Patterns in Specialization

SpecializationObservations from a global sample of over 100 public affairs programs

When completed, this page will provide our analysis of patterns of specialization in the global sample of over 100 public affairs programs in the database of the Atlas of Public Management. In this sample there are virtually no “purely generalist” programs because almost all have a mission that provides an element of specialization, and there are virtually no “purely specialist” programs because almost all share a substantial common core of generalist subjects. That said, there are interesting differences in the extent to which programs choose to specialize and how they do it. As illustrated below, programs differ on: 1) whether to include specialization streams; 2) what the specializations are; 3) whether selection of a selection is mandatory or optional; 4) how many courses are required to complete a specialization; and 5) how to certify the specialization.

Summary statistics (based on the programs included to date) are set out in Table 1.

Table 1: Summary Statistics

DATA TO BE UPDATED AS PROGRAMS ARE ANALYZED

Total Sample   Distribution of Specializations: Subject Domains  
Number of Programs Currently in Sample 54 Analysis and Skills 23%
Percentage of Programs with Specializations 48% – Policy and Management Analysis 19%
– Economic, Quantitative and Analytic Methods 2%
Among Programs with Specializations – Leadership and Communication Skills 2%
Mean Number of Specializations per Program 6.7 Institutions and Context 8%
Mean Number of Courses Required in a Specialization 3.9 – Institutions, Process, Ethics, and Rights 2%
Percentage where Specialization is Mandatory 73% – Global Context 5%
– Socioeconomic and Political Context 1%
Distribution of Specializations: Policy/Management Management Functions 24%
Policy-Oriented Subjects 63% – Nonprofit Management and Advocacy 7%
Management-Oriented Subjects 37% – Local Government Management 5%
Total 100% – Public Financial Management 8%
– Other Management Functions 4%
Distribution of Specializations: Pub Affairs/Int Affairs Policy Sectors 45%
Archetypal Public Affairs Subjects (P&MA, EA, QM, DI&PP) 22% – International Development 8%
Archetypal International Affairs Subjects (I&GC, ID, DS&FR) 18% – Defence, Security and Foreign Relations 5%
Total (not 100%) 40% – Macroeconomic Policy 3%
– Public Finance and Social Policy 6%
– Health 5%
– Environment 4%
– Other Policy Sectors 13%
Total 100%

 

Programs without specialization streams (concentrations)

Almost half the programs in our sample take a “generalist” approach to the MPP or MPA degree and no not offer specializations (concentrations). Table 2 lists the programs in the Atlas database that do not offer specialization streams. Of the 108 programs in this sample XX do not declare a specialization.

Table 2: Programs in the Atlas database that do not offer specialization streams (concentrations)

DATA TO BE ADDED

ANU Crawford MPA Exeter Politics MPA Michigan Ford MPP
ANZSOG EMPA FGV Brazil MPA
Arizona State MPA Glasgow SSPS MScPUP
Beijing Normal MCDC GRIPS Tokyo MPP
Berkeley Goldman MPP Hong Kong DPPA MPA
Brunei IPS Jindal Delhi MPP
Calgary SPP Kansas SPAA MPA-C
Cambridge POLIS MPP Kansas SPAA MPA-I
Canberra SGP MPA Kings SSPP MAPP
Chicago Harris MPP Macquarie MPPP
Concordia DPS MPPPA Man-Winnipeg MPA
Dalhousie SPA MPA Melbourne MSG MPA
Edinburgh AoG MPP Melbourne MSG MPPM
ÉNAP Québec MAP Michigan Ford MPA

It also should be noted that some programs, despite not offering specialization streams, describe their mission in terms of specializations. An example is shown in Table 3.

Table 3: Example of mission specializations in MPP or MPA programs without specialization streams
Institution with Atlas link
Degree Name
Specializations Referenced on Program Website
Specialization Required
Program Website Reference
Calgary SPP MPP Economic and Social Policy International Policy Energy and Environmental Policy No http://policyschool.ucalgary.ca/?q=students/master-public-policy-mpp

 

Specialization streams and specialized degrees

For those programs offering specialization streams, some recognize the successful completion of specialization requirements with a notation attached to the degree and others provide a degree with a specialized name. Examples are shown in Table 4.

Table 4: Examples of different ways that program specializations can be certified
Institution with Atlas link
Degree Name
Specialization Streams
Certification of Specialization
Texas LBJ MPAff International Affairs Natural Resources and the Environment Nonprofit and Philanthropic Studies Public Management and Leadership Social and Economic Policy Technology, Innovation, and Information Policy Urban and State Affairs With certificate attached to degree
ANU Crawford MPP (Policy Analysis) MPP (Development Policy) MPP (Economic Policy) MPP (Social Policy) MPP (Industry Strategy) MPP (International Policy) Policy Analysis Development Policy Economic Policy Social Policy Industry Strategy International Policy In name of degree

 

Specializations offered

The NASPAA information page on MPA and MPP degrees (http://www.naspaa.org/students/faq/MPAMPP_Degrees_1.asp) provides the following examples of specializations:

Specializations offered by NASPAA [MPA] programs include areas such as public management, nonprofit management, health care management, international development, urban affairs, human-resource management, state/local government administration, and financial management.

