Coordinator: Robert Roberts
Location: Miller Hall, Room 2133
Phone: (540) 568-6323
The major in public administration provides students with a general foundation in the nature of public policy, the public workplace and its political, legal and managerial environments. This major prepares students for professional employment and leadership in government and nonprofit organizations. The program consists of a core of courses offering general knowledge essential for understanding and working in the public arena. This core provides students with an appreciation of the political culture and economic environment of public work, measurement techniques and a basic understanding of the policy process.
Students are offered a choice between two concentration options: public policy or public management.
In the public policy concentration students acquire knowledge of the nature, dynamics, implementation and substance of public policy and its analysis. Courses address:
- Policy processes.
- Techniques for analyzing policy options.
- The dynamics and substance of particular policy issues.
The public management concentration emphasizes management and management-related skills. Courses address:
- The legal environment of public work.
- Organization theories.
- Management theories and applications.
- Management best practices.
In addition, courses in both concentrations heighten students’ critical, analytical and communication skills through case studies, exercises and the intensive writing requirement. The public policy concentration requires a senior seminar experience that seeks to bring policy theory and analytical skills to bear on a practical issue of public policy. Public management students must complete the dual capstone requirements of a public management seminar and an internship, requiring an integration of knowledge from both general studies and major studies by focusing students on specific cases and workplace applications.
Because the public administration major develops techniques and skills applicable to varied career paths in public service, students are encouraged to choose a complementary minor with a narrower, substantive focus. The minors recommended for students’ consideration include criminal justice, environmental information systems, environmental management, environmental studies, family studies, gerontology, health information systems, nonprofit studies, political communication, substance abuse intervention, telecommunications, urban and regional studies, communication studies, conflict analysis and intervention, sociology, technical and scientific communication, economics, human resource development, computer science, public health, and integrated science and technology.
Interested students may apply to participate in the Fifth Year Master of Public Administration degree program, which allows qualified students to earn an M.P.A. degree with one additional year of study. Students should apply for this program in their sophomore year. See the Graduate Catalog for more information.