MPA Advising

 

Advising in the MPA Program at the University of North Florida includes at least five elements.

First: Pre-enrollment

Immediately after your acceptance in the MPA program, it is important that you do at least three things:

  1. Graduate School's Online Orientation, and Admitted Students web pages.  The Graduate School has an online orientation for graduate students, as well as a shorter list of topics for students to review after admission, and prior to starting classes. These sources provide a range of information about the broader context of study here at the University of North Florida.
  2. Graduate School's Student Loans page.  The Graduate School strongly advises all students to fill out and submit a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form, even if you do not anticipate needing loans.  If you change your mind, costly delays can be prevented by having a completed FAFSA on file.
  3. MPA web page.  The MPA program webpage has other information (beyond this Advising page) intended to provide students with a range of information specific to the MPA program.  This includes career opportunities, curriculum, faculty backgrounds, funding sources, and various other resources.

Second: Self advising

Within the structure provided by the curriculum and scheduling, students make their own decisions regarding what to take when.  The program curriculum (with checklist) is available online.  This should facilitate student planning.  myWings  also makes it easy for students to check their academic progress, as well as to enroll for classes.  So it is the student's responsibility to know the curriculum, and to know which classes they have completed.

 

Some tips:

 

Core courses. Core courses are offered annually, except for PAD 6060 (the introductory course in the program), which is offered both Fall and Spring semester (enrollments permitting). 

 

The current rotation for core courses is as follows:

Fall -- PAD 6060, PAD 5700, PAD 6106, PAD 6436

Spring -- PAD 6060, PAD 6227, PAD 6417, PAD 6066

Summer -- PUP 6006

 

Other core course tips:

 

PAD 6060 is the introductory, gateway course to the program, and should be taken very early, preferably in the first semester of study. 

PAD 5700 is a pre-requisite for some other classes, and so taking it early is also a good idea to avoid bottlenecks later.

PAD 6066 (Capstone) should be taken in the last Spring semester you expect to be in the program. So if you expect to finish your required credits in the Fall, take Capstone in the preceding Spring.

 

Nonprofit certificate and concentration. Nonprofit certificate students want to finish this program in a year, and there is high demand for these classes. As a result, all required Nonprofit Concentration and Certificate classes are offered annually as well.  The current rotation is as follows:

Fall -- PAD 6142 Nonprofit Management

Spring -- PAD 6208 Nonprofit Financial Management

Summer -- PAD 6934 Nonprofit Stakeholder Relations

 

Health administration concentration. Classes for the Health Administration concentration are offered by the Masters in Public Administration program through the Brooks College of Health. As a result, these courses are also offered annually.  The current rotation for required courses is as follows:

Fall -- HSA 6435 Health Economics, and HSA 6114 Health Organization and Delivery

Spring -- no required courses, but electives are available

Summer -- HSA 6905 Health Policy

 

Local government.  The Local Government concentration can be completed within two years, rather than one, so for students in this concentration it is imperative to take these classes when they are offered.

 

Public policy.  Like Local Government, this concentration will also be scheduled to be completed in two years, rather than one.  Again, it will therefore be imperative to take these classes when they are offered.

 

National security.  Concentration courses are taken through the Naval War College, available only to serving Navy officers, officers from other uniformed services, and some senior federal personnel.

 

Graduation!  You must formally apply to graduate.  For MPA students, do this online, through Mywings. For Nonprofit Certificate students, simply send the MPA Director an email, midway through your last semester, asking her/him to verify that you have completed the requirements. This serves to notify the university that you are almost done, and sets in motion reviews of your progress to facilitate timely receipt of your degree or certificate.

Third: the MPA Director

The third element of UNF-MPA advising involves the MPA Director, who is the formally assigned adviser to all UNF-MPA students. The MPA Director should be consulted whenever self-advising fails, or when there are any questions that the above steps cannot answer. These questions might include program admission, waitlist approvals, registration level restriction over-rides, transfer credits from other institutions, verification of substituted classes, beating my head against the wall to bend a pesky UNF rule, etc.  Keep records (copies of emails) of all important communications with the MPA program regarding class substitutions.  I do this, but do so yourself as a backup.

Fourth: the MPA community

The fourth, and most important part of UNF-MPA advising, involves career planning.  You should aim to learn as much as possible from the MPA experience, as well as to take courses that will position you as strongly as possible for the career direction you are aiming for.  Also develop your professional skills: work on your resume, develop interviewing skills, learn professional culture, attend public talks, council meetings, keep up with the news, etc.

 

This element of UNF-MPA advising involves the MPA Director, the entire Department faculty, fellow students, community stakeholders, and other contacts.  Individuals who share your interests will be best able to advise you within specialized areas.

 

Fifth: keep in touch!

 

Please keep in touch.  Especially for those of you looking for work, upon graduation you'll fall off of the MPA mailing lists.  Join our Facebook page, as we forward job leads there, among other things.  For those of you who have found the career that you entered the MPA program for, please become part of the community described in the fourth step, and help us mentor and facilitate the professional careers of current students.

 

Please contact us if you have any questions.