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Department of Public & Environmental Affairs

Public Administration

If you have ever contemplated working in a government agency or nonprofit organization, or thought about working for the governmental affairs department for a large company, this major is for you. The major in Public Administration prepares you for a variety of challenging professions in public and nonprofit organizations and for further study in a wide range of graduate programs. It is designed to meet the needs for public policy analysts and public and nonprofit administration professionals who are able to engage in effective problem identification and analysis, policy development and evaluation, and organizational management and leadership. It also serves as a broad-based, interdisciplinary social science major or minor.

Course work in the major emphasizes the development of management skills and analytic capabilities that enable graduates to function as creative and effective professionals in a variety of institutional settings. Other courses in the Public and Environmental Affairs concentration offer broad perspectives on public problems and the social, cultural, economic, and political institutions that shape human behavior. Within the Public Administration major, all students engage in both theoretical and applied studies, and there is considerable latitude in the selection of a problem focus for their studies.

Internships, special topics, and/or applied research projects are available for every major. Internships are especially encouraged-- and are open to students who have completed at least three upper-division courses in the major and have a cumulative grade point average of 2.75. Internships are short-term positions with local governments or agencies or nonprofit organizations where students carry out projects related to their academic interests and skills. In addition to obtaining valuable experience, students enhance their prospects for future employment and graduate school. The internship coordinator for the department can prepare you for an internship experience. You may also want to pick up the student guide for internships in the main office.

The Career Counseling and Placement Office can assist you in locating information about career opportunities and in developing a resume. Recent graduates with a degree in Public Administration have found a diversity of positions in local and state government, nonprofit organizations, and private industry.

Every effort is made by Public Administration faculty advisers to design a course of study for each student that is tailored to individual needs and interests, including internships where appropriate. This brochure should answer most of your questions about the major. If you are interested in a major or minor in Public Administration, contact the faculty adviser or the chair of Public and Environmental Affairs to discuss a program of study and to complete an Academic Plan Form. You might also want to explore the PEA department home page for information about internships, course syllabi, faculty, and other pertinent topics.

The Public Administration major has three emphases. The first, Public Policy and Management, focuses on issues of policy analysis and public management and prepares students for careers in local, state or national government. The second, Nonprofit Management, is for students that are particularly interested pursuing careers in nonprofit organizations and offers specialized courses in fundraising and marketing of nonprofit organizations. The third emphasis is in emergency management, and offers specialized courses for student interested in working in risk management planning.

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