Master of Public Affairs Course Descriptions


PA 5302 Law and The Policy Process (3 semester hours) Provides the legal perspective on public policy and emphasizes the judicial system’s role in the recent evolution of public policy in selected problem areas. Same as POEC 5302 and PSCI 5302. (3-0) T

PA 5303 Public Policymaking and Institutions (3 semester hours) Surveys the major institutions associated with policymaking, including Congress, the Presidency, the bureaucracy, and interest groups. These institutions are studied by linking them to the decision-making theories of organizations, social choice and incrementalism. Same as POEC 5303 and PSCI 5303. (3-0) Y

PA 5304 Policy Processes, Implementation and Evaluation (3 semester hours) Application of models of the policy system to the analysis of legislative, administrative and judicial processes at different points in the policy cycle. Use of case studies, empirical analysis, direct observation, and group projects. Prerequisite: PA 5303. Same as PSCI 5304. (3-0) Y
PA 5305 Microeconomics for Policy I (3 semester hours) Develops the tools of economic analysis and demonstrates their uses for decision-making and the evaluation of public policies.  ECO 3310, POEC 5300, or equivalent recommended. Same as POEC 5305. (3-0) Y
PA 5306 Macroeconomic Theory and Policy (3 semester hours) Studies various schools of macroeconomic theory, their political and economic implications and the policies that flow from them. Discusses the design and implementation of policies related to inflation, unemployment, business fluctuations and long-term economic growth. Same as POEC 5306. (3-0) Y

PA 5307 Economics for Public Policy (3 semester hours) Economics for Public Policy is a doctoral level course designed to introduce students to the use of economic methods of the analysis of public policy. While the primary theoretical framework for the course is microeconomics, the course also includes macroeconomics. A variety of public policy topics are covered in the course such as education and education reform, employment and the labor market, taxes and redistribution, health and health care, poverty and inequality, and public assistance programs. A central theme in the course is the role of the government. Same as POEC 5307 (3-0) Y
PA 5308 Ethics, Culture and Public Responsibility (3 semester hours) This course provides a general consideration of traditions of ethical thought, the interactions between personal behavior and cultural groups/norms and the implementation of public responsibility. Topics to be considered shall include tensions between personal and collective goals, the nature and limits of tolerance, and the role of institutions such as the family, government, business, churches and interest groups. Same as POEC 5308. (3-0) Y

PA 5309.  Fundamentals of Quantitative Reasoning (3 semester hours)  This course prepares students for the required PA 5313 Descriptive and Inferential Statistics course.  This course will use a hands-on approach to illustrate the utility of algebra and descriptive statistics in applied quantitative reasoning.  Students will acquire the skills and quantitative foundation necessary to evaluate applied work issues, make recommendations, and evaluate decisions. (3-0) Y
PA 5313 Descriptive and Inferential Statistics for the Economic, Political and Policy Sciences (3 semester hours) This course is an introduction to data analysis, statistics, and regression. The only prerequisite is a sound foundation in algebra. The heart of the course is a rigorous introduction to statistical inference: sampling theory, confidence intervals, and hypothesis tests. The final section of the course covers regression analysis, which is developed in a fairly non-technical way, with an emphasis on interpretation of regression results, using examples from recent research.  SOCS 3303 or equivalent recommended. Same as POEC 5313 (3-0) Y

PA 5315 Public Management (3 semester hours) The application of ideas and techniques of public management and decision making to examine the various roles of the general manager in public organizations. Utilizes the case method. Same as PSCI 5315. (3-0) Y

PA 5316.  Leadership in Public and Non-profit Management (3 semester hours)  This course will examine the major theories and practices of leadership in public and non-profit organizations.  Effective leaders from public and non-profit organizations will speak to the class about the challenges of leading in complex environments.  (3-0) Y

PA 5318 Information Systems in Policy Environments (3 semester hours) Overview of the technology, role and management of computer-based information systems in policy environments. Provides the managerial foundation for effective decision making with respect to information technology implementation in public organizations. (3-0) Y

PA 5319. Topics in Public Affairs (3 semester hours)  Topics vary from semester to semester. (May be repeated to a maximum of 9 hours.) (3-0) Y

PA 5320.  Community Planning (3 semester hours)  This course examines local issues involving growth and development on the local level of government.  Specifically, it examines land use planning, zoning, subdivision regulations, and the processes that are involved with these issues. (3-0) Y

