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Course Offerings

Below is a list of the courses offered in the Department of Public Policy for the Master of Public Policy (MPP) Program.  The courses are broken down into the following categories:

  • Core Courses: classes which must be taken by all students in the MPP
  • Concentration Courses: classes which are specific to the concentrations of educational policy, environmental policy, and public management

Please click on the course name for a brief description.

Core Courses

POL 500 Public Institutions & the Policy Process (3 Credits)

The institutional, political, and normative context of the public policy process. The course introduces students to the the central issues and major areas in U.S. public policy, such as health and welfare, education, economic policy, tax policy, and environmental policy. The course also reviews the key concepts and process models used to analyze public policy in the United States.

POL 510 Public Management (3 credits)

Reviews the responsibilities of a public manager, including an introduction to the specific areas of public management. Topics include organizational structure; strategic planning; management decision-making; staffing, training, and motivating employees; leadership development; budgeting, program design, implementation, and evaluation; ethical considerations for public managers, and providing support to policymakers.

* Only a core course requirement for students matriculating prior to Fall 2014No longer a core course requirement for students matriculating Fall 2014 and thereafter. For additional information please see here.

POL 530 Policy Analysis (3 Credits)

Prerequisite: POL 581 Research Methods for Public Policy or permission of instructor

Reviews the theory and practice of program evaluation and its role in the policy-making process. Topics include policy history, evaluation design and methodology, data collection and data analysis, policy feasibility, and the ability to analyze the impact of government programs. The course emphasizes both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection and policy analysis. 


POL 540 Microeconomics for Public Policy (3 credits)

Development of microeconomic theory, applications, and price policy. Covers the theory of price determination, resource allocation, income distribution, and welfare economics, with particular emphasis to public policy issues. Perfectly competitive markets and models of imperfect competition are covered, including applications of game theory. Theory is integrated with public policy questions.

POL 541 State and Local Public Finance (3 credits)

Prerequisite: POL 540 Microeconomics for Public Policy or permission of instructor

Explores the major economic decisions of subnational governments regarding taxation and expenditures. Considers how these decisions affect the allocation of both private and public resources. Focuses on constraints imposed on state and local governments that are not placed on the federal government, including the requirement of annually balanced budgets. Includes a detailed examination of economic and other data available on state and local governments, a review of existing relevant laws and policies pertaining to state and local public finance, and an examination of issues involving public goods and externalities in the particular context of states and municipalities.

* Only a core course requirement for students matriculating prior to Fall 2014No longer a core course requirement for students matriculating Fall 2014 and thereafter. For additional information please see here.

POL 580 Statistical Analysis (3 Credits)

A case study approach involving the following statistical concepts: descriptive statistics, probability, sampling, probability distribution, statistical estimation, chi-square testing, analysis of variance and simple regression-correlation analysis.

POL 581 Research Methods for Public Policy (3 Credits)

Research-based course that reviews the process of applied research design, secondary data research techniques, appropriate techniques and sources for Internet research, and the use of mixed methodological strategies in applied policy research. The course requires students to conduct independent policy research within this framework and it requires students to produce a final research paper on a policy issue selected by the student.

POL 585 Applied Policy Research Seminar (3 Credits)

Methods, techniques, and data sources for preparing analytic reports designed to influence decision-making in government, business, education, and other organizational settings. Course reviews the origins of policy analysis in the United States, the nature of policy research, the process of preparing to conduct applied research, how to conceptualize a research project, and how to conduct technical analysis and best practices research. Students learn how to communicate research findings to an appropriate audience through briefing papers, press releases, newspaper editorials, and formal testimony.

POL 599 Public Policy Internship (1 or 3 Credits)

Prerequisite: Must complete a minimum 9 hours of coursework in the MPP (encouraged to be in final year of coursework); written permission of internship director required to register

A policy-related internship tailored to each student's career preferences or academic interests. The selection of an internship venue will occur in consultation with the student's MPP advisor and with the approval of the MPP Internship Coordinator. The Internship venue is usually selected from a pre-approved list of local, state, and federal agencies, non-profit organizations, and private sector businesses. Note: The field work component of the internship (2 credits) is waived if an individual has at least 2 years substantial and relevant work experience in a policy making or public management position, although students must still enroll in the academic course component (1 credit) of the internship to graduate.

