The Public Administration curriculum is oriented to the environment of Public Administration law, the political process, and the economy and to the major components of the administrative process including program planning and evaluation, policy analysis, financial management, personnel management, organizational development, and executive leadership.
The Public Policy curriculum is oriented toward the application of policy analysis skills to action in the public sector. The program is intended to educate current and future empower managers in the public and not-for-profit sectors to design innovative solutions to problems in the public sector and to bring about the changes necessary to implement these policies. The Master of Arts in Public Affairs and Policy aims to provide students with analytic and quantitative skills to identity issues, and the ability to translate those skills into effective action through reasoning and argument.
The Department offers three graduate degrees: Master of Public Administration, Master of Arts in Public Affairs and Policy, and the Ph.D. in Public Administration and Policy. The masters degrees are designed for those persons who desire graduate education before entering public service or for persons in the public service who desire additional education as an important factor in career development.
The Ph.D. Degree in Public Administration and Policy is a degree designed to develop research capabilities in the field of Public Administration. It is designed for individuals planning careers in research, teaching, and consulting in the field. The Ph.D. degree program builds upon a multi-disciplinary view of the field of Public Administration, stressing basic concepts in political science, economics and finance, organizational behavior and theory, and research methods and analysis.
In conjunction with Albany Law School, the Rockefeller College offers a joint J.D./M.P.A. degree program. This program integrates the fields of law and Public Administration and enables students to earn both degrees in not more than four years of full-time study. The Department also participates in the Certificate Programs for Women and Public Policy, Public Sector Management, Non-Profit Management, and Advanced Study in Planning and Policy Analysis. Qualified University at Albany undergraduates majoring in political science, public policy, sociology, or economics may apply for admission to the M.P.A. program, and if accepted, work toward completion of the requirements for both degrees applying 12 of their graduate credits toward the requirements of their undergraduate degrees. Undergraduates majoring in Public Policy may apply for admission to the Master's degree, and similarly work toward completion of both degrees.
Master of Public Administration Program (M.P.A.)
Master of Public Administration Program (M.P.A.)
The M.P.A. program provides college graduates with opportunities to prepare for greater career opportunities. It can also serve as an intermediate step towards studies at the doctoral level.
Program of Study
M.P.A. degree requirements include 11 semester-length (full) courses, 2 Professional Applications modules, and career experience. Full-time students without previous work experience should plan to commit four semesters to complete the program.
Each student must choose one or two areas of specialization from the clusters that are described below. Regardless of a student's area(s) of specialization, all students take six semester-length core courses: Pad 500 Institutional Foundations of Public Administration, Pad 501 Public Economics and Finance II, Pad 503 Public Economics and Finance I, Pad 504 Data, Models and Decisions I, Pad 505 Data, Models, and Decisions II, Pad 506 Foundations of Public Management; and two Professional Application Modules : Pad 507, and Pad 508 (Professional Applications I, and II,). A required course may be waived and substituted by an elective if the individual has an extensive academic background in the subject or a compelling case on another basis is made to the Department. For example, Pad 503 may be waived for those who specialized in undergraduate economics; or Pad 505 may be waived for those with significant backgrounds in statistics and data analysis.
Students design their program of study and develop a tentative degree program
in consultation with an advisor. The tentative degree program specifies the
courses to be taken within a student's area of specialization, how the career
experience will be met, and the core courses.
Policy Analysis and Information Systems: This area provides the student with basic skills in analyzing and reporting about policy and management questions including issues of how to manage information resources in the public and not-for-profit sectors. Courses deal with techniques and their applications to public policy and management issues including topics in information management, information methodology, statistics, decision methods, computer simulation for political analysis, evaluation, bargaining and negotiation, operations research, cost-benefit analysis, and information resource management in government and not-for-profit organizations. In addition, students specializing in this area may design course sequences in specialized policy areas such as health, environmental management, or social services.
Politics, Policy and Institutions: This cluster is intended to help students understand the place and role of public institutions as they affect the policies and administration of the political systems of the United States and other countries. There is a wide range of possible specialization included in this cluster, providing opportunities for a student to focus on specific policy sectors, particular institutional settings, and both domestic and international settings. Students may draw on courses from other clusters, other departments and schools. They should discuss these possibilities with their advisors.
