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Master of Public Administration

The Master of Public Administration at Virginia International University is designed to prepare students for a career in public management or related firms. Graduates of the MPA at VIU will be able to solve problems in the industry related to human resources, finance, project management, and leadership. Students will learn to oversee a diverse workforce and community in public, private, and non-profit structures. Students will learn to manage the mix of both local and regional needs in order to achieve the best results within a multifaceted range of governmental regulations and the political process.

Graduates from VIU's Master of Public Administration Program will be able to use their skills in a variety of areas in the DC-Metropolitan area, as well as outside the region and on a global scale. Typical places of employment for individuals with this degree include state and local government agencies, federal government agencies, public agencies, non-profit corporations, and many private and publicly held organizations worldwide.

The MPA program offers three (3) concentration areas for students to choose from:

  • Public Management
  • Information Systems
  • Health Care Administration and Public Health

Degree at Glance

The program consists of seven (7) Core Courses and students have the choice any three (3) Concentration courses as well as two (2) Elective courses. The elective courses provide the opportunity for the students to develop further competencies covered in the core courses, based on their area of interest.

Area # of Courses Credit Hours
Core courses 7 21
Concentration Courses 3 9
Elective courses 2 6
Total 12 36

To view all MPA courses, please click the "Required Courses" tab.

Required Courses

Students in the MPA program will take twelve (12) classes. These include:

  • Seven (7) core courses, taken by all students in the program
  • Three (3) concentration courses, determined based on concentration area
  • Two (2) electives, selected by the student from a wide variety of options

Each graduate-level class is equivalent to three (3) credits. To complete the program, students must accumulate 36 credits.

  1. Students enrolled in the graduate program must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 (B), out of 4.0, and a minimum of grade not less than 2.0 (C), out of 4.0, in all courses to qualify for the MPA degree to remain in good academic standing and to graduate. The maximum time frame permitted for the completion of any graduate program is 54 semester credits.
  2. Only graduate-level courses may be applied toward the degree. A master's student may transfer up to 12 semester hours of graduate credit earned at other accredited institutions.
  3. Beyond the prerequisites, the student must have completed 36 credit hours, of which 21 credit hours of required core courses, and 15 credit hours of elective course must have been earned.
  4. No degree credit is earned by a graduate student for any grade below 2.0 (C), out of 4.0, received in a graduate-level course. However, any grades lower than 2.0 (C), out of 4.0, will be calculated in the grade point average.
Core Courses

Core Courses provide students with the skills and knowledge that all information systems professionals need to succeed. Each candidate must complete the following seven Core Courses.

Course Code Course Name Credit
PUAD 505

Also offered as: CMP 551, GOVT 505) Prerequisite: None

This course provides knowledge of research methodologies used in management information systems, information systems, information technology, computer science, and other disciplines. The course includes experimental design, surveys, case studies, and fieldwork. It introduces students to applied research methodologies. The use of analytical tools, literature searches, and the application of VIU documentation style will result in a formal written proposal that may serve as the basis for each student’s special project.

3
PUAD 515

Prerequisite: None

This is a survey course that will introduce students to the history, ideas and practices of public administration. This includes studies of organization, policy, law, management, public service and reform issues. Public administration study includes all three branches of government in addition to its main focus on the operation of the bureaucracy including the functions and responsibilities between all branches of government. Its study includes all levels and types of governmental bodies and increasingly non-governmental organizations.

3
PUAD 514

Prerequisite: none

CPT/Internship Qualified

This class introduces students to the basic theories, principles and processes of public policymaking. Students will examine the varying environments that influence the development of public policy, as well as the methods of public policymaking. Students will gain an understanding of the issues and actors involved in the formation of policy at the federal level.

3
PUAD 513

(Also offered as MBA 513) Prerequisite: None

CPT/Internship Qualified

This course focuses on how people behave in organizations and groups. Topics include leadership, motivation, organizational culture, and roles within groups.

3
PUAD 611

(Also Offered as MBA 611) Prerequisite: None

This course examines the legal and ethical basis of decision-making in business organizations. Topics include torts, contracts, liability, and the Uniform Commercial Code.

