The Department of Public Policy & Administration is the tenth and newest department in the College of Business and Public Affairs at West Chester University. The Department houses the Master of Public Administration program, the Doctor of Public Administration program and the Center for Social & Economic Policy Research. There are seven full-time faculty, a program coordinator and a program assistant.
The Master of Public Administration (MPA) is a professional degree that offers concentrations in Human Resource Management and Nonprofit Administration. The program currently offers online and face-to-face instruction. In addition, graduate certificates, which can be coupled with the MPA general degree, are offered in such areas as Urban and Regional Planning, Sports Management & Athletics and Healthcare Management. The degree is designed to equip students with the skills necessary to enhance the field of public service through positions both inside and outside of government in the nonprofit and even private sector (e.g., as consultants to governmental organizations or as governmental service providers). The MPA curriculum provides students with a foundation in the practice of public administration. Beyond that, students earning the degree will possess a high level of competency in administrative processes for the public sector.
The degree is designed for individuals with professional work experience who desire to enhance their administrative and public management skills as well as pre-service students who do not have professional experience. Students who lack work experience will incorporate a relevant internship or other job experiences into their programs.
(36-39 semester hours)
The curriculum consists of 18 semester hours in the public administration core, a 3 semester hour capstone and 15 semester hours in a selected concentration area:
In addition, those pursuing the general degree can earn a graduate certificate concurrently with their MPA such as a graduate certificate in Urban and Regional Planning, Sports Management & Athletics or Healthcare Management. Students pursuing full-time study (9 credit hours per semester) can complete the degree in two years (or even less if enrolled in available summer courses). Students needing to complete an internship will require additional time or will have to increase their number of credit hours in one semester to finish in two years.
No comprehensive examination is required for the administrative core. However, in lieu of an examination, each of the six administrative core courses must be completed with a grade of at least "B." In addition, all students are required to complete a Capstone Seminar that will serve as a culminating experience for the program as well as a required competencies portfolio.
For students who do not wish to pursue a Master's degree but who are seeking to specialize in a specific area, we offer graduate certificates in the following areas:
Certificates are designed for persons who desire to enhance their management and supervisory skills in these particular areas. To earn the certificate, students must complete 18-semester hours with a minimum grade of "B" in each course. Those interested in the certificate option must follow and meet the same admissions criteria as master's degree students.
The following represents Administrative Core Courses for the MPA program. To view all the courses offered in the department, see the Public Policy and Administration's Course Descriptions.
*All are required for all MPA students
In just five years earn both your undergraduate and graduate degrees with WCU's Accelerated MPA Program:
The Doctor of Public Administration degree at West Chester University is designed to meet regional employer and student needs by preparing individuals to advance the practice of public affairs and administration at the highest levels. D.P.A. courses will focus on the development of core competencies in the areas of strategic management, public sector economic and financial decision-making, and policy advocacy and leadership. Through a sequence of three methodology courses, students will be prepared to engage in the highest levels of program and policy evaluation. The acquisition of methodological competence through the evaluation lens will assist students in identifying the most effective and efficient solutions to the problems they encounter in practice. In consultation with an advisor, concentration courses will be selected from among the departments of Public Policy & Administration, Criminal Justice, Geography and Planning, and Graduate Social Work. Finally, students will complete a series of capstone seminar courses where they produce a piece of applied scholarship that demonstrates a high level of competence in applying the D.P.A. student learning outcomes to the solution of an actual organizational or public problem/issue.
Doctoral Study (1 credit)
Administration Core (12 credits)
Methods Sequence (9 credits)
Concentration Electives (9 credits)
Capstone Seminar (12 credits)
May be selected from among the following departments: public policy and administration, criminal justice, geography and planning, and graduate social work. Students with masters degrees in related fields may transfer in up to 9 credits to satisfy the concentration requirements of the degree.
After completing the administration core and methods sequence, students are required to sit for a comprehensive examination. Students will be required to successfully pass a written qualifying exam before enrolling in DPA 803. The qualifying exam will cover content from both the administrative core and the methods courses. An oral exam may be required of students with noted deficiencies in their written qualifying exams. Students not passing the qualifying exam on the first try will be permitted only one additional attempt.
