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    University of North Carolina Wilmington
   
 
  Oct 22, 2017
 
 
    
2013-2014 Graduate Catalogue Archived Catalogue

Public Administration, M.P.A.


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Graduate Coordinator: Dr. Mark Imperial

The Master of Public Administration (MPA), housed in the Department of Public and International Affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences, is an interdisciplinary, terminal professional degree designed to: provide a broad education for individuals expecting to enter government and nonprofit institutions and who aspire to management positions; enhance the capabilities and performance of those individuals currently in management positions in southeastern North Carolina; produce relevant public administration research; and provide active public service aimed at the support and improvement of public administration and nonprofit management in southeastern North Carolina.

The three primary foci of the MPA program are as follows:

  1. Skill in the Management of Public/Nonprofit Organizations
    • human resources
    • budgeting and financial processes
    • information management, including computer systems and applications
    • application of quantitative and qualitative techniques in policy analysis, program development, program evaluation, and policy and program implementation
    • decision-making and problem-solving
  2. Understanding of Public Policy and Organizational Environment
    • political institutions and processes
    • legal institutions and processes
    • economic institutions and processes
    • social institutions and processes
    • organization and management concepts and behavior
  3. Awareness of Ethics in the Management of Public/Nonprofit Organizations
    • responsible exercise of administrative discretion in a political environment
    • understandable and accurate communication of data to citizens and elected officials
    • advancing the public interest

Furthermore, concentrated areas of study will be provided in:

  • Coastal Planning and Management
  • Environmental Policy and Management
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Marine Policy
  • Public Management
  • Public Policy Analysis
  • Urban and Regional Policy and Planning
  • Customized concentrations

Admission Requirements


Deadline for submitting applications for fall admission is June 15 and December 1 for spring admission. Applicants seeking admission to the Master of Public Administration program are required to submit the following to the Graduate School:

  1. An application for graduate admission
  2. Official transcripts of all college work (undergraduate and graduate)
  3. Official scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).
  4. Three recommendations from individuals who are in a position to evaluate the applicant‘s professional competence as well as potential for graduate study (ideally at least one reference should be an academic instructor).
  5. A personal statement describing educational and professional experiences, their reasons for pursuing graduate study in public administration, and career goals
  6. Resume
  7. Optional writing sample

Applicants seeking admission to the program must have a bachelor‘s degree from an accredited college or university, or its equivalent from a foreign institution of higher education based on a four-year program; a strong academic record with an average GPA of 3.0 or better in the undergraduate program; academic potential as indicated by satisfactory performance on the GRE General Test or GMAT. Individuals who fall below a specified criterion may be admitted if other factors indicate potential for success. Individuals with identified deficiencies may be accepted provisionally with specified plans and goals for the remediation of these deficiencies. Such remediation may include a requirement of additional hours beyond those normally required for the degree.

Academic Regulations


In addition to the policies contained in the Code of Student Life, the university catalog, and other university and MPA program publications, students admitted to the MPA program must comply with the following additional policies.

Non-degree Seeking Students


The MPA program allows non-degree seeking students to take a limited number of courses for credit. Non-degree seeking students are limited to taking no more than 9 credit hours before they are required to apply for admission as a degree-seeking student. Additional hours must be approved in advance by the MPA director. Since non-degree seeking students are subject to different admissions requirements, the MPA director may limit the courses that a particular non-degree seeking student is allowed to take. The courses taken may be used to satisfy degree requirements if approved by the MPA director.

Registration


A degree seeking student in the MPA program is limited to registering for, and receiving credit for, a maximum of 12 credit hours in any one semester. A student enrolled in summer classes shall not register for, and will not receive credit for, more than 6 hours in any one session or 9 total hours for all summer sessions. Non-degree seeking students are limited to a maximum of 9 credit hours in a semester and 6 total hours in the summer. Permission of the MPA director is required to exceed these maximum credit hour requirements.

