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– Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Page address: https://www.mnsu.edu/supersite/academics/catalogs/graduate/current/polsci.html

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Department of Government

109 Morris Hall
507-389-2721

 mpa@mnsu.edu

Master of Public Administration MPA

Research and Writing Capstone - 34 credits
Thesis Plan - 34 credits
Alternate Plan Paper - 34 credits

 

This program is designed for persons already in or preparing to enter public service. The program is designed to enable the student to perform management or staff functions in such areas as finance, budget analysis and personnel management. Students are prepared with knowledge of political and legal processes of government and with an appreciation for managerial decision-making skills required by public agencies. MPA students can choose which type of capstone project they want to pursue. The recommended option for most students is the Research and Writing Capstone Plan, but students may instead choose the Thesis Plan or the Alternate Plan Paper Plan, with advisor permission. All capstone plans require a total of 34 credits for program completion. 

Admission requirements

  1. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, or by using other factors (e.g. promising public or private sector work experience, having already taken some graduate credits) to demonstrate that the program can be successfully completed
  2. A letter of intent
  3. A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university
  4. A reasonable background knowledge in government and quantitative methods. In some cases, the student's advisor may require that knowledge and skill deficiencies be remedied.  

Program Requirements (effective Fall 2011)

Required Core (22 credits)

  • POL 600  Research Methods (3 cr)
  • POL 606  Organizational Theory (3 cr)
  • POL 611  Orientation for Graduate Students (1 cr)
  • POL 622  Seminar: Theory and Practice (3 cr)
  • POL 662  Human Resource Management (3 cr)
  • POL 663  Budget and Fiscal Management (3 cr)
  • POL 665  Seminar: Bureaucracy and Administrative Process (3 cr); or POL 628 Seminar: Public Management (3 cr)
  • POL 669  Seminar: Public Policy Analysis (3 cr); or 3 credits of elective(s) with demonstrated foreign language proficiency.

American Administration Track: 9 credits

ONE of the following (totaling 3 credits):

  • POL 550  Topics in Public Law (with permission)
  • POL 560  Topics in Public Policy/Administration (with permission)
  • POL 562  Collective Bargaining: Public Sector
  • POL 563  Public Personnel Administration
  • POL 570  Topics in Institutions & Process (with permission)
  • POL 571  Public Opinion and Polling Methods
  • POL 572  Urban Government
  • POL 573  Legislative Process
  • POL 574  Executive Process
  • POL 580 Topics in Political Methodology (with permission)
  • POL 660  Seminar: Public Administration
  • POL 670  Seminar: Public Law
  • POL 680  State-Urban Governance

and TWO of the following (totaling 6 credits):

  • POL 610  Seminar: American Politics
  • POL 650  Seminar: Ethics and Values in Administration
  • POL 691  Internship (with permission)

International Administration Track: 9 credits

ONE of the following: (totaling 3 credits):

  • POL 530  Topics in International Relations (with permission)
  • POL 532  International Law
  • POL 533  International Organization
  • POL 534  US Foreign Policy
  • POL 535  Capitalism, Nationalism and Democracy
  • POL 536  International Political Economy
  • POL 537  International Conflict Resolution
  • POL 539  Comparative Social Policy
  • POL 540  Topics in Comparative Politics (with permission)
  • POL 548  Political Change and Development
  • POL 549  Comparative Criminal Justice Systems

and TWO of the following: (totaling 6 credits):

  •  POL 620  Seminar: Issues in Comparative Government and Administration
  •  POL 630  Seminar: International Relations
  •  POL 650  Seminar: Ethics and Values in Administration

Students may be required to complete electives: 0-2 credits, depending on the number of credits taken for the capstone plan (Research & Writing, Thesis, or Alternate Plan Paper).

Required Capstone:

  • POL 693  Research and Writing (3 cr)

     or, with advisor permission:

  • POL 694  Alternate Plan Paper (1-2 cr) or,
  • POL 699  Thesis (3-6 cr)

University Extended Education

The program is offered through University Extended Education in the Twin Cities. The extended learning program and its requirements are the same as the on-campus program described immediately above and any exceptions for off-campus students must be approved in the student's plan of study by the student's advisor and the MPA Program Coordinator. The Department is committed to offering each of the core courses at least once every three years.

