Master of Public Administration

MPA Full Course Listing

Core Courses

PA301 Foundations of Public Administration (Fall)
This course is an analysis of major elements of management in the public sector (organization, personnel, budgeting) with special attention to problems arising from political imperatives generated by a democratic society. View a sample syllabus (PDF)

PA302 Organizational Theory and Behavior (Spring)
(Formerly titled "Public Sector Organizations.") This course focuses on organizational culture, organizational learning, conflict resolution, leadership-followership, and motivation in decision making and brainstorming for alternative solutions by a competent and diverse work force. Specific skill sets are included for each topic, as well as outcomes assessment. View/download syllabus (PDF)

PA303 Research and Evaluation Methods (Fall)
Data analyses and communication of statistical information for management decision making. Methods of modeling relationships, comparing strategies, and assessing probabilities. Instruction in computer use. Additional lab required.

PA305 Public and Non-Profit Financial Budgeting(Fall)
(Financial Resource Management) This course is an introductory survey of public budgeting and financial management. The purpose of this course is to explore fundamental ideas, concepts, and theories that contribute to understanding public sector revenue and expenditure decisions and to examine basic practices and techniques of modern financial administration, budget preparation, and performance measurement. The course will rely on readings, discussions and case studies that focus on state and local governments and non-profit organizations as examples. An effort will be made to cover federal budget systems as well. View a sample syllabus (PDF)

PA306 Policy Systems (Spring)
(Formerly titled "Introduction to Public Policy.") This course helps students develop an understanding of the stages in the policy process and an understanding of the development of public policy in the intergovernmental system. Participants also study the analytical methods of effective policy in complex political and bureaucratic environments. Students become more sensitive to the analytical, political and substantive complexities of policy issues, develop methods of coping with these complexities, and become acquainted with the basic areas of policy formulation, implementation, and analysis. View a sample syllabus (PDF)

UVM-MPA Electives

PA 295 Critical Issues in Transportation in the 21st Century (Fall)
The local, regional and global transportation systems are vital to community, the economy, and economic development. Transportation policies impact the environment, energy, culture, equitable mobility between regions and groups, as well as overall quality of life. Critical transportation issues and problems in the 21st century will require multidisciplinary teams to design innovative solutions. Yet, the majority of transportation-related courses at most universities are within the Civil and Environmental Engineering or Geography departments. The objective of this new course is to develop a multidisciplinary partnership to spark a campus-wide awareness of critical issues in transportation.

PA 307 Administrative Ethics (Summer)
Administrative behavior with a focus on ethical dilemmas that rise in the bureaucracy. An examination of a number of moral issues and ways to resolve them.

PA 308 Decision Making Models
In this advanced graduate level seminar, we will explore and analyze a wide range of normative, descriptive and prescriptive decision making models and theories. This course focuses on systems level thinking to impart problem-solving skills in complex decision-making contexts. Decision making problems in the real-world public policy, business and management arenas will be analyzed and modeled with different tools developed in the fields of Decision Analysis, Behavioral Sciences, Game Theory and Complex Systems. The emphasis will be placed on imparting cutting edge skills to the students to develop decision support systems that require the design and implementation of multiple criteria decisionanalysis models, behavioral experimental models and agent based simulation models. View a sample syllabus (PDF)

PA 311 Policy Analysis and Planning
A seminar providing hands-on knowledge in policy analysis and program evaluation using case studies of current analysis projects and problems. Specific techniques include planning, survey administration, forecasting, cost benefit analysis, and impact assessment.

PA 313 Public Policy Implementation
A seminar considering aspects of the public policy implementation process from initiation to completion and evaluation with regards to system design, policy goals, communication, compliance, and political environment. View a sample syllabus (PDF)

PA 314 Administrative Law
Examines legal foundations of public administration focusing on legal issues of most importance to present or future administrators.

PA 317 - Systems Analysis & Strategic Management
Students will be introduced to systems thinking and network dynamics with a particular focus on managing across organizational and sectoral boundaries, including public-private partnerships, intergovernmental arrangements, and strategic alliances. Tools to undertake strategic analysis and planning will be explored. View a sample syllabus (PDF).

PA 318 Administrative Theory and Practice
Extensive examination of literature pertaining to the practice and theory of public administration. Explores public/private partnerships, intergovernmental management, ethics, and administrators as agents for organizational change.

PA 319 State Administration Seminar (Fall, alternating with PA 395 Local Government)
This course provides students with an understanding of the roles of the people in state government, what state government does and how it works. View a sample syllabus (PDF)

PA 320 Local Government Administration
Students will gain an understanding of how local governments of all sizes operate and interact with their constituents, state and regional governments, peer municipal governments and NGOs. The instructor will use his past experience as a local official, case studies and the literature to help students learn the important role local governments in our society.