Public Economics and Finance: This cluster of courses provides students with a theoretical and practical understanding of the central concepts in public economics and finance. Students planning a career in budgeting, financial management, or taxation may choose to select all their courses from this cluster. Students planning a career in a particular institutional environment or programmatic area should consider taking additional courses in the Politics, Policy, and Institutions cluster. Students desiring skills in policy analysis or public management might combine courses in this cluster with those in the Policy Analysis and Information Systems or Public Management clusters.
Public Management: This cluster is designed to provide current and future managers with both a theoretical and practical understanding of the knowledge and skills needed to be an effective manager. This cluster provides a comprehensive approach to management in public and nonprofit organizations. Specializationís consisting of two, three, or five courses, should be designed in consultation with the studentís advisor.
Career Experience Requirements
The career experience requirement may be met either by providing documentation of two years entry level professional administrative experience in the public or non-profit sectors, concurrent full-time employment in a public, nonprofit, or related organization, or by obtaining placement in internship(s) for the equivalent of two terms. Strong links with numerous state, local, federal, and non-profit agencies allow the Internship Program to offer the student a wide range of professional experience and the chance to sharpen administrative, policy making, communication, and research skills. Most internship positions are paid, part-time professional positions. Students thus supplement both their educational experience and their financial standing through participation in the Internship Program.
The core capstone experience for the M.P.A. program includes successful completion of two integrative modules_Professional Applications I (two credits), and Professional Applications II (one credit. Professional Applications I emphasizes the early development of professional skills, the ability to work in teams, and an awareness of trade-offs in modern administration. The purpose of Professional Applications II is to help students develop a greater awareness of themselves as individuals and as professionals in public service. This course focuses on issues that students, as present and future public leaders and managers, will confront throughout their careers. The core capstone experience is designed to help students appreciate how the different elements of the core curriculum contribute to effective management.
Other Available Courses
Courses may be taken in the Schools of Business, Criminal Justice, Education, Information Science and Policy, Public Health, and Social Welfare, and in the College of Arts and Sciences. In addition, students taking courses in any specialization area may wish to explore an area of particular interest by taking an independent study with a faculty member.
Applications for admission to the M.P.A. program are reviewed by a department committee. Students are expected to have at least minimal competence in mathematics and good writing skills. Incoming students are tested for competence in these areas, and remedial courses are strongly encouraged for students without these skills.
Joint M.P.A./JD Program
In conjunction with The Albany Law School, the joint M.P.A./J.D. program has been designed to promote integration between the fields of public administration and law. It enables students to earn both degrees in, at most, four years of full-time study, rather than the usual five. Recipients of joint M.P.A./J.D.s hold professional credentials for a broad range of careers in government, consulting, teaching, research, and law.
An advantage of the joint degree program is that a maximum of six courses may
be applicable to both degrees. Through the joint M.P.A./J.D. program, a maximum
of three 3- or 4-credit courses within the M.P.A. curricula may be transferred
to be counted toward the J.D. The transfer of three 3- or 4-credit courses from
the J.D. curricula will be accepted toward the M.P.A. All transfers are subject
to the approval of the program advisor and must follow curriculum guidelines.
The scheduling of the combined study is flexible. The student will spend the
first year of study exclusively at Albany Law School. A plan of study for the
completion of all requirements in the remaining three years should be worked
out with the program advisors of both schools during the first year of study.
Students must meet the admissions standards of both The Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy and Albany Law School. Each school will evaluate the application based on its own requirements and standards. No special requirements are imposed on applicants to the joint degree program. Both schools look for a strong undergraduate record. The applicant must score well on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The Graduate Record Exam (GRE), a requirement for M.P.A. admission, will be waived in lieu of the LSAT. Applicants must have a baccalaureate degree. Applications to The Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy are accepted and reviewed throughout the year. Completed application forms must be filed with Albany Law School before March 15 of the year of proposed matriculation. Application to the dual program must be made no later than the end of the first year of study at Albany Law School.