3
PUAD 608

Also offered as MBA 608) Prerequisite: None

Internship/CPT Qualified

This course presents accounting reporting and decision making tools used in various businesses. Students will understand basic to complex financial reporting and decision making concepts and practices. Topics include the analysis of financial statements, ratio analysis, benchmarking, valuation concepts, risk, budgeting, investments, and taxes.

3
PUAD 790

Prerequisites: PUAD 505, PUAD 513, PUAD 514, PUAD 515, PUAD 608, PUAD 611

This course is designed for students to develop a project that will encompass the key elements of public administration which have been studied throughout the MPA program, culminating in the submission of a final project paper and an oral presentation in front of a panel of experts in the field that includes defense of their project.

3

Concentration & Elective Courses

The Master of Public Administration at VIU will offer 3 concentrations for students to choose from. Students must complete a minimum of 9 credit hours of concentration courses to be awarded a degree in Public Administration

Public Management

Code Course Name Credits
PUAD 536

Also offered as MBA 536 Prerequisite: None

Internship/CPT Qualified

This course will introduce students to the history of the labor movement and the collective bargaining process. Case studies will be used to understand the relationship between labor and management. Students will gain practical knowledge of balancing employee needs with organizational goals. Students will learn how to effectively evaluate employee relations programs to ensure productive and positive organizational environment. Students will participate in collective bargaining activities and understand the contract negotiation process.

3
PUAD 614

Prerequisite: None

CPT/Internship Qualified

This course provides an overview of the process of planning for a range of emergencies or natural disasters. Students will gain insight into elements of planning and preparedness for such situations and will become intimately aware of the relationship of emergency preparedness to the disaster management. Students will learn about the ways to best collaborate with local and regional authorities, as well as federal agencies, such as FEMA. Upon completion of the course, students will have a clear understanding of the ways in which a community or organization can be prepared for all types of emergencies and natural disasters.

3
PUAD 512

(Also offered as MBA 512) Prerequisite: STAT 200: Introduction to Statistics

This course focuses on the planning, organizing, and managing of resources to bring about the successful completion of specific project goals and objectives, especially within specific start and completion dates. In addition, students will learn how to adhere to classic project constraints of scope, quality, time and budget while learning the tools and techniques necessary to minimize the risk of failure in achieving the organization's goal and objectives.

3
PUAD 613

(Also offered as MBA 613) Prerequisite: MBA 512 or PUAD 513

Internship/CPT Qualified

Logistics involves the integration of information, transportation, inventory, warehousing, material handling, and purchasing. All of these areas provide a variety of stimulating jobs for students interested in operations management, marketing, and information systems. Because of the strategic importance of logistical performance, any student interested in senior management will benefit from this course.

3
PUAD 612

(Also offered as MBA 612) Prerequisite: PUAD 513, MBA 513, or GOVT 505

Internship/CPT Qualified

This course focuses on the challenges inherent in managing a workforce comprised of employees from more than one country. Particular emphasis is placed on cultural and legal differences as well as the development of programs and processes which select, motivate, train, and evaluate across national borders.

3
CAR 600

Prerequisite: None

In-depth exploration and assessment of career values, occupational interests, skills, personality style, work environment preferences; concentration and career exploration; exposure to career and occupational information resources. Students learn and practice job search strategies and tools, including resumes and interviewing skills; decision-making, goal-setting and action planning; and self-marketing techniques for effective career management.

3

Information Systems

Code Course Name Credits
PUAD 552

(Also offered as CMP 552) Prerequisite: none

CPT/Internship Qualified

This course explores the management of information systems and related information technologies (IS/IT) as a part of a broader socio-technical system and their impacts on people and processes that extend well beyond organizational boundaries. Also, subjective and debatable issues associated with IS/IT will be discussed. Accordingly, critical thinking is an important part of this course and is essential for an analysis and understanding of important issues associated with the management aspects of information systems.

