As a student in the public administration major, you’ll be prepared for managerial positions in the public sector. You will develop public service skills associated with leadership, program evaluation, policy analysis, financial management, and human resources. Degrees in public administration will give you the necessary skills to make nonprofit organizations, government agencies and public-serving private organizations more effective in the future.
Points of Pride
- The Master of Public Administration program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration. In addition, the program has been ranked as a top 200 public administration program by U.S. News & World Report.
- The MPA program is one of the few programs in the nation that offers the “Seoul Case Study Program.” In this program, students study and experience economic development strategies and management challenges in Seoul with the Seoul Metropolitan Government. The Seoul Metropolitan Government manages services for over 25 million people in the world’s second largest metropolitan area.
- Students in the undergraduate program won the 2012 competition of the “Student’s Reinventing Michigan” competition.
Put Your Degree to Work
Career options include employment in nonprofit organizations, governmental organizations and for-profit organizations with a public-serving emphasis. Students in the program have also proceeded to Ph.D. programs in public policy and public administration.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics sample data
|Job||Median Pay||Job Growth through 2022|
|Fundraising manager||$95,450 per year||13% (8,000 more jobs)|
|Community service manager||$59,970 per year||21% (27,700 more jobs)|
|Administrative services manager||$81,080 per year||12% (34,200 more jobs)|
The course listings below are a representation of what this academic program requires. For a full review of this program in detail please see our official online academic bulletin AND consult with an academic advisor. This listing does not include the General Education courses required for all majors and may not include some program specific information, such as admissions, retention, and termination standards.
(Click on the course name or number for a complete course description.)
Political Science Major: Public Administration Concentration
A political science major consists of 33 hours. A minimum of 15 hours of course work must be at the 300 level or above, with at least one course at the 400-500 level. PSC 405 cannot be used to fulfill this requirement. Students must choose between the General Political Science Major, the Public Administration Concentration or the International Relations/Comparative Politics Concentration.
Courses taken on a Credit/No Credit basis may not be counted toward political science majors or political science minors. Majors and minors in political science should enroll in PSC 105 as freshmen (see course description). Transfer students majoring in political science will be expected to take at least 15 hours of coursework in the department; transfer minors, 12 hours.
The student is required to take a minimum of three hours in four of the following five fields:
I. American National Political Institutions and Processes;
II. American State and Local Government, Public Administration and Policy;
III. International Relations;
IV. Comparative Politics;
V. Political Theory.
Note: Field II is not applicable to the International Relations/Comparative Politics Concentration.
It is recommended that all political science majors enroll in PSC 280 during their sophomore year.
PSC 398 and PSC 598 are Special Topics courses which may be used to fulfill the area requirements for majors and minors. Permission to do this is based on the substantive content of the course, and requires the consent of the student's major or minor advisor or the department chair. Any regular faculty member in the department can serve as the student's advisor on a major or minor.
Internships: The department has established an internship program where students are provided relevant firsthand work experience. The duration of an internship can vary depending on the number of credit hours (1-12) taken. Students majoring in political science with a concentration in public administration, as well as the minors in public administration and public affairs, are allowed to count three internship credit hours toward their major or minor.
Total: 33 semester hours
Note: A minimum of 15 hours of PSC course work must be at the 300 level or above, with at least one PSC course at the 400-500 level. PSC 405 cannot be used to fulfill this requirement.
Introduction to Public Administration
Provides a broad understanding of basic concepts and principles of public administration, including the role, structure, and functions of public agencies and how they operate. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format.
Public Budgeting Processes
Study of the creation and administrative management of public budgets. Emphasizes processes of budget preparation, adoption, administration and evaluation at various levels of government. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. Prerequisite: PAD 210.
Public Sector Human Resources
Study of the policies, strategies, and legal processes that define human resources management in public and nonprofit organizations. This course may be offered in an online and hybrid format. Prerequisite: PAD 210.
Introduction to Political Science
An introduction to the historical and theoretical concepts and subject matter of political science, required for all political science majors and minors. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. (University Program Group III-B: Studies in Social Structures)
Introduction to American Government and Politics
Examines the formal institutions of government and how politics actually works in the United States: civil rights, civil liberties, elections, media, interest groups and more. This course may be offered in an online format. May be offered as Writing Intensive. (University Program Group III-B: Studies in Social Structures)
Introduction to Empirical Methods of Political Research
Empirical political research techniques including the scientific method, measurement, descriptive and inferential statistics, literature reviews, data collection, computer assisted data analysis, and research reporting. This course is approved for offering in a distance learning format. Prerequisites: PSC 100 or PSC 105; one other political science course.
