Fields of Specialization

In addition to the common core, the DPA program offers three specializations that provide students with an opportunity to develop expertise in a field or topic area. The objective is for students to make the most of their elective coursework (minimum of 16-credit hours) and develop sufficient depth in the field or topic area where they hope to bridge the worlds of practice and scholarship.

Students who want to pursue topic area or field of interest that is not among the specializations, as described below, may do so in consultation with their advisor.

Organizational Leadership and Management

This specialization supports the professional and scholarly pursuits of students interested in the design and leadership of impactful public and nonprofit organizations. The subject matter includes: formal organization structures; organizational design, motivation, and leadership; organizational change and effectiveness; human resource (capital) management; performance management; strategic planning; and, ethics. Topical courses in these areas are offered primarily by the Department of Public Administration located in the College of Public Affairs and Administration and the Department of Management located in the College of Business and Management.

Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation

This specialization supports the professional and scholarly pursuits of students interested in investigating the consequences of policy choices and/or evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of public programs—both locally and in general. This specialization emphasizes the development of the skills and knowledge to assess the social impact of a policy or a program. Students may pick from a series of courses related to specific problems or policy areas by choosing one of four sub-fields of specialization: public health policy, environmental policy, social policy, and education policy.

Topical courses in each sub-field of specialization are offered  by the Departments of Public Administration, Public Health, Environmental Studies, and Political Science located in the College of Public Affairs and Administration and the Departments of Education Leadership and of Human Services located in the College of Education and Human Services.

Data Modeling and Analytics

This specialization supports the professional and scholarly pursuits of students interested in developing solutions to organizational and community problems through an advanced understanding and use of techniques in data modeling, analytics, interpretation, and presentation. The subject matter includes the use of various statistical software packages, advanced statistics, database systems, and object-oriented programing and development using JAVA. Topical courses in these area are offered by the Departments of Computer Science and Mathematics located in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.