Curriculum

Click on the individual class link for a full description.

Year One Fall (September-January)

PAF 9100 Introduction to Public Affairs
3 hours; 3 credits
The course is an introduction to politics, government, and public policy in the U.S. It provides a rigorous, scholarly, yet practical view of governmental institutions, policy making, administration, and contemporary public policy. Attention is given to the role of governmental and nongovernmental actors, as well as the influence of history, culture, public opinion, and political economy. Students develop skills in thinking critically and writing clearly about issues of public importance.
Prerequisite: none

 

PAF 9103 Communication in Public Settings
3 hours; 3 credits
Introduces students to communication in public settings and provides extensive opportunities for practice with basic written and oral forms. Interrelationships among communicative activities and organizational goals. Internal and external messages are given equal weight. Argumentative structures necessary for constructing sound policy and persuasive techniques relevant to funding, regulation, client, and public constituencies. Topics will vary somewhat from semester to semester depending on the instructor's and students' interests. The course follows a workshop/laboratory format with intensive attention to student work as a fulcrum for the application of theory and refinement of skills.
Prerequisite: none

 

PAF 9170 Research and Analysis I
3 hours; 3 credits
The first course in a two-course sequence (the second course is PAF 9172) that provides an introduction to research and analytical methods as applied to public policy and management. Students will develop expertise as consumers of research findings and learn methods for designing and conducting research. This first course provides an introduction to data analysis and statistical inference, with an emphasis on policy and management applications. Topics include graphing and numerical summaries, normal distributions, descriptive correlation and regression, basic probability and sampling distributions, confidence intervals, significance tests, chi-square tests, and inference for regression. Students learn these techniques through hands-on work with real data and statistical software.
Prerequisite: Not open to students who have completed PAF 9317

 

PAF 9172 Research and Analysis II
3 hours; 3 credits
The second course in a two-course sequence (the first course is PAF 9170) that provides an introduction to research and analytical methods as applied to public policy and management. Students will develop expertise as consumers of research findings and learn basic methods for designing and conducting research. Topics include the use of theory or models, identifying causes, experiments and quasi-experiments, the logic of control variables and the interpretation of multiple regression, measurement concepts and methods, qualitative methods, and complex sampling. The emphasis is on learning these ideas through practice with many different examples of real-world research and empirical evidence.
Prerequisite: PAF 9170 OR PAF 9317.

Year One Spring (February-June)

PAF 9120 Public and Nonprofit Management I
3 hours; 3 credits
This course introduces the fundamental concepts and techniques for managing government and not-for-profit agencies, including schools. This course focuses on structural models; individual behavior, including group dynamics and leadership; effective use and management of human resources; and political and cultural frameworks. Questions of effectiveness, responsibility, and professional relations are considered.
Prerequisite: Not open to students who have completed PAF 9302, OR MGT 9300, OR PSY 9788.

 

PAF 9139 Communication Strategy
3 hours; 3 credits
In this class, students learn to design communication campaigns that will change or modify key behaviors; promote a cause, service, or program; or enhance the brand and fundraising capacity of an organization. Course topics will cover areas such as fear appeals, message fatigue, working with diverse audiences, and online and social media advocacy. Students will develop message strategies using techniques drawn from social marketing, persuasion, and political communication.
Prerequisite: PAF 9103

 

PAF 9140 Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Analysis I
3 hours; 3 credits
This course focuses on the budget cycle and budget decision-making. It includes tools for developing, implementing, and controlling a budget within a, typically, public organization. Topics include development of operating budgets, cash budgets, break-even analysis, cost behavior, the time value of money, capital budgeting, long-term financing, and variance analysis. Basic budget accounting concepts are studied. The course includes development of spreadsheet skills for budgeting.
Prerequisite: none

Year Two Fall (September-January)

PAF 9110 Ethics and Public Decision Making
3 hours; 3 credits
This course concerns the relationship of ethics and public service. Those in public service face a broad array of ethical problems and dilemmas ranging from simple matters of public trust through the application of ethical reasoning in policymaking. The course examines the limits of self-interest in public service, the differing ethical concerns of elective and appointive officials, the conflict between responsibility to hierarchical authority and personal conceptions of the right, bureaucratic responsibility for the ethical content of public policies, and the possibility of necessary evil. A significant portion of this course focuses on ethical theories that may help resolve these dilemmas.
Prerequisite: none

 

PAF 9130 Economic Analysis and Public Policy
3 hours; 3 credits
Introduction to concepts and analytic tools necessary to economic examination of individual and firm behavior; analysis of causes and consequences of public sector intervention in the economy.
Prerequisite: Not open to students who have completed ECO 9705 OR PAF 9760

 

PAF 9132 Governing New York City
3 hours; 3 credits
Examination of the structure and dynamics of New York City government, with special emphasis on the development and delivery of city services.
Prerequisite: none

 

PAF 9136 Urban Economic Development
3 hours; 3 credits
This course introduces students to the major features of the field of urban economic development. The course reviews the principles by which economic activity is organized in an urban setting, focuses on methods of analyzing the existing economic structure of a community, and examines examples of successful business development, human resource development, community-based employment, and physical development programs.
Prerequisite: none

Year Two Spring (February-June)


PAF 9163 Leadership and Strategy in Public Affairs
3 hours; 3 credits
Leadership and Strategy in Public Affairs examines the personal, institutional and strategic circumstances that public (and nonprofit and business) leaders confront as they conduct their work. The course focuses on the exercise of leadership, particularly the development and execution of strategy, particularly within the context of politics and government. Students will explore the strategic calculi employed by leaders as they attempt to mobilize support, achieve personal influence, and exercise institutional authority to accomplish objectives.
Prerequisite: none

 

PAF 9174 Program Evaluation
3 hours; 3 credits
Examination of the process and techniques of program evaluation and the assessment of effectiveness of public sector policies. Various performance assessment criteria, problems of evaluation research, and the politics of program evaluation are reviewed.
Prerequisites: PAF 9170 and PAF 9172

 

PAF 9190 Capstone Seminar
3 hours; 3 credits
Advanced seminar in which students produce a semester project drawing from the full course of study toward the MPA. Special attention is placed on incorporating aptitudes introduced in the core curriculum. The project may involve policy research, intensive study of an organization, development of a rationale for new or changed service programs, or some combination of these.
Prerequisites: PAF 9100 & 9103 & 9120 & 9130 & 9140 & 9170 & 9172.