Certificate in Public Administration

This certificate is designed for persons already in or preparing to enter public service. Students successfully completing this certificate will be trained in human resource management, budgetary analysis, management theory and public policy analysis.

Take four of the following courses for a total of 12 credits. Students must complete either POL 600 and/or POL 669. Also, students must complete either POL 662 and/or POL 663.
POL 600 Research Methods 3  
POL 606 Organizational Theory 3  
POL 622 Seminar: Theory & Practice of Public Administration 3  
POL 628 Seminar: Public Management 3  
POL 662 Human Resource Management 3  
POL 663 Budget & Fiscal Management 3  
POL 665 Seminar: Bureaucracy & Administrative Process 3  
POL 669 Seminar: Public Policy Analysis 3  

 

 

Course Descriptions

POL 510 (1-4) Topics in Political Philosophy

This course explores topics in political philosophy beyond what is covered in the existing curriculum. Students study specialized topics of current importance in the field. Specific topics will change depending on the term and instructor. May be retaken with change of topic.

POL 514 (3) Early United States Political Thought

Political thought in United States from colonial period to the Civil War. Puritans, American revolution, republicanism, debate over United States Constitution, Jacksonian Democracy, Thoreau, reformers and religious and secular utopias, women's' rights, states' rights, abolitionism, proslavery.

POL 515 (3) Recent United States Political Thought

Political thought in United States from reconstruction to present. Controversies over industrial capitalism: Social Darwinism, Utopian Socialism, Populism, Socialism, Progressivism, Women's Rights, suffrage movement, and contemporary feminism; African American political thought: liberalism; conservatism.

POL 516 (3) Nonwestern Political Philosophy

This course introduces students to the political philosophies of major thinkers from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The course is designed to enhance students' analytical and writing skills.

POL 520 (1-4) Topics in Political Methods

This course explores topics in political science research methods beyond what is covered in the existing curriculum. Students study specialized topics of current importance in the field. Specific topics will change depending on the term and instructor. May be retaken with a change of topic.

 

POL 522 (3) Campaigns & Elections

Elections in the United States at the federal, state, and local levels. Election law, history, factors affecting elections, voting behavior, campaign finance, role of parties and groups, campaign strategy and tactics. Analysis of contemporary elections.

POL 523 (3) Political Parties

Parties in United States at the federal, state, and local levels. Cross-national comparisons. Decline and revival of parties. What parties do. Are two party systems best? Are third parties the answer? Party organization. Voting behavior. Legislative, executive parties. Minnesota focus.

POL 524 (3) Women & Politics

Politics impact on women: women's impact on politics and governance; primary focus on United States but some comparative considerations.

POL 525 (3) Terrorism & Political Violence

History, philosophy, techniques, and countermeasures to terroristic and low intensity threats to public order. Both domestic and international terror. The blurring of the lines between low intensity conflict/terrorism and multinational high intensity crime.

POL 526 (3) Racial and Ethnic Politics

This course examines the interrelationships between race/ethnicity and politics in the United States with a focus on African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans: their experiences, political attitudes and behaviors, and representation in government. We will examine how some issues, including crime, welfare, and immigration have taken a racial cast, as well as white attitudes toward racial and race-related policies.

POL 527 (3) Political Psychology

This course examines how psychological ideas and processes (such as intergroup and intragroup relations, stereotyping and authoritarianism) illuminate concepts, theories, and principles used in understanding political life. We will explore the contributions of psychology in political arenas such as presidential greatness and character, foreign policy decision-making, political tolerance, and mass violence and genocide.

POL 530 (1-4) Topics in International Relations

This course explores topics in international relations beyond what is covered in the existing curriculum. Students study specialized topics of current importance in the field. Specific topics will change depending on the term and instructor. May be retaken with a change of topic.

POL 531 (3) International Relations

An advanced theoretical survey of the dynamics of politics and political change at the global level.

POL 532 (3) International Law

A study of the legal norms and institutions which influence international and transnational relations.

POL 533 (3) International Organization

Study of the function and process of the United Nations and other international organizations.

POL 534 (3) United States Foreign Policy

This course is a general overview of US foreign policy institutions, processes, and politics. US Foreign Policy is examined in historical, global, and domestic contexts.

