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The University of Texas at Dallas
Graduate Admissions

Master of Public Affairs Course Descriptions

PA 6300 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 6309 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 6311 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 6313 (POEC 6323 and PSCI 6313) 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 6316  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 6318 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 6319 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 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 6321 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 6322 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 6324 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 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 6327 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 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 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 6330 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 6332 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 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 6337 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 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 6345 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 6348 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 6351 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 6353 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 6354 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 6370 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 6371 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 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 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 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 6380 (SOC 6380) 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 6382 (SOC 6381) 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 7307 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 7308 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 7309 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 7317 (POEC 7317) 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 7318 (POEC 7318) 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 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


Last Updated: August 11, 2010