Combined B.A. (Economics)-Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) Program
Combined B.A. (Political Science)-Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) Program
Combined B.A. (Sociology)-Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) Program
Qualified undergraduates may apply for admission to the M.P.A. program and,
if accepted, simultaneously work toward completion of the requirements for both
undergraduate and graduate degrees. See Combined Baccalaureate-Master's Degree
Programs for details.
Ph.D. in Public Administration and Policy
Attainment of the Ph.D. degree requires a minimum of three years of graduate study beyond the bachelor's degree, including at least 60 credits of coursework, research tool competency, successful completion of doctoral examinations, and a doctoral dissertation. The amount of coursework actually taken by the student (beyond the minimum) is a matter to be determined in each case by the preparation the student needs and the work required for the field of study.
All students in the Ph.D. program are required to have a basic proficiency at the doctoral level in the five general areas of Politics and Administration, Economic and Financial Theory, Research Methods, Organizational Theory, and Foundations of Public Administration. Proficiency in these areas is demonstrated by satisfactory performance in the six core Ph.D. courses. Students achieving less than a “B” average (GPA = 3.00) in the Ph.D. core are not eligible to continue in the program. Students with a core GPA above 3.50 are automatically retained in the program.
Students with a core GPA between 3.00 and 3.50: Students in this grade range in the core will be reviewed by the six faculty members who teach in the core - the “core faculty.” The core faculty will make recommendations to the full faculty for continuation in the program or dismissal. Recommendations for dismissal must be confirmed by a majority vote of the full faculty. (For specific review criteria and procedures, see the Ph.D. Manual available from the department.)
The core courses for the Master of Public Administration (Pad 500, 501, 503, 504, 505, and 506) provide a foundation for study at the doctoral level, although students may prepare through individual study of this material.
Pad 702 Politics and Administration;
Pad 703 Economic and Financial Theory;
Pad 704 Research Methods I;
Pad 705 Research Methods II;
Pad 708 Organizational Behavior and Theory;
Pad 709 Foundations of Public Administration.
Students are required to register for the Pad 881-884 Series: Seminar on Doctoral Research and Professional Development, a two-year series of one-credit S/U courses. By the end of their second year students will be required to make a presentation at least once in Pad 881-884 on a research topic of their choice.
Field of Study
Students choose a field of study from among the six the department offers: Comparative and Development Administration, Organizational Behavior and Theory, Decision and Policy Sciences, Politics and Administration, Public Finance, Public Management. A field of study is composed of at least eight graduate courses, not to include Ph.D. core courses, chosen in consultation with the faculty.
At the discretion of the faculty in the field, students either complete a written comprehensive examination or a professional paper (or a series of papers) demonstrating an understanding of the field and its place in the broader study of public administration and policy.
A competence in quantitative techniques, a knowledge of statistics, or mastery of other special tools for research and investigation, apart from a foreign language, is considered essential in many disciplines and for many kinds of research. Such a competence is required in this program.
The basic requirement for demonstrated competence in quantitative research tools will usually be met by satisfactory completion of Pad 704, 705, and one additional advanced research methods appropriate to the students field and approved by the field chair.
There may be some cases in which a satisfactory competence in quantitative research techniques has been acquired without such coursework. In these cases, the student may apply for the opportunity to meet the requirement through an individual examination to be conducted by the faculty of the department.
Full Time Study in Residence
Each student in a doctoral program must engage in full-time study beyond the master's degree or equivalent at the University in at least two sessions, not necessarily in consecutive terms, after admission to the advanced program and prior to admission to doctoral candidacy. This requirement is designed to insure for each doctoral student a sustained period of intensive intellectual growth. Full-time study is defined as 12 credits or 9+ credits while holding a full assistantship during a given semester
Admission to Candidacy
A student will be admitted to candidacy for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy upon the following:
Each candidate for the Ph.D. must submit an acceptable dissertation. Requirements and guidelines for the dissertation and for other details of the Ph.D. program are contained in the Doctoral Program Manual, available from the department.
Certificate of Advanced Study in Planning and Policy Analysis
The Certificate of Advanced Study in planning and policy analysis is an interdisciplinary program designed to assist persons to work in various agencies and organizations at the national, state, and local levels by improving their skills to conduct planning, analysis, and evaluation of programs, projects, and the functioning of organizations.
