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Master of Public Administration

Program Highlights

The online Master of Public Administration (MPA) at Virginia International University is designed to prepare students for a career in public management or related firms. Graduates of the online MPA at VIU will be able to solve problems in the industry related to human resources, finance, project management, and leadership. Students will learn to oversee a diverse workforce and community in public, private, and non-profit structures. Students will learn to manage the mix of both local and regional needs in order to achieve the best results within a multifaceted range of governmental regulations and the political process.

Graduates from VIU's online Master of Public Administration Program will be able to use their skills in a variety of areas in the DC-Metropolitan area, as well as outside the region and on a global scale. Typical places of employment for individuals with this degree include state and local government agencies, federal government agencies, public agencies, non-profit corporations, and many private and publicly held organizations worldwide.

VIU's online Master of Public Administration degree keeps with the mission of the university in striving to engender intellectual curiosity and critical thinking needed in the global community and in our aim to enable our students to develop a greater awareness and responsiveness to fellow members within and outside of our borders. Public Administration is a field in which these skills are urgently needed on a daily basis.

The online MPA program offers three (3) concentration areas for students to choose from:

  • Public Management
  • Information Systems
  • Health Care Administration and Public Health

Degree at Glance

The online Master of Public Administration degree is earned by completing the program course requirements of 36 credit hours, beyond the prerequisite courses. Online MPA degree courses are PUAD 500, PUAD 600 and PUAD 700 level courses. To qualify for the online MPA degree, students must meet all credit requirements, as described below.

  1. Students enrolled in the graduate program must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 (B), out of 4.0, and a minimum of grade not less than 2.0 (C), out of 4.0, in all courses to qualify for the online MPA degree to remain in good academic standing and to graduate. The maximum time frame permitted for the completion of any graduate program is 54 semester credits.
  2. Only graduate-level courses may be applied toward the degree. A master's student may transfer up to 12 semester hours of graduate credit earned at other accredited institutions.
  3. Beyond the prerequisites, the student must have completed 36 credit hours, of which 21 credit hours of required core courses, and 15 credit hours of elective course must have been earned.
  4. No degree credit is earned by a graduate student for any grade below 2.0 (C), out of 4.0, received in a graduate-level course. However, any grades lower than 2.0 (C), out of 4.0, will be calculated in the grade point average.

The program consists of seven (7) Core courses and students have the choice of any three (3) Concentration courses as well as two (2) Elective courses. The elective courses provide the opportunity for the students to develop further competencies covered in the core courses, based on their area of interest.

Area # of Courses Credit Hours
Core courses 7 21
Concentration Courses 3 9
Elective courses 2 6
Total 12 36
MASTER OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION: Core Courses (7 Courses – 21 Credit Hours)
*Core courses provide students with the skills and knowledge that all professionals need to succeed. Each candidate must complete the following seven core courses
Course Code Course Name Credit Hours
PUAD 505

Research Methods

Also offered as: CMP 551, GOVT 505) Prerequisite: None

This course provides knowledge of research methodologies used in management information systems, information systems, information technology, computer science, and other disciplines. The course includes experimental design, surveys, case studies, and fieldwork. It introduces students to applied research methodologies. The use of analytical tools, literature searches, and the application of VIU documentation style will result in a formal written proposal that may serve as the basis for each student’s special project.

3
PUAD 515

Administration in Public & Non-Profit Organizations

Prerequisite: None

This is a survey course that will introduce students to the history, ideas and practices of public administration. This includes studies of organization, policy, law, management, public service and reform issues. Public administration study includes all three branches of government in addition to its main focus on the operation of the bureaucracy including the functions and responsibilities between all branches of government. Its study includes all levels and types of governmental bodies and increasingly non-governmental organizations.

3
PUAD 514

Public Policy Analysis & Implementation

Prerequisite: none

CPT/Internship Qualified

This class introduces students to the basic theories, principles and processes of public policymaking. Students will examine the varying environments that influence the development of public policy, as well as the methods of public policymaking. Students will gain an understanding of the issues and actors involved in the formation of policy at the federal level.

