The School of Public Administration has been a member of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) since 1973. NASPAA is an organization which sets national standards for the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree program and the other master's-level degree programs in Public Administration. The following excerpt from the current NASPAA standards clearly states the purpose of a Master of Public Administration degree program.
The purpose of the professional master's degree program in public affairs and administration is to prepare individuals for positions of leadership in public service. A career of leadership may involve management and/or policy at several levels of government, in non profit agencies and in private sector areas where knowledge of government is important.
(NASPAA Standards, 1992)
The Master of Public Administration degree program at Kentucky State University was accredited by NASPAA in June 1997. The program is modeled after NASPAA's standards for such programs and shares its educational philosophy. The objectives of the MPA program include providing knowledge, skills, and experience that can be directly utilized by public and private sector professionals in their changing work environment. The program equips students with the technical skills and liberal arts values necessary for responsible administrative roles in state, local, federal, quasi governmental, non profit, and private sector systems. The program provides the interdisciplinary foundations of public administration, quantitative skills, sensitivity toward humanistic dimensions of public organizations, fiscal management, and computer utilization.
A majority of public administration courses are offered in the evening to accommodate students with full time jobs. By taking two courses each semester, such students can complete all degree requirements in three years. Many of KSU's MPA students work for government agencies and receive employer tuition assistance, but some full time students receive graduate assistantships in exchange for part time work. Full time students typically earn the Master of Public Administration degree in two years of study. Up to 12 semester credit hours of appropriate graduate level coursework may be transferred into the Master of Public Administration program from elsewhere.
SPECIALTY AREAS IN THE MASTER OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION DEGREE PROGRAM
The specialty areas in the Master of Public Administration program offered by Kentucky State University reflect the human resource needs in the public sector and the student's career objectives. The Master of Public Administration program currently offers three specialty areas, each of which is briefly described below. Within each specialty area, one advanced course is required. The student may, in consultation with his/her advisor, select two other specialty area courses to meet the student's educational needs.
Human Resource Management
This specialty area is designed for students who are interested in both public- and private-sector personnel management positions. The following courses are offered:
PUA 691 Human Resource Management Seminar
Optional Courses (select two of the following):
PUA 612 Human Resource Law
PUA 614 Applied Human Relations
PUA 615 Personnel Assessment
Management Information Systems
This specialty area is designed for students interested in jobs in the Management Information Systems (MIS) field. It emphasizes systems analysis and design, and utilization of current applications software. The following courses are offered:
PUA 682 Seminar on Management Information Systems
Optional Courses (choice of two of the following):
PUA 680 Management Information Systems Administration
PUA 681 Applied Advanced Statistical Methods
PUA 683 Decision Support Systems
International Administration and Development
This specialty area generally attracts public service professionals from the developing nations, sponsored by their government and USAID. American students interested in careers in international administration may also choose this specialty. The following courses are offered:
PUA 631 Seminar on Comparative and International Administration
Optional Courses (select two of the following):
PUA 632 Comparative Economic Systems
PUA 633 Seminar on Development Administration
PUA 692 Seminar on International Personnel Systems
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MASTER OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION DEGREE
The Master of Public Administration program is designed to serve both in service students (those with work experience) and pre service students (those without work experience), and focuses on problem-solving methods. The academic component is supported by a variety of applied research activities. Each of the research activities is designed to provide the student with research skills, as well as a body of knowledge and information needed by practicing public administrators. Master of Public Administration degree requirements may be completed with 42 semester credit hours of graduate level coursework. A 3 credit hour internship is a requirement for all pre service Master of Public Administration students.
A professional core of knowledge is expected of each Master of Public Administration candidate. It includes perspectives on public administration, quantitative methods, research methods and policy analysis, public sector economics, organization theory, computer applications, public personnel management, public sector economics, and budgeting in government agencies. Upon completion of these core courses, the student must choose a specialty area for advanced coursework. Students newly admitted to the Master of Public Administration program must take PUA 500 (Perspectives on Public Administration) during their first semester of enrollment.
The Master of Public Administration program offers three specialty areas in response to the various needs for public sector expertise. These specialty areas include: Management Information Systems, Human Resource Management, and International Administration and Development.
Students may select their final 9 semester credit hours from two different graduation options: thesis or coursework. All students must take a comprehensive examination over the core and specialty areas. An oral defense of the thesis is required of those students who elect to undertake that option.
A 3 semester credit hour background course, PUA 600 (Seminar on American Political Institutions and Public Policies), is required of international students and others with limited academic backgrounds in American public administration.
Core Courses (24 semester credit hours):
PUA 500 Perspectives on Public Administration
PUA 501 Quantitative Methods
PUA 503 Research Methods and Policy Analysis
PUA 504 Organization Theory
PUA 505 Managerial Computer Applications
PUA 506 Human Resource Management in the Public Sector
PUA 605 Public Sector Economics
PUA 607 Budgeting in Government Agencies
Specialty Area Courses (9 semester credit hours):
The student must select and complete three specialty area courses at the 600 level in Public Administration (9 semester credit hours) in consultation with the student's advisor.
