Course Sequencing and Prerequisites

Although students may begin in any term, course schedules are arranged to best serve the needs of students who matriculate each fall. Students should schedule PAD 5050 and PAD 5700 during their first semester. PAD 5700 is a prerequisite for PAD 5701 which should be taken the following term. PAD 6908 should be scheduled in the last term following the completion of PAD 5035. This sequencing enables us to develop your skills in research and writing further than was possible before we instituted the prerequisite requirements. For most students not on a graduate assistantship, three courses (or nine credit hours) is a full load of courses.

The following schedule lists an appropriate sequence of MPA courses for a program of study that spans five semesters.

It is extremely important that you take and complete PAD 5701 early in your coursework. Do not make the mistake of waiting until your last couple of terms as it is a very difficult class and could hold your graduation.

First Semester

  • PAD 5050 The Profession of Public Administration
  • PAD 5700 Research Design
  • One (or two) other core or specialization course

Second Semester

  • PAD 5701 Research Methods, and
  • One core course, and
  • One (or two) specialization course(s)

Third Semester

  • PAD 5035 Policy Development and Management
  • One or two specialization courses

Fourth Semester

  • One core course
  • One or two specialization courses
  • PAD 6900 Pre-Capstone Report (must be taken the semester before Capstone)

Fifth Semester

  • PAD 6908 Capstone Report
  • One specialization course

Most of the core courses are taught once every semester, including summer sessions. The specialization courses are taught at most once a year and occasionally only every four or five semesters, so you should watch for the specialization courses as they are taught and take them. If you are in a specialization track, you should take the core course of that topic area as soon as possible so you will have the prerequisite for the advanced course, e.g., take PAD 5227 before you can take PAD 6226 or PAD 6207. During the summer semester, most of the core courses but only a few specialization courses are generally offered. There is also a limited offering of graduate courses in other departments. Students who plan to enroll in summer courses should plan to “save” one or more of the core courses for the summer.

Course Policies

Wondering how to drop a class, course loads, and bypass core classes? All the answers are here.

Course Loads, Dropping Classes, Withdrawal from University

Some students attempt too many courses at one time. We recognize that many are under financial and other pressure to obtain their degree as soon as possible, but those who attempt to do too much hurt themselves, their career potential, and their academic record.

The Bulletin states that 12 credits per semester constitute a full-time load. No one should exceed this; it is a very heavy load of graduate studies. The degree is designed for two academic years of full-time study. Those completing it on a part-time basis should expect to spend three or more years in doing so. No student working 30 or more hours per week should attempt more than six credits per term until he or she is well established in graduate work.

During the first four days of classes, individual courses may be added, dropped, or sections of a course changed. Students are financially liable for all courses that remain on their schedule after the fourth day of classes. Courses may routinely be dropped through the seventh week; however, tuition charges will remain. Courses dropped during this period will not appear on the student’s transcript. To add courses after the first four days requires the approval of the Associate Dean of the College of Social Sciences.

After the seventh week of classes, courses may be dropped only with the approval of the MPA Director and the Academic Dean. These courses will appear on the student’s transcript with the notation “WD.” It is understood that professional and personal problems do arise, and the School strives to be responsive to these concerns; we also believe that attempting to withdraw from courses when students have not diligently applied themselves is indicative of unprofessional behavior.

Students who register for courses but who do not attend the classes will receive grades of “F” if the courses are not officially dropped.

Those seeking to withdraw from the university must obtain permission from the MPA director. Failure to register for courses for two consecutive terms, including either the Fall or Spring semester, constitutes an automatic withdrawal from the University and requires readmission. Readmission is restricted to those who have maintained a 3.0 average. If problems of work, personal or academic nature occur that interfere with your performance, please see the MPA program director. We seek to assist our students when problems arise.

Bypassing Core Classes

Students who enter the MPA program having taken prior undergraduate coursework in public administration may bypass PAD 5050, PAD 5417, or PAD 5227 Financial Resources if they have completed at least two undergraduate public administration courses with a grade of A and have been reviewed by the MPA director as well as by a faculty member responsible for the course. To bypass PAD 5227, one of the undergraduate courses must have been in public budgeting (and include an introduction to financial administration).

Students who receive a bypass should take an intermediate course in the same general area, personnel or financial, or a general elective in public administration if PAD 5050 is bypassed. A bypass does not reduce the total credits for a degree (it is not a waiver) but allows students to better fit course selections to their level of knowledge. Those who have taken graduate coursework at other institutions should consult the section of this Handbook that deals with the transfer of credits.