Specializations offered by NASPAA [MPP] programs include analysis in a myriad of public policy areas, including: environmental, education, health, social, economic development, international, and urban policy.

These specializations and many more are observed within the programs included in the Atlas database. It can be seen in Table 5, which lists specializations by subject, that most of the specializations in management-oriented subjects are provided by MPA programs. Although most of the specializations in policy-oriented subjects are offered by MPP and specialization-named programs, MPA programs are also well represented.

Table 5: Specializations offered by Public Affairs programs in the Atlas database, organized by Subject

DATA TO BE ADDED

Subject
Specialization Name
Program and Degree
Policy- and Management-Oriented Subject
Policy and Management Analysis Policy Analytic Methods Organizational Behavior and Theory Applied Politics Applied Politics Policy Analysis Public Management Policy and Management Public Management Public Management Advanced Policy Analysis Comparative Public Policy Policy Analysis International Public and Nonprofit Management Policy Analysis Public Management Government, Politics and Policy Studies Public and Nonprofit Management Public Management/Organization Theory Public Policy Federal Policy, Politics and Management Public-Private Policy and Management Public Policy Business and Government Policy Business and Government Policy Policy Analysis Public Management Public Management Policy Analysis Public Management Public Management Public Policy and Management Comparative Public Policy and Administration Public Management Albany Rockefeller MPA Albany Rockefeller MPA American SPA MPA American SPA MPP American SPA MPA American SPA MPA American SPA MPA American SPA MPA American SPA MPP American SPA MPP American SPA MPP ANU Crawford MPP Bocconi Milan MPA Carleton SPPA MAPA Carleton SPPA MAPA Cornell CIPA MPA Cornell CIPA MPA Georgia SPIA MPA Georgia SPIA MPA GW Trachtenberg MPA GW Trachtenberg MPA GRIPS Tokyo MAPP Harvard Kennedy MPP Harvard Kennedy MPA Hertie Berlin MPP Hertie Berlin MPP Illinois Chicago MPA Indiana SPEA MPA Indiana SPEA MPA Laval MPP LSE IPA MPP LSE Government MScPPA LSE Government MScPPA
Management-Oriented Subjects
Nonprofit Management and Advocacy Nonprofit Management Nonprofit Policy, Management, and Leadership Nonprofit Management Business and Government Relationships Nonprofit Organizations Nonprofit Management Nonprofit Administration Nonprofit Management Nonprofit Management Nonprofit Management Nonprofit Management and Leadership Nonprofit Management and Leadership Albany Rockefeller MPA American SPA MPP American SPA MPA Bocconi Milan MPA Colorado SPA MPA Florida Askew MPA Georgia SPIA MPA GW Trachtenberg MPA Illinois Chicago MPA Indiana SPEA MPA Maryland SPP MPM Maryland SPP MPP
Local Government Management Local Government Management State and Local Administration City Management and Competitiveness Local Government Local Government Administration Local Government Administration Managing State and Local Governments Local Government Administration Local Government Management Albany Rockefeller MPA American SPA MPA Bocconi Milan MPA Colorado SPA MPA Florida Askew MPA Georgia SPIA MPA GW Trachtenberg MPA Illinois Chicago MPA Indiana SPEA MPA
Public Financial Management Financial Management and Public Economics Public Financial Management Public Financial Management Public Financial Management Public Budgeting and Finance Administration Budget and Public Finance Budget and Public Finance Financial Management Public Financial Administration Public Finances Public Sector Financial Management Public Sector Financial Management Federal Acquisition Federal Acquisition Albany Rockefeller MPA American SPA MPA American SPA MPP Florida Askew MPA Georgia SPIA MPA GW Trachtenberg MPA GW Trachtenberg MPA Illinois Chicago MPA Indiana SPEA MPA Laval MPP Maryland SPP MPM Maryland SPP MPP Maryland SPP MPM Maryland SPP MPP
Human Resource Management Human Resources Management Albany Rockefeller MPA
Information and Technology Management Information Strategy and Management Information and Performance Management Information Systems Albany Rockefeller MPA Illinois Chicago MPA Indiana SPEA MPA
Leadership Skills Leadership and Strategic Management Management and Leadership Management and Leadership Florida Askew MPA Maryland SPP MPM Maryland SPP MPP
Democratic Institutions and Policy Process Democracy, Politics and Institutions Democracy, Politics and Institutions Harvard Kennedy MPP Harvard Kennedy MPA
Ethics, Rights and Accountability Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy Human Rights and Social Justice Columbia SIPA MPA Cornell CIPA MPA
Communication Skills
Regulatory Policy and Management Regulatory Policy GW Trachtenberg MPP
Policy-Oriented Subjects