POL 535 (3) Capitalism, Nationalism, and Democracy

This course explores the interaction of the three complex contemporary political and socioeconomic phenomena: the continuing expansion of global capitalism, the rise of national(s), and the new wave of democratization around the world. The following topics are covered and discussed in class, with references to specific country and regional examples, (1) the impact of international economic institutions and democratization, (2) new forms of political participation in emerging democracies, (3) cultural and ethnic determinants of democratization, (4) problems of economic inequality in new democracies, (5) social and gender issues of democratic transitions, and (6) the relationship between democratic expansion and world peace.

POL 536 (3) International Political Economy

Focusing on patters, processes, and problems of international trade, monetary, technological, and investment relations, this course examines the roles played by key government organization in managing conflict and cooperation among states.

POL 537 (3) International Conflict Resolution

This interdisciplinary proseminar focuses on conflict resolution in the international arena. In this course, we will discuss causes of conflict, examine approaches to the study of conflict resolution, and analyze the varieties of nonviolent strategies of conflict resolution. Special emphasis will be on the role of third part mediation. Cases (settled or ongoing) will be used to reflect on and evaluate all aspects --from conflict conditions to negotiating activities and process to outcome.

POL 538 (3) International Relations of East Asia

An overview of the international relations of East Asia, the course examines cooperation and conflict among major powers in the area: China, Japan and the United States. Topics include Japan's pre-WWII expansionism, China's political transformation and North Korea's nuclear controversy.

POL 539 (3) Comparative Social Policy: The Welfare State in Europe & the Americas

This course offers a cross-national perspective on the politics of social policy and the welfare state in industrialized parts of the world, including North and South America and different regions of Europe. It also explores distinct national patterns of public policy solutions to the common contemporary problems of social security, poverty, and health care by paying close attention to both domestic factors and the forces of globalization that work to constrain government decisions. This multidimensional approach is designed to enable students to better understand how politics works in different ways to produce collective or social choices.

POL 540 (1-4) Topics in Comparative Politics

This course explores topics in comparative politics beyond what is covered in the existing curriculum. Students study specialized topics of current importance in the field. Specific topics will change depending on the term and instructor. May be retaken with a change of topic.

POL 541 (3) Russia & Neighboring States Politics

This course focuses on the Russian political system in relation to domestic social and economic environments and also on the role of Russia as a global actor. It examines the post-communist transformation in Russia and other former Soviet republics.

POL 542 (3) South Asia: Politics & Policy

This course introduces students to the governments and politics of the South Asian countries. The historical and cultural context of politics are explored, as well as contemporary issues.

POL 543 (3) Middle East Politics

This class explores the dynamics that determine politics and effect change in the region. Using a comparative perspective for the major countries in the region, we examine such issues as Islam, nationalism, resources, regional conflicts, impact of the international system, and political development.

POL 544 (3) Latin American Politics

This course includes a detailed analysis of select countries and theoretical concerns in Latin American studies. Its general goal is to provide students with the knowledge of Latin American politics and societies in both regional and comparative contexts.

POL 545 (3) Asia Pacific Rim: Politics and Policy

The course examines political processes, governmental institutions and policies of the countries of the Asian Pacific Rim, with special emphasis on China, Japan and the newly industrializing states of Southeast Asia.

POL 546 (3) African Politics

This course is designed to acquaint undergraduate and graduate students with key concepts and issues in the study of African politics. The historical and cultural context of politics is explored, as well as topics of current importance in the field.

POL 547 (3) Europe: Politics & Policy

The course discusses government institutions, political developments, and policy making structures of contemporary Europe, including the former communist countries of East/Central Europe and the Balkans. It will also cover the on-going process of European integration (European Union) and democratization of the former Soviet bloc countries. Some of the topics covered will include elections, party systems, federalism and devolution, ethnic and minority policy, social policy, economic reforms, gender, and politics and cross-Atlantic relations with the U.S.

POL 548 (3) Political Development & Change

This course introduces students to key issues and concepts in the study of political and economic development. Both theoretical approaches and empirical data are presented. The course is also designed to enhance students' analytical and research skills.

POL 549 (3) Comparative Criminal Justice Systems

A comparison of criminal justice philosophies, structures, and procedures found in various countries around the world. Same as Law Enforcement 434: Comparative Criminal Justice Systems.

