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Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Political Science

Brad E. Lockerbie, Chair, A-124 Brewster
Robert Thompson, Director of Graduate Studies and MPA Program, A-101 Brewster
Jalil Roshandel, Director of Security Studies Program, A-116 Brewster


The master of public administration program is designed to provide students with basic administrative skills which can be utilized in a variety of administrative careers. It is based on a core curriculum of required public administration and quantitative analysis courses with a variety of related electives that will provide students with a choice of emphases depending upon career objectives.

All students applying for the MPA program are expected to take the GRE. Requests for exceptions will be considered only if the student presents recent acceptable scores on a comparable standardized entrance exam.

Students may transfer up to 15 s.h. from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting organization with the approval of the director of the MPA program and the dean of the Graduate School. Requests for transfer credit should be made at the time of admission.

Students may earn the MPA degree by completing 45 s.h. as follows: 24 s.h. in core public administration and quantitative analysis courses, 3 s.h. of internship work for pre-service students, 15 s.h. elective credit in an area of emphasis to be approved by the director of the MPA program, and 3 s.h. for the MPA professional paper.

Public administration required core courses: PADM 6100, 6110, 6120, 6140, 6160, 6161, 6230, 6260 - 24 s.h.

Internship - 3 s.h.

Pre-service students seeking the MPA are required to complete a 3 s.h. internship in a local, state, federal, or approved not-for-profit agency. Students with relevant work experience in excess of one year may apply to the director of the MPA program for exemption from this requirement. Those students who are exempted from this requirement will complete 42 s.h. instead of 45 s.h., however, no academic credit will be awarded for work experience.

MPA professional paper - 3 s.h.

All students must enroll in PADM 6900 and complete an MPA professional paper in which they identify a public management problem or policy issue and develop a problem-resolution strategy. The completed paper must be defended successfully before a three-member committee of MPA faculty members (one member may be from outside the MPA faculty upon approval of the director of the MPA program).

Electives (MPA) - 15 s.h.

  1. Students may elect to complete PADM 6898 or 6899 for a maximum of 6 s.h. of independent study. The independent courses must be completed under the supervision of a public administration instructor in the Department of Political Science; these courses are open only to students who have completed a minimum of 12 s.h.
  2. For a planning emphasis, students must complete electives approved jointly by the graduate coordinator of the urban and regional planning program and the director of the MPA program.
  3. For an emphasis in community health administration, students with a subfield in health administration should seek counseling from the graduate director of the community health program regarding requirements for certification beyond the formal MPA and Graduate School requirements. See Section 7, College of Allied Health Sciences, Department of Community Health, for requirements.
Recommended elective courses: BIOS 5010; COHE 6000, 6502; EHST 6010; JUST 6502; POLS 6155, 6345, 6382; PADM 6111, 6123, 6150, 6163, 6170, 6187, 6188, 6198, 6199; PLAN 6000, 6010, 6015, 6020; PSYC 6343, 6421, 6422; REHB 5795, 6793.
Other courses may be substituted if approved by the director of the MPA program.

MS in Security Studies

The master of science in security studies offers four areas of emphasis: environmental health and occupational safety, homeland security policy, international security, and science and technology security. The MS in security studies requires 36 s.h. of graduate work, composed of a required core of seven courses and a four-course area of emphasis in one of the above-listed areas.

All students applying for the degree are expected to apply through the Graduate School's online process, take the GRE, submit three letters of reference, and submit a statement of purpose.

Students may transfer up to 7 s.h. from a regionally accredited institution with the approval of the director of the program and the dean of the Graduate School. Requests for transfer credit should be made at the time of admission.

The required core courses will be offered in a distance education format to enable security professionals to engage in the program without being on campus. The international security and homeland security policy areas of emphasis can be completed via distance education. If a course in the area of emphasis is offered face-to-face, students may opt to take it on campus. Otherwise, they will have to either select another course or wait for that class to be offered again in a distance education format.

Required core courses: SECS 6000, 6155, 6250, 6300, 6350 - 15 s.h.

