policy analysis and evaluation

In order to improve a system, it needs to be understood. Policy Analysis and Evaluation students will learn how to analyze and evaluate policy issues affecting all areas of society, including the way in which evaluation based on sound methodology can be used to improve the policy-making process. Coursework includes economics, political science, population studies and sociology, as well as extensive courses in qualitative and quantitative approaches to policy analysis. Many students in this specialization have gone on to pursue analytical positions in government agencies, advocacy organizations, think tanks, or university research centers.

The specialization requires the completion of two required courses—PAF 9133 and PAF 9180—and two additional courses from the list below (click on the individual class link for a full description):

PAF 9133 Economics of the Public Sector and Public Finance [REQUIRED]
3 hours; 3 credits
This course assesses the role of government in the modern economy. The course examines the reasons for government intervention in the economy, consequences of that intervention, and issues pertaining to the public financing of those interventions. An important part of this class is the study of public finance, tax incidence, and fiscal federalism. The course has two main goals: to build and refine skills of microeconomic policy analysis, and more important, to apply these skills to contemporary policy problems.
Prerequisite: PAF 9130
PAF 9180 Policy Analysis [REQUIRED]
3 hours; 3 credits
Overview of the use of analytic techniques in solving public sector problems and designing government programs. Topics include agenda setting, approaches to problem solving, the role of values in policy making and policy analysis, policy-relevant data collection and analysis, principles of benefit-cost analysis, techniques of policy analysis (e.g., queuing, simulations, formal modeling), strategies for policy adoption and implementation, and the politics of policy analysis.
Prerequisite: none
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 9137 Telecommunications Policy
3 hours; 3 credits
This course focuses on the communications industry and government regulation. It examines policy issues including growth of conglomerates, the impact of computers and the Internet, the scope and impact of the digital revolution, new technologies in wired and wireless transmission, allocating the spectrum, and the future of the electronic highway.
Prerequisite: none
PAF 9142 Housing Policy
3 hours; 3 credits
The course serves as a gateway to the field of housing and community development, giving students the background necessary to become informed participants in policy analysis and debates about the future of housing policy. Topics to be covered include: housing markets and policies; the evolution of federal, state, and local housing programs, with emphasis on low-income rental housing; as well as several longstanding and thorny housing policy topics.
Prerequisite: None
PAF 9145 Social Welfare Policy
3 hours; 3 credits
This is a course about the poor and anti-poverty programs in the United States. It focuses on measurement, extent, and distribution of poverty; causes of poverty; tradeoffs faced by policy-makers in reducing poverty and economic insecurity; and issues relating to the American underclass.
Prerequisite: none
PAF 9161 Business and Public Policy
3 hours; 3 credits
Analysis of the interrelations between business and governmental policy making. The focus is on the role played by business interests in specific policy arenas (e.g., defense, energy, trade) as well as the general policy environment.
Prerequisite: none
PAF 9173 Program Auditing and Performance Measurement
3 hours; 3 credits
This course extends the student's knowledge of financially related decision-making techniques. It provides the student an understanding of management auditing, program auditing, and performance measurement. Key concepts include economy, efficiency, and effectiveness. From the retrospective perspective it examines how to determine whether a program has used its resources effectively and efficiently. From a concurrent perspective, it looks at what should be monitored and how. Prospectively it examines how to prepare an organization for performance measurement and auditing. From a holistic view it examines the decision to measure, monitor, and examine performance.
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 9185 Environmental Policy
3 hours; 3 credits
This course introduces students to the major features and debates in environmental policy, focusing primarily on the metropolitan environment in the United States. Students are introduced to environmental issues with respect to both the human and physical environments; the major interests groups that affect environmental policy; and the regulatory procedures under which environmental policy is implemented, particularly environmental impact analysis under NEPA and state and local environmental reviews.
Prerequisite: none
PAF 9186 Map Making for Public Policy
3 hours; 3 credits
The course provides an introduction to basic map making skills and the use of maps and spatial data in policy applications. Students will learn how to create and interpret thematic maps, by hands-on experience with mapping software. Advanced topics will include spatial construction of data, and use spatial data in quantitative applications.
Prerequisite or corequisite: PAF 9170
PAF 9318 Educational Policy
3 hours; 3 credits
This course is designed for MPA and MSED students interested in learning more about educational policy at the local, state, and federal levels. Students in this course will critically examine the social, political, and economic theories behind current educational policies and policy initiatives, and evaluate their consequences and effects on U.S. public schooling.
Prerequisite: none
PAF 9338 Higher Education, Politics and Public Policy
3 hours; 3 credits
This course provides an in-depth examination of public policymaking for higher education in the United States. It emphasizes state-level policymaking for higher education but also surveys the role of federal and local governments. It explores the implications of the political setting of higher education for institutional leadership.
PAF 9715 Health Care Policy
3 hours; 3 credits
The purpose of this course is to examine policy issues relevant to four overarching concerns within health care: health status; access to health care; health care quality; and health care costs; in so doing, provide an understanding of various methods used to analyze health care policy issues and options.
Prerequisite or corequisite: PAF 9710