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2019-2020 Catalog
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Political Science and Public Administration Faculty   

Department of Political Science and Public Administration

Location: Building 51, Room 2407
Phone: (904) 620-2997 
Web Address:  
Dr. Natasha V. Christie, Chair


The mission of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration is to serve the State of Florida through excellent educational opportunities involving outstanding teaching, quality research, and effective civic engagement. The department focuses its resources to provide both undergraduate and graduate students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities for understanding, participating in, and managing the institutions, processes, and behaviors characteristic of national and international politics and public affairs. With excellent instruction as the highest priority, the department also supports extensive interaction with external constituencies through local, regional, state, and national professional service, and applied and theoretical research. The department is dedicated to maintaining program effectiveness for both students and community partners through continuous self-assessment and improvement.

The Program

The Department of Political Science and Public Administration offers a bachelor’s degree program in political science. The department also offers minors in political science and public administration. The Department in conjunction with the Department of Communication also offers a minor in Political Communication and Advocacy. The public administration minor is a fast track minor that allows an undergraduate to gain admission to our Masters of Public Administration upon successful completion of the minor and graduation. These minors may be taken with a student’s major program; students should consult with their advisor on procedures for declaring a minor. The department offers a master degree program in public administration and a graduate certificate in nonprofit management. This graduate program is one of the largest in the College of Arts and Sciences with over 80 active students.

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science

Political Science, the study of politics, is concerned with understanding political phenomena and developing citizens who are aware of their political rights and responsibilities. The political science major at UNF has three broad objectives. The first is to convey to students knowledge about the subfields within the discipline, with an emphasis on American government and politics, comparative politics, international relations and public administration. The second is to provide students with the skills needed for active and effective participation in the democratic process.

The final objective is to prepare students for careers associated with politics. The political science major provides an excellent background for admission to law school, and is a solid foundation for graduate work in political science, public administration and urban planning. Majors also find exciting work in campaign and legislative politics. In addition to preparing students for graduate work, the conceptual and methodological skills developed in the major equip students for employment by local, state and national organizations, corporations and nonprofit groups located in the U.S. and foreign countries, international organizations such as the United Nations, the print and electronic media, and secondary education.

UNF offers an undergraduate major in political science culminating in the Bachelor of Arts degree. Two minors, political science and public administration are available within the department. Majors must have a grade of “C” or better in each core course, and a minimum GPA of 2.0 in major elective courses. The department also offers a Master of Public Administration (MPA) and Master of Arts in International Affairs (MAIA) degrees.

Political Science majors choose one of five concentrations to organize their major elective credits. The concentrations allow students to focus on one of the subfields of political science (American Politics, International Relations/Comparative Politics, Public Administration and Public Policy, and Public Law) or to choose General Political Science. Once students choose their concentration, they choose four courses from the list of electives within each concentration. Those students choosing the General Political Science concentration may choose electives from a comprehensive list of courses including all those available under the other concentrations. The remaining free electives may be selected from any concentration or any other approved political science course except the foreign culture courses.

Fast Track Options

A Fast Track leading to the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree is available to UNF Political Science majors. Students who successfully complete the Fast Track requirements, and who meet the admission requirements for the MPA program, will be able to complete the MPA degree with 33 hours of credit rather than the 42 credit hours otherwise required.

Undergraduate Fast Track requirements are that a student: (1) must declare a Public Administration Fast Track minor prior to their senior year; (2) must have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher in the last 60 hours of undergraduate course work; (3) must make a grade of at least B or higher in PAD 4003 (taken as part of the Fast Track minor core requirements); (4) must have a B average or above for the five courses required in the Fast Track minor. All sections of these conditions must be met in full.

If the undergraduate requirements stated above are met, Fast Track students may continue into the MPA program provided they apply for the program and meet the minimum Graduate Record Exam (GRE) requirements of the program for unconditional admission. Fast Track students who enter the MPA program in conditional status are not eligible for the 33-hour version of the program. MPA students who meet both Fast Track undergraduate and unconditional admission requirements may omit PAD 6106 and two MPA program electives from their graduate program of study. The remaining MPA core courses and electives constitute the 33-hour program. Please see the MPA Director for further information on the Fast Track option.