3
PUAD 556

(Also offered as CMP 556) Prerequisite: none

CPT/Internship Qualified

This course provides an introduction to hierarchical and relational models, normalization, query facilities, transactions, indexing, security issues, relational algebra, Structured Query Language database design stages, distributed databases, data warehousing, data and database administration, and internet database environments. Students will learn various database management systems software products and multi-user database environments and how they are controlled.

3
PUAD 610

(Also offered as CMP 610) Prerequisite: PIA 552 Information Systems

This course overviews the processes, methods, and techniques to plan, analyze, and design complex Information Systems, within selected existing frameworks. It involves planning, gathering requirements, modeling business needs, creating blueprints for building the system, and managing and organizing resources in these challenging, difficult, complex and expensive activities.

3
PUAD 620

(Also offered as CMP 620) Prerequisite: PUAD 552

Internship/CPT Qualified

This course presents an integrated approach to information technology (IT) governance. It discusses major roadmaps components and IT Governance strategies and frameworks. Topics include strategic alignment of IT with the business, use of assets and resources, delivering on plans and commitments, establishing and/or improving accountability of constituents, managing risk and contingencies, audits, compliance, performance measures and organizational maturity.

3
PUAD 628

(Also offered as MBA 628) Prerequisite: none

Internship/CPT Qualified

This course is designed to examine the complex issues that corporate executives must address in the decision-making process when considering whether or not to outsource internationally. It also examines the equally complex issues that arise once the decision is made to outsource, including how to reduce risk, thereby minimizing exposure while maximizing the opportunities for favorable outcomes and more competitive landed costs.

3
CAR 600

In-depth exploration and assessment of career values, occupational interests, skills, personality style, work environment preferences; concentration and career exploration; exposure to career and occupational information resources. Students learn and practice job search strategies and tools, including resumes and interviewing skills; decision-making, goal setting and action planning; and self-marketing techniques for effective career management.
3

Health Care Administration & Public Health

Code Course Name Credits
PUAD 641

(Also offered as MBA 641) Prerequisite: PUAD 505

Internship/CPT Qualified

This course applies basic economic concepts to analyze the health care market and evaluate health policies. The course begins with an analysis of the demand for health, the derived demand for medical care, and the demand for health insurance. The second part of the course examines the supply of medical care by physicians and hospitals, medical technology, and the role of managed care organizations.

3
PUAD 640

(Also offered as MBA 640) Prerequisite: none

Internship/CPT Qualified

This course provides an overview of the evolution, structure and current issues in the health care system. It examines the unique features of health care as a product and the changing relationships between patients, physicians, hospitals, insurers, employers, communities, and government.

3
PUAD 642

(Also offered as MBA 642) Prerequisite: PUAD 505

Internship/CPT Qualified

This course focuses on the application of financial analysis to financial and operating decisions in the health care industry. Valuation methods covered include: net present value of free cash flows, decision tree analysis, real options, and multiples.

3
PUAD 643

(Also offered as MBA 643) Prerequisite: none

Internship/CPT Qualified

This course offers a current and historical overview of the regulation of health care delivery in the US. It examines principles and practical applications of laws that affect the operational decisions of health care providers, health plans, and third party payers and managers that impact development of markets for health care products and services.

3
CAR 600

In-depth exploration and assessment of career values, occupational interests, skills, personality style, work environment preferences; concentration and career exploration; exposure to career and occupational information resources. Students learn and practice job search strategies and tools, including resumes and interviewing skills; decision-making, goal setting and action planning; and self-marketing techniques for effective career management.
3

MPA Elective Courses

Students may choose any two (2) of the following elective courses, or any combination of elective courses from the concentration courses listed above, in addition to the three (3) courses required to complete the concentration.

Code Course Name Credits
PUAD 520

This course will familiarize students with some of the major theoretical issues in the study of international security, and some of the central challenges shaping current debates about security and the use of force. War and conflict have been central to international politics. The study of security investigates causes of war, strategies for avoiding conflict, and the impact of new technologies, actors, and ideas on calculations about the use of force as well as a background on the methods of peacekeeping. This course will give students a solid grounding in current theoretical issues and security challenges in the international arena, and to encourage them to think about how an understanding of these issues can help them address existing security problems.
3
PUAD 615

The purpose of this course is to acquaint students to the major issues affecting today's administration of cities and to focus on current trends and problems for urban administrators.

