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  Jul 28, 2017
 
 
    
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Graduate Bulletin 2009-2010 [Archived Catalog]

Public Affairs (M.P.A.)


Indiana University
Master of Public Affairs (M.P.A.)

Division of Public and Environmental Affairs
Dr. Brian L. Fife, Graduate Program Director
260-481-6351 ~ www.ipfw.edu/spea ~ Neff Hall 260

The Division of Public and Environmental Affairs (DPEA) is a multidisciplinary division of the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA). Organized as a professional school, DPEA is dedicated to applied, interdisciplinary learning in the study of public affairs and is committed to teaching, research, and service. The interests of the faculty and professional staff typically fall into one or more of the following areas: policy and administration; finance and economics; urban affairs; environmental science and policy; criminal justice, law, and public safety; and health science administration and policy. The division’s faculty, staff, and students work individually and jointly to solve problems that require DPEA’s unique combination of in-depth knowledge in the natural, behavioral, social, and administrative sciences.

The DPEA faculty at IPFW come from a variety of backgrounds, including criminal justice, political science, business, economics, health, public policy, and sociology. In addition, DPEA is able to call upon experienced government managers, healthcare administrators, law enforcement officials, practicing attorneys, and judges to teach specialized topics from its curriculum. The organizational design of the division reinforces a wide network of continuing relations with a large number of public agencies at all levels of government.

Admission to DPEA Graduate Programs

Regular admission to the M.P.A. or the M.P.M. program requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better. Any major is acceptable. Applications to either program must include official transcripts of all college and university work, references from three people familiar with your academic or professional abilities or potential, scores on the GRE general test or the GMAT, and a nonrefundable university application fee.

Provisional admission may be granted if you are nearing completion of an undergraduate degree or if you fail to meet some criteria for regular admission.

Non-degree admission may be granted to visiting students who wish to take classes for one semester without being formally admitted to the M.P.A. or M.P.M. program.

Accelerated Master’s Program

Undergraduate DPEA students with a GPA of 3.5 or above may apply for admission to the AMP program as early as their junior year. If admitted, they are eligible to apply up to 24 approved graduate credits to the M.P.A. or up to 18 approved graduate credits to the M.P.M., that have been earned toward the undergraduate degree during their senior year.

You must have satisfied all general education and core requirements prior to starting the program. You must have completed a minimum of 96 credit hours toward the bachelor’s degree prior to starting the program.

The Master of Public Affairs (M.P.A.) is an interdisciplinary professional program structured around concepts and skills essential to management, policy, and planning activities within governmental, quasi-governmental, and nonprofit organizations. The program provides knowledge and experience that can be used by professionals in various roles within a changing public sector.

The course of study requires completion of: (1) core requirements; (2) requirements for a concentration; (3) experiential requirement or Mid-Career Option credit; and (4) sufficient electives to total 48 credit hours.

The curriculum of the core requirements encompasses preparation in a broad range of skills relevant to the operation of public and nonprofit agencies. It is based on the academic disciplines, but not limited to any one. It is problem-oriented, bringing the disciplines to bear on critical social, environmental, economic, and administrative issues.

Although the environment of public service is diverse and changing, effectiveness in that environment requires the development of special skills attained through detailed study in a chosen field of concentration. These span the variety of professional specialties found in public service. On the IPFW campus, DPEA offers the M.P.A. with three areas of concentration: criminal justice, health systems administration, and public management.

The academic regulations of public and environmental affairs provide liberal opportunities for replacing some course work with credit for prior experience through the Mid-Career Option. Students with no public affairs experience must complete a practicum in public affairs.

Thus, the program provides expertise in the core requirements and a specific concentration area, as well as a general working knowledge of public affairs. The M.P.A. program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Administration and Affairs (NASPAA).

Transfer Credit

With the approval of the graduate program director, you may transfer up to 9 graduate credit hours of appropriate course work with grades of B or better earned at other accredited institutions. No more than 12 graduate credits completed as a non-degree student will be counted toward the M.P.A. You must complete a minimum of 24 credit hours of Indiana University SPEA courses, in addition to Mid-Career Option credits, to earn the M.P.A.