Graduate Programs 

The Master of Public Administration

The mission of the UNF M.P.A. program is to provide students with a broad understanding of the theory and practice of public administration, and to contribute to the betterment of the public and not-for-profit service community in the state, particularly in the Northeast Florida region. These general goals are obtained commensurate with the University of North Florida’s commitment to excellence, focus, relevance, and accountability in all of its academic programs.

The M.P.A. program serves to open a path to graduate education to a wide variety of students, particularly nontraditional students, who seek an opportunity to enhance their professional qualifications and career prospects in the public and not-for-profit sectors. The ultimate purpose of the M.P.A. program is to enhance the capabilities of potential and current administrative, managerial and political leaders of the region to better serve their organizations and the public in the competitive environment of the 21st century. 

The M.P.A. curriculum is intended to enrich student understanding of the complex arrangements that constitute modern governance, and to enable students to develop the skills and attitudes that contribute to effective program administration. For the student who already possesses significant government or not-for-profit experience, the program provides opportunities to gain new skills and to develop an enlarged perspective on public sector management. The department has added a concentration and a certificate in Nonprofit Management. This concentration will help those students who seek a broader understanding of nongovernmental agencies that engage in important social and cultural endeavors.  The program has a combination of night classes and online/hybrid classes.

Students from any discipline or background or at any stage in their careers, who are interested in public or not-for-profit employment or advancement, are encouraged to consider the M.P.A. program.


The M.P.A. program has been accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration since 1999. The most recent accreditation rolls through 2020.

The Master of Arts in International Affairs Program

The mission of the MAIA is to educate students about our world today, our country’s interactions with other countries, and individual awareness of the many ways we interact with other countries, cultures, and peoples at home or abroad.  More specifically, the program concentrates on educating our students about: the global context for US domestic and foreign policy making; contemporary global issues; the US role in the world and other countries’ reactions to that role; globalization and the global economy; and the cultures and societies of other countries. Each of these goals fits with expectations of potential employers. A recent report by the Association of American Colleges and Universities noted the following knowledge and skills were desired by employers: the ability to understand the global context of situations and decisions, knowledge of global issues and development and their implications for the future, understanding of the role of the United States in the world, understandings of cultural diversity in America and other countries, and proficiency in a foreign language.  

The Master of Arts in International Affairs (MAIA) is an interdisciplinary offered jointly by seven departments across two colleges.  The Departments of Political Science and Public Administration; Economics and Geography; History; and Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work offer the common core courses; The Departments of Political Science and Public Administration; Economics and Geography; History; and Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work offer the common core courses; the Departments of Economics and Geography; English; History; Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; Philosophy and Religious Studies; Political Science; and Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work will contribute elective courses.

 The MAIA program consists of a minimum of 36 credit hours, 18 of which are earned through an interdisciplinary common core of required courses: International Relations Theory, Foreign and Security Policy, Research Methods, Globalization and Development, International Economics, and US in World Affairs. Fifteen (15) credit hours are major electives. The final 3 credit hours are earned through a thesis or non-thesis option, the latter of which would involve an internship or study abroad component. Students will have to demonstrate intermediate-level foreign language proficiency either upon admission or graduation.

The MAIA is meant to prepare our graduates for a variety of careers that demand knowledge of and engagement with the wider world. Examples include: the US government (Foreign Service, and other State Department positions, Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs, etc.), international governmental organizations such as the UN and international nongovernmental organizations such as Human Rights Watch or International Crisis Group; international and development consulting; international business; and education. Locally, employment opportunities exist with agencies such as the Jacksonville Port Authority, import-export companies, international moving and logistics companies, and other international businesses in the Northeast Florida region. 

Department of Political Science & Public Administration Faculty

Natasha V. Christie, Associate Professor & Chair

Michael M. Binder, Associate Professor

Mary O. Borg, Professor

Gaylord G. Candler, Professor and MPA Director

Georgette E. Dumont, Associate Professor

Josh Gellers, Associate Professor

Adrienne Lerner, Instructor and Pre-Law Director

Emily Maiden, Assistant Professor

Sucheta Pyakuryal, Assistant Professor

David M. Schwam-Baird, Associate Professor and MAIA Director

Nicholas Seabrook, Associate Professor

Enrijeta Shino, Assistant Professor

Nancy E. Soderberg, Faculty Administrator  

Pamela A. Zeiser, Associate Professor

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