Master Public Policy Admin


MPPA 5301: Economic Analysis for Public Policy

Economic analysis is widely used in various public policy fields such as environmental policy, social welfare, and labor market analysis. Economic principles of consumer and producer theory, social welfare economics, public goods and externalities, market failure, market structure, production theory, and fiscal policy offer many insights into use of economics to derive solutions for public policy problems. This course will provide students with an understanding of how economic theory can be used to assess the desirability of government interventions, their justification, and implications for efficiency and fairness, using specific policy areas as examples.

MPPA 5302: Decision Making for Public Policy

The objective of this course is to make the student a better producer, consumer, and evaluator of public policy analyses. It will strengthen decision making ability and skills regarding public policy issues. The course does not focus on methodology per se, but rather looks at the results of methodology as they frame and shape public policy issues. Thus the focus of the course is on the role of managers and executives in systematically seeking, organizing and analyzing information to address policy problems.

MPPA 5303: Public Leadership: Principles, Practices, and Realities

This course is designed for students seeking to become effective public leaders--as government officials and staff, issue advocates, or social entrepreneurs. Students will be challenged to think critically about the moral responsibilities and ethical dilemmas of public leadership; to understand the competing demands on leaders trying to accommodate politics, institutional constraints, and the multiple agendas of interested parties; to examine your own capacity for leadership; and to discover new ways to think about and exercise leadership for the public good.

MPPA 5304: Comparative Public Policy and Administration

The course examines public policy and administration across national contexts. With a focus on comparing public policy and administration in federal and unitary governments, the U.S., European, Asian, and developing countries are analyzed for the scope of their public policy and administration on select issues. The course centers on budgetary policies and discretionary spending for social policies including education and healthcare. As a final project, students chose a policy issue of interest to compare administration between countries.

MPPA 5305: U.S. Energy Policy

a) This course will address U.S. energy policy with respect to how the U.S. governs the production and use of different energy sources, along with the management of its energy infrastructure. The goal of the course is to gain an understanding of policies currently in place, as well as proposals for alternatives, while examining the economic, environmental, national security and energy security implications of different policy approaches.

MPPA 5306: U.S. Health Policy

This course analyzes key contemporary issues in healthcare policy. This course includes design and structure of the U.S. healthcare system, policy initiatives and the roles of government, the private sector, consumers, and advocacy groups in setting policy agenda, historical, socioeconomic, political, environmental forces that influence the U.S. healthcare system, financing, and delivery of personal and public health services; health services, policy concepts, and terminology, including health determinants, access to care, system integration, policy development, federalism.

MPPA 5307: U.S. Environmental Policy

This course will address current issues in environmental policy: biodiversity, land use including wilderness protection, climate change, environmental justice, economic growth, and ecological sustainability.

MPPA 5308: Government Regulation

This course will offer an analysis of the federal, state, and local regulatory process as it affects the public and private sectors. It will address the regulatory process from legal, economic, administrative, and political perspectives.

MPPA 5309: U.S. Science and Technology Policy

Prior to WW II, the American government played a relatively small role in the support of science, especially outside of its own institutions. That situation changed dramatically with the war and the Cold War that followed. We explore how these events transformed the role of science in American life, vastly enhancing the prestige of scientists, and shaping the extent and the nature of federal involvement in science. These and later developments, including the commercialization of academic research, raise important questions about the appropriate role of science and scientists in a democracy. In particular: How can we reconcile the need for scientific and technological expertise on the one hand, and for the democratic control of science on the other? We consider different theoretical approaches to this issue, and illustrate the dilemmas it poses with a number of empirical examples.

MPPA 5310: Policy Development and Implementation

This course emphasizes the importance of a working knowledge of public-sector policymaking and the analysis of public policy problems in order to understand how public policy is formulated, decided upon, and implemented, and the impact that the political, economic, cultural and bureaucratic context has on the policymaking process and outcomes. Emphasis is on agenda setting, program design, and implementation.