The DPA Capstone Seminar is a series of four courses whereby students demonstrate mastery of required competencies through the completion of a final culminating independent applied research project. Capstone Seminar I is designed to guide and support students in the identification of research questions and tracing the relevant literature. Capstone Seminar II is designed to guide and support students in the identification and collection of data and the formulation of appropriation measurement techniques. Capstone Seminar III is designed to guide and support students in the evaluation of data using both quantitative and qualitative methods. Capstone Seminar IV is the last in a series of courses designed to guide and support students in completing the capstone project by formulating findings and recommendations. At the conclusion of the four courses students will be required to defend their capstone paper, which is dissertation like in length and presents an original piece of applied scholarship.
The following represents the main administration and methods courses for the DPA program. To view all the courses offered in the department, see the Public Policy and Administration's Course Descriptions.
DPA 700 Pre-doctoral Seminar in Public Policy and Administration (1 credit)
The pre-doctoral seminar explores the development of the doctorate of public administration. Issues of effective leadership in the practice of public policy and administration are explored. Special emphasis is placed on knowledge and theory application by those with advanced practice doctorates in the field.
DPA 701 Advanced Practice and Applied Theories of Public Policy and Administration (3 credits)
This course engages students in an advanced examination of the scope and theory of public administration. Emphasis is placed on how the evolution and diversification of public policy and administration theory has impacted practice. Coursework will train students in the identification and evaluation of lessons or knowledge derived from the theoretical literature.
DPA 702 Strategic Public Management and Governance (3 credits)
This course focuses on the key internal and external factors that drive strategic management and governance within the public sector. Issues related to the management of human capital in cooperation, collaboration, strategic planning and performance measurement within and among organizations are explored.
DPA 703 Advanced Public Sector Economic and Financial Decision Making (3 credits)
This course trains students on the use of economic and financial management tools and theories to evaluate the impact of public policies and fiscal decisions. Emphasis is placed on the application of economic and budget theory to financial decision making in the fields of public administration and policy. Particular attention is paid to economic and budgetary functions including: control, management, planning, policy and collaboration.
DPA 704 Advocacy and Leadership in Public Policy and Administration (3 credits)
This course highlights the unique role public administrators play in the formation and implementation of public policy. Students are trained in strategies and skills to influence public policy decision-making to maximize policy outcomes for the communities and individuals they serve.
DPA 705 Research Design for Program and Policy and Evaluation (3 credits)
This course covers proper design of empirical research. While research design is discussed broadly, an emphasis is placed on common quantitative and qualitative designs used by public sector practitioners. Topics covered in the course include issues related to proper measurement, sampling and data collection. Students will learn to track program and policy outcomes and establish causation.
DPA 706 Quantitative Methods of Program and Policy and Evaluation (3 credits)
This course introduces statistical theories and techniques commonly used by public sector managers in policy analysis and program evaluation. Topics include probability theory, statistical inference, and advanced statistical techniques such as multivariate regression, regression with limited dependent variables and time-series analysis.
DPA 707 Qualitative Methods of Program and Policy and Evaluation (3 credits)
This course prepares students to properly design and implement qualitative research techniques for policy analysis and program evaluation. Topics include case studies, interviewing, focus groups, participant observations, ethnography and document analysis.
DPA 801 Capstone Seminar I: Research Questions and Framing the Literature (3 credits)
The DPA Capstone Seminar is a series of four courses whereby students demonstrate mastery of required competencies through the completion of a final culminating independent applied research project. Capstone Seminar I is the first in this series of four courses designed to guide and support students in the identification of research questions and tracing the relevant literature.
DPA 802 Capstone Seminar II: Data and Measurements (3 credits)
The Capstone Seminar II is the second in the series of four courses designed to guide and support students in the identification and collection of data and the formulation of appropriation measurement techniques.
DPA 803 Capstone Seminar III: Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis (3 credits)
DPA Capstone Seminar III is the third course and is designed to guide and support students in the evaluation of data using both quantitative and qualitative methods.
DPA 804 Capstone Seminar IV: Findings and Recommendations (3 credits)
The Capstone Seminar IV is the final in this series of four courses designed to guide and support students in completing the capstone project by formulating findings and recommendations.