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Public Policy and Politics in an MPA Program

Tuesday, February 09, 2016 | 12:00 AM

A career in the public policy arena can be challenging and rewarding at the same time. Policymakers are tasked with meeting the needs of their constituents. They have to take into consideration what is best for their constituency and the country as a whole. MPA programs prepare individuals interested in public policy with coursework covering topics such as how to formulate and implement policy or a discussion of problems in state and local governments.

What is public policy?

Essentially, public policy is the response of the governing body to a public problem. The problem must be one that can only be addressed inside the scope of government. Public policy topics may include problems with roads, school districts, gun rights or healthcare. Sometimes no response is the answer to the problem. Public policy and politics is similar to a balancing act. When a solution to a problem is implemented, the results are followed for years after. The solution is tweaked to make it more effective or sometimes disbanded and another policy takes its place. New elected officials are also voted into office and can overturn the work of a previous administration.

Politicians create policy

Public policy and politics go hand in hand. Policy makers are voted into office by their constituents. They surround themselves with advisers who are experts in policy. These advisers guide the politicians as they create the policy language to make sure it is constitutional, financially viable and addresses the problem. The ideas for policy can come from anywhere, but ultimately, it's up to the government to create and implement the policy.

Master's degree in public administration prepares students for a career in policy making and implementation

In an MPA program, the focus is on teaching the implementation of policy and public management in the public sector. Research methods, analysis and ethics are part of an MPA program. Public policy topics in an MPA program include formulation of public policy, public administration and problems in state and local government.

Public policy is how the government answers the needs of the public

Public policy and politics could not exist apart from one another. Problems that must be addressed with laws and regulation by the government have to be done so by policymakers in the public arena. Policy is created for the benefit of the public. The ultimate goal of public policy is to create a more civil society by meeting the needs of the populace.

Learn about University of Texas Rio Grande Valley online MPA program.


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