University Bulletin 2017-2018

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Public Administration (MPA)

Master of Public Administration (MPA) Credit Hours
To qualify for the degree of Master of Public Administration, all candidates must satisfactorily complete a minimum of thirty-six semester hours, as follows: 36
PSC 130, Introduction to US Government, or its equivalent is a prerequisite for the core curriculum
Twenty-four hours in the following eight core courses:
(Note: The Core Curriculum Cycle Should Ideally Commence in the Fall Semester)
PSC 500  
PSC 510  
PSC 520   
PSC 530   
PSC 540   
PSC 550   
PSC 570   
PSC 580   
Students must select one of the following four concentrations to complete the remaining twelve hours of graduate electives:  
Non-thesis Concentration:
Students must take an additional twelve hours of graduate electives as approved by the MPA coordinator.  
Health Care Concentration:
In addition to the core courses, students must take 12 hours of PSC health care administration and policy graduate courses.
Geographical Information Technology (GIT) Concentration: In addition to the courses, students must take 12 hours of GIT graduate courses.  
Thesis Concentration:
In addition to core courses, students must take 6 to 9 hours of graduate elective courses as approved by the MPA coordinator and 3 to 6 hours of PSC 599 (Thesis). Students must have a minimum of 12 hours of graduate elective and thesis credit combined. They must also complete a thesis in compliance with Graduate School requirements.  
Any substitutions for the above requirements must be approved in writing by the Coordinator of the MPA Program.  
A candidate for the MPA degree must complete successfully a comprehensive written examination covering the eight core courses listed previously. To be eligible to take this examination, a student must have achieved at least a 3.00 (B) grade-point average on the core curriculum course work. Normally, the examination will be administered during the Fall and Spring Semesters. The comprehensive examination may be attempted no more than twice.  


Students in the MPA Program who are not suitably employed full-time in public agencies may be allowed to enroll in PSC 596, Graduate Internship in Public Administration, for a maximum of six semester hours.
Normally, admission to the Internship Program will be dependent upon the following prerequisites:

  1. Satisfactory completion of at least six of the required core courses;
  2. Approval by the internship professor of the prospective intern's qualifications and proposed project; and
  3. Placement of the student in an appropriate agency of the government or other public service institution.

The length of the internship and corresponding credit (at the rate of three to six hours per semester), not to exceed a total of six hours, will be determined for each student on the basis of the student's particular needs and opportunities.

Each intern will be required, in consultation with the intern professor, to develop a research design for the project to be undertaken during the internship. Each intern will also be required to write a paper showing how that research design has been carried out. Particular emphasis will be placed in the paper upon the relationship between the internship experience and academic course work. Close and continuing supervision of each intern's progress will be provided by the intern professor.

Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice web site

Undergraduate Studies

The courses offered in the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice are designed to achieve three important objectives:

  1. To help students attain a liberal education
  2. To encourage and prepare students to participate actively in public affairs
  3. To help students advance toward professional careers in such fields as education, law and government.

Political Science

Political Science is a broad discipline in both content and methods. Political Science includes philosophical, historical, and analytical studies of governments, politics, and policies. Political scientists may focus on political behavior, decision making, processes, organizations, and public policies. Inquiry in political science addresses the domestic and international policies of the United States and all other countries and regions. Political scientists study the political values, attachments, and activities of people, individually and in groups. Political science examines both what preferences people share and how they differ according to their personal attributes and positions in the economy and society. Political science also studies how people regard and trust each other as well as their leaders and governments. Consequently, political science has many facets and offers opportunities for many different concentrations.

All first-time freshmen must successfully complete CAS 100: First Year Experience as a degree requirement. Students must enroll during their first term at USA, except for summer-entry students who must enroll in the fall semester following entry.

Technological Competency Requirement

Research Methods (PSC 310/CJ 310) will satisfy the technology competency requirement for both political and criminal justice majors. This is a requirement course for both majors.

Departmental Honors

The Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice offers an opportunity for students in Political Science or Criminal Justice who are not in the University's Honors College to graduate with departmental honors. In order to graduate with departmental honors, the student needs to have at least a 3.50 grade point average (overall and in the major) and maintain that average upon graduation. In addition, the student must take a two-semester departmental honors thesis project with a faculty mentor and a committee.

Criminal Justice

The curriculum in Criminal Justice provides students interested in law enforcement, criminal law, corrections, and the criminal court system with a broad educational background emphasizing social science and the University's general education skills of critical thinking, writing and analysis. At the same time, students in the department gain basic knowledge of the criminal justice field to the extent of specialization compatible with University and College requirements. The curriculum leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree. The mission of the program must be conceived as interdisciplinary in nature, since no traditional discipline covers the wide spectrum of expertise required. The undergraduate program addresses issues respecting the entire criminal justice system, from the nature of crime and delinquency to society's varied responses to crime. Such a focus includes the organization and operation of each of the functional components in the field.

All first-time full-time freshmen are required to successfully complete CAS 100: First Year Experience.

Graduate Studies

The Master of Public Administration degree (MPA) curriculum in the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice is a professional degree program designed principally for present and future administrators and officers in government and other public related organizations. It is open, however, to other qualified students as well.
Students entering the program come from varied academic and vocational backgrounds. Accordingly, no specific undergraduate major is required for admission to the MPA Program. However, certain course prerequisites must be satisfied prior to enrollment in any of the required core courses of the curriculum.

Requirements For Admission

Students are admitted each semester. The following criteria supplement the Graduate School criteria (see Categories of Admission).

Regular Admission

  1. Students must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on all undergraduate work (on a 4-point scale).
  2. Satisfactory GRE scores (at least 300 combined score on the Verbal and the Quantitative Sub tests).
  3. The GRE requirement may be waived for holders of earned advanced degrees on the recommendation of the program coordinator. GRE scores must be submitted prior to any category of admission- except for the person with an earned advanced degree from an accredited institution.

Provisional Admission

In addition to the minimum standards required by the Graduate School, the student must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.7, or 3.0 (on a 4-point scale) for the last 60 hours of undergraduate work and submit GRE general test scores.