American SPA

American University, School of Public Affairs (SPA), MPA and MPP

Program Comparison Highlights

Institutional Structure: The School of Public Affairs is one of seven schools and colleges at American University, located in Washington, DC.

Curriculum Design: The School of Public Affairs provides access to a comprehensive set of approximately 117 courses for American University’s MPA and MPP degrees. Both degrees are described as two year (four term) full-time although, with 14 and 13 courses respectively, they have lower course requirements than many other two-year degrees (e.g., 18 at Berkeley, Chicago, Harvard and Princeton) and are in the same range as some of the one year (three term) degrees (e.g., 13 at Syracuse, 15 at most English MPP and MPA programs). Because American SPA’s MPA and MPP are of similar length and have similar entrance requirements (particularly in not requiring substantial experience before entering the MPA) they provide an interesting illustration of how an MPP differs from an MPA, as articulated by one institution. As can be seen in the PEACO scores in block II above, the MPP and MPA are similar in giving a high weight to the Tools and Skills domain, with the MPP giving more weight to economics and quantitative methods while the MPA gives more weight to strategy and structure. A surprising difference is that, at least at this institution, the MPA has more course work in the Policy Sectors domain than the MPP. In comparing the distributions with MPPs and MPAs from other institutions, it can be seen that both American SPA degrees are at the upper range with respect to the proportion of instruction in the Tools and Skills domain (63% and 66% compared with 53% compared with, for example, 73% at Berkeley MPP, 59% at Duke MPP, 58% at Michigan MPP, 53% at Chicago MPP, 52% at Harvard MPP and Carnegie MPA, and 44% at Toronto MPP). The American SPA MPA and MPP are in the mid range with respect to the proportion of instruction in the Institutions and Context domain (9% and 14% compared with 7% at Berkeley MPP, 13% at Duke MPP, 15% at NYU MPA, 18% at Michigan MPP; 18% at Chicago MPP, 23% at Harvard MPP and 31% at Toronto MPP). Both American SPA degrees are in the mid range with respect to the proportion of instruction in the  Policy Sectors domain (20% and 9% compared to Michigan at 19%, Harvard at 22%, Oxford at 23%, Chicago MPP at 24%, and Toronto at 24%). The American SPA MPA and MPP degrees are in the mid range with respect to its proportion of instruction in the Management Functions domain (6% and 8% 6%, compared with 4% at Berkeley, 5% at Michigan, 6% at Chicago MPP, 7% at Carnegie MPA, 20% at Indiana and 22% at NYU). See Curriculum Comparison Tables, accessed 1 June 2014. Turning to Blocks III and IV above, it can be seen that both the MPA and MPP course offerings have a good alignment with the “NASPAA-require subjects” and that the typical MPA and MPP student will be exposed to 1.1 and 1.2 times the estimated course requirement to achieve NASPAA’s fiver required competency domains.

Professional Program Features: TO COME

Program Summary

Website: http://www.american.edu/spa/dpap/degrees/Master-of-Public-Administration.cfm

University: American University

Location: Washington D.C.

Degree: Master of Public Policy (MPP) and Master of Public Administration (MPA)

Marketing Approach: “Ranked among the top schools of its kind, American University’s School of Public Affairs offers education in the fields of political science, public administration, public policy, and justice. Our location in the scenic neighborhood of upper northwest Washington, D.C., our position, programs, and professors—all provide us a distinct advantage in educating and preparing leaders for careers in public service. As a graduate student here, you will benefit from a renowned and well-connected faculty, small classes, a strong curriculum, and, of course, access to institutions of power and people of influence. You will be in good company in the School of Public Affairs. Each year we enroll an experienced, academically strong, and diverse group of master’s and doctoral students. This past year, our students stemmed from nine different countries and all parts of the United States. Most have experience in the field (either internship, co-op, or full-time professional experience) and all are committed to public service, broadly defined. The “New Public Service” includes opportunities for work in the public, private, and nonprofit sector. Throughout your career, it is possible that you will move into and out of any of these three sectors, and the School of Public Affairs at American University provides you with the skills necessary to perform these transitions with fluidity.” (At http://www.american.edu/spa/about/index.cfm, accessed 9 May 2014.)

Degrees Awarded per Year: TBD [Information will be requested from the School]

Academic Unit within University: School of Public Affairs

Related Academic Units and Degrees: The School of Public Affairs’ graduate programs are listed, by graduate unit, at http://www.american.edu/degrees.cfm?degree=masters&school=SPA. The units providing the degrees most closely related to the MPP include: Government and Justice, Law and Criminology.

Posted Tuition: Approximately $28,800 tuition and fees per year for MPP and MPA students entering in 2013 (at http://www.american.edu/spa/admissions/tuition.cfm, accessed 9 May 2014).