American National Political Institutions and Processes
Select from the following:
Note: If you select 3 from this group, you do not need to select 3 from the American State and Local Government, Public Administration and Policy courses below.
Focus is on the elements of individual political behavior. Includes rational choice; political involvement, commitment, and participation; elections and voting behavior; and political opinion. (University Program Group III-A: Behavioral Sciences)
Examines issues of political economy, political participation, political efficacy and alienation, Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism.
The American Legislative Process
Analysis of the legislative process, studying formal and informal devices used by legislative bodies in determining policy. Primary emphasis is on the United States Congress. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid delivery format. Prerequisites: PSC 105.
The American Chief Executive
Development of the executive office of the United States, with emphasis on the Presidency. This course has been approved for offering in a distance learning format.
Judicial Process and Politics
Focuses on the American judicial process, including federal and state courts, roles of judges and other actors, civil and criminal justice processes, and judicial policymaking. Recommended: PSC 100 or PSC 105.
American Parties and Politics
Analysis of American political parties as instruments of democratic government. Their structures, functions, and organizations, with emphasis on nomination, campaigns, and elections.
PSC 325/SOC 345/REL 345/PHL 345
The Civil Rights Movement
Examines the civil rights movement from 1954 to 1980s; based on PBS series: Eyes on the Prize. Identical to PHL 345, REL 345, SOC 345. Credit may not be earned in more than one of these courses. Prerequisites: Any one of the following: HST 110, HST 111, HST 112, LAR 145, PSC 100, PSC 105, PSC 125, REL 140, SOC 100. (University Program Group IV-C: Studies in Racism and Diversity in the United States)
PSC 326/WGS 326
Women and Politics
This course will look primarily at empirical studies of women's role in politics in the U.S. but also in other contexts. Identical to WGS 326. Credit may not be earned in more than one of these courses.
Lobbying and Interest Group Behavior
The reasons for, and the methods of, lobbying government officials in the United States, with an emphasis on implications for democracy. Recommended: PSC 105.
Campaigns and Elections
Study of campaigns and elections in the United States, including candidate emergence and nominations, campaign organization and strategy, election results, and electoral reform.
Constitutional Law: Powers of Government
Examines major U.S. Supreme Court decisions concerning judicial review, separation of powers, federalism, fiscal and commerce powers, and economic liberties.
Constitutional Law: Civil Rights and Liberties
Examines major U.S. Supreme Court decisions regarding the First Amendment, criminal procedure, racial and gender equality, and the right to privacy.
American National Government and Politics
This course will examine the major theoretical frameworks used in the study of American national government and politics and survey current research in the area. Prerequisites: a minimum of 9 hours of political science coursework, including PSC 105.
Select from the following:
Introduction to International Relations
Introduction to theoretical tools used in the field of international relations. May be offered as Writing Intensive. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. (University Program Group III-B: Studies in Social Structures)
The U.S. and the World
Prepares the student to confront the issues to be faced as a citizen of the US and as a member of the global society. (University Program Group III-B: Studies in Social Structures)
Classical and contemporary theories of international relations. War, terrorism, and genocide. International law and organizations. Global economics and world poverty. Ethics in international relations.
US - Latin American Relations
An examination of the political, military, and economic relations between Latin America and the United States.
American Foreign Policy
Analyzes the external interests of the United States and how they are pursued.
Seminar in International Relations
Significant aspects of international relations on the basis of timeliness and importance. This course is approved for offering in a distance learning format.
International Law I
Processes of international law; role in international relations and organizations; effects on individual rights in peacetime through cases, treaties, customs, and legal rules. This course is approved for offering in a distance learning format.
Select one course from the following:
Introduction to Comparative Politics
An examination of relevant theories, concepts, and methods of comparative political analysis and application of these in the study of selected political systems. (University Program Group III-B: Studies in Social Structure)
African Political Systems and Processes
Comparative survey of selected African political systems with focus upon Sub-Saharan Africa.
Comparative Politics: Eastern Europe
Comparative analysis of selected Eastern European states, including Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, former Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria. Credit may not be earned in more than one of these classes.
Southeast Asian Political Systems and Processes
The impact of culture on politics in several countries of Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and Philippines.
East Asian Political Systems and Processes
Emphasis on selected states in East Asia. East Asia consists of China, Japan, and Korea. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. (University Program Group IV-B: Studies in Cultures Outside of the Anglo-American Tradition)
Middle Eastern Political Systems
Comparative analysis of the politics of selected Middle Eastern states, including Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Iran, Israel and Turkey. This course is approved for offering in a distance learning format.