The program combines disciplinary/substantive knowledge and technical skills to provide the training essential to conduct planning, and policy analysis activities in a given policy area.
The certificate requires 48 credits, to be distributed over four areas, and an internship:
Certificate Program in Public Sector Management
A certificate program in Public Sector Management offers a specialized alternative for those with degrees in other fields who seek graduate training in public administration and policy. The five course program was designed to serve the needs of professionals who hold or desire management positions and have no formal administrative training. Specializations are available in such areas as Public Management, Health Policy, Public Policy, Human Resources Management, Information Resource Management, Local Government, and Legislative Administration. Coursework in each specialization includes topics related to general management principles, and the administrative environment and special concerns of the field.
The Certificate Program in Women and Public Policy
The role of women in our society is changing rapidly. Major legal breakthroughs in the last two decades have broadened women's economic opportunities. The Certificate Program on Women and Public Policy is a graduate-level program designed to help us understand these social changes. It is both for students who are enrolled in public-policy related graduate programs such as criminal justice, education, political science, public administration, public policy, social work, and sociology, and for members of the community who wish to upgrade their skills.
The goal of the 18-credit program is to increase women's influence in the policy process. The Certificate on Women and Public Policy is a separate program of study. However, it may be taken in conjunction with an existing graduate-level degree program. Interested students are encouraged to integrate their studies with other graduate programs.
Certificate Program in Nonprofit Management and Leadership
This Certificate of Graduate Study requires 5 courses:
1. Choose one of the following: Pad 613 Issues in Not-For-Profit Management or Ssw 790 Human Service Organizations within a Changing Environment
2. Choose one of the following: Pad 614 Managerial Leadership in the Public Service , Pad 506 Introduction to Public Management, Ssw 791 Managing Systems in Human Service Organizations, Ssw 792 Community Building, or Isp 614 Administration of Information Agencies.
3. Choose any three courses from the following areas:
Pad 610, Pad 633, Pad 636, Ssw 627, Ssw 628, Pad 524
Isp 523, Pad 623, Isp 546
Pad 640, Acc 647, Fin 700, Pub 514
Public Policy Electives
Pub 612, Pad 675R, Pad 622, Pad 662, Pub 501, Ssw 600
Pad 511, Ssw 705, Ssw 665, Ssw 795, Pad 521, Pad 626, Pad 634, Pad 620
Master of Arts Program in Public Affairs and Policy
The graduate program in Public Affairs and Policy is designed to prepare students for careers as policy analysts and advocates, managers and leaders, serving both in and out of government. The curriculum provides students with analytic and quantitative skills to frame policy issues, and with an understanding of the institutional and political context of policy-making, in order to bring about effective actions directed at the formulation, approval, implementation, and evaluation of policy.
Drawing upon the resources of the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, the Schools of Criminal Justice, Social Welfare, Business, Information Science and Policy, Public Health and Education, and departments in the Arts and Sciences, the program meets the needs of persons requiring an individualized, interdisciplinary course of study focusing on public policy. In addition to the core of courses required of all students, each student must select or design a policy area concentration of courses in the student's particular policy specialty. This specialty is also pursued through the internship experience and the master's essay.
Persons with wide varieties of undergraduate background are encouraged to apply.
Admission to the program is based on a close evaluation of the individual student's needs and capacity to utilize effectively the opportunities of the program. Official scores of the Aptitude Test of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) must be submitted.
Graduates of the program are awarded the degree of Master of Arts.
Program of Study (44 credits minimum)
*Students are expected to take all required courses. However, a student who has completed successfully an equivalent graduate-level course may select a substitute course for a required course with the approval of the Director of the Public Policy Program.
Joint M.A. in Public Affairs and Policy/JD Program
In conjunction with The Albany Law School, the joint M.A. in Public Affairs and Policy/J.D. program has been designed to promote integration between the fields of public administration and law. It enables students to earn both degrees in, at most, four years of full-time study, rather than the usual five. Recipients of joint M.A./J.D.s hold professional credentials for a broad range of careers in government, consulting, teaching, research, and law.