Global Context Global Affairs International Management International Policy International Policy (no stream) Global Policy International and Nongovernmental Organizations International Relations International and Global Affairs International and Global Affairs European Public and Economic Policy Albany Rockefeller MPA American SPA MPP ANU Crawford MPP Calgary SPP, MPP Duke Sanford MPP Florida Askew MPA GRIPS Tokyo MAPP Harvard Kennedy MPP Harvard Kennedy MPA LSE IPA MPP
Defence, Security and Foreign Relations Homeland Security Emergency Management and Homeland Security International Security Policy National Security Emergency Management and Homeland Security Homeland Security and Emergency Management National Security and Foreign Policy International Security and Economic Policy international Security and Economic Policy Albany Rockefeller MPA Colorado SPA MPA Columbia SIPA MPA Duke Sanford MPP Florida Askew MPA GW Trachtenberg MPA GW Trachtenberg MPP Maryland SPP MPM Maryland SPP MPP
International Development International Development Development Policy International and Development International Development Studies Development Policy International Development Management International Development Policy International Development Studies Political and Economic Development Political and Economic Development International Development International Development International Development Policy International Development Policy American SPA MPP ANU Crawford MPP Carleton SPPA MAPA Cornell CIPA MPA Duke Sanford MPP GW Trachtenberg MPA GW Trachtenberg MPP GRIPS Tokyo MAPP Harvard Kennedy MPP Harvard Kennedy MPA Indiana SPEA MPA LSE IPA MPP Maryland SPP MPM Maryland SPP MPP
Macroeconomic Policy Economic Policy International Finance and Economic Policy Economic and Financial Policy Economic Policy Public and Economic Policy ANU Crawford MPP Columbia SIPA MPA Cornell CIPA MPA GRIPS Tokyo MAPP LSE IPA MPP
Public Finance and Social Policy Social Policy Social Policy Economic and Social Policy (no stream) Social Policy Social Policy Populations Studies Social Policy Social and Urban Policy Social and Urban Policy Public and Social Policy Social Policy Social Policy American SPA MPP ANU Crawford MPP Calgary SPP, MPP Cornell CIPA MPA Duke Sanford MPP Duke Sanford MPP GW Trachtenberg MPP Harvard Kennedy MPP Harvard Kennedy MPA LSE IPA MPP Maryland SPP MPM Maryland SPP MPP
Cities, Urban and Regional Development Urban and Social Policy Urban Policy Economic Development Columbia SIPA MPA GW Trachtenberg MPP Indiana SPEA MPA
Health Health Policy Healthcare Management Health Policy Health Policy Health Policy and Administration Health Policy Health Health Policy Health Policy Albany Rockefeller MPA Albany Rockefeller MPA American SPA MPP Duke Sanford MPP Georgia SPIA MPA GW Trachtenberg MPP Indiana SPEA MPA Maryland SPP MPM Maryland SPP MPP
Environment Environmental Policy, Management & Law Environmental Policy Environmental Policy Environmental Policy & Natural Resource Mgt. Sustainability and Sustainable Development Environmental Policy Environmental Policy Colorado SPA MPA Cornell CIPA MPA GW Trachtenberg MPP Indiana SPEA MPA Indiana SPEA MPA Maryland SPP MPM Maryland SPP MPP
Energy, Transport and Infrastructure Energy and Environmental Policy (no stream) Energy and Environment Environment and Energy Policy Energy Energy Policy Energy Policy Calgary SPP, MPP Columbia SIPA MPA Duke Sanford MPP Indiana SPEA MPA Maryland SPP MPM Maryland SPP MPP
Science, Technology and Innovation Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy Innovation, Science and Environment Science, Technology and Infrastructure Policy American SPA MPP Carleton SPPA MAPA Cornell CIPA MPA
Policing and Justice Administration Crime, Public Law, and Policy Gender-Based Violence American SPA MPP Colorado SPA MPA
Arts and Culture Arts Management Cultural Heritage American SPA MPA Bocconi Milan MPA
Analytic Methods Policy Informatics Data Analytics Arizona State SPA MPP Carnegie Heinz MSPPM
Evaluation and Performance Measurement Policy Analysis and Evaluation Methods Policy Analysis and Evaluation Program Analysis and Evaluation Analysis and Evaluation Florida Askew MPA GW Trachtenberg MPA GW Trachtenberg MPP Laval MPP
Socioeconomic and Political Context Economic and Political Development Columbia SIPA MPA
Education Higher Education Administration Education Policy Education Policy Education Policy Georgia SPIA MPA GW Trachtenberg MPP Maryland SPP MPM Maryland SPP MPP
Economic Analysis
Quantitative Methods Survey Methods Illinois Chicago MPA
Employment, Labour and Immigration
Agriculture and Resources
Industry, Trade and Investment Industry Strategy International Trade and Finance international Trade and Finance ANU Crawford MPP Harvard Kennedy MPP Harvard Kennedy MPA
Financial Markets Financial Market Regulation Albany Rockefeller MPA

Page created by: Ian Clark, last updated 12 December 2015.

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