3
PUAD 625

This course examines the theory and practice of negotiations, including strategies, legal issues, methods, and approaches.
3
PUAD 551

This course gives students practical experience in resolving workplace disagreements and discourse. Students will learn how to use different models and theories on resolving conflict in the organization. Students will develop skills in negotiations, dispute resolution, communications, reconciliations and mediations.
3
PUAD 634

(Also offered as MBA 634 & GOVT 634) Prerequisite: MBA 515 or PUAD 505

Internship/CPT Qualified

This course examines the use of mathematical models in managing the operations of organizations. Techniques examined include queuing, facility planning, distribution network, and transportation models.

3
PUAD 557

Prerequisite: none

This course is an examination of theory that leads to concepts and practices in the modern-day political arena. Students will focus on coursework and writings of both historical and contemporary thinkers. The course will look at concepts including freedom, balance of power, the state, revolution, democracy, and anarchism through dissecting works by individuals such as Hobbes, Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Locke, Rousseau, Marx, Morgenthau, and many others.

3
PUAD 538

(Also offered as MBA 538) Prerequisite: None

Internship/CPT Qualified

This course focuses on the design and implementation of compensation and benefit strategies to retain talented and qualified staff in the organization. The course covers the importance of financial and non-financial benefits when developing a compensation package for employees. The course will review legally required benefits as well as voluntary benefits offered by the employer. Students will learn how to evaluate compensation plans and systems to ensure they are compliant with government regulations, equitable to all staff in the organization, competitive to attract qualified employees and align with organizational goals and values. Students will gain knowledge of federal compensation tax laws, job pricing, various pay programs, and international compensation plans.

3
PUAD 511

(Also offered as MBA 511) Prerequisite: ACCT 201 Principles of Financial Accounting

This course focuses on companies' sources and uses of financial resources. Students will focus on capital/debt structure decision and capital budgeting techniques, with particular emphasis on the impact of long-end short-term uses and sources of funds on the firm's value.

3
PUAD 630

Prerequisite: None

The provision of public services takes place through a variety of forms, direct government provision being only one of them. Increasingly, nonprofit and for-profit organizations, businesses, and government contractors deliver public services in partnership with government. This course will examine the role of partnerships with non-governmental organizations in carrying out important functions of public agencies. Students will get a chance to understand the advantages of such partnerships in terms of effectiveness and efficiency thanks to increased competition and administrative flexibility. The course will also highlight potential pitfalls and unintended consequences.

3
PUAD 558

(Also offered as CMP 558) Prerequisite: None

This course provides a broad review of the field of security of information systems. Topics include operating system models and mechanisms for mandatory and discretionary controls, data models, concepts and mechanisms for database security, basic cryptography and applications, security in computer networks and distributed systems, and control and prevention of viruses and rogue programs.

3
PUAD 665

Prerequisite: Dean’s Approval
The objective of the course is to provide hands-on and practical work experience in their business concentration that will give students a competitive advantage when they graduate. Students will have a chance to gain work experience in areas of their interest and gain exposure to the industry practices and key contacts for future employment opportunities. This three (3) credit hour internship is for students who are expected to work a minimum of 135 hours during the semester. Students are required to attend two meetings/seminars with the faculty advisor to determine learning objectives and assess how well learning objectives are being accomplished.
3
PUAD 666

Prerequisite: Dean’s Approval
The objective of the course is to provide hands-on and practical work experience in their business concentration that will give students a competitive advantage when they graduate. Students will have a chance to gain work experience in areas of their interest and gain exposure to the industry practices and key contacts for future employment opportunities. This three (3) credit hour internship is for students who are expected to work a minimum of 135 hours during the semester. Students are required to attend two meetings/seminars with their faculty advisor to determine learning objectives and assess how well learning objectives are being accomplished.
3


Prerequisites


Prerequisite Courses

There are three (3) prerequisite courses for the MPA program. Students should take one course from the Management Concepts category (either BUSS 301 or BUSS 312), one course from the Economic Concepts category (either ECON 101 or ECON 102), and one course from the Academic Writing Skills category (either ENGL 113 or ENGL 120). If students have taken similar courses at the undergraduate level they may transfer their credits for the related courses.