An advantage of the joint degree program is that a maximum of six courses may be applicable to both degrees. Through the joint M.A. in Public Affairs and Policy/J.D. program, a maximum of three 3- or 4-credit courses within the M.A. curricula may be transferred to be counted toward the J.D. The transfer of three 3- or 4-credit courses from the J.D. curricula will be accepted toward the M.A. All transfers are subject to the approval of the program advisor and must follow curriculum guidelines. The scheduling of the combined study is flexible. The student will spend the first year of study exclusively at Albany Law School. A plan of study for the completion of all requirements in the remaining three years should be worked out with the program advisors of both schools during the first year of study.
Students must meet the admissions standards of both The Rockefeller College
of Public Affairs and Policy and Albany Law School. Each school will evaluate
the application based on its own requirements and standards. No special requirements
are imposed on applicants to the joint degree program. Both schools look for
a strong undergraduate record. The applicant must score well on the Law School
Admission Test (LSAT). The Graduate Record Exam (GRE), a requirement for M.P.A.
admission, will be waived in lieu of the LSAT. Applicants must have a baccalaureate
degree. Applications to The Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy
are accepted and reviewed throughout the year. Completed application forms must
be filed with Albany Law School before March 15 of the year of proposed matriculation.
Application to the dual program must be made no later than the end of the first
year of study at Albany Law School.
Master of Arts in Public Affairs and Policy/Master of Arts in History – Dual Degree (M.A./M.A.)
The Department of Public Affairs and Policy and the Department of History offer a dual degree program combining the M.A. in Public Affairs and Policy and the M.A. in History. Students must meet the requirements for the M.A. in History as well as the requirements for the M.A. in Public Affairs and Policy. Of the 30 credits required for the M.A. in History, 21 must be History credits. Six of the other 9 credits must come from courses approved for credit for the Master’s in Public Affairs and Policy. Of the 44 credits required for the M.A. in Public Affairs and Policy, 8 credits must come from History and must include His 630. A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 is required for completion of the Master’s degrees in both History and Public Affairs and Policy. The dual degrees require a minimum of 60 credits.
Program Advisement. Students should receive advisement in both the History Department and in the Department of Public Administration and Policy to ensure satisfactory completion of both degrees. Students may consult with the Graduate Director in History regarding their history program or choose another faculty mentor. Likewise, students should consult with the Director of the M.A. in Public Affairs and Policy program or their advisor in the public policy program.
For the M.A. in Public Affairs and Policy component, students must take all of the required courses for the M.A. in Public Affairs and Policy program, as indicated in the following listing.
Public Policy (44 credits)
Pub 503 Public Economics and Finance I
Pub 504 Data, Models and Decisions I
Pub 505 Data, Models and Decisions II
Pub 506 Implementation and Impact
Pub 507 Professional Applications I
Pub 508 Current Research Topics in Public Policy
Pub 514 Economic Analysis for Public Affairs II
Pub 522 Policy and Politics
Pub 529 Law and Policy or Pub 502 Philosophical & Ethical Issues in Public Policy
Pub 698 Master's Essay in Public Affairs and Policy (4 credits)
8 History credits that would serve in partial fulfillment of a Public Policy concentration
For the History component, students must take all of the required courses for the history program, as indicated in the following listing.
History (30 credits)
A History Research Seminar (or Master’s Thesis 2-6)
History 630 Readings in Public Policy History (4)
6 credits Public Policy program
13–18 other History credits
0–3 supporting course credits in the social sciences as advised
Program Concentrations in History. Students may choose to concentrate in thematic fields of study or in geographic areas of study. Most joint degree students will concentrate in Public Policy history, but may choose one of the other thematic areas: Social and/or Economic History; Local and Regional History; Global, Comparative and International History; Culture and Society; Gender and Society; and Work and Society. Students may also select, with the permission of both departments, thematic fields from among those offered in the public policy program, and may combine courses from History, Public Policy, and other programs. Students choosing geographic concentrations may work in the United States, European, Latin American, or Non-Western Areas. Students in the joint program need not declare a policy concentration in the M.A. Public Affairs and Policy program, as the history program will constitute a concentration.
