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OU Home  >  Master of Public Administration  >  The MPA Program  > Course Descriptions
Course Descriptions
All courses shown below are approved to be taught; however, not all courses will be offered each term. For a listing of courses offered for the current term, consult the Online Class Schedule through Oakland University Sail.


PA 503 - Intergovernmental Relations (4 Credits)
Course focuses on conflicts and cooperation between, and among, national, state and local governments. Illustrations are drawn from programs in social services, community development and regulation.

PA 510 - Nonprofit Organization and Management (4 Credits)
Fundamentals of nonprofit organization and management. Differences between the nonprofit and the for-profit and public sectors. Board and staff relations. Management theories; leadership styles. Human resource development; financial management; planning and accounting. Marketing, public relations and ethical issues. Case studies and specific management techniques.

PA 511 - Fundraising and Philanthropy (4 Credits)
Issues of fundraising and philanthropy in the nonprofit sector. Case studies of nonprofit fundraising from a variety of nonprofit organizations. Sources of funding: government, public and private foundations, corporate giving and individual contributions. Ethics and values in fundraising. Strategies and techniques of fundraising.

PA 522 - Research Perspectives and Techniques (2 Credits)
Introduction to descriptive statistics, research design and methods of data analysis.

PA 524 - Introduction to Government and Nonprofit Accounting (2 Credits)
Introduction to governmental fund accounting. Examination of the positions involved in governmental accounting and governmental fund accounting principles and practices.

PA 526 - Government and the Economy (4 Credits)
Introduction to the role of government in the economy, including an examination of federal, local and international fiscal and monetary policies.

PA 535 - Economic Development: Theory & Practice (4 Credits)
Students will understand the democratic process and political context within which economic development occurs. Current local economic development strategies are examined with the special attention given to the political process involved and the economic developer's relationships with elected executives, legislatures, the judiciary, the business community, media and interest groups.

PA 540 - Introduction to Court Administration (4 Credits)
Introduction to court administration examines and explains the field of court administration by reviewing its historical, cultural, economic and political aspects as well as future trends and goals.

PA 541 - Law and Public Policy (4 Credits)
The impact of ''the rule of law'' concept on administrative policy, practice and decision making. Examines the effects of existing procedural requirements on the exercise of administrative discretion, the role of the courts and the likely consequences of proposed ''reforms.''

PA 542 - Law and Administration: Local Perspectives (2 Credits)
The relationships between local government and the legal system with special attention to: 1) legal constraints on administrative discretion; 2) tensions between corporation counsels or prosecutors and administrators; 3) civil vs. criminal procedures and their impact on local decision making; and 4) federal/local and state/local relationships and the courts.

PA 543 - Law and Administration: State Perspectives (2 Credits)
State administrators and the legal system: 1) the roles of the administrative and agency hearing offices; 2) tensions between the administrative and agency hearing offices; 3) agencies and civil courts; and 4) agencies and the attorney general.

PA 548 - Administrative Ethics (2 Credits)
Exploration of ethical components of administrative decision making and activities in public and not-for-profit agencies. Includes personnel decisions, service delivery procedures and measures of program performance. Provides a forum for judging ethical behavior, to help understand how ethical considerations permeate all job-related activities and to assist ethical decision-making skills.  Counts as credit for all concentrations in the MPA program.

PA 559 - Public Policy and Health Care (4 Credits)
An examination of the status and evolution of public policies relating to health and health care, the policy-making processes in health care and the various implications of trends in health care policy.

PA 560 - Organization and Management of Criminal Justice Agencies (4 Credits)
Examines past and present organization and management process of criminal justice agencies.  The functions of planning, organizing, leading, motivating, communicating and decision making will be covered.  Application of these functions to the various components of the American criminal justice system will be explored.

PA 561 - Law Enforcement Leadership (4 Credits)
Examines past and present principles and theories of organization as they relate to law enforcement agencies. The structure and relationship among all levels of law enforcement institutions will also be examined, particularly for their effects on operations and outcomes.

PA 562 - Security Leadership (4 Credits)
Examines the organization and management of security operations in government, business and industry, including administrative and quantitative techniques for security management. The relationship between private security and law enforcement will be examined.

PA 563 - Corrections Leadership (4 Credits)
Examines the current administrative organization and operational practices in correctional institutions. Provides students with information and tools needed to become the managers and leaders of correctional organizations.

PA 568 - Health Planning: Policies and Processes (4 Credits)
The roles and functions of planning in the health care system. Concepts, techniques, issues and policies relating to health planning and other human services will be examined. Analytic tools will be applied to a number of health problems.

PA 569 - Organization and Administration of Health and Medical Care Programs (4 Credits)
Emphasis on the application of administrative and organizational analytical perspectives to health and human service organizations. Concepts and perspectives from the governmental and public interest concerns will be applied.

PA 601 - Foundations of Public Administration (4 Credits)
Fundamental concepts of public administration, their origin and development. Distinguishes between public and private and between government and administration.