3
PUAD 513

Organizational Theory & HR Management

(Also offered as MBA 513) Prerequisite: None

CPT/Internship Qualified

This course focuses on how people behave in organizations and groups. Topics include leadership, motivation, organizational culture, and roles within groups.

3
PUAD 611
3
PUAD 608

Financial Reporting & Decision Making

Also offered as MBA 608) Prerequisite: None

Internship/CPT Qualified

This course presents accounting reporting and decision making tools used in various businesses. Students will understand basic to complex financial reporting and decision making concepts and practices. Topics include the analysis of financial statements, ratio analysis, benchmarking, valuation concepts, risk, budgeting, investments, and taxes.

3
PUAD 790

Advanced Research Project

Prerequisite: PIA 634, PIA 611

This course is designed for students to develop a project that will encompass the key elements of public administration which have been studied throughout the MPA program, culminating in the submission of a final project paper and an oral presentation in front of a panel of experts in the field that includes defense of their project.

3
Total Credit Hours Required 21
MASTER OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION: Concentration Courses: Public Management (3 Courses – 9 Credit Hours)
* The Master of Public Administration at VIU will offer three (3) concentrations for students to choose from. Students must complete a minimum of three (3) concentration courses to be awarded a degree in Public Administration.
Code Course Name Credit Hours
PUAD 536

Labor Relations

Also offered as MBA 536 Prerequisite: None

Internship/CPT Qualified

This course will introduce students to the history of the labor movement and the collective bargaining process. Case studies will be used to understand the relationship between labor and management. Students will gain practical knowledge of balancing employee needs with organizational goals. Students will learn how to effectively evaluate employee relations programs to ensure productive and positive organizational environment. Students will participate in collective bargaining activities and understand the contract negotiation process.

3
PUAD 614

Emergency Planning & Preparedness

Prerequisite: None

CPT/Internship Qualified

This course provides an overview of the process of planning for a range of emergencies or natural disasters. Students will gain insight into elements of planning and preparedness for such situations and will become intimately aware of the relationship of emergency preparedness to the disaster management. Students will learn about the ways to best collaborate with local and regional authorities, as well as federal agencies, such as FEMA. Upon completion of the course, students will have a clear understanding of the ways in which a community or organization can be prepared for all types of emergencies and natural disasters.

3
PUAD 512

Project & Cost Management

(Also offered as MBA 512) Prerequisite: PIA 510 Research Methods

This course focuses on the planning, organizing, and managing of resources to bring about the successful completion of specific project goals and objectives, especially within specific start and completion dates. In addition, students will learn how to adhere to classic project constraints of scope, quality, time and budget while learning the tools and techniques necessary to minimize the risk of failure in achieving the organization's goal and objectives.

3
PUAD 613

Enterprise Resource Planning

(Also offered as MBA 613) Prerequisite: PIA 513 Organizational Theory & HR Management

Internship/CPT Qualified

Logistics involves the integration of information, transportation, inventory, warehousing, material handling, and purchasing. All of these areas provide a variety of stimulating jobs for students interested in operations management, marketing, and information systems. Because of the strategic importance of logistical performance, any student interested in senior management will benefit from this course.

3
PUAD 612

International Management

(Also offered as MBA 612) Prerequisite: MBA 513 Organizational Behavior and HR Management

Internship/CPT Qualified

This course focuses on the challenges inherent in managing a workforce comprised of employees from more than one country. Particular emphasis is placed on cultural and legal differences as well as the development of programs and processes which select, motivate, train, and evaluate across national borders.

3
CAR 600

Career Planning & Management

Prerequisite: None

In-depth exploration and assessment of career values, occupational interests, skills, personality style, work environment preferences; concentration and career exploration; exposure to career and occupational information resources. Students learn and practice job search strategies and tools, including resumes and interviewing skills; decision-making, goal-setting and action planning; and self-marketing techniques for effective career management.