POL 550 (1-4) Topics in Public Law

This course explores topics in public law beyond what is covered in the existing curriculum. Students study specialized topics of current importance in the field. Specific topics will change depending on the term and instructor. May be retaken with a change of topic.

POL 551 (3) Administrative Law

Legal procedures by which state and federal administrative agencies exercise legislative, judicial, and executive powers. Emphasis is placed on the constitutional position of administrative agencies, the rule making process, the power of agencies to decide rights and obligations concerning individual cases, and judicial control of administrative action.

POL 552 (3) Jurisprudence

Philosophy and sources of law. Schools of legal philosophy and types of legal thinking. Emphasis is placed on Classical Natural Law, Analytical Legal Positivism, Legal Realism and Critical Legal Studies.

POL 553 (3) Constitutional Law

Review of selected United States Supreme Court decisions, past and present, relating to the powers of the President, Congress, and the federal courts, as well as the division of power between the states and the federal government. Focus is on case briefing and the rationale which underlies the decisions.

POL 554 (3) Civil Liberties

Review of selected United States Supreme Court decisions interpreting important freedoms contained in the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment. Focus is on the rationale which underlies decisions and their impact on American political social processes. Provides an opportunity to exercise and develop individual analytical abilities through analysis of Court's reasoning.

POL 555 (3) American Legal Philosophy

Examines major schools in American legal thought from the dawn of the 20th century to the present. Our focus will lie with turn-of-the-century formalism; legal realism; the legal process school; law and economics; and critical legal studies. We will apply legal reasoning from these schools to selected controversial 20th-century Supreme Court cases on church-state issues, gay and lesbian rights, privacy rights, criminal defendants' rights and other issues as appropriate. It would be desirable if students had previously enrolled in POL 111 or the equivalent.

POL 560 (1-4) Topics in Public Policy/Administration

This course explores topics in public policy and public administration beyond what is covered in the existing curriculum. Students study specialized topics of current importance in the field. Specific topics will change depending on the term and instructor. May be retaken with a change of topic.

POL 561 (3) Environmental Politics

A study of the natural environment as a public policy issue in the political process of the United States, with some attention given to comparative and international perspectives.

POL 562 (3) Collective Bargaining: Public Sector

A broadly based introduction to the issues, processes, and techniques of public sector labor relations.

POL 563 (3) Public Personnel Administration

The development of public personnel management in federal, state, and local governments; strategic planning and policy making, position management, staffing, performance management, workplace relations.

POL 564 (3) Aging: Policy Issues

The public policy process and issues as related to the generations, particularly to older Americans. Focuses on the policy context as well as the specific policies and programs.

POL 570 (1-4) Topics in Institutions & Process

This course explores topics in political institutions and process beyond what is covered in the existing curriculum. Students study specialized topics of current importance in the field. Specific topics will change depending on the term and instructor. May be retaken with a change of topic.

 

POL 571 (3) Public Opinion and Polling Methods

This course examines public opinion in American politics. Topics include the definition, nature, and consequences of public opinion; political socialization; public opinion on selected issues; intergroup differences in public opinion, and public polling methods.

POL 572 (3) Urban Government

Politics of cities and metropolitan areas. Discusses the impact of race, class, gender, immigrant status issues, intergovernmental relations, and how citizens can influence urban politics.

POL 573 (3) Legislative Process

United States Congress and state legislatures, with some cross-national comparisons. Legislative structure, powers; districting, elections, representation, constituency relations; committee system, parties, law-making process, rules and procedure, decision-making, relations with executives and courts. Reforms.

POL 574 (3) Executive Process

Examination of executive politics in United States at a federal and state level, with some cross-national comparisons. United States Presidency and executive branch, governors and state executive branches, mayors, and other local executives.

POL 575 (3) Judicial Process

An examination of the structure, jurisdiction, and processes of federal and state courts. Emphasis is placed on selection of judges and justices and on the dynamics of judicial decision-making.

POL 576 (3) Southern Politics

This course examines politics in the American South. It examines the historical and cultural roots of Southern distinctiveness: traditionalistic political culture, racial conflicts, hostility toward organized labor, religious fundamentalism, tolerance of state violence, and social and moral conservatism. Major attention is paid to the realignment of white Southerners toward the Republican Party.