Internship: SECS 6450 - 3 s.h.

Students with relevant work experience in excess of one year may apply to the director of the program for exemption from the internship requirement. Those students who are exempted will complete 33 s.h. instead of 36 s.h.; no academic credit will be awarded for work experience.

Area of Emphasis - 12 s.h.

All students must complete 12 s.h. in one of the following areas of emphasis.

Environmental health and occupational safety: EHST 6010, 6100, 5510, 5520, 5530, 5540; SAFT 6290, 6402, 6410
Homeland security policy: BIOL 6110; EHST 6010; HIST 6260; JUST 6502; PADM 6163, 6170, 6220; PLAN 6015; POLS 6345, 6382; SECS 6400, 6430; SOCI 5500
International security: HIST 6210, 6260; INTL 6005, 6105, 6500, 6510; POLS 6080, 6330, 6360, 6382, 6425, 6430, 6440; SECS 6380, 6390, 6420, 6430
Science and technology security: Students must select one specialization and choose four courses from that specialization. Only students with a technical undergraduate background may apply for this. Students should be aware that the science and technology security and environmental health and occupational safety areas of emphasis do not guarantee that the coursework will be available via a distance education format. Furthermore, the area of emphasis in these programs may exceed the minimum 12 s.h. requirement due to the student's need to have completed prerequisites or the numbers of credit hours associated with specific courses. Students interested in these areas of emphasis are encouraged to contact the relevant department to receive further information about their current offerings.
Areas of specialization are as follows:
Computer science: CSCI 5800, 6100, 6130, 6300, 7000
Information technology: ICTN 6823, 6853, 6865, 6878; IDIS 6515; ITEC 6050, 6600
Thesis or non-thesis option - 6 s.h.

Students may take either a thesis or non-thesis option. Students selecting the thesis option must complete a minimum of 6 s.h. of SECS 7000 and prepare a thesis acceptable to a three-person committee with relevant expertise. Students pursuing the area of emphasis in science and technology security, computer science specialization must combine SECS 7000 Thesis (3 s.h.) with CSCI 7000 Thesis (3 s.h.) for the total of 6 s.h. of thesis. Students may choose the non-thesis option by taking two additional courses (6 s.h.) in their area of emphasis.

All students must pass a comprehensive exam.

Certificate in Community Health Administration

Students seeking the master of public administration degree (MPA) in the Department of Political Science may take 15 s.h. in COHE and approved electives for the completion of an emphasis in community health administration. For information on admission requirements to the certificate in community health administration, students should seek counseling from the director of the MPA program. Required courses are the following: COHE 6000, 6100; PADM 6400 or COHE 6971 or NURS 6971. Electives may be taken from the following: ACCT 6241; BIOS 5010; COHE 6300, 6310; ENGL 5780; FINA 6144; PADM 6410.

Certificate in Security Studies

Jalil Roshandel, Director, Brewster A-116

Through the Division of Academic Affairs, the university offers the interdisciplinary graduate certificate in Security Studies. This program provides students with an understanding of national and international threats posed by non-state actors such as terrorist networks, and the landscape of response coordination required to meet challenges posed by such threats. The goal of the certificate program is to develop new thinking towards security within a changing environment. Countering and responding to the new threats requires integration of traditional military strategies with criminal justice systems and investigation, intelligence gathering, policy development, emergency planning and response, and interagency cooperation at multiple levels of government and between governments.

Applicants seeking admission must be graduate students or non-degree students holding a baccalaureate degree. All applicants must complete the certificate application and have it approved by the program coordinator.

The certificate requires 15 s.h. of credit as follows: two core courses, SECS 6000 and 6155; and three optional courses chosen in conjunction with the certificate director from the following list: CSCI 6100; EHST 6010; JUST 6502; HIST 6260; ICTN 6823; INTL 6500; POLS 6382,6425; PADM 6170, 6220; PLAN 6015.

Note: In some cases, courses may require prerequisites which students must satisfy first. Establishment and enforcement of prerequisites is the prerogative of the offering department.