3
Total Credit Hours Required 9
MASTER OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION: Concentration Courses: Information Systems (3 Courses – 9 Credit Hours)
* The Master of Public Administration at VIU will offer three (3) concentrations for students to choose from. Students must complete a minimum of three (3) concentration courses to be awarded a degree in Public Administration.
Code Course Name Credit Hours
PUAD 552

Information Systems

(Also offered as CMP 552) Prerequisite: none

CPT/Internship Qualified

This course explores the management of information systems and related information technologies (IS/IT) as a part of a broader socio-technical system and their impacts on people and processes that extend well beyond organizational boundaries. Also, subjective and debatable issues associated with IS/IT will be discussed. Accordingly, critical thinking is an important part of this course and is essential for an analysis and understanding of important issues associated with the management aspects of information systems.

3
PUAD 556

Database Systems

(Also offered as CMP 556) Prerequisite: none

CPT/Internship Qualified

This course provides an introduction to hierarchical and relational models, normalization, query facilities, transactions, indexing, security issues, relational algebra, Structured Query Language database design stages, distributed databases, data warehousing, data and database administration, and internet database environments. Students will learn various database management systems software products and multi-user database environments and how they are controlled.

3
PUAD 610

Managing Information Systems Development

(Also offered as CMP 610) Prerequisite: PIA 552 Information Systems

This course overviews the processes, methods, and techniques to plan, analyze, and design complex Information Systems, within selected existing frameworks. It involves planning, gathering requirements, modeling business needs, creating blueprints for building the system, and managing and organizing resources in these challenging, difficult, complex and expensive activities.

3
PUAD 620

IT Governance

(Also offered as CMP 620) Prerequisite: PIA 552 Information Systems

Internship/CPT Qualified

This course presents an integrated approach to information technology (IT) governance. It discusses major roadmaps components and IT Governance strategies and frameworks. Topics include strategic alignment of IT with the business, use of assets and resources, delivering on plans and commitments, establishing and/or improving accountability of constituents, managing risk and contingencies, audits, compliance, performance measures and organizational maturity.

3
PUAD 628

Global Sourcing & Logistics

(Also offered as MBA 628) Prerequisite: none

Internship/CPT Qualified

This course is designed to examine the complex issues that corporate executives must address in the decision-making process when considering whether or not to outsource internationally. It also examines the equally complex issues that arise once the decision is made to outsource, including how to reduce risk, thereby minimizing exposure while maximizing the opportunities for favorable outcomes and more competitive landed costs.

3
CAR 600

Career Planning & Management

Prerequisite: None

In-depth exploration and assessment of career values, occupational interests, skills, personality style, work environment preferences; concentration and career exploration; exposure to career and occupational information resources. Students learn and practice job search strategies and tools, including resumes and interviewing skills; decision-making, goal-setting and action planning; and self-marketing techniques for effective career management.

3
Total Credit Hours Required 9
MASTER OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION: Concentration Courses: Health Care Administration & Public Health (3 Courses – 9 Credit Hours)
* The Master of Public Administration at VIU will offer three (3) concentrations for students to choose from. Students must complete a minimum of three (3) concentration courses to be awarded a degree in Public Administration.
Code Course Name Credit Hours
PUAD 641

Economics of Healthcare & Policy

(Also offered as MBA 641) Prerequisite: PIA 513

Internship/CPT Qualified

This course applies basic economic concepts to analyze the health care market and evaluate health policies. The course begins with an analysis of the demand for health, the derived demand for medical care, and the demand for health insurance. The second part of the course examines the supply of medical care by physicians and hospitals, medical technology, and the role of managed care organizations.

3
PUAD 640

The Health Services System

(Also offered as MBA 640) Prerequisite: none

Internship/CPT Qualified

This course provides an overview of the evolution, structure and current issues in the health care system. It examines the unique features of health care as a product and the changing relationships between patients, physicians, hospitals, insurers, employers, communities, and government.

