The School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) carries out its missions of competence, diversity, knowledge, and service in education programs designed to prepare scholars and practitioners for the wide variety of opportunities in public and nonprofit sectors. Students who attend Rutgers–Newark join a campus where diversity is a fact. For 14 years in a row, Rutgers–Newark has been named the most diverse urban campus in the United States. Students and faculty at SPAA represent the diversity of the campus. Students differ by race, ethnicity, age, professional experience, undergraduate major, career aspirations, and learning interests.
At the graduate level, SPAA offers a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) in public administration, a master of public administration (M.P.A.), and an executive master of public administration (E.M.P.A.) program. These degrees prepare those who seek to educate, lead, or manage in the over 88,000 governmental units at U.S. federal, state, and local levels and the 1.6 million nonprofit philanthropy, advocacy, and service delivery organizations engaged in public policy implementation.
The Ph.D. in public administration is a research degree that requires 48 credit hours beyond an M.P.A. degree or other appropriate post-master's degree (political science, sociology, law, education, public health, or similar). The core curriculum provides the intellectual foundations of public administration; government budgeting and resource acquisition; public organizations, governance and politics; and leadership, equity, and diversity. Ph.D. students may select from several areas of focus: budgeting and nonmarket organization finance, comparative public administration, human resource management, performance measurement and improvement, public management, or urban systems.
The M.P.A. and E.M.P.A. degrees require 42 credits of postbaccalaureate education. The M.P.A. degree consists of a core curriculum of 30 credits and a 12-credit specialization. The core curriculum consists of five clusters covering public administration foundations (four courses), analytics (two courses), management (two courses), public budgeting (one course), and applications (one course). Specializations available include public management; budgeting and financial management; nonprofit management; performance improvement; urban health administration; urban education administration and leadership; animals, community, and law; and urban environmental sustainability.
The E.M.P.A. curriculum covers the same knowledge areas as the M.P.A. Applicants must qualify for 12 professional credits based on work experience. The E.M.P.A. is a cohort model; students attend classes two days per week, generally one weeknight and Saturday mornings. The E.M.P.A. is available in the Trenton area and in Newark, New Jersey. SPAA also provides qualified advanced undergraduate students with the opportunity to begin the M.P.A. degree in their senior undergraduate year, thereby completing their master's degree in just over five years. Each year, E.M.P.A. students complete one course at the Rutgers–Newark Campus in a five-day format.
SPAA also collaborates with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) to offer a master's in public health (M.P.H.) degree through UMDNJ's School of Public Health (SPH). In this collaboration, SPAA supports the academic Department of Urban Health Administration (URHA) at the Newark Campus of UMDNJ-SPH. Students are admitted to the M.P.H. degree through UMDNJ. URHA classes emphasize hands-on, case method, and other practical learning experiences designed to prepare students to assume managerial and leadership positions in public, nonprofit, and private organizations whose work contributes to improved health for urban, disadvantaged populations.
In addition, students can enhance their M.P.A. degree with certificates taken separately or as areas of specialization. Certificates have the advantage of facilitating degree-holder updates or adding skill sets as career moves make new learning advantageous. Graduate credit certificates in public financial management; nonprofit management; and animals, community, and the law currently are available. These certificates may also be used as specializations in the M.P.A. degree. Noncredit course certificates also are available. Current titles are animals, community, and the law, and business district executive management. Noncredit certificates can be selected through the SPAA-sponsored National Center for Public Performance (NCPP). Please note that the animal, community, and the law certificate program is no longer available as of fall 2012.
A current database initiative at NCPP provides current information, research, and public service organizations devoted to improving efficiency and effectiveness of the public sector, and is the only such university-based center in the United States. Founded in 1972, the NCPP serves as a vehicle for the study, dissemination, and recognition of performance measurement and improvement initiatives in government as well as research and teaching in citizen engagement. Focused primarily on assessment of data and information sharing, the NCPP emphasizes performance measurement and reporting, and fosters dialogue in the area via conferences, publications, newsletters, and a listserv. It aims to highlight and share information about performance measurement, benchmarking, reporting, citizen involvement, and related issues. The NCPP is a unit of the Rutgers–Newark SPAA. NCPP programming includes the web-based Public Performance Measurement and Reporting Network, professional development certificates for public managers, the Municipal Performance Measurement System, the New Jersey Databank, the E-Governance Institute, the Shared Services Institute, and publications such as the Public Performance and Management Review. In 2012, we add Certified Public Manager, a widely acclaimed applied management training program for federal, state, and local government employees. We welcome this addition to our education and training network.
In sum, SPAA seeks to provide academic programs that prepare students for careers ranging from academic scholarship to applied careers in the broad domains of public administration endeavor. But that is not all. SPAA also seeks to provide platforms for expanding knowledge as career moves require expansion, and to remain at the cutting edge as an ongoing source of knowledge for SPAA graduates and others in the public administration domain. In so doing, we are mindful of the other two pillars, diversity and service. We welcome students from every background and from across the globe to fulfill our mission of diversity, and serve them with advice, encouragement, and experiences to complement academic learning. By doing these things, we serve.