Details on internship requirements available here.


POL 611 Administrative Law (3 Credits)

Formulation and implementation perspectives on administrative law. The goal is to create a basic understanding of the relationships between federal and state laws, and the implementing regulatory bodies. Topics covered include administrative power creation, implementation, and review, and the general relationships between principles of administrative law and of environmental policy are explored.

* Only a core course requirement for students matriculating in Fall 2014 and thereafter. For additional information please see here.

Course syllabus available for viewing here.

Course lecture materials booklet available for viewing here.

A video explaining the online version of this course is available here.


Educational Policy Concentration Courses

POL 511 Organizational Behavior in Educational Settings (3 credits)

This is an interactive skills building course designed to improve managerial and team performance in educational settings. Students will address concepts, principles, and practices associated    with effective leadership and sound management of individuals, groups, teams, and organizations. The focus is on organizational contexts and dynamics of school processes and outcomes, promoting shared responsibility and civic engagement, and the importance of collaboration in decision making processes.

POL 531 Program Evaluation (3 Credits)

Practical application of appropriate social science research methodology to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of public and non-profit sector programs and policies. Covers a broad range of topics including how to develop an evaluation plan, how to design various types of evaluations such as process, impact, cost-benefit, and cost-effectiveness evaluations, and how to manage evaluation projects.

POL 542 Law and Education (3 credits)

This course is designed to provide a comprehensive review of the law and jurisprudence that governs public (and private) education in the United States. Topics will include an analysis of Education as a fundamental right and as a unique governmental function of the Federal and state governments; the constitutional powers, prerogatives and limitations that these governmental entities have for carrying out public education and regulate the private sector; and the rights and duties of parents, students, teachers and administrators inside and outside the schools.  Special attention will be given to the various roles Law has played and continues to play as an agent of social change and in shaping educational policy and practice in the United States.  In so doing, students will study how the idea of providing an equal educational opportunity has evolved through the courts and legislation from equality to equity and from equity to adequacy, and from simple opportunity (access) to meaningful access (fair chance) and then to results in student attainment.

POL 561 Public Finance in Education (3 credits)

This course will provide an overview of how education is financed in the United States and the national, state and local strategies used to support education.  Using Massachusetts as an example, students will examine the various revenue sources that states use to fund  educational services, how these funds are allocated (state funding formulas), the resources it provides to schools and school districts,  and the way districts and schools finance and budget their operations (school budgeting and accounting practices).  Students will also discuss some of the key financial issues shaping the future of public education in the country and the states, along with a discussion of several major policy issues shaping its future.

POL 570 Social, Historical and Philosophical Foundations of American Education (3 credits)

In this course students will gain a historical and philosophical understanding of change in American Education from the colonial times to the present. They will analyze the interdisciplinary nature of the foundations of education with a focus on the intersections of culture, knowledge and power. The course will examine various schools of thought such as perennialism, essentialism, progressivism, social reconstructionism and scientific management and their nexus with dynamics of change and innovation in American Education, such as the politics of disciplinarity, comprehensive schooling, child driven curriculum vs. society driven interests, outcomes driven curriculum, (in)equality challenges, bilingual education, special education, school choice, vouchers, and homeschooling.

POL 611 Administrative Law (3 Credits)

Formulation and implementation perspectives on administrative law. The goal is to create a basic understanding of the relationships between federal and state laws, and the implementing regulatory bodies. Topics covered include administrative power creation, implementation, and review, and the general relationships between principles of administrative law and of environmental policy are explored.

Course syllabus available for viewing here.

Course lecture materials booklet available for viewing here.

A video explaining the online version of this course is available here.

* Not available as a concentration course for students matriculating into the Master of Public Policy (MPP) Program beginning Fall 2014 (becomes a core course requirement in the MPP for newly matricualted students starting Fall 2014).

* Certificate students wishing to apply to the Master of Public Policy (MPP) Program beginning Fall 2014 and after completion of the certificate must apply this course to the core course requirements of the MPP. This will necessitate students taking another concentration course in order to satisfy the MPP requirements. For more information please see here.