Research Seminars, Reading Seminars, Required Courses, and Thesis or Comprehensive Field Exam. Students must complete at least one research seminar in the major field in history and one reading seminar in history. With departmental approval a thesis in history for 2-6 credits may be presented in place of the research seminar. If the student does not write a thesis, they must take a comprehensive field exam in history. For information on the thesis in history and the comprehensive field examination, see Section IV.A.6 and IV.A.7 of Graduate Programs and Policies, History Department, University at Albany.
Research seminars must be completed at this University.
Foreign Language Requirements. Students who choose to write
theses in history in areas which require a foreign language competency will
have to pass a foreign language requirement. Language requirements will be satisfied
by a two-hour departmental examination or by an examination administered by
a language department with the approval of the History Department or by satisfactory
completion of a graduate level language course approved by the History Department.
Course work taken to satisfy a foreign language requirement may not be used
for credit toward the degree. If the student fails a language exam, he or she
may take it a second time, but no more than two times for a particular language.
When a student takes a qualifying foreign language examination the results should
be recorded on the Registrar’s Form (7/94). The original is sent to the
Registrar’s office and a copy is placed in the student’s departmental
Dual Master’s Program in Public Affairs and Policy (M.A.) and Social Work – MACRO Concentration (M.S.W.)
The Dual Master's Degree Program in Public Affairs and Policy (M.A.) and Social Work (M.S.W.) prepares students with a commitment to humanitarian values, knowledge of U.S. social service delivery systems, and advanced skills to analyze and formulate public policy relevant to social welfare. Because this M.A. in Public Affairs and Policy (MPP) is coupled with the MACRO Concentration of the M.S.W. program, students are given the opportunity to combine a commitment to public social policy with strong analytic skills in formulating and analyzing policy. The dual degree program requires a minimum of 87 graduate credits. Students take the standard MPP program, using social work courses to satisfy the program’s requirement for an elected public policy field and a social work field instruction course to satisfy the requirement for an internship. M.S.W. degree program electives are satisfied with MPP courses.
This program is a Council on Social Work Education accredited M.S.W. program under the School of Social Welfare’s current accreditation.
Students must be accepted through the admissions process set forth by each program and must be eligible to matriculate in both programs. Admission into one program does not guarantee admission into the other program.
Program of Study – 87 Credits
Social Work Courses (51 credits)
Ssw 600 Social Welfare Policy and Services (3)
Ssw 610 Human Behavior and Social Environment I (3)
Ssw 611 Human Behavior and Social Environment II (3)
Ssw 620 Micro Practice in Social Work I (3)
Ssw 621 Micro Practice in Social Work II (3)
Ssw 630 Macro Practice in Social Work I (3)
Ssw 631 Macro Practice in Social Work II (3)
Ssw 650 Field Instruction I (3)
Ssw 651 Field Instruction II (4)
Ssw 660 Introductory Research Methodology (3)
Ssw 752 Field Instruction III (4)
Ssw 753 Field Instruction IV (4)
Ssw 790 Human Service Organizations or Ssw 792 Community Building (3)
Ssw 791 Managing Systems in Human Service Organizations (3)
Ssw 7xx Advanced MACRO course (3)
Ssw 7xx Advanced Policy course (3)
Public Affairs and Policy (36 credits)
Pub 502 Philosophical and Ethical Issues in Public Policy or Pub 529 Law and Policy (4)
Pub 503 Economics and Finance I (4)
Pub 504 Data, Models and Decisions I (4)
Pub 505 Data, Models and Decisions II (4)
Pub 506 Implementation and Impact (4)
Pub 507 Professional Applications I (2)
Pub 508 Current Research Topics in Public Policy Analysis (2)
Pub 514 Economic Analysis for Public Affairs II (4)
Pub 522 Politics and Policy (4)
Pub 698 Master’s Essay in Public Affairs and Policy (4)
Combined B.A. (Political Science)-M.A. (Public Affairs) Program
Combined B.A. (Sociology)-M.A. (Public Affairs) Program
Qualified undergraduates may apply for admission to the M.A. program and, if
accepted, simultaneously work toward completion of the requirements for both
undergraduate and graduate degrees. See Combined Baccalaureate-Master's Degree
Programs for details.