
PAD 501 Introduction to the Profession 4 Hrs.
PAD 502 Organization Dynamics 4 Hrs.
PAD 503 Analytical Tools 4 Hrs.
PAD 504 Budget and Finance 4 Hrs.
PAD 505 Human Resource Management 4 Hrs.

PAD 571 Capstone Seminar 4 Hrs.
Electives (at least eight hours from Public Administration
courses; see MPA handbook) 16 Hrs.

MPA-MPH Joint Degree
Application to the MPA-MPH joint degree requires meeting entrance requirements for each academic organization. Students may complete a joint degree with a total of 68 credit hours, compared to a total of 88 for the two degrees separately. Students pursuing this joint degree will be required to complete an appropriate closure exercise in each of the two degree organizations. Upon completion, one diploma will be granted.

Elective Courses
Elective courses in the MPA curriculum are advanced professional development courses in particular areas of expertise and career opportunities. Sixteen hours of elective course work are taken in advanced areas of study; at least eight hours are public administration courses. Recognizing the diversity of student goals, the curriculum allows students who wish to pursue individualized areas of study to do so in consultation with their advisors. Others may wish to pursue one of the professional development areas of study specifically identified here.

Students pursuing the MPA typically follow one of two advanced professional development patterns. One pattern involves course work chosen from PAD offerings, often including fields such as personnel, budgeting, policy analysis/program evaluation, or organizational change/development. The second pattern involves completing advanced coursework in PAD offerings in conjunction with course work offered by other UIS academic departments, such as legal studies (administrative law), management information systems, environmental studies, accountancy (public financial management), or human services (social services).

The Master of Public Administration Handbook contains detailed information on planning elective course work, as well as information on the two graduate certificates.

Master’s Closure Options
MPA degree candidates are expected to fulfill the campus closure requirements by earning a grade of B- or better in PAD 571 Capstone Seminar. PAD 571 is open only to MPA majors who have already completed the degree core courses (20 credit hours). The faculty strongly recommends that majors enroll in the Capstone Seminar after completing PAD 501-505; however, majors may enroll simultaneously in the Capstone Seminar with no more than one core course yet to be completed during their last semester in the degree.

Campus policy requires that PAD majors who enrolled in PAD 571 Capstone Seminar, but who did not complete the course in one semester, must enroll in PAD 572 Capstone Seminar Continuing Enrollment (zero credit hours, one billable hour), each fall and spring semester until the work is completed.


DEGREES:

Master of Public Administration

FACULTY

Beverly Bunch, Tansu Demir, Jung Wook Lee, William Miller, Patrick Mullen, Anthony Sisneros
Associated Faculty: Leanne Brecklin, Beverly Rivera, Ryan Williams
Emeritus Faculty: Willa Bruce, Phillip Gregg, Naomi B. Lynn, Lon Mackelprang, Kenneth Oldfield
Adjunct Faculty: William Hall, John Hartnett, Beverly Neisler, John Petter, E. Mary Beth Ray, Norman Sims, John Webber, Ed Wojcicki, Lisa Whelpley, Brenda Yarnell

CONTACT INFO:

Phone: 217/206-6310
Email: mpa@uis.edu
Website: www.uis.edu/publicadministration/