PA 321 Negotiation and Mediation
Students learn the scientific principles that guide quality negotiation and mediation, while practicing the behaviors that put those principles into action. Concentrated focus on conflict analysis, interest-based negotiation, and collaborative decision-making. Taught by E. Doris Anderson, Adjunct Lecturer, UVM MPA Program. View a sample syllabus (PDF)

PA 323 Non-Profit Administration (Spring)
This course will review the history of the non-profit sector in the United States, examine how it is constituted and explore how these organizations work in contrast to and in concert with governmental and business institutions. Students will explore the nature of the sector, its impact on policy making, and obtain a solid introduction to the legal, financial and management aspects of non-profit organizations. View a sample syllabus (PDF)

PA 325 Health Care Policy (Fall)
This course addresses policy, issues affecting structure, performance and change in the U.S. health care system. Historical, comparative, environmental, economic and policy perspectives are considered, as well as recent and current reform efforts. The focus is on policy challenges relevant to health care managers, policy makers, providers and consumers. The course is intended to benefit students with an interest in health services as well as those wishing to improve their understanding of how the health care system affects other settings and systems. View a sample syllabus (PDF)

PA 326 Community and Economic Development
This course looks at how rural and urban communities address poverty, unemployment and other economic problems through job creation and retention, workforce training and support and other development strategies. We look at local economic development constituencies and goal-setting, economic analysis and planning, strategies and projects, resident participation and organizational collaboration, and implementation and evaluation. We address the links among community economic, social and physical development and issues of sustainable development. Burlington, Vermont will serve as the principal case study.

PA 334 Organizational Behavior and Cultures (Fall)
Students learn scientific principles behind inclusive decision making and a cooperative work culture. Concentrated focus on work culture analysis and organizational learning. Team Taught: Robert B. Lawson, Professor of Psychology, UVM and E. Doris Anderson, Adjunct Lecturer, UVM MPA Program. View a sample syllabus (PDF)

PA 380 Internship (All semesters)
Supervised administrative experience culminating in a written report Credits:3-6.

PA 391 Masters Thesis (All semesters)
Research thesis topic must be approved by faculty advisor. Credits:6.

PA 395 Collaborative Management Institute: Leading Through Partnership (summer)
Managers are increasingly asked to build relationships with people and organizations that span governmental, business and non-profit settings to carry out their jobs. The resulting networks may take the form of public-private partnerships, cross-sector collaborations, and strategic alliances. Leading and succeeding within these settings requires collaboration skills, as well as attitudes and knowledge about how best to function and succeed within networked environments. The UVM-Collaborative Management Institute (CMI) provides graduate and executive leadership students with an opportunity to learn how best to lead and succeed in settings that require partnering with others to achieve common goals and outcomes. The CMI draws on students' professional expertise and interests with applications drawn from case studies, guest speakers and practice-oriented projects.

PA 395 Energy Policy
Debates rage about remaining oil reserves, much of it in the volatile Middle East. Is climate change a reality and does it require a policy response? The US has withdrawn from the Kyoto protocol, citing unacceptable impacts on the US economy. The price of energy is crucial to the economy, so few things are more critical than energy policy. International agreements, national Legislation including the National Energy Policy Act, and statewide energy legislation will be reviewed. Students will get a sense of the history of energy policy within the US; gain an understanding of the major actors in energy policy; and explore the implications for energy policy from local to global levels. A specific focus will be placed on energy issues as they pertain to Vermont.

PA 395 Housing Policy (Fall)
The global downturn has drawn attention to the role and importance of the US's housing finance system. This course will be examining the history of that system, the strengths that made it a model, and its (now apparent) weaknesses. In addition, the class will discuss national and Vermont housing policy, the historical background, current movements, and future possibilities. Expect to learn about the importance of the housing industry in the US economy, subsidized housing programs, local incentives and barriers to housing creation (zoning, regulation, sprawl, land use), as well as creative models of housing including: land trusts, co-ops, green building, and supportive housing. Politics, policy tradeoffs, and power dynamics will be recurring themes. This class is a unique opportunity to take the academic theory learned in core courses and apply it to this important industry. Lively discussions and debates will be expected, and over a half-dozen practitioners working in various aspects of the housing industry will be guest speakers to round out your learning. This class is open to not only MPA students but ideally other departments as well (MSW, NR, CDAE, MBA). View a sample syllabus (PDF)

PA 395 Selected Topics in Health Care
This class will take an in-depth look at a small number of critical health policy topics.  Topics will be chosen as part of the class process, and may include such questions as cultural factors that influence the structure of national health care systems and the many roles of the pharmaceutical industry in the U.S. system. Students will be expected to present and lead a discussion on a topic of their choice. View a sample syllabus (PDF)

PA 395 Human Resource Management
This course combines examination of the literature and the case study method with twenty-five years of instructor experience to help students understand how pubic and nonprofit human resource management (HRM) really works. This is an evolving field that values the importance of understanding organizational cultures and human nature, as well as systems and processes.

PA 395 Organizational and Human Resource Development
This course examines the concept and practice of organization development, analysis of and laboratory experience in the utilization of human resource systems.

PA 395 Women, Power and Leadership in Organizations (Summer)
This course will use feminist theories to examine gender issues relevant to public and nonprofit management, including an analysis of gendered female work, stereotyping, and the use of power and assertiveness. The goal is to gain an understanding of the historical context of women in nonprofit and public leadership in order to effect change in current and future contexts.

PA 395/CDAE354 Advanced Microeconomics
Principles and applications of advanced microeconomics: consumer and market demand, firm and market supply, perfect and imperfect markets, partial and general equilibrium, and policy analysis.

PA 375 Capstone
The Capstone is designed to provide MPA students with a summative experience that ties learning competencies to evidence drawn from their course of study. This course is required for all MPA students as it also incorporates the spirit of the Comprehensive Exam within the curriculum. The Comprehensive Exam is a UVM Graduate College requirement.

PA 397 Readings and Research (All semesters)
Readings, with conferences, term paper, to provide graduate students with specialized knowledge in an area in which an appropriate course is not offered.


Last modified January 08 2014 02:08 PM

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