Graduate Certificate in Public and Nonprofit Financial Management 2018-02-09T21:17:51+00:00

     CERTIFICATE

         IN PUBLIC AND NON-PROFIT FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

     CERTIFICATE

         IN PUBLIC AND NON-PROFIT FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

CPAP GRADUATE CERTIFICATE IN PUBLIC AND NON-PROFIT FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT


This certificate program is designed to develop students’ understanding of the concepts and practice of financial management in government, university, and complex non-profit organizations. The certificate integrates financial management perspectives from the Federal, State, Local and Nonprofit and Nongovernmental Organizations while synthesizing the concept of financial resiliency for organizations.

As organizations in the public service continue to face financial difficulty, financial mastery can no longer simply be the sole purview of accountants and other specially trained individuals. In the new public service landscape, financial competency is a must for all employees, and financial mastery is increasingly a pre-requisite for high level positions in public service organizations. Available throughout the Commonwealth through virtual classroom technology, the Public and Non-Profit Financial Management certificate is designed for full-time students as well as part-time and working professional students. This shared format allows for a productive mix of viewpoints and experience levels, which enhances learning for all students. Students earning this certificate are prepared for a public service labor market that will demand financial literacy, whether they’re a pre-career student seeking their first job or a working professional looking to broaden their horizons and seeking opportunities for advancement.

The certificate program consists of five 3-credit hour courses, of which students must complete four (4), for a total of twelve (12) hours of graduate coursework. Students are required to complete four courses with a GPA of 3.0 or better in order to earn the certificate. Students are exposed to a full spectrum of financial management issues through both theoretical instruction and case studies. Classroom discussion and both group and individual assignments simulate real work scenarios and prepare students for real life application. All courses are taught by experienced, highly qualified Virginia practitioners via two-way video telecasts to Virginia Tech broadcast centers, allowing the class to be taught around the state simultaneously giving more students the opportunity to participate in the program. The Virginia Tech broadcast centers are located in key parts of the Commonwealth including Abingdon, Alexandria, Blacksburg, Charlottesville, Danville, Fairfax, Falls Church, Lynchburg, Richmond, Roanoke, and Virginia Beach.

Current students include both in-career professionals and pre-career students enrolled in the Center for Public Administration and Policy MPA degree program. This mix of students provides both a lively education environment and significant networking opportunities both inside and outside class.
Non-degree candidates may apply for admission to the certificate program using the Virginia Tech Graduate School’s online application system found under “Admissions” at http://graduateschool.vt.edu/applying.

Interested students must submit an official copy of their college transcript or diploma documenting receipt of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university with an acceptable grade point average mailed to the Virginia Tech Graduate School as part of the application process. Please contact us for specific instructions on applying online.

Application deadlines are as follows:

Fall: August 1st
Spring: January 1st
Summer: May 1st

Students who complete the graduate certificate are encouraged to continue their studies on their own in a master’s program at Virginia Tech. The credits earned as part of this certificate may be applied to the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree. CPAP offers the MPA Program in Blacksburg, Alexandria, and Richmond, Virginia. Students who successfully complete all four courses in the Certificate program with a B average or better are not required to submit entrance test scores such as the GRE when applying for degree status to CPAP.

The University Bursar is responsible for all tuition, fees, and student accounts. Their website contains extensive details on topics such as tuition and fees, deadlines, payment instructions, refunds, penalties, tax information, and more. Tuition is applied at the time a student if officially registered in a course. Regardless of attendance or performance, students are responsible for tuition payment unless a formal request is made to be withdrawn and proper paperwork is submitted and approved. Tuition refunds follow a sliding scale.

Payment – Application fees (non-refundable) must be made before applications are processed. Graduate students may pay online by credit card or check. Students in courses awarding university credit will receive a bill via e-mail from the University Bursar for tuition and fees. Payments can be made by check, by money order, or online by credit card.

Virginia Residency – To qualify for Virginia Resident rates, students must meet a set of residency requirements and provide relevant documentation. All others pay non-Virginia resident tuition.

For More Information, Please Contact:

Stephanie Dean Davis
Phone: 804-980-5549
sddavis@vt.edu

Thinking about graduate study in public administration and policy? We hold information sessions in person in Alexandria. For information session questions, email SPIAAlexandria@vt.edu or call 703-706-8111.