Course Waivers

If your undergraduate course work contained material that the division agrees is equivalent to one or more required courses, you may be permitted to waive these courses and substitute elective courses.

Mid-Career Option

The Mid-Career Option of the M.P.A. program recognizes the professional capabilities of those with experience in the public or private sector. The student’s experience does not necessarily have to be with a public agency, as management-level experience in the private sector is generally applicable to the public sector.

Mid-Career Option credit is granted based on experience gained until the end of the semester in which the student completes 24 credit hours. A maximum of 12 credit hours may be granted to students under the Mid-Career Option. The following guidelines are used in determining credit:

  • To receive 3 credit hours, a student must have a minimum of one year’s technical administrative or policy work experience with a government or private agency;
  • Six credit hours may be awarded for two to four years of managerial experience in directing programs, preparing budgets, and making decisions on organizational or staff development; or for two to four years of professional experience in policy analysis or planning; and
  • Individuals with four or more years of executive assignment may be awarded 9 to 12 credit hours. Applicants must have had responsibility for supervision of high-level staff or budget preparation, organizational control of public agencies, or executive responsibility for policy analysis or planning.

Mid-Career Option Application Process and Policies

  • Students are eligible to apply for Mid-Career Option credit only after they have been admitted to the M.P.A. program. Once accepted into the program, they can apply for Mid-Career Option credit at any point in their degree program, up to the semester in which they complete 24 credit hours.
  • Determination of Mid-Career Option credit is made separately from decisions about transfer of credit.
  • Under no circumstances will the Mid-Career Option credit and transfer credit total more than 21 of the 48 credit hours required for the M.P.A.
  • Students receiving Mid-Career Option credit should plan the rest of their program carefully, in consultation with the director of graduate studies.
  • Students may appeal the initial Mid-Career Option credit decision by submitting a written request for reconsideration to the director of graduate studies.

Internships and Field Experiences

You must complete an approved internship (SPEA V585) or be awarded Mid-Career Option credit to earn the M.P.A. You may take up to 6 credits of internship and field experiences. Normally, no more than 3 credits for SPEA V585 will apply to your concentration requirements. If you are granted more than 6 Mid-Career Option credits, you will not be permitted to enroll for credit in SPEA V585 without the permission of the director of graduate studies.

Academic Probation

You will be placed on academic probation if your semester or cumulative graduate GPA falls below 3.0 (B). Provisionally admitted students and those on probation must earn a GPA of 3.0 or better for all graduate work completed within the next 12 credit hours or become subject to dismissal. Only courses with grades of C (2.0) or better are counted for degree requirements; however, grades below C are used in computing the cumulative GPA, even if a course is repeated and a higher grade is earned.

Concentrations (18 credits)


Criminal Justice (18 credits)


The criminal justice concentration examines the development and evaluation of policies and programs in the criminal justice field. Students learn both the theoretical and practical aspects of agencies designed to reduce crime in society.

Note: Students with little or no criminal justice experience may be required to take one or both of the following courses at the undergraduate level before taking courses in the graduate criminal justice concentration.

  • SPEA J101 - American Criminal Justice System  Cr. 3.
  • SPEA J439 - Crime and Public Policy  Cr. 3.
  • Other courses approved by the director of graduate studies

Two courses from one of the following groups (6 credit hours)


Health Systems Administration (18 credits)


The health systems administration concentration examines policies and programs in the health field. Emphasis is placed on organizational and economic analysis.

Public Management (18 credit hours)


The public management concentration develops the quantitative and qualitative skills necessary for public and nonprofit management. Emphasis is placed on organizational, political, and economic analysis.

Experiential Component


Each M.P.A. student must obtain relevant professional experience through one of the
following options:

  • An approved internship (0–6 credit hours)

Electives (9 credits)


Courses must be graduate courses approved by the director of graduate studies. Mid-Career Option credit reduces elective hours by the number of MCO hours awarded.

Total (48 Credits)