PA 5321 Government Financial Management and Budgeting (3 semester hours) Management of government finances, including revenue collection and enforcement, cash and debt management, investments, general and special funds, controllership, financial and program audits, purchasing, financial reporting, managerial use of governmental accounting systems, GAO and professional accounting standards. (3-0) Y
PA 5323 Quality and Productivity Improvement in Government (3 semester hours) Examines the implications and challenges of improving public sector quality and productivity. Provides practical methods for improving government productivity and quality efforts. Provides tools for measuring performance and for managing performance. (3-0) Y
 PA 5328. Navigating the Government Workplace (3 semester hours)  The governmental workplace is often a complicated work environment with numerous stakeholders.  This practical course explores the challenges that public managers face at all levels of government in having successful careers. (3-0) Y

PA 5343 Human Resources Management (3 semester hours) Examines theories, principles, and practices of human resources management in public organizations. Explores implications of social and administrative values as expressed in current human resource policies. (3-0) Y
PA 6320 Organizational Theory (3 semester hours) Focuses on bureaucracy and rationality, formal and informal structures, and the role of the environment. Organizational factors such as technology, power, information, and culture, as well as the implications of organizational theory for public policy are examined. Same as POEC 6320, PSCI 6320 and SOC 6320. (3-0) T
PA 6326 Decision Tools for Managers (3 semester hours) This course introduces students to the variety of analytical and mathematical tools intended to improve management decision making. Cognitive failures in decision-making and remedies are also explored. Tools range from systems analysis to techniques of management science. Uses available software for management science studies. Same as PSCI 6326. (3-0) T
PA 6328 Management Process and Analysis (3 semester hours) This course examines rigorous methods for analyzing management processes and decision making. Focuses on the examination, critique and design of management systems. Same as PSCI 6328. (3-0) T
PA 6338 Program Design (3 semester hours) Concentrates on the parts of professional practice that begin where analysis ends. Explores wide array of ideas in linguistics, literature, psychology, theater, architecture, and the Economic, Political and Policy Sciences that encourage rigor and creativity in the design of public policies, programs, and projects. Same as POEC 6338. (3-0) T
PA 6342 Local Economic Development (3 semester hours) This class will examine the role of local governments in promoting economic development in the United States, and will analyze the economic development process. Attention will be given to economic theories of local development and practical implications of those theories. Topics include local economic development and poverty, tax incentives, infrastructure credits, firm location decisions and effects of government competition for economic activity. (Same as ECO 6372) (3-0) Y

PA 6344 Local Government Management (3 semester hours) This course examines structure of local governments, the roles of key elected and appointed officials, and numerous issues and problems that local government managers and policymakers face.  It also presents for discussion and study some of the best management practices that local government managers use in achieving effective and efficient delivery of services.  There is a focus on local government management in the Dallas metro area through interaction with elected and appointed officials.  (3-0) T

PA 6381 Geographic Information Systems Fundamentals (3 semester hours)

Examines the fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems and their applications.  Emphasizes the concepts needed to use GIS effectively for manipulating, querying, analyzing, and visualizing spatial-based data. Industry-standard GIS software is used to analyze spatial patterns in social, economic and environmental data, and to generate cartographic output from the analysis. Same as GISC 6381. (3-0) Y
PA 7310 Proseminar in Public Affairs (3 semester hours) Explores current issues in public affairs faced by institutional leaders with an emphasis on issue definition and strategic problem-solving. Explores the gamut of issues that make institutions “public.” Topics include stakeholder management, social responsibilities of institutions and the management of complex networks. (3-0) Y
PA 7311 Models and Tools of Change Management (3 semester hours) Examines the set of theories and models of change management as they relate to organizational change. Provides applied tools for enacting change in a variety of organizational change. Provides applied tools for enacting change in a variety of organizational environments. Provides tools for adapting models of change to scope and scale of changes required. (3-0) Y
 PA 7315 Fundraising and Media Relations for Nonprofit Organizations (3 semester hours) Fundraising is one of the most important but least understood functions for a manager of non-profit organizations, universities, private (and increasingly public) schools, arts and social service organizations. This course is designed to prepare the manager to work effectively as a member of a fundraising team – either as staff or volunteer board member. (3-0) Y
PA 7322 Negotiations for Effective Management (3 semester hours) Students in this course will learn about negotiations, principally in the public sector, and will develop and practice skills to become more proficient negotiators and more effective managers. The course will be a combination of learning about negotiations and participating in exercises and simulated negotiations. The exercises and simulations reinforce theories about the role of negotiations in effective management and enable students to develop their own negotiation skills. (3-0) Y