3
PUAD 642

Financial Management of Healthcare Institutions

(Also offered as MBA 642) Prerequisite: PIA 640 The Health Services System

Internship/CPT Qualified

This course focuses on the application of financial analysis to financial and operating decisions in the health care industry. Valuation methods covered include: net present value of free cash flows, decision tree analysis, real options, and multiples.

3
PUAD 643
3
CAR 600

Career Planning & Management

Prerequisite: None

In-depth exploration and assessment of career values, occupational interests, skills, personality style, work environment preferences; concentration and career exploration; exposure to career and occupational information resources. Students learn and practice job search strategies and tools, including resumes and interviewing skills; decision-making, goal-setting and action planning; and self-marketing techniques for effective career management.

3
Total Credit Hours Required 9
MASTER OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION: Elective Courses (2 Courses – 6 Credit Hours)
* Students may choose any two (2) of the following elective courses, or any combination of elective courses from the concentration courses listed above, in addition to the three (3) courses required to complete the concentration.
Code Course Name Credit Hours
PUAD 520 International Security 3
PUAD 615

Special Topics in Public Administration

The purpose of this course is to acquaint students to the major issues affecting today's administration of cities and to focus on current trends and problems for urban administrators.

3
PUAD 625 Effective Negotiation 3
PUAD 551 Conflict Resolution 3
PUAD 634

Operations Management

 

(Also offered as MBA 634) Prerequisite: PIA 510 Research Methods

Internship/CPT Qualified

This course examines the use of mathematical models in managing the operations of organizations. Techniques examined include queuing, facility planning, distribution network, and transportation models.

3
PUAD 557

Political Theory

 

Prerequisite: none

This course is an examination of theory that leads to concepts and practices in the modern-day political arena. Students will focus on coursework and writings of both historical and contemporary thinkers. The course will look at concepts including freedom, balance of power, the state, revolution, democracy, and anarchism through dissecting works by individuals such as Hobbes, Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Locke, Rousseau, Marx, Morgenthau, and many others.

3
PUAD 538

Compensation & Benefits

 

(Also offered as MBA 538) Prerequisite: None

Internship/CPT Qualified

This course focuses on the design and implementation of compensation and benefit strategies to retain talented and qualified staff in the organization. The course covers the importance of financial and non-financial benefits when developing a compensation package for employees. The course will review legally required benefits as well as voluntary benefits offered by the employer. Students will learn how to evaluate compensation plans and systems to ensure they are compliant with government regulations, equitable to all staff in the organization, competitive to attract qualified employees and align with organizational goals and values. Students will gain knowledge of federal compensation tax laws, job pricing, various pay programs, and international compensation plans.

3
PUAD 511

Managerial Accounting & Finance

 

(Also offered as MBA 511) Prerequisite: ACCT 201 Principles of Financial Accounting

This course focuses on companies' sources and uses of financial resources. Students will focus on capital/debt structure decision and capital budgeting techniques, with particular emphasis on the impact of long-end short-term uses and sources of funds on the firm's value.

3
PUAD 630

Public & Private Partnerships

 

Prerequisite: None

The provision of public services takes place through a variety of forms, direct government provision being only one of them. Increasingly, nonprofit and for-profit organizations, businesses, and government contractors deliver public services in partnership with government. This course will examine the role of partnerships with non-governmental organizations in carrying out important functions of public agencies. Students will get a chance to understand the advantages of such partnerships in terms of effectiveness and efficiency thanks to increased competition and administrative flexibility. The course will also highlight potential pitfalls and unintended consequences.

3
PUAD 558

Information Systems Security

 

(Also offered as CMP 558) Prerequisite: None

This course provides a broad review of the field of security of information systems. Topics include operating system models and mechanisms for mandatory and discretionary controls, data models, concepts and mechanisms for database security, basic cryptography and applications, security in computer networks and distributed systems, and control and prevention of viruses and rogue programs.

3
Total Credit Hours Required 6