Concentration/Curriculum Overview: The Master of Public Policy (MPP) program provides students with analytical, contextual, ethical, and substantive skills and knowledge to advance the quality of advice given to policymakers in a variety of institutional settings in the U.S. and abroad.The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program provides students the knowledge, skills, and values for functioning with distinction throughout their careers at different levels of responsibility within the U.S. constitutional context and abroad.

MPP Degree Requirements

Summary: The MPP program requires 39 credit hours of approved graduate work and a comprehensive examination requirement completed through assignments in PUAD-688 Policy Practicum.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS (All courses unless otherwise specified are worth 3 credits)

  • PUAD-601 Quantitative Methods for Policy Analysis I (students may test out of PUAD-601 and substitute another approved course)
  • PUAD-602 Quantitative Methods for Policy Analysis II
  • PUAD-603 Policy Process
  • PUAD-606 Foundations of Policy Analysis
  • PUAD-631 Financing Government Services: Expenditure Analysis or Taxation
  • PUAD-670 Economics for Policy Analysis
  • PUAD-684 Organizational Analysis
  • PUAD-688 Policy Practicum
  • One of the following:
    • PUAD-604 Public Program Evaluation
    • PUAD-607 Economics and Politics of Public Policy
    • PUAD-671 Cost Benefit Analysis
  • One of the following:
    • PUAD-616 Legal Basis of Public Administration
    • PUAD-617 Project Management
    • PUAD-619 Ethical Issues in Public Policy
    • PUAD-650 Leadership in a Changing Workplace

AREA OF CONCENTRATION AND INTERNSHIP: 9 credit hours in an area of concentration. Areas include:

  • Advanced Policy Analysis
  • Applied Politics, including Campaign Management and Women and Politics
  • Comparative Public Policy
  • Crime, Public Law, and Policy
  • Health Policy
  • International Development
  • Nonprofit Policy, Management, and Leadership
  • Public Financial Management
  • Public Management
  • Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy
  • Social Policy

If not taken to fulfill the research requirement above, and with permission of the academic advisor, PUAD-604 and PUAD-607 may be taken as part of a concentration. Students without a significant professional work background participate in an internship, which may be taken for credit (PUAD-691). For students already employed, a formal internship is optional.

Duration: 2 years (four terms of full-time study).

Academic Prerequisite: Applicants must meet the minimum university requirements for graduate study. Admission decisions are based on each applicant’s academic record, two letters of recommendation, test scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and an essay written by the applicant on his or her background and career interests. Applicants may substitute test scores from similar tests, such as the GMAT or LSAT, for the GRE where appropriate. Applicants who received their undergraduate degree more than five years prior to their date of application may waive the requirement for test scores by submitting a statement describing their professional experience. The department values applicants who have acquired practical experience before beginning their professional degree program. Admission decisions are based on each applicant’s total record and not on any single strength or deficiency.

Number of One-Semester-Equivalent Courses Required for Completion: 13

Number of Required Courses: As noted above there are 8 courses that are fully required. However, see Note 1.

Note 1. There are other courses that are “required options.” If one includes these using the probabilistic calculations in the PEACO Algorithm, the total number of spaces in the 13 courses-for-completion taken by the various requirements is between 11 and 12, depending on the concentration. As noted in the PEACO tables below, for the Advanced Policy Analysis concentration the total is 11.6. This means that there is room for just over one “pure elective” that is not one of the required or required options courses.

Number of Electives Typically Taken (difference between above two entries): 5, including required options; 1.4 pure electives (See Note 1).

Number of Electives Offered within Program: There are a total of 117 courses listed in the Course Map below. Courses that are not offered through the School of Public Affairs, but are options available to complete concentration requirements are included; courses offered by the School of Public Affairs, but are not part the MPP and MPA  program or concentration requirements are not.

Comprehensive Examination: Yes, comprehensive examination requirement completed through assignments in PUAD-688 Policy Practicum.

Thesis Required: No.

Internship Required: Students without a significant professional work background participate in an internship, which may be taken for credit (PUAD-691).

International Study Required: No, but exchange program available with Hertie School of Governance http://www.american.edu/spa/dpap/berlin_exchange.cfm.