Internship (required for pre service students, 3 semester credit hours):
PUA 699 Internship in Public Administration
Thesis Option (6 semester credit hours plus three additional coursework hours):
A thesis is a formal paper reflecting systematic research on a significant problem. It should represent a student's independent research, carried out under the supervision of the Public Administration faculty. A thesis may use primary data collected by the student and/or secondary data collected by governmental and non-governmental organizations. It must, however, provide evidence of originality, appropriate organization, clarity of purpose, critical analysis, and accuracy. Mere descriptions, cataloguing, compilation, and bibliographic reviews are not adequate. Approval of the Dean of the School of Public Administration is required prior to registration for the thesis option.
Coursework Option (9 semester credit hours):
Students who select the coursework option must complete their final 9 semester credit hours from any 600 level courses. Approval of the student's advisor is required prior to registration for the coursework option.
ADMISSION TO THE MASTER OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION PROGRAM
All inquiries related to admission to the Master of Public Administration program should be submitted to the Dean, School of Public Affairs, Kentucky State University, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601. New applicants follow one set of procedures, while former MPA students wishing to renew their studies follow another. The procedures are as follows:
- All new applicants (including transfer applicants) seeking graduate level admission to the School of Public Affairs must supply the following credentials:
- An Application for Admission (click here for Application fee informaton) Applications must be received by July 1 for the fall semester; by November 15 for the spring semester; and by April 15 for the summer session.
- Official transcripts indicating that applicants have completed a bachelor's degree. Transcripts of international students must be submitted in English, and any translation of transcripts certified. Applicants with undergraduate GPAs below 3.0 must also provide evidence that the applicant meets Admission Requirement B below. This proof may be transcripts indicating completion of related undergraduate coursework, or employment verification, or GRE or GMAT test scores. Applicants should read section B below carefully. If applicants are uncertain about whether or not their coursework or employment histories fulfill Admissions Requirement B, they should also submit a GRE or GMAT score.
- Three (3) letters of recommendation.
Students who were previously enrolled in the Master of Public Administration program at Kentucky State University and who wish to resume enrollment after not attending for two or more years, and students returning from suspension must provide the following:
- An application for re admission and
- Official transcripts for all coursework attempted at other colleges or universities during the period of absence from Kentucky State University.
ACADEMIC REGULATIONS AND POLICIES FOR THE MASTER OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
Once a student has received the Master of Public Administration degree, additional specializations may not be added to the transcript or diploma. Students may take additional course work as non-degree students, but this work will not count toward an additional specialization or degree.
All Master of Public Administration degree candidates are required to pass a written comprehensive examination in their final semester at Kentucky State University. The comprehensive examination is normally offered during the fall and spring semesters. Limited availability of faculty resources makes it difficult to schedule a comprehensive examination in the summer session. It is the individual student's responsibility to complete an application for a comprehensive examination. The application must be approved by the student's advisor and submitted to the dean of the School of Public Administration for placement on the comprehensive examination list. The student's request to participate in the fall semester examination must be made no later than September 15. Requests to participate in the spring semester examination must be made no later than February 15.
Grades below "C" may not be presented for Master of Public Administration graduation credit, nor shall graduation be approved for students with grade point averages below 3.0. Students may not graduate with more than 6 semester credit hours of courses with a grade of "C" or below. This regulation does not apply when a grade of "C" has been superseded by successful completion (grade of "B" or better) of a particular course at a later date.
Probation and Dismissal
Initial Procedures for Conditionally Admitted Students
Any conditionally admitted student who fails to perform satisfactorily while initially enrolled will be dismissed from the program. To remain in the program all conditionally admitted students must do the following:
- Attempt at least nine (9) hours of MPA coursework within one year of admission.
- Earn a GPA of at least 3.0 on the first nine or more hours attempted, with no grades of "D" or "F."
Conditionally admitted students who fail to meet either of these initial performance requirements (1 or 2) will be permanently dismissed from the program. Conditionally admitted students who meet these initial performance requirements will be automatically converted to regular status in the program. They will then be subject to the same probation and dismissal procedures imposed on other students.
Procedures for Other Students
A student is placed on probation when his/her grade point average falls below 3.0. A student placed on probation may subsequently enroll in up to 9 semester credit hours of graduate level coursework. In taking the subsequent 9 semester credit hours of courses, the student must bring his/her overall grade point average up to at least 3.0 to continue in the program and to remain in good academic standing.
A dismissed student may, after one year, appeal in writing to the dean of the School of Public Administration for re admission. If re admission is granted, the student will be placed on probation for up to 9 semester credit hours of courses. A student who does not bring his/her overall grade point average up to at least 3.0 in taking the subsequent 9 semester credit hours of courses will be permanently dismissed from the University without appeal.
Time Limit for Completion of Degree
All program requirements must be completed within six years of initial admission, unless otherwise approved by the Dean of the School of Public Administration. Students should consult the revised Master of Public Administration Student Handbook, available from the dean of the School of Public Administration, for further information about graduate study.
Program Course Load
Full time students carry a normal load of 9 semester credit hours of graduate level coursework per semester. (Part time students who are employed full time are advised to carry no more than 6 semester credit hours of graduate level coursework in any semester.)