POL 650 Special Topics in Policy Studies (3 Credits)

Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor

Seminar requires students to do in-depth research on a specific policy area. Topics will vary depending on the instructor's current research and in response to the emergence of significant public policy issues. Sample topics include freedom of information and information policy, science and technology policy, regional economic development, marine policy, environmental policy, and gender policy. Examples of recent offerings include: Women's Human Rights, Environmental Law & Policy, Crime & Justice Policy, and Poverty & Immigration.


Environmental Policy Concentration Courses

POL 560 Environmental Consequences of Globalization (3 Credits)

The environmental consequences of unregulated economic activity, rapid industrialization, and population growth. The course focuses on the Global South, but also examines the effects of profligate consumption patterns, the practices of Northern-based corporations, and other aspects of the globalization process that impact the world's collective environmental security. Unsustainable environmental practices that impact climate change, biodiversity, the world's natural resource base, and food supply are examined.

POL 562 Environmental Policy (3 credits)

The broad context of environmental policy-making. Course provides a particular understanding of environmental policy issues, including the importance and effects of historical, political, and institutional context of environmental policymaking issues are explored. The course also teaches the essential skills and concepts important for the analysis and evaluation of environmental policies.

Course syllabus available for viewing here.

Course lecture materials booklet available for viewing here.

POL 611 Administrative Law (3 Credits)

Formulation and implementation perspectives on administrative law. The goal is to create a basic understanding of the relationships between federal and state laws, and the implementing regulatory bodies. Topics covered include administrative power creation, implementation, and review, and the general relationships between principles of administrative law and of environmental policy are explored.

Course syllabus available for viewing here.

Course lecture materials booklet available for viewing here.

A video explaining the online version of this course is available here.

* Not available as a concentration course for students matriculating into the Master of Public Policy (MPP) Program beginning Fall 2014 (becomes a core course requirement in the MPP for newly matricualted students starting Fall 2014).

* Certificate students wishing to apply to the Master of Public Policy (MPP) Program beginning Fall 2014 and after completion of the certificate must apply this course to the core course requirements of the MPP. This will necessitate students taking another concentration course in order to satisfy the MPP requirements. For more information please see here.

POL 650 Special Topics in Policy Studies (3 Credits)

Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor

Seminar requires students to do in-depth research on a specific policy area. Topics will vary depending on the instructor's current research and in response to the emergence of significant public policy issues. Sample topics include freedom of information and information policy, science and technology policy, regional economic development, marine policy, environmental policy, and gender policy. Examples of recent offerings include: Women's Human Rights, Environmental Law & Policy, Crime & Justice Policy, and Poverty & Immigration.

POL 661 Environmental Law (3 Credits)

The major policy implementation and legitimization stages typical of environmental law and regulation development. Students gain understanding of the ways the law establishes "frameworks" within which policies must be developed and must interact, and the roles of policy professionals in the several stages of development.

Course syllabus available for viewing here.

Course lecture materials booklet available for viewing here.

A video explaining the online version of this course is available here.

POL 663 Ocean Policy and Law (3 Credits)

Prerequisite: POL 500

The interrelation between law and policy in the particular context of the marine environment. The course surveys coastal zone management, offshore resource management, marine pollution, and domestic and international ocean policy. Students are offered a broad perspective on legal and administrative issues affecting the oceans worldwide.

Course syllabus available for viewing here.

Course lecture materials booklet available for viewing here.

A video explaining the online version of this course is available here.


Public Management Concentration Courses

POL 501 Theories of Policy Formation (3 Credits)

Theories of policy formation, including systems analysis, group theory, elitism/class analysis, structuralism, and the state autonomy/issues network model. The course examines how different theories view the role of citizen participation, political leadership, bureaucratic institutions, interest groups, academic experts, and business in the policy-making process. Provides students with the analytic tools to understand variations in the policy-making process across different issues and policy sectors and the opportunity to develop their own ideas and applications.