The Politics of Islam
Political examination of Islam's revival as a political doctrine that poses a unique reading of modernity, world peace and democracy in the 21st century.
Comparative Politics: Western Europe
Comparative analysis of selected European states, including Great Britain, France, Italy and Germany.
Latin American Political Systems
A comparative analysis of politics in contemporary Latin America with focus on the impact of authoritarianism, international intervention, economic underdevelopment, and democratization. (University Program Group IV-B: Studies in Cultures Outside of the Anglo-American Tradition)
Comparative Public Policy
Techniques of cross-national and other comparative policy analysis applied to social and economic policies of industrialized nations, especially Western Europe. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. May be offered as Writing Intensive.
Cultural Heritage and Politics of Eastern Europe
Comparative study of political systems of Soviet bloc countries and Yugoslavia.
Select one course from the following:
Great Political Thinkers
Discussion of vital issues in the history of Western political thought, such as freedom, justice, equality, and power. Authors include Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Marx. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. (University Program Group I-A: Human Events and Ideas.)
American Political Thought
Selective survey of dominant trends in American political thought from the revolutionary era to the present. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. (University Program Group I-A: Human Events and Ideas.)
American Radical Thought
Study and analysis of the main social revolutionary ideologies of the left during the past 100 years in the United States.
Socialism, Fascism, and Liberalism
Political and psychological analyses of socialist, fascist, and liberal ideologies.
Modern Democratic Theory
Exploration of modern arguments for and against liberal democracy and discussion of the future of liberal democracy in the U.S. and elsewhere. (University Program Group I-A: Human Events and Ideas.)
PSC 426/PHL 426/WGS 426
Examines the way women have been described by the Western philosophical tradition from its beginnings to the present and offers alternative analyses to this tradition. Identical to WGS 426 and PHL 426. Credit may not be earned in more than one of these courses. Prerequisites: permission of instructor, or at least junior standing and either one course in philosophy or one of the following courses: PSC 275, PSC 326, PSC 371, PSC 373, or PSC 378.
Development and utilization of quantitative data, with emphasis on behavioral research, public opinion polling, and statistical analysis.
American State and Local Government, Public Administration and Policy
Select from the following:
Note: If you select 3 from this group, you do not need to select 3 from the American National Political Institutions and Processes courses above.
Public Sector Information Technology Management
Study of the administrative strategies used to successfully implement information technology in public sector organizations. Prerequisite: 56 credit hours completed or graduate standing.
Managing Modern Local Government
Overview of major themes and issues confronting the management of local government.
State and Local Government
Structure and functions of states, cities and counties, with emphasis on Michigan. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. (University Program Group III-B: Studies in Social Structures)
Michigan Politics and Elections
Analysis of Michigan's election campaigns with focus on organization, strategies and tactics. Emphasis on election consequences for state's policy leaders, opinion, interests and government. Prerequisite: PSC 105 or PSC 261.
Law and Policy in Michigan State Government
Analysis of Michigan's legislative process, policy issues, and state government politics. Emphasis on origination, shaping, negotiating, and content of state policy. Prerequisite: PSC 105 or PSC 261.
American Public Policy Making
This course serves to integrate political institutions and levels of government in terms of policy development and implementation. Prerequisites: PSC 105 or graduate standing. This course is approved for offering in a distance learning format.
Environmental Politics and Policy
Analysis of relationships between politics and public policy in the environmental arena. Emphasis upon policy making process, political strategies, and alternative decision modes. Prerequisites: complete minimum of 56 credit hours of university course work.
Regulatory Processes and Administrative Law
Survey of the principles of administrative law and the politics of the U.S. regulatory processes. This course is approved for offering in a distance learning format.
Politics and Policy in Urban Communities
Examination of large and small city governments. Their political process, behavior and citizen participation. Emerging public policies and intergovernmental cooperation.
Intergovernmental Relations in the United States
An analysis of the administrative and fiscal relationships between the national, state, and local governments, with emphasis on grants-in-aid and revenue sharing.
Select one of the following capstone experiences:
Note: PSC 395 is required for students without any relevant PA experience. Student must have completed 56 hours or more. Students with previous relevant PA experience may select an Independent Study (PSC 390) with permission of the Internship Director.
Directed reading or research on an approved topic. Prerequisite: Open to students not on academic probation and who shall have completed 12 semester hours in political science, with the permission of the instructor.
Internship in Government and Politics
An integrative learning experience where students apply textbook knowledge to governmental and public affairs work experience. CR/NC only. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.