Retention Policy


Two grades of a C or lower, one grade of F, or one grade of U for a thesis results in automatic dismissal from the MPA program. Further, if a student falls below 3.0 GPA at any time, he or she goes on academic probation and has three subsequent courses or nine credit hours to raise their GPA above a 3.0 or they are dismissed from the MPA program. If the student raises their GPA above a 3.0 and it falls below a 3.0 for a second time, they are dismissed from the MPA program. Students must have a GPA above 3.0 to enroll in either PLS 595 , PLS 594 , or PLS 598 .

Minimum Competency Requirement


The core requirements (18 credit hours), internship or practicum (3 credit hours), and applied skill-based electives (3 credit hours) are courses that require a minimum level of competency of a B or better or an S. Any student receiving a B- or lower or a U must repeat the course and receive a grade of B or better. Such courses may only be repeated once and failure to receive a B or better grade or an S (internship) will result in dismissal from the MPA program. Both the initial and repeated grades will count towards determining the GPA but only the initial hours will count toward the degree requirements.

Academic Honor Code


The MPA program is committed to the university‘s honor code. No form of academic dishonesty will be tolerated (see the university catalogs and Code of Student life for examples of dishonesty). Students are encouraged to report occurrences of academic dishonesty to their course instructors or the MPA director. Students found guilty of academic dishonesty may be dismissed from the program by the MPA director regardless of the penalty imposed by the university‘s disciplinary procedures.

Student Conduct


The Master of Public Administration (MPA) is a professional degree program. All MPA students are expected to act and behave with professionalism both on and off campus. Acceptance of admission to the MPA program shall be construed as evidence that an MPA student agrees to comply with all rules and regulations of the university as stated in the Code of Student Life, the university catalog, and other university and MPA program publications. Students accused of conduct that warrants proceedings by the Dean of Students according to these university policies may be suspended by the MPA director pending the resolution of the administrative proceedings. Students found guilty during these proceedings may also be suspended or dismissed from the MPA program following a disciplinary hearing regardless of the penalty imposed by the Dean of Students.

The MPA Program also strives to develop future professionals who will work in managerial and leadership positions in the public and nonprofit sectors. Therefore, MPA students are expected to act in accordance with the code of ethics developed by the MPA program as well as other applicable codes developed by professional associations in the field of public administration. Moreover, any student accused or found guilty of a crime involving moral turpitude or a crime with the potential to create a danger to the campus community or would create an adverse learning environment or hostile workplace (broadly defined) may be suspended or dismissed by the director of the MPA program following a disciplinary hearing. Students accused or found guilty of unacceptable personal conduct as defined by the North Carolina Department of Administration‘s Disciplinary Action and Dismissal Policy or personal or professional conduct that violates established codes of ethical conduct adopted by the MPA program or professional associations within the field of public administration may be suspended or dismissed by the director of the MPA program following a disciplinary hearing. Disciplinary hearings conducted by the MPA program shall be conducted by the MPA director (or their designee) and 2 other members of the MPA program‘s faculty and students will have an opportunity to present evidence. Failure of the student to attend any disciplinary meetings or hearings or failure of a student to respond to a request for information pertaining to the allegations shall be grounds for suspension or dismissal by the MPA director. If a student is arrested or is accused of behavior subject to this policy, the student is required to notify the MPA director as soon as practicable. Failure to notify the MPA director shall be grounds for suspension or dismissal by the MPA director.

Degree Requirements


Option 1 - Non-Thesis


The program requires the satisfactory completion of 42 credit hours of approved graduate level courses or a minimum of 39 credit hours if the internship or practicum requirement is waived (see below).

The program requirements consist of the following: 18 credits of core classes designed to provide the basic skills needed by managers and policy analysts working in public and nonprofit organizations; 3 credits of an internship or practicum designed to link theory with practice; three credits of an applied skill-based elective; and 12 credits of an approved concentration. Students can take their remaining six to nine credits from electives offered by the Department of Public and International Affairs or choose approved electives offered by other departments or universities.