MPPA 5311: Program Evaluation in Public Management

a) This course addresses public sector policy and program evaluation through examination of methodological considerations for design, data collection, analysis, and dissemination. The course emphasizes the history of evaluation, the social indicators movement, the politics of program evaluation, goal identification, performance measurement, methods of analysis, participants in the evaluation process, and the problems with partisanship.

MPPA 5312: Strategic Planning

This course develops a working knowledge of planning in the public sector through five types of planning modules: basic strategic planning; issue-based or goal-based strategic planning; the alignment model; scenario planning; and organic or self-organizing planning.

MPPA 5313: Urban and Regional Planning

This course examines the principles of urban and regional planning practices. Emphasis is placed on social, economic and housing planning and the relationship between conceptual frameworks, research perspectives, practical and political considerations, and public policy.

MPPA 5314: State and Local Government Administration

This course studies the structures, functions, policy processes, funding sources and administrative practices of state and local governments. It compares and contrasts the distinctions and analyzes their strengths and weaknesses.

MPPA 5316: Federalism and Public Policy

This course discusses how federalism and intergovernmental relations affect public finance, policy, and administration. Salient issues of intergovernmental relations in the areas of environmental protection, welfare distribution, education, homeland security, immigration, and health care.

MPPA 5317: Social Justice and Public Policy

This course examines the values of social justice that motivate action in the public arena; thinks about how those values create concerns and solutions; and explores issues of equity and liberty, of balancing the rights of the individual, the common good, and redistribution.

MPPA 5354: Emergency Management

This course focuses on the evolution of U.S. disaster policy and the practice of emergency management, with particular attention to the roles of local governments and nonprofit agencies in disaster management. The course examines the major policy issues, including the utility of the "all-hazard" or comprehensive model of emergency management, the role of the military in disaster operations, state and local capacity building, and the design and implementation of hazard mitigation policies and programs.

MPPA 5372: Public Personnel Administration

An introduction to civil service systems in the United States. Particular emphasis will be placed on the following topics: the history of the U.S. Civil Service, position classification systems, equal employment opportunity, employee recruitment, in-service training, performance appraisals, employee motivation and collective bargaining.

MPPA 5374: Public Organizations: Theory and Behavior

An examination of how bureaucracy has become the central form of organization in terms of how governments administer public policy in a mass society. Particular emphasis will be placed on the degree to which society has become bureaucratized and on what democratic alternatives are available to temper the excesses of bureaucracy.

MPPA 5376: Public Budgeting & Finance

This course examines the techniques and politics of raising and spending public funds. It discusses topics such as deficits politics, legislative and executive powers and the budgetary role of the courts. It assesses the impacts of taxing and spending policies and explores issues relevant to national, state, and local governments.

MPPA 5391: Internship in Public Policy and Administration

The course is an opportunity for students to gain public service organization experience. It provides the student an opportunity for experience in the political arena. This internship may be at the local, state or national level, serving as an intern in city government, state government offices in Houston, Texas or the Houston office of a Texas state legislator, U.S. House, or U.S. Senate member, or NGO under a government contract.

MPPA 5392: Directed Readings: Professional Paper

This course satisfies the non-thesis option for the Master of Public Policy and Administration degree. A problem or topic in either public policy or public administration will be selected. The student will write a substantial paper, one of professional quality, for submission to the student’s supervising faculty advisor.

MPPA 5398: Master Thesis I

The purpose of the MPPA thesis is to give students experience conducting the kind of inquiry that will be useful in their professional career. Under the supervision of a thesis chair, students will select a public administration or public policy problem, prepare a proposal detailing the research question, complete the research, write their thesis with full documentation and defend their work before the Chair and second reader.

MPPA 5399: Master Thesis II

The purpose of the MPPA thesis continuation is to assist the student in the completion of the thesis begun under MPPA 5398. It is expected that if a continuation is used by the student that there is extensive research that requires extended time for thesis completion. The course can only be used to fulfill the MPPA degree capstone requirements.