Public Administration Major

Click on course title for description.

Political Science (39 credits)

Required (27 credits):

  • PLS100 - U.S. Government & Politics (3 credits)
    • Provides a foundation for understanding the philosophical heritage, constitutional principles, civil rights and liberties, and the formal and informal institutions that form the U.S. government. Focuses on the political factors and dynamics of democracy, the Constitution, political parties, interest groups, the media, elections, and the branches of U.S. government.
  • PLS231 - State & Local Government (3 credits)
    • Examines the philosophy behind the discipline of political science and the different fields within political science. Introduces students to political science theories and theory building. Examines political behavior, political structures, decision making, and the foundations of political systems. Provides students the tools to conduct literature reviews, access information, assess political developments, and develop and critique theories and research.
  • PLS271 - Introduction to Public Administration (3 credits)
    • Basic introductory course in the field of management in governmental offices; includes organization of executive offices, controls over administration, budgeting and personnel procedures, and methods to achieve administrative objectives. Prerequisite: PLS100 or permission of instructor.
  • PLS300 - Advanced U.S. Government: Institutions & Public Policy (3 credits)
    • In-depth description of the structure, functions, and public policy making involvement of U.S. governmental institutions. Focuses on the legislative, executive, administrative, and judicial institutions and process, the impact of interest groups, political parties, public opinion, and federalism. Examines the policy-making process, both in general and with reference to specific types of public policies. Prerequisite: PLS100.
  • PLS301 - Political Science Research Methods (3 credits)
    • Evaluates the process of research in political science, focusing on research design; discusses ethical issues in research; trains students in techniques of data collection and processing; provides computer-based training in quantitative analysis and interpretation of statistics. Prerequisite:MAT170.
  • PLS302 - Public Policy Analysis (3 credits)
    • Examines the policy making process(es) and the implications for the conduct of policy analysis. Reviews the policy implementation process(es)and the implications for the conduct of policy analysis. Focuses upon specific quantitative and qualitative policy analysis/program evaluation techniques. Prerequisite: PLS301.
  • PLS371 - Public Management(3 credits)
    • Provides the opportunity for the department to offer courses in areas of departmental major interest not covered by the regular courses.
  • PLS372 - Public Personnel Administration (3 credits)
    • Studies the development and functions of public personnel administration. The roles of the various levels of management in the development and implementation of personnel policy and administration will be covered as well as those of the functional specialist. Impact of American culture and public policy upon public personnel administration will also be emphasized. Prerequisite: PLS271 or permission of instructor.
  • PLS373 - Public Financial Administration (3 credits)
    • Deals with fiscal policy determination, accountability, and management of financial resources. Administrative and the political aspects of the budgetary process will be covered. Appropriate references will be made to the impact of federal programs upon state and local governments and the fiscal relations existing between various levels of government. Prerequisite: PLS271 or permission of instructor.

Students must earn a C or better in each required course

Electives in Major (12 crs.)

  • PLS331 - Municipal Government & Administration (3 credits)
    • Study of the development of city government in the United States; the governmental organization of several typical cities; the problems of law enforcement, health, housing, welfare, planning and zoning; and the future of cities. Prerequisite: PLS231 or permission of instructor.
  • PLS332 - Federal-State-Local Relations (3 credits)
    • Fosters understanding of the continuity, current dimensions, and interrelated nature of the issues characterizing American governmental relations and the feasibility of various approaches offered for their assuagement. Prerequisite: PLS231 or permission of instructor.
  • PLS374 - Public Service Ethics (3 credits)
    • Explores the historical and specific contemporary issues concerning ethics in the public sector. Ethical problems and their relationship to politics will be surveyed. Course will emphasize ethical questions encountered by individuals who enter public service and will evaluate attempts to enforce ethical conduct among public servants by statutes and codes of conduct. Prerequisite: Nine hours in political science or permission of instructor.PHL105 and/orPHL210 recommended.
  • PLS381 -Principles of Labor Relations (3 credits)
    • Introduction to labor-management relations in the private and public sectors. Topics such as domestic industrial relations systems; institutional labor movements; negotiation, administration, and contents of labor agreements; contract dispute resolution; and labor relations abroad may be included. Prerequisite: PLS271or MGT331. Students taking PLS381 cannot enroll in MGT350 and vice versa.
  • PLS395 - Internship I (3 credits)
    • An extended description of this course is not currently available.
  • PLS396 - Internship II (3 credits)
    • An extended description of this course is not currently available.
  • PLS397 - Internship III (3 credits)
    • An extended description of this course is not currently available.
  • PLS431 - Pennsylvania Local Government (3 credits)
    • Concerns the structure and administrative functions of local governments in Pennsylvania. Extensive emphasis will be on analyzing local government functions and problems emanating from the jurisdictions' political, social, and economic environment. Prerequisite: PLS231and PLS271 or permission of instructor.

With the written approval of the department chair and the student's academic advisor, one or two political science courses may be substituted for a public administration elective(s). An application for such an exception can be obtained from the student's academic advisor. Written approval must be obtained before scheduling the course.

The department strongly encourages students to complete an internship. To qualify for an internship, a student must have a 2.0 overall QPA and a 2.3 in the public administration major. Students must have completed the following courses to be eligible to apply for an internship: PLS100; PLS201; PLS231; PLS271;PLS300; PLS301; and one elective course in public administration.