Option 2 - Thesis


Students wishing to complete a thesis may do so by pursuing a thesis option which requires:

  1. Creating a Thesis Committee consisting of a chairperson and two additional members of the Graduate Faculty. At least two members of the committee including the chairperson must be from the Department of Public and International Affairs. This committee will oversee the student‘s thesis. Students are advised to create this faculty committee no later than the third semester of enrollment.
  2. Prepare and defend a thesis proposal following departmental guidelines.
  3. Prepare and defend a thesis that is acceptable to the individual‘s thesis committee.
  4. Complete at least 6 hours of PLS 599 - Thesis in Public Administration 
  5. Students pursuing this option will complete 45 hours of graduate credit, three hours more than students who do not pursue this option. Students are not required to take PLS 595 - Capstone Seminar in Public Administration  but may choose to do so as an elective. However, students must complete 3 hours of the internship or practicum requirement unless they receive a waiver. If the student receives a waiver, their credit hour requirement for the thesis option is reduced to 42 hours (three more than it would be normally). They are also allowed to take up to 3 credit hours of PLS 598  as an elective, which would count towards their 42 credit hour requirement.

Internship or Practicum (3 credit hours)


Students must complete a 3 credit hour internship or practicum unless the requirement is waived by the director of the MPA program. All students must have their internship placement approved by the MPA director or their designee and their advisor. A practicum is only allowed in place of an internship when the student‘s professional responsibilities or work requirements make it difficult or impossible to complete an internship. A practicum will consist of an applied research project examining a management or policy issue that is either in the student‘s work place or it is completed for another organization.

A waiver to the internship requirement is only granted when the student can demonstrate a minimum of five years of significant management or policy-related professional experience or completes a comparable experience that the MPA director determines will be a suitable replacement for the requirement. Requests for a waiver must be made in writing and be approved by the MPA director. If the internship requirement is waived, the student is only required to complete 39 credit hours to graduate. Students who receive a waiver may elect to take PLS 598  as an elective for 3 credit hours if the student‘s advisor and MPA director determine it will enhance their professional development.

Applied Skill-Based Electives (3 credit hours)


All students are required to take one of the following applied skill-based electives, however, students can take additional classes from this list as electives or concentration courses. Students should consult with their advisors to select the appropriate course.

Concentrations (12 credit hours)


All students are also required to pursue a concentrated area of study in Coastal Planning and Management (12 credits), Environmental Policy and Management (12 credits), Marine Policy (12 credits), Nonprofit Management (12 credits), Public Management (12 credits), or Urban and Regional Policy and Planning (12 credits). Students can also elect to design their own twelve credit concentrations in areas such as historic perseveration, health policy, gerontology and public history. Students wishing to design their own concentrations should consult their advisor or the MPA coordinator.

Coastal Planning and Management (12 credit hours)


All students pursuing a concentration in coastal planning and management must complete the following requirements:

Environmental Policy and Management (12 credit hours)


All students pursuing a concentration in environmental policy and management must complete the following requirements:

Urban and Regional Policy and Planning (12 credit hours)


All students pursuing a concentration in urban and regional policy and planning must complete the following requirements:

Students must take an additional six credit hours of an approved elective.

Choose six credit hours from the following list of approved electives:

Nonprofit Management (12 credit hours)


All students pursuing a concentration in nonprofit management must complete the following requirements:

Choose six credit hours from the following list of approved electives

 Choose six credit hours from the following list of approved electives:
 

Marine Policy (12 credit hours)


All students pursuing a concentration in marine policy must complete the following requirements:

Choose three credit hours from the following list of approved electives

 Choose three credit hours from the following list of approved electives:
 

Choose three credit hours from the following list of approved electives

 Choose three credit hours from the following list of approved electives:
 

Public Management (12 credit hours)


All students pursuing a concentration in public management must complete the following requirements:

Public Policy Analysis (12 Credit Hours)


All students pursuing a concentration in public policy analysis must complete the following requirements:

Students must take an additional six credit hours of an approved elective

Choose six credit hours from the following list of approve electives:

Approved Electives (6 credit hours)


Students generally have to complete an additional 6 credits in order to fulfill their degree requirements. Students have the following options: take additional classes offered as applied skill-based electives; take classes offered as concentration classes; take classes listed as electives below; take approved electives offered by other departments or universities. Students should consult with their advisor and the MPA coordinator when planning their program of study and selecting their electives.

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