PA 602 - Public Administration: Issues and Problems (4 Credits)
Contemporary controversies and trends in public administration systems. May be counted toward a concentration as appropriate.

PA 603 - Contemporary Public Management Techniques (4 Credits)
Application of contemporary public management techniques, such as Total Quality Management (TQM). Managers as change agents and leaders of quality improvement and excellence in the workplace. Strategies for implementing these programs. Counts as credit for all concentrations in the MPA program.

PA 610 - Strategic Planning (4 Credits)
Theoretical and historical perspectives of strategic planning. Components of a strategic planning model; leadership issues. Planning environment. Planning in nonprofit, health care, and public sector organizations. Internal data assessments. Developing and implementing operating plans. Contingency plans. Practical issues associated with strategic planning. Counts as credit for all concentrations in the MPA program.

PA 620 - Quantitative Methods in Public Administration (4 Credits)
A study of quantitative methods for use in the public sector. Emphasis on data analysis for decision making and attention to common computer techniques are included. Prerequisite: PA 522 (or equivalent) or permission of instructor.

PA 621 - Public Sector Information Systems Management  (4 Credits)
Essential tools for management decision making and program evaluation; data management, information retrieval, selected computer packages and report writing are covered.

PA 630 - Local Government Management (4 Credits)
Fundamentals of local government management. Topics to be covered include: politics and management; the management environment; leadership; staffing and personnel; employee motivation; local budgets; the local economy; and ethics. This course is required for students electing the Local Government Management concentration.

PA 631 - Grants: Politics and Administration (2 Credits)
An examination of the grant process from the varying perspectives of the granting agencies, the requesting agencies, the institutional offices responsible for compliance and the ultimate recipients.

PA 634 - Risk Management (2 Credits)
This course will provide a description of the concept of risk management in the public sector. Topics include: risk identification, loss control and safety, insurance and the law, loss prevention and evaluation, placement of insurance and financial responsibility. Counts as credit for all concentrations in the MPA program.

PA 638 - Public Sector Employee Relations (4 Credits)
Policies and practices relating to employee relations and collective bargaining in the public sector.

PA 640 - Advanced Court Administration (4 Credits)
This course examines selected areas of the field of court administration in great detail. The course will build on the material covered in PA 540 Introduction to Court Administration. It will go in depth in the areas of personnel management, case management, budgeting, jury management, and alternative dispute resolution.

PA 644 - Current Issues in Public Sector Human Resources Management (2 Credits)
Selected topics in human resources management, emphasizing state, county and local experiences. Topics can include: contract maintenance and compliance, merit systems, comparable worth, drug testing, employee assistance programs, affirmative action, mediation, arbitration and others as they emerge over time.

PA 653 - Public Budgeting and Finance (4 Credits)
How governments raise funds and allocate them among competing purposes. Relations between agencies and executive budget offices and between executive and legislative branches of government. The elements of budget preparation, defense and review under various systems, line-item, performance, program, PPBS and zero-base budgets are presented.

PA 654 - Human Resources Management in the Public Sector (4 Credits)
Study of human resources management in public agencies, the legal and political environment, managerial concerns and employee rights, and the problems of public employee collective bargaining.

PA 655 - Program and Policy Evaluation (4 Credits)
How to judge the success of programs; problems of design, data collection and analysis to sort out causes and evaluate effects; cost-benefit analysis; the organizational and political aspects of evaluation studies.

PA 657 - Workshop in Capital Budgeting (2 Credits)
Basic principles of government budgeting for capital projects from the perspective of a practitioner at the state and local level. Student must have permission of MPA Director.

PA 658 - Internship (4 Credits)
Supervised assignment in a public agency for 320 hours. During your internship you will complete monthly reports, be evaluated by your internship supervisor and prepare a final paper. Student must have permission of MPA Director.

PA 660 - Public Administration Workshop (2 OR 4 Credits)
Selected applied problems and exercises led by regular adjunct faculty or with the cooperation of practicing public administrators.

PA 669 - Community Planning and Zoning (4 Credits)
A comprehensive study of municipal planning, zoning and general government from the perspective of the public administrator. Topics include: state legislation, state and federal grant programs, making a Master Plan, the impact of court decisions, housing and fiscal impact analysis, impact fee calculation and public works and capital improvements programming.

PA 690 - Master's Project (4 Credits)
Individual research project related to work or program of a public agency. Student must have permission of MPA Director.

PA 691 - Directed Readings (2 OR 4 Credits)
Special readings designed to supplement or augment the course offerings. Not more than 6 credits of directed readings may be counted towards fulfillment of degree requirements. Student must be fully admitted with at least 20 credits in the MPA program and must have permission of MPA Director.

PA 692 - Special Topics in Public Administration (2 OR 4 Credits)
Special topics in public administration offered by the department.  May be counted toward a concentration.

PA 693 - Special Topics in Public Policy (2 OR 4 Credits)
Special topics in public policy offered by the department. May be counted toward a concentration as approved by MPA Director.


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