POL 512 Performance Management in the Public and Non-Profit Sectors (3 Credits)

Designing and implementing performance measurement systems in public agencies and non-profit organizations. The course provides program administrators and other practitioners with the concepts, tools and techniques essential to developing and implementing performance measurement systems, while emphasizing their usefulness in improving organizational and program performance.

POL 531 Program Evaluation (3 Credits)

Practical application of appropriate social science research methodology to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of public and non-profit sector programs and policies. Covers a broad range of topics including how to develop an evaluation plan, how to design various types of evaluations such as process, impact, cost-benefit, and cost-effectiveness evaluations, and how to manage evaluation projects.

POL536 Regional Economic Development Policy

An examination of why cities and regions grow or fail to grow, and what, if anything, state and local policymakers can do to facilitate economic growth. Course focuses on major theoretical approaches to understanding regional competitiveness and the nature and efficacy of common policy approaches adopted by state and local governments to promote economic development in cities and regions.

POL 611 Administrative Law (3 Credits)

Formulation and implementation perspectives on administrative law. The goal is to create a basic understanding of the relationships between federal and state laws, and the implementing regulatory bodies. Topics covered include administrative power creation, implementation, and review, and the general relationships between principles of administrative law and of environmental policy are explored.

Course syllabus available for viewing here.

Course lecture materials booklet available for viewing here.

A video explaining the online version of this course is available here.

* Not available as a concentration course for students matriculating into the Master of Public Policy (MPP) Program beginning Fall 2014 (becomes a core course requirement in the MPP for newly matricualted students starting Fall 2014).

* Certificate students wishing to apply to the Master of Public Policy (MPP) Program beginning Fall 2014 and after completion of the certificate must apply this course to the core course requirements of the MPP. This will necessitate students taking another concentration course in order to satisfy the MPP requirements. For more information please see here.

POL 650 Special Topics in Policy Studies (3 Credits)

Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor

Seminar requires students to do in-depth research on a specific policy area. Topics will vary depending on the instructor's current research and in response to the emergence of significant public policy issues. Sample topics include freedom of information and information policy, science and technology policy, regional economic development, marine policy, environmental policy, and gender policy. Examples of recent offerings include: Women's Human Rights, Environmental Law & Policy, Crime & Justice Policy, and Poverty & Immigration.

POL 661 Environmental Law (3 Credits)

The major policy implementation and legitimization stages typical of environmental law and regulation development. Students gain understanding of the ways the law establishes "frameworks" within which policies must be developed and must interact, and the roles of policy professionals in the several stages of development.


MGT 600 Corporate Social Responsibility & Business Law (3 Credits)

Critical analysis of the obligations managers have to all stakeholders in a business enterprise. Readings on ethical responsibility and global interconnectivity emphasize how business decisions impact people and the environment.

MGT 650 Organizational Behavior (3 Credits)

An interactive skills building course to improve managerial and team performance. Students will develop an understanding of themselves in relation to others in an organizational context. Class time will be allocated among short lectures, exercises, discussion, process observation, role playing, and team work research.

MGT 671 Management of Organizational Change (3 Credits)

Knowledge, understanding, and skills to actively contribute, whether as a manager, leader, or change agent, to essential renewal and transformation processes within organizations. Course examines how change occurs in large-scale organizations, the role of leadership in the change process, the use of vision, symbols, and metaphor to stimulate change, and the use of change forums to help employees maintain momentum during the process.

MGT 675 Managing Across Cultures (3 Credits)

Culture’s impact on business and management in a global world. The course seeks to develop intercultural competence and understanding. It integrates cultural awareness into traditional business disciplines through a mix of discussion, case studies, video, and exercises focusing on management, organization, and communication. Students develop methods to bridge cultural gaps and communicate more effectively with other cultural groups in business and social settings.

MGT 677 Leading, Motivating, and Empowering Others (3 Credits)

Fundamentals of collaborative work as they occur in traditional, hierarchical, and empowered workplaces. Course reviews selected theories of leadership, motivation, empowerment, communication, and learning. Course provides an interactive setting where participants can assess and develop the interpersonal skills necessary to influence others.

 

Note: This is not a comprehensive listing of all concentration area courses. Not all courses listed here are offered regularly.

For a schedule of course offerings for the upcoming academic year, please click here.

 

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