POL 580 (3) Topics in Participation & Behavior

This course explores topics in political participation and behavior beyond what is covered in the existing curriculum. Students study specialized topics of current importance in the field. Specific topics will change depending on the term and instructor. May be retaken with a change of topic.

POL 590 (1-6) Workshop

Selected topics. May be repeated with change of topic.

POL 600 (3) Research Methods

Concepts and methods of conducting applied social science research.

POL 606 (3) Organizational Theory

Theories and practices of complex public organizations.

POL 610 (3) Seminar: American Politics

This course explores topics important to the study of American politics. Specific topics may change depending on the term and instructor. May be retaken with a change of topic.

POL 611 (1) Orientation for Graduate Student

Orientation to graduate programs in political science and public administration to facilitate a successful experience in the programs.

POL 620 (3) Seminar: Comparative Government

This course explores topics important to the field of comparative politics. Specific topics may change depending on the term and instructor. May be retaken with a change of topic.

POL 622 (3) Seminar: Theory & Practice of Public Administration

A capstone course designed to test the student's ability to synthesize and apply information and concepts from the various areas in public administration such as budgeting, personnel administration, finance, organization theory, and policy evaluation. Ideally, this course should be taken at the end of a student's program in public administration.

POL 628 (3) Seminar: Public Management

An examination of modern principles and techniques of leadership and management. Emphasis is placed on the interactive style of leadership and behavioral concepts of management.

POL 630 (3) Seminar: International Relations

This course explores topics important to the field of international relations. Specific topics may change depending on the term and instructor. May be retaken with a change of topic.

POL 640 (3) Seminar: Political Parties

This course explores topics important to the study of political parties. Specific topics may change depending on the term and instructor. May be retaken with a change of topic.

POL 650 (3) Ethics and Values in Public Administration

This course explores topics important to the field of political theory. Specific topics may change depending on the term and instructor. May be retaken with a change of topic.

POL 660 (3) Seminar: Public Administration

This course explores topics important to the study of public administration. Specific topics may change depending on the term and instructor. May be retaken with a change of topic.

POL 662 (3) Human Resource Management

Change is the constant in today's human resource management in public organizations. The technical framework for productivity improvement and employee development is placed in the context of the legal environment. Emphasis is on managing diversity.

POL 663 (3) Budget & Fiscal Management

An in depth study of public budgeting and fiscal management, with emphasis on the approaches to budgeting and background on public revenues and revenue management.

POL 665 (3) Seminar: Bureaucracy & Administrative Process

An examination of law and politics in the formal and informal decision-making processes of large state and federal administrative agencies. Emphasis is placed on formal rule making and adjudicatory processes.

POL 669 (3) Seminar: Public Policy Analysis

Focuses on evaluation of public policy and programs through a variety of qualitative and quantitative techniques, e.g., models, forecasting, cost-benefit analysis.

POL 670 (3) Seminar: Public Law

Topics in Public Law. Subject areas will vary from semester to semester. The course may be taken up to three times as topics change.

POL 671 (3) Seminar: Police Administration/Policy

Topics such as administrative philosophies, organizational structures, ethics, policy formation and implementation, discipline, productivity and staff development. May be repeated for up to nine credits as topics change.

POL 680 (3) Seminar: State-Urban Governance

This course explores topics important to the study of state and urban government and governance. Specific topics may change depending on the term and instructor. May be retaken with a change of topic.

POL 691 (1-8) Internship

Field placement with a governmental agency or related organization. Provides a learning experience in which the student can integrate and apply knowledge and theory derived from curriculum.

Prerequisite: consent of advisor

POL 692 (1-5) Individual Study

Advanced study and research on topics not currently available in existing courses. May be repeated with a change of topic. Requires advisor and instructor approval of topic.

POL 693 (3) Research and Writing Capstone

For those choosing to do the capstone research project in a classroom setting.

POL 694 (1-2) Alternate Plan Paper

For those choosing to write an alternate plan paper.

POL 695 (1-3) Topics in Public Administration

This course explores topics important to the study of public administration. Specific topics may change depending on the term and instructor. May be retaken with a change of topic.

POL 699 (3-6) Thesis

For those choosing to write a thesis.