Code Course Name Credits
Management Concepts (one of the following courses)
BUSS 301

This course surveys the theories and practices of management, including quantitative and behavioral approaches.
3
BUSS 312

This course examines how knowledge of individual and group behavior is applied in an organizational setting. Topics include motivation, leadership, group formation and behavior, dysfunctional behaviors, job/task behaviors, and job enrichment/enlargement. The course also examines the ways in which firms recruit, select, train, evaluate, and compensate employees. Current practices in industry are discussed as well as theories and labor law.
3
Economic Concepts (one of the following courses)
ECON 101

Microeconomics mainly studies the economic choices facing the individual entities, including consumers and business firms. This course covers the basic topics of economic tradeoffs, supply and demand model, concept of elasticity, consumer choice model, theories of cost and production, and the firm’s behavior and performance under different market structures. The course also introduces the students to the problems of market failure and public choice, and the impacts of public policy on consumers and business firms.
3
ECON 102

Macroeconomics is primarily concerned with economic analysis and policy making at the national level. This course introduces the students to the basics of national income determination, measurements of inflation and unemployment rates, economic fluctuations, and economic growth. The course also covers the foundations of aggregate demand and aggregate supply, the basics of the classical and Keynesian models, the tools of fiscal and monetary policies, and an introduction to macroeconomic policy debates.
3
Academic Writing Skills (one of the following courses)
ENGL 113

This course is designed expose students to the conventions of academic writing and critical thinking so that they may successfully produce prose that is clear and direct with appropriate structure and support. Students are introduced to the basic rhetorical modes of narration, classification, exposition, argumentation, description, comparison and contrast, cause and effect, definition, and process in the context of English rhetorical structure. This course provides students with the opportunity to experience writing as a process that requires refinement and experience. Students will learn to write for specific audiences and to understand how to approach writing for different disciplines.
3
ENGL 120

Academic Writing focuses on reviewing the fundamentals of standard written English for academic purposes. Students will practice writing common forms of academic documents and demonstrate the ability to successfully use APA formatting. This interactive class provides students with an opportunity to improve their academic writing skills necessary for success in college and beyond.
3


Sample Schedule

The following is a sample schedule of the possible sequencing of courses in the MPA program.

Code Course Name Credits
First Semester
PUAD 505 Research Methods 3
PUAD 515 Administration in Public & Non-Profit Organizations 3
PUAD 513 Organizational Behavior & HR Management 3
Second Semester
PUAD 514 Public Policy Analysis & Implementation 3
PUAD 611 Business Ethics & Law 3
PUAD 608 Financial Reporting & Decision Making 3
Third Semester
PUAD XXX Concentration Course 3
PUAD XXX Concentration Course 3
PUAD XXX Program Elective 3
Fourth Semester
PUAD 790 Advanced Research Project 3
PUAD XXX Concentration Course 3
PUAD XXX Program Elective 3

Objectives

The program objectives of the Master Public Administration are designed to enable graduates to be successful in the multitude of employment positions that an MPA degree will garner including, government, organizational management, health care administration, and many more. Upon completion of the program, the graduates will be able to:

  1. Prepare Public Managers to meet the needs and challenges of Public Service.
  2. Demonstrate an awareness to and knowledge of the political context of the duties of a public servant.
  3. Exhibit ethical conduct while maintaining awareness of the large responsibilities of serving the public interest.
  4. Become effective managers, specialists, and figureheads in both the public sector and public organizations.


The School of Public & International Affairs at VIU also offers the Master of Science in International Relations graduate degree program. Both the MPA and MIR can be completed partially or fully online .