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The University of Texas at Dallas
Graduate Admissions

Ph.D. in Public Affairs Course Descriptions

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) Y

PA 6329 Data Analysis for Public Affairs (3 semester hours) This course is an introduction to methods of statistical description  and inference that are commonly used in policy analysis, program evaluation, performance assessment, action research, survey work, and related tasks in the public and non-profit sectors. Coverage includes probability, sampling theory, hypothesis testing, analysis of variance, nonparametric correlation and multivariate regression. Emphasis is on both method and interpretation of results. Solid grounding in college-level algebra is essential. (3-0) Y

PA 7305 Leadership of Public and Non-Profit Organizations (3 semester hours) Examines the range of contemporary theories of leadership with particular emphasis on Public and Non-Profit organizations. Explores cases of leadership success and failure in these environments. Examines the set of actions and behaviors requisite for leading contemporary organizations. (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 environments. Provides tools for adapting models of change to scope and scale of changes required. (3-0) Y

PA 7320 Economics for Public and Nonprofit Management (3 semester hours) Introduces and applies microeconomic theory to understanding the challenges of decision making in government and nonprofit organizations. Economic concepts include demand and supply, consumer/client choice, production theory and cost minimization, market structure of government and nonprofit sectors, game theory, service differentiation and pricing, and goal maximization. Applications may include infrastructure investment, transportation, recreation, education, social and health services, crime, housing and economic development.(3-0) Y

PA 7321 Ethics and Law in Public Affairs (3 semester hours) This course examines legal and ethical mandates in the public realm, and particularly the application of key legal and ethical concepts to issues of governance and the role of public officials. (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 efficient 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 7325 Survey of Public Affairs (3 semester hours) This class examines current issues and challenges in the field of public affairs, with emphasis on the four fields that comprise the PHD program: leadership, change and conflict resolution; social policy and development; decision-making; and management and organizational analysis. The concept and practice of action research will also be explored within the context of public affairs. Open only to PhD students in Public Affairs. (3-0) Y

PA 7326 Normative Theory of Public Affairs (3 semester hours) Addresses the moral dimensions of discretionary judgments made by public managers. Particular emphasis is placed on how the philosophical principles of American constitutional tradition provide guidance for the appropriate exercise of administrative ethics and authority. (3-0) Y

PA 7328 Economic Theory for Public Affairs (3 semester hours) This course examines concepts and analytical tools of economics and demonstrates how these concepts are used in analyzing public policy problems and designing appropriate responses. Following an exposition of the basic theoretical and analytical concepts in a public policy context, the course examines the role and limitations of economics in public policy making. (3-0) Y

PA 7330 Research Design in 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. Prerequisite: EPPS 6313 or equivalent. (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. (3-0) Y

PA 7338 Seminar in Human Resources (3 semester hours) This course is an advanced seminar for Ph.D. students in Public Affairs that will include readings and research on the broader human resource issues in the public and non-profit workplace. (3-0) Y

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) Y

PA 7381 Special Topics in Public Affairs (3 semester hours) Topics vary semester to semester and are rotated typically among the major fields within the program. May be repeated for credit to a maximum of 9 hours. (3-0) R

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.) ([3-9]-0) T

PA 8340 Dissertation Seminar in Public Affairs (3 semester hours) Students will be required to make oral and written reports that detail the progress of the dissertation. The group environment is designed to foster an appreciation for how the research experience influences decision-making and leadership characteristics (3-0) Y

PA 8V01 Independent Study (1- 9 semester hours) Students will work with a faculty member to develop an individualized course of study relevant to public affairs. ([1-9]-0) R

PA 8V99 Dissertation (1-9 semester hours) May be repeated. Total hours may not exceed 18 semester hours. Students will design and implement an improvement effort within an organization in their chosen field of specialization. The goal of this course is to provide students an applied experience dealing with the challenges of institutional and organizational change. Prerequisite: Permission of the Program Director. ([1-9]-0) Y


Last Updated: August 10, 2010