PA 7330 Advanced Research Techniques for Public Affairs (3 semester hours) Includes a variety of applied research techniques aimed at enhancing analysis of intra-organizational and extra-organizational settings. Both qualitative and quantitative techniques will be explored and applied. Techniques range from ethnographic analysis of organizational and social cultures to development of survey research methods for needs assessment, environmental sensing and marketing.  PA 5313 Descriptive and Inferential Statistics recommended. (3-0) Y
PA 7332 Legal Environment of Public Affairs (3 semester hours) This class explores how the law affects the operation, management and environment of public and non-profit organizations. Examines topics ranging from administrative law to legal relationships with other governmental and non-profit entities. The course also examines the relationship between legal and ethical mandates in the public realm. (3-0) T

PA 7375 Non-Profit Organizations: Theory and Practice (3 semester hours) This class explores the leading theories of non-profit organizations. Examines the unique elements of non-profit organizations and the academic and practical challenges produced by these distinctive elements. Examines how theory is applied to the practice of management in non-profit organizations. (3-0) T

PA 7364 Demographic Analysis and Modeling (3 semester hours) Examines key demographic models for population analysis, their underlying theoretical foundations, and extensions into the spatial domain. Incorporates quantitative estimation and projection techniques and their use within a geographic information systems framework. Provides a solid understanding of spatio-temporal population dynamics, either local or global, which is essential to many disciplines engaged in planning for the public and private service sectors, for transportation networks or for regional development projects. (Same as GISC 7364 and SOC 6364). (3-0) Y 
PA 7368  Spatial Epidemiology (3 semester hours) Examines the conceptual and analytic tools used to understand how spatial distributions of exposure impact on processes and patterns of disease. Emphasizes the special design, measurement, and analysis issues associated with spatial patterns of diseases. Contemporary diseases of public health importance are addressed, and the statistical and inferential skills are provided that can be used in understanding how spatial patterns arise and their implications for intervention. Prerequisite: Descriptive and inferential statistics through regression analysis. (Same as POEC 7368 and GISC 7368). (3-0) R

 PA 7V26 Policy Research Workshop in Institutions and Processes (3-9 semester hours) Students join a faculty member in a group research project on the political economy of public policy decisions in the context of institutional settings, such as legislatures, executive or administrative agencies, courts, or metropolitan systems. (May be repeated for credit to a maximum of 12 hours. However, MPA or doctoral students may not take any more than 3 hours of their concentration requirement from POEC 7326 and POEC 7330.) Same as POEC 7V26. ([3-9]-0) T

PA 7V45 Policy Research Workshop in Industry and Public Policy (3-9 semester hours) Students join a faculty member in a group research project. Topics vary from semester to semester. (May be repeated for credit to a maximum of 12 hours. However, MPA or doctoral students may not take more than 3 hours of their concentration requirement from POEC 7345 and POEC 7329.) Same as POEC 7V45. ([3-9]-0) T

PA 7V47 Policy Research Workshop in Health Care Policy (3-9 semester hours) Students join a faculty member in a group research project. (May be repeated for credit to a maximum of 12 hours. MPA or doctoral students may not take more than 3 hours of their concentration requirement from policy research workshops and POEC 7376.) Same as POEC 7V47 ([3-9]-0) T

PA 7V62 Policy Research Workshop in Social Policy (3-9 semester hours) Students join a faculty member in a group research project. (May be repeated for credit to a maximum of 12 hours. MPA or doctoral students may not take more than 3 hours of their concentration requirement from policy research workshops and POEC 7376.).  Same as POEC 7V62. ([3-9]-0) T

PA 7V64 Policy Research Workshop in Poverty Research and Policy (3-9 semester hours) Students join a faculty member in a group research project. (May be repeated for credit to a maximum of 12 hours. MPA or doctoral students may not take more than 3 hours of their concentration requirement from policy research workshops and POEC 7376.).  Same as POEC 7V64 ([3-9]-0) T

PA 8V97 Internship (1-9 semester hours)  Provides faculty supervision for a student’s internship.  Internships must be related to the student’s course work.  ([1-9]-0) R