Advising, Concentrations, and Course Selection
Following admission to the program, all MPA students are assigned a faculty advisor. The MPA faculty advisor assists students with individual academic program planning, the selection of a degree concentration, and choice of electives. The student's MPA faculty advisor may also work jointly with other faculty in and outside the Department of Political Science and Public Administration on courses related to the student's concentration area. Students who wish to have a particular faculty member serve as their regular advisor may submit a request for this to the MPA Program Coordinator, Dr. Margaret Banyan.
Selecting a Concentration
The MPA program offers a choice of two degree concentrations: Public Leadership and Management and Environmental Policy and Planning. Students should select one of these two concentrations on the MPA Supplemental Application Form when applying to the program. If a student wishes to change his or her degree concentration after being admitted to the program, he or she can do so by emailing this request to the MPA Program Coordinator, Dr. Margaret Banyan, provided this is done prior to applying for graduation in the student’s final semester.
Scheduling of MPA Courses
Like any other public organization, Florida Gulf Coast University generally and the MPA program specifically have to operate within budget and personnel constraints. This has a significant impact on how often the MPA program offers specific courses and when it offers them. You need to be attentive to this when planning ahead and registering for courses. Here are some important details to bear in mind with respect to course scheduling and course selection.
- The required core courses PAD 6060 (Introduction to Public Administration), PAD 6708 (Research Methods and Analysis), PAD 6227 (Public Budgeting), PAD 6327 (Program Planning and Evaluation), and PAD 6961 (Capstone Seminar) are offered twice a year (in the Fall Semester and in the Spring Semester).
- The required core courses PAD 6101 (Organizational Theory and Behavior) and PAD 6365 (Public Policy) are offered only once a year in the Fall Semester.
- The required core course PAD 6417 (Public Personnel Administration) is offered only once a year in the Spring Semester.
- You should take PAD 6060 Introduction to Public Administration in your first semester. You must complete PAD 6708 Research Methods and Analysis before you will be allowed to register for PAD 6327 Program Planning and Evaluation. Except in unusual circumstances (and only then with department permission) you must wait until your final semester to register for the PAD 6961 Capstone Seminar.
- Most of the MPA program’s elective courses are offered only once every two years (on a rotating basis). You can anticipate that every Fall and Spring Semester the program will offer two to three elective courses from the “Public Leadership and Management Concentration” but only one elective course from the “Environmental Policy and Planning Concentration.”
- The exact mix of “required core” and “elective” courses you should take in a given semester depends on several factors, perhaps the most important of which is whether you are proceeding through the program on a full-time basis (i.e., three courses per term) or on a part-time basis (either two courses per term or one course per term). If you are a full-time student, in most Fall and Spring Semesters it will be advisable to take two required core courses and one elective course per term. If you are a part-time student, the optimal mix of required core versus elective courses each term will vary, depending in part on whether you are taking two courses or just one course per term, but also in part on whether in a given semester the program offers an elective course closely aligned with your career interests. However, in all cases involving part-time students, the program cautions you against loading up exclusively on required core courses in your initial few semesters and deferring your elective courses until the later stages of your coursework. Given that most of the program’s electives are offered only once every two years on a rotating basis, if you delay taking your electives until the later stages of your coursework you will likely discover that your elective choices are unusually limited. This is a particularly important consideration for students in the “Environmental Policy and Planning Concentration,” owing to the fact that we offer only one elective course per term from this concentration. Consult regularly with your advisor in the program or with the MPA Graduate Program Coordinator about these issues.
- MPA course offerings during the Summer Session tend to be highly limited in number due to severe budget and personnel constraints. You should anticipate that the MPA program at best will only be able to offer two elective courses during the Summer (but none of its required core courses). If you are a pre-service student (i.e., a student who at the time of admission lacked at least one year of full-time professional work experience in a public or non-profit organization) and are required to complete an MPA Internship, the Summer Session is oftentimes the optimal period for doing so. If that is your intent, be sure to discuss this with the MPA Graduate Program Coordinator well in advance of the Summer and to familiarize yourself with the Internship requirements.
Registering for Courses
Please refer to the “Registration” webpage at https://www.fgcu.edu/Registrar/orr-registration.html for important information about course registration at FGCU.
The schedule of classes for upcoming terms is located at https://gulfline.fgcu.edu/pls/fgpo/szkschd.p_showform. To use the schedule of classes for the MPA program, go to this schedule website and enter the term whose courses you’re interested in, enter “Public Affairs” as department, enter “Graduate” as level, and then click “Search.”
Registration for courses can be done in person at the Office of the Registrar with your Student ID Card. However, in most cases it is more convenient to register online using the university’s Gulfline system. Here are the steps for registering for courses online.
- Go to Gulfline at https://gulfline.fgcu.edu.
- Select Login to Gulfline.
- Enter your UIN and PIN, and then click on submit.
- Select Student & Financial Aid Menu.
- Select the Registration Menu.
- Select Drop/Add Classes.
- Select Term.
- Enter the CRN (the 5-digit course registration number) fin the ADD section for each course you wish to register in. Please pay attention to course prerequisites and restrictions, as these may affect your eligibility to register for certain courses.
- Click on Submit Changes to save courses.
- Select Return to MENU and click on Registration Fee.
- Assessment to complete registration. Print the fees, and use the printout to send payment to cashier.
- Return to the previous menu to print your courses schedule.
- Exit from Gulfline.