MPA Degree Requirements

Summary: The MPP program requires 42 credit hours of approved graduate work and a comprehensive examination including an exercise in management analysis and a reflective essay.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: (Unless stated otherwise, all courses are worth 3 credits)

  • PUAD-605 Quantitative Methods for Public Managers or PUAD-601 Quantitative Methods for Policy Analysis I (Students may test out of PUAD-605 or PUAD-601 and substitute another approved course)
  • PUAD-610 Management Analysis
  • PUAD-612 Introduction to Public Administration and the Policy Process
  • PUAD-616 Legal Basis of Public Administration or PUAD-608 Comparative Administrative Systems (for international students returning to countries without Anglo-American or European legal traditions, with permission of the academic advisor)
  • PUAD-630 Public Managerial Economics
  • PUAD-684 Organizational Analysis
  • Two courses from the following:
    • PUAD-602 Quantitative Methods for Policy Analysis II
    • PUAD-609 Topics in Public Management
    • PUAD-615 Public-Private Partnerships
    • PUAD-617 Project Management
    • PUAD-650 Leadership in a Changing Workplace
    • PUAD-652 Facilitation and Team Development
    • PUAD-665 Managing Human Capital Assets
    • PUAD-696 Selected Topics: Non-recurring (approved topic)
  • One course in public finance, financial management, or government budgeting from the following:
    • PUAD-631 Financing Government Services: Expenditure Analysis/Taxation
    • PUAD-633 Budgeting and Financial Management
    • PUAD-685 Topics in Policy Analysis and Management: Public Finance in Developing Countries
    • PUAD-691 Internship (Preservice students about to begin their career participate in a supervised internship).

AREA OF CONCENTRATION: 12 credit hours; areas of concentration include:

  • Applied Politics
  • International Management
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Arts Management Focus
  • Policy Analysis
  • Policy and Management
    • Social Policy Focus
    • Health Policy Focus
    • Environmental Policy Focus
    • Science and Technology Focus
  • Public Financial Management
  • Public Management
    • Management Consulting Focus
    • Human Resources Focus
  • State and Local Administration

Students may create special areas of concentration by consulting program faculty and their academic counselor.

Duration: 2 years (four terms of full-time study).

Academic Prerequisite: Applicants must meet the minimum university requirements for graduate study. Admission decisions are based on each applicant’s academic record, two letters of recommendation, test scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and an essay written by the applicant on his or her background and career interests. Applicants may substitute test scores from similar tests, such as the GMAT or LSAT, for the GRE where appropriate. Applicants who received their undergraduate degree more than five years prior to their date of application may waive the requirement for test scores by submitting a statement describing their professional experience. The department values applicants who have acquired practical experience before beginning their professional degree program. Admission decisions are based on each applicant’s total record and not on any single strength or deficiency.

Number of One-Semester-Equivalent Courses Required for Completion: 14

Number of Required Courses: As noted above there are 6 courses that are fully required. However, see Note 2.

Note 2. There are other courses that are “required options.” If one includes these using the probabilistic calculations in the PEACO Algorithm, the total number of spaces in the 14 courses-for-completion taken by the various requirements is between 10 and 11, depending on the concentration. As noted in the PEACO tables below, for the Policy and Management concentration the total is 10.4. This means that there is room for 3.6 “pure electives” that are not one of the required or required options courses.

Number of Electives Typically Taken (difference between above two entries): 7, including required options; 3.6 pure electives (See Note 2).

Number of Electives Offered within Program: There are a total of 117 courses listed in the Course Map below. Courses that are not offered through the School of Public Affairs, but are options available to complete concentration requirements are included; courses offered by the School of Public Affairs, but are not part the MPP and MPA  program or concentration requirements are not.

Comprehensive Examination: Comprehensive examination including an exercise in management analysis and a reflective essay.

Thesis Required: No.

Internship Required: Preservice students about to begin their career participate in a supervised internship (PUAD-691 Internship).

International Study Required: No, but exchange program available with Hertie School of Governance http://www.american.edu/spa/dpap/berlin_exchange.cfm.

Co-curricular Activities Supportive to Degree

Professional Development and Career Support: Yes

Student-run Journal: Yes, the Public Purpose http://www.american.edu/spa/publicpurpose/index.cfm.

Applied Projects: No

Pro Bono Consulting: No

Courses Offered: The full list of 2013-2014 American University courses is found at: http://www.american.edu/provost/registrar/pdf/upload/Courses-2013-14-AU-Catalog-FINAL-7-26-2013.pdf. In the CourseMap below, required courses are indicated by (R); required option courses are indicated by the appropriate fraction of R.

Course Material Online: Short course descriptions and many syllabi are available to the public online.

Instructional Distribution (PEACO Profile): The table below indicates the distribution of instruction offered, based on the course assignments to subjects in the Course Map below, weighted by estimated enrolment determined by the PEACO Algorithm. The numbers for the MPA are for the Policy and Management concentration, that requires PUAD606 and PUAD603 as well as two of a list of 9 courses. The numbers for the MPP are for the Advanced Policy Analysis concentration, that requires two of a list of 8 courses.