CERTIFICATE STRUCTURE & CURRICULUM


The courses comprising the graduate certificate were designed to provide a challenging, master’s level, “real world”-based educational opportunity in organizational financial management and public policy. The courses engage faculty, practitioners, and graduate students in systematic research and study designed to improve the quality of financial management, policy making, and public service. All students must complete SPIA 5024 and at least three of the other four courses listed below for a total of 12 hours of graduate coursework. Students are required to complete four courses with a GPA of 3.0 or better in order to earn the certificate.

Concepts, tools and techniques, analytical capacities necessary to evaluate financial condition and the overall financial health of governmental and nonprofit organizations. Resiliency and the impact of policy on the organization.
Role of finance in the management of complex public, nonprofit, and nongovernmental organizations. Functions of financial management, including planning and budgeting, reporting, resource acquisition, and internal controls in the nonprofit context.
Provides an understanding of asset management for governmental and nonprofit/nongovernmental entities. Focuses on the essentials of cash
budgeting and cash management, investment of endowments and pension funds, and debt management and debt financing for governmental and nonprofit/nongovernmental organizations.
Fundamental concepts and tools of public and nonprofit financial management. Organization, administration, leadership and ethics. Budgeting, accounting, cash management, auditing and internal controls. Capital and debt financial management. Financial resiliency and financial condition analysis.
Surveys the public budgeting processes of public organizations. The contrasting norms and behaviors of participants, their impacts on policy, and their implications for democracy are examined. Processes studied include the work of budgeteers, decision making processes, control and financial accounting, and intergovernmental interaction.

RANKING & ACCREDITATION

A Highly Ranked Program

Best Grad Schools Rating US News and World Report
The Center for Public Administration and Policy is nationally ranked in the top 25 schools for public management / administration by U.S. News & World Report, out of nearly 300 schools.

Virginia Tech has also been ranked 15th in the 2015 Best Value Schools ranking of the 50 most innovative public service schools in the United States.

According to the survey, the rankings were based on U.S. News ranking for public affairs for:

  • number of degree programs
  • student-to-faculty ratio
  • strength of internship programs
  • QS Top Universities innovation ranking and
  • a ranking of innovative features.

NASPAA logo

This degree has undertaken a rigorous process of peer review conducted by the Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA).

Download the Policy Guide

POLICY GUIDE
THE MASTER OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION PROGRAM
REQUIREMENTS

PORTFOLIO REQUIREMENT

D. CRITERIA FOR CHAIR AND MEMBERS OF THE MPA COMMITTEES

All MPA committee members are appointed by the Graduate School upon the recommendation of the CPAP chair. For each student’s committee, the committee chair (or co-chair) must be a member of the CPAP core faculty, and the committee must include three faculty members total, with a majority consisting of CPAP core faculty. CPAP faculty emeriti/ae, faculty from other departments, and adjunct faculty may serve on a student’s committee with approval of the CPAP chair. Appropriate non-faculty personnel may be recommended to the Dean of the Graduate School for inclusion on an MPA committee. Graduate students may not serve on an MPA committee. The full committee must be present for the portfolio meeting, and members must contribute to determining whether the student’s portfolio is a Fail, Pass, or Pass with Distinction.

THE M.P.A. CURRICULUM (39 Credit Hours)
Required Courses — 27 Credit Hours

PUBLIC MANAGEMENT
PAPA 5315: Behavioral Skills for Managers
PAPA 5316: Systems Skills For Managers
PAPA 6314: Public Budgeting Processes and Their Policy Implications*
PAPA 6324: Public Personnel Processes and Their Policy Implications*

PUBLIC POLICY
PAPA 6214: Public Policy Processes and Analytical Approaches
PAPA 6224: Design, Implementation and Evaluation of Policy and Programs (prerequisites: a statistics course and PAPA 6514)

PUBLIC SERVICE
PAPA 5014: Concepts and Approaches in Public Administration
PAPA 6414: Normative Foundations of Public Administration

METHODS AND ANALYSIS
PAPA 6514: Public Administration and Policy Inquiry (prerequisite: a statistics course)
*PAPA 6354 may be substituted for one of these classes, when taken as part of the Local Government Management certificate.
Electives (9 credits), Internship, and Portfolio Requirement (3 Credits)
Elective Courses
Internship
Portfolio
Three courses (9 credