Master of Public Affairs Course Descriptions


PA 5302 (POEC 5302 and PSCI 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. (3-0) T
PA 5303 (POEC 5303 and PSCI 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. (3-0) Y
PA 5304 (PSCI 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. (3-0) Y
PA 5305 (POEC 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. (3-0) Y
PA 5306 (POEC 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. (3-0) R
PA 5307 (POEC 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. (3-0) Y
PA 5308 (POEC 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. (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 (CRIM 5313 and POEC 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. (3-0) Y
PA 5315 (PSCI 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. (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 5322 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 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 5330 Basics of Land Development (3 semester hours)  Land development is the conversion of land from one use to another. This course emphasizes key concepts of land use practices utilized by local governments in the Dallas metroplex. Land use planning includes use for residential, commercial, industrial, as well as recreational, educational, social, and cultural activities. (3-0) Y
PA 5332 Historic Preservation (3 semester hours) The conservation of our physical environment provides a visual glimpse of history, but a meaningful sense of time and place within our communities is a wise use of resources. This course addresses: 1) the planning and development process as it applies to conservation of the built environment, 2) the practice of historic preservation and its relationship to planning for the future of a community, and 3) the legal basis for preparation and implementation of preservation plans and ordinances at the local level. (3-0) Y
PA 5334 Transportation Planning (3 semester hours) Transportation planning is the process of making useful information available to decision-makers at the organizational level to better understand the characteristics and constraints of transportation systems. This class explores transportation planning processes, the characteristics of urban travel, as well as management and analytical techniques that deal with the dynamics of urbanization and  land use. (3-0) Y
PA 5336 Land Use Law and Ethics (3 semester hours)  This course covers two key elements of the planning profession: ethics and law as they relate to plan implementation. Community planning actions and decisions can impact the social and economic welfare of people, neighborhoods, cities, and regions in nontrivial ways. Ethics play an important role in guiding the planner; telling us what we should do (3-0) Y
PA 5338 Capital Budgeting (3 semester hours) This course analyzes capital planning and budgeting as central features to economic development, transportation, communication, and to the delivery of other essential services. The course details the steps needed to provide the physical structure of local government, from selecting capital projects to planning how to pay for those projects to structuring and selling debt. (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 5353 Emergency Management (3 semester hours) This course examines issues related to the management of emergencies including discussion of emergency preparedness, emergency mitigation, and emergency response.  The course will also discuss the interplay of local, state, and federal actors in emergency response as well as the role of government, private, and non-profit organizations in emergency response. (3-0) T
PA 5355 (CRIM 5355 and POEC 5355) Introduction to Homeland Security (3 semester hours) This course provides a comprehensive overview of the structure of Homeland Security, its origins and developing trends and challenges. Selected material from Congress, FEMA, Department of Justice, local, state, and other government and non-government agencies will be studied. Examines both historical and contemporary Homeland Defense and Security issues. (3-0) Y
PA 5356 (CRIM 5356 and POEC 5356) Pre-emptive Strategies and Tactics for Homeland Security(3 semester hours) Provides a comprehensive study of formulating pre-emptive strategies and tactics related to terrorist attacks and certain man-made disasters, such as a chemical plant explosions. This course is a field-based application. Explores current published pre-emptive strategies and tactics, means and methods for improving current plans and explores new pre-emptive strategies and tactics driven by new intelligence assessments. (3-0) Y
PA 5357 (CRIM 5357 and POEC 5357) Information Sharing and Communication for Homeland Security(3 semester hours) Provides a comprehensive overview of the structure of network, organizational and group information sharing and communication. Focuses include new theories and applications to information sharing and communication and intelligence gathering techniques of state and local fusion centers. (3-0) Y
PA 5358 (CRIM 5358 and POEC 5358) Social Networks and Intelligence Led Policing (3 semester hours) Provides a comprehensive study of concepts and methods for adopting intelligence as a foundation of law enforcement business operations for sound decision-making. Exploiting social networks is a primary means for preventing terrorism and crime. The course explores how intelligence led policing depends on creating strong community social networks to enhance policing of criminal networks. (3-0) Y
PA 5359 (CRIM 5359 and POEC 5359) Protecting Critical Resources and Infrastructure (3 semester hours) Includes a comprehensive study of the current plans and policies in place for protecting critical resources and infrastructure, both public and private. The class will consist of a thorough review of the current literature pertaining to critical infrastructure protection policies, methods, plans, and identify new technology driven critical infrastructures. (3-0) Y
PA 5360 Media Relations (3 semester hours) Media Relations will integrate a survey of public communication strategies with practical skill building to help students develop more confident and authoritative personas when dealing with the mass media.  Students will practice framing positive and empathic messages adapted to diverse audience and media outlets. Video recorded practice presentations will allow students to see their public image and focus on specific areas of vocabulary choice, delivery, and nonverbal messages. (3-0) Y
PA 5362 Impression Management and Perspective Taking  (3 semester hours) Impression Management and Perspective Taking will emphasize rapport building to prepare pios to interact effectively and ethically in interpersonal and group settings, particularly during stressful situations.  The course will stress the effective verbal and nonverbal communication that serves as a foundation for how the public forms perceptions of and attitudes about the PIO, the message, and the organization.  Through discussions of theory, demonstrations, skill practices, and critique, students will develop skills in reflective listening, problem solving, and assertiveness.   (3-0) Y
PA 5364 Informative and Persuasive Strategies (3 semester hours)  Informative and Persuasive Strategies will prepare PIOs to analyze and design campaigns to inform and influence the public policy making process.  Readings, discussions, case studies, and workshops will integrate theories with current events to provide insight and practical knowledge of information campaigns.  Students will gain familiarity with message construction strategies from rhetorical, interpersonal, and ethical perspectives, including credibility, language choices, emotional appeals, message sequencing, and psychological theories about consistency, conformity, and reciprocity. (3-0) Y
PA 5366 Risk and Crisis Communication (3 semester hours) Prepares PIOs to convey credible, accurate, and timely information about public controversies and crises and their associated risks.  The course will introduce the core principles of risk perception, emergency management, cultural competency, and public trust to prepare PIOs to anticipate and manage controversies that may arise during a crisis situation.  (3-0) Y
PA 5368 Managing Messages and Resources (3 semester hours)  Managing Messages and Resources will provide PIOs with advanced strategies to disseminate information and control their messages, particularly in hostile or dynamic environments.  The course will pay special attention to content management techniques PIOs can use when their reputation or message content can be challenged, such as question and answer sessions or media interviews.  (3-0) Y
PA 5371 (POEC 5371 and SOC 5371) Non-profit Organizations (3 semester hours) This course examines issues related to the rise, scope, development, and impact of non-profit organizations.  The course explores both the unique missions of non-profit organizations and the management challenges posed by this expanding sector. (3-0) T
PA 5372 (POEC 5372 and SOC 5372) Non-profit Management (3 semester hours) This course examines issues, strategies, and techniques related to executive leadership and management in non-profit organizations.  (3-0) R
PA 5375 Project and Contract Management (3 semester hours) This course examines issues related to the management of large projects with particular attention to the management of contracts and grants to third parties.  This course will discuss the justifications for contracting out public work, methods of oversight of contracts, and the steps in planning these large projects.  The course will also discuss the implications of project planning for grant writing. (3-0) T
PA 6320 (POEC 6320, PSCI 6320 and SOC 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. (3-0) T
PA 6326 (PSCI 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. (3-0) T
PA 6328 (PSCI 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. Examines various methods for improving organizational performance. (3-0) T
PA 6329 (PSCI 6329) Quantitative Models of Public Management (3 semester hours) This course addreses models of public management that have been tested with quantitative research.  The course will discuss quantitative models of human resource management, budgeting, implementation, and organizational development.  In addition to discussing the findings of this research, the class will discuss the foundations of quantitative social science research on public management.  (3-0) T
PA 6333 Marketing and Communication for Non-profit Organizations (3 semester hours) This course examines the unique dynamics of marketing mission-based organizations and the communication strategies necessary to relate to various stakeholder groups.  (3-0) R
PA 6335 Resource Development for Non-profit Organizations (3 semester hours) This course examines sources of revenue for non-profit organizations. Specific topics include fundraising, grant writing, and donor dynamics.  The course is designed to prepare the student to work effectively as a member of a fundraising team – either as staff or volunteer board member. (3-0) R
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. (3-0) R
PA 6342 (ECON 6372) 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. (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 6374 (POEC 6374) Financial Management for Non-profit Organizations (3 semester hours) This course introduces the basic concepts of third sector financial literacy.  Curriculum includes financial planning and budgeting, monitoring of contracts and grants, and reporting mechanisms.  (3-0) R
PA 6375 (POEC 6375) History and Theories of the American Philanthropic Sector (3 semester hours)  This course examines the evolution of non-profit and philanthropic organization and their role in American society. (3-0) R
PA 6376 (POEC 6376) Assessment and Outcomes for Non-profit Organizations (3 semester hours) Accountability is a pervasive theme for the third sector, especially considering its diverse sources of funding.  This course examines qualitative and quantitative measurement tools as well as the sector’s most successful practices. (3-0) R
PA 6381 (GISC 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. (3-0) Y
PA 6383 (GISC 7364 and SOC 6364) 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. (3-0) Y
PA 6385 (POEC 7368, GISC 7368, SOC 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: POEC 5313 or equivalent. (3-0) R
PA 7V26 (POEC 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.) ([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