 

American American
MPA MPP
I. Courses Required and Offered
a. Number of one-semester courses required for degree 14 13
b. Number of required courses 10.4 11.6
c. Number of elective courses taken (a – b) 3.6 1.4
d. Number of elective courses offered 106.6 105.4
e. Enrolment weight of elective courses (c/d) 0.03 0.01
Number of weeks (classes) per semester 14 14
II. Distribution of Courses (Enrolment-Adjusted) among Atlas
     Domains and Subjects
Tools and Skills 63.2% 65.5%
  – Strategy and Structure 20.2% 8.1%
  – Economic Analysis 4.4% 10.5%
  – Quantitative Methods and Management Sciences 27.0% 36.1%
  – Leadership, Communication, Professional Practice 11.5% 10.7%
Institutions and Context 9.0% 13.8%
  – Democratic Institutions and Policy Process 5.4% 10.3%
  – Ethics and Accountability 0.2% 2.0%
  – Social, Political, Global and Local Contexts 3.4% 1.4%
Management Functions 7.4% 11.6%
  – Public Financial Management 5.5% 8.2%
  – Evaluation and Performance Measurement 0.2% 2.6%
  – Other Management Functions 1.7% 0.7%
Policy Sectors 20.4% 9.2%
  – Fiscal, Monetary and Tax Policy 0.5% 2.7%
  – International Development 2.4% 1.0%
  – Health 4.2% 1.1%
  – Other Policy Sectors 13.3% 4.3%
                              Total 100% 100%
III. Number of Courses in “NASPAA-required Subjects” taken by
      Typical Student in NASPAA Required Competency Domains
Lead and Manage in Public Governance 2.52 1.54
Participate and Contribute to the Policy Process 1.78 2.01
Analyze, Synthesize, Solve Problems and Make Decisions 4.77 6.38
Articulate and Apply Public Service Perspectives 1.44 1.40
Communicate and Interact with Workforce and Citizenry 0.86 0.61
Total Course Equivalents taken in Required Competencies 11.37 11.95
IV. Ratio of Courses in “NASPAA-required Subjects” taken by
      Typical Student to Estimated Requirement for Competency
Lead and Manage in Public Governance 1.26 0.77
Participate and Contribute to the Policy Process 0.89 1.01
Analyze, Synthesize, Solve Problems and Make Decisions 1.67 2.23
Articulate and Apply Public Service Perspectives 0.81 0.78
Communicate and Interact with Workforce and Citizenry 0.64 0.45
Ratio of Total Instruction in Competencies to Amount Needed 1.14 1.20

 

Source: At http://www.american.edu/spa/dpap/dpap-Degrees.cfm, http://www.american.edu/spa/dpap/degrees/Master-of-Public-Policy.cfm, http://www.american.edu/spa/dpap/degrees/Master-of-Public-Administration.cfm and  http://www.american.edu/provost/registrar/universitycatalog.cfm (accessed 12 May 2014).

Page created by: Matthew Seddon on 13 May 2014 and updated by Ian Clark on 1 June 2014 and Dave Marshall on 3 April 2015. Updating and editing may consist of substantive and/or formatting changes. Unless otherwise noted, however, information regarding a program’s structure, curricular offerings and PEACO score is based on the program as it was on the date of page creation. The content presented on this page, except for the assignments of courses to Atlas subjects, the Instructional Distribution analysis, and the Commentary is drawn directly from the source(s) cited above, and consists of direct quotations or close paraphrases.

American SPA MPP and MPA Course Map

Note: This Course Map includes the optional requirements for the MPA Policy and Management concentration and for the MPP Advanced Policy Analysis concentration.

[NOTE: THIS TABLE IS STILL IN THE FORMATTING OF THE ORIGIAL ATLAS]

Analysis and Skills

Policy and Management Analysis

Economic Analysis

Quantitative Methods

Analytic Methods

Leadership Skills

Communication Skills

Professional Practice

Institutions and Context

Democratic Institutions and Policy Process

Social and Political Context

Ethics, Rights and Accountability

Intergovernmental and Global Context

Management Functions

Public Financial Management

Evaluation and Performance Measurement

Human Resource Management

Information Management and Technology

Program and Service Delivery

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Regulatory Policy and Management

Nonprofit Management and Advocacy

Policy Sectors

Macroeconomic Policy

International Development

Social Policy and Welfare

Health

Education

Employment, Labour and Immigration

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Cities, Urban and Regional Development

Environment and Sustainability

Agriculture and Resources

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Science, Technology and Innovation

Industry, Trade and Investment

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Energy, Transport and Infrastructure

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Defence, Security and Foreign Relations

Policing and Justice Administration

Arts and Culture

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Financial Markets