IntroductionThe Department of Urban Affairs & Geography offers the Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) degree. The National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration accredited Wright State Universitys M.P.A. program (2008-09); it is the only accredited M.P.A. program in southwest Ohio.
The primary mission of the M.P.A. degree program is to prepare students to be public and nonprofit administrators in a complex political, cultural, economic and global environment. The program is composed of both part-time and full-time students. Classes are offered by full-time faculty and distinguished practitioners from the greater Dayton region who serve as affiliated faculty. The M.P.A. also offers a certificate in American Humanics Nonprofit Administration (AH).
AdmissionStudents interested in the M.P.A. program must first present a baccalaureate degree, preferably in the social or behavioral sciences, with an overall undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale. Students who cannot meet this grade point average requirement should review the policies of the School of Graduate Studies and the department of Urban Affairs and Geography for other options.
Public Administration applicants submit three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with their academic achievements and/or ability to meet the rigorous requirements of graduate studies. The department also requires applicants to write a 400-word essay outlining personal goals and how the M.P.A. degree will help them achieve their goals.
AdvisingUpon gaining acceptance into the program, students must complete a program of study with their advisor and attend the department's fall orientation. Students are encouraged to begin their studies in the fall quarter (see core courses listed below).
Degree RequirementsThe M.P.A. curriculum consists of 52 credit hours of approved course work. The curriculum requires: (1) 28 credit hours of core courses, (2) 8 credit hours of thesis (URS 799) or 4 credit hours of a research or capstone project (URS 724), (3) 4 to 8 credit hours of internship (URS 723), and (4) elective courses that are approved by an advisor for the remainder of the credit hours.
Internships are designed to meet the needs of students with no prior experience in the public or nonprofit sectors. In-service students may substitute an elective course for the internship requirement.
Students completing the URS 724 requirement have the option of completing an applied research paper focusing on a public administration issue or participating in a capstone project. The capstone creates teams that use research methods to analyze and solve an administrative issue for a local public or nonprofit organization.
FacultyThe teaching philosophy of the faculty emphasizes analytical thinking and critical administrative skills. M.P.A. faculty are experienced in current public administration and urban management issues, and they require students to apply their coursework to problem solving cases within the region and beyond. In addition to extensive traditional and basic scholarship, the faculty also serve on governing and advisory boards both in the metropolitan area and on behalf of national associations.
Mary Ellen Mazey (dean, College of Liberal Arts), urban and regional leadership/ planning, international urban development
William J. Pammer, Jr., public and international affairs, finance/budgeting, conflict management theory and practice, research methods and evaluation
Jack Dustin (chair and director of the Center for Urban and Public Affairs), city and regional administration, organizational development, technology and environmental policy
Jerri Killian, (M.P.A. Director) administrative ethics, organizational theory, human resources,
education policy, management change and reform
Mary V. Wenning (AH Executive Director), human resources, housing and
land use policy, urban/regional planning, research methods
Jennifer Subban, urban/international administration, nonprofit management, social/welfare policy, research and evaluation, race/ethnicity and gender theory
Financial AssistanceThe department awards graduate research assistantships (GRAs) annually to qualified students, based on the availability of funds and grants. Students in degree status and not employed in a public/nonprofit administrative position are encouraged to apply for a GRA position. Applications are available from the department.
The department grants a tuition waiver and pays a stipend to each GRA. GRAs are required to work 20 hours per week during the academic year. The departments chair assigns GRAs to projects that will develop their analytical and problem solving skills, and knowledge of public policy and administration.
Course of Study
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