Students who do not meet either the overall QPA or QPA in major requirement may seek approval of an internship by first contacting their academic advisor. If the academic advisor approves the student's request, he/she can appeal to the department chair and the internship coordinator. Both the department chair and the internship coordinator must give written approval before a student is permitted to enroll for the internship.

A student can count a maximum of three internship credits toward the major. Additional internship credit hours can be used as general education credits.

Required Allied Fields (19 credits)

Economics (6 credits)

  • ECO101 - Principles of Macroeconomics (3 credits)
    • This course is an introduction to aggregative economics. While providing some historical and institutional perspective on the U.S. and world economy, the course focuses primarily upon contemporary theories of employment, inflation, and growth. Also examined are monetary and fiscal policy and foreign trade.
  • ECO102 - Principles of Microeconomics (3 credits)
    • This course is an introduction to the theory of price, including demand theory; the theory of the firm under purely competitive and imperfectly competitive market conditions; and the theory of income distribution. Application of theory to practical problems is stressed.


  • ECO113 - Principles of Economics (4 credits)
    • Introduces fundamental concepts important for understanding how individuals and organizations function within an economy.
  • and any Economics couse at or above the 200 level (3 credits)

Sociology (6 credits)

  • SOC101 - Introduction to Sociology: Society & Diversity (3 credits)
    • This is a basic course in sociology which is concerned with fundamental sociological concepts and principles. It identifies the field of sociology and its relationship to other social sciences. As a prerequisite for other sociology courses it gives an overview of society and culture, dealing with people, social groups, institutions, and processes.

An additional sociology elective selected from the following list:

  • SOC241 - Contemporary Social Problems (3 credits)
    • Explores the structural roots of major social problems from a sociological perspective  Examples of problems addressed include racism, sexism, poverty, crime, and threats to the environment.
  • SOC243 - Minority Groups (3 credits)
    • Defines the concept of minority. Looks at the impact of prejudice and discrimination. Reviews some of the major minority groups in the United States and provides some cross-cultural comparisons. Major problems and possible solutions are discussed. Prerequisite: SOC101.
  • SOC258 - Women's Roles and Status (3 credits)
    • Explores the position of women in American scoiety, with emphasis on the social, cultural, economic, and political forces contributing to women's contemporary roles, statuses, and self-images.  Stress is on the socialization process, role conflicts, and images of women current in the larger society.
  • SOC346 - Urban Sociology (3 credits)
    • Provides an analysis of the process of urbanization with major emphasis upon contemporary urban society. The approach is centered around urbanism as a way of life, with emphasis on people and their actions and relationships. The course is also concerned with social ecology, the dynamic system of spatial patterns and relationships which make up the structure of city growth. Prerequisite: SOC101.
  • SOC351 - Race Relations (3 credits)
    • Studies sociological principles underlying race relations with emphasis on black-white relations in the United States. The concepts of "race" and patterns of interaction between racially and culturally diverse groups will also be highlighted. Prerequisite: SOC101.
  • SOC354 - Social Movements & Social Change (3 credits)
    • Studies the nature of collective action and protest as catalysts for social change. Explores causes, tactics, and achievements of specific social movements. Prerequisite: SOC101.
  • SOC363 - Population Problems (3 credits)
    • Introduces basic demographic methods and theories to study the social causes and consequences of population size, composition, and distribution. Special attention to the impact of population change on resources, the environment, public policy, and personal lifestyles now and in the future. Prerequisite: SOC101.
  • SOC365 - Elites in Society (3 credits)
    • Is concerned with how social, economic, and political elites acquire, exercise, and maintain power in American society. Emphasis is on the composition, cohesion, organization, and homogeneity of elites. In addition, class, education, lifestyle, political activity, and deviance of elites will be explored. Prerequisite: SOC101.
  • SOC425 - Sociology of Law (3 credits)
    • Designed to be an introduction to the study of sociology of law and also sociology in law. The course will primarily look at the legal systems of the United States, the primary actors in those legal systems, the social/cultural contexts in which laws exist and are created, and how laws both reflect and affect the social structure. The course is not designed to be a law course in the law school sense. Rather this course examines and applies sociological theories, concepts, and research to a particular arena of the social structure-laws and legal systems. Prerequisite: SOC101.

Mathematics (4 crs.)

  • MAT117 - Elementary Statistics for Social Science (4 credits)
    • Examines elementary statistical techniques of particular use in social science. The emphasis is on hypothesis testing including the calculation of statistics, interpretation of results, and consideration of alternative hypotheses. Use of computer library programs and an outline of the more common non-parametric techniques are included. This course is designed for social science majors and applications will be drawn from social science. Not open to students required to take DSI220 or students who have passed MAT102 or PSY205.

Interdisciplinary Studies (3 crs.)

Students must take one course from one of the four interdisciplinary minors at the university: Ethnic Studies (ETH100, ETH101,ETH102); Gerontology (GRN100); International Studies (ANT220, ECN321,GEO101, MGT370); or Women's Studies (WST100, WST300).


Note: All students completing a Bachelor of Arts degree are required to attain intermediate level proficiency in a foreign language. Intermediate proficiency may be satisfied by the completion of six credits of intermediate level course work in a foreign language, or four years of a foreign language in high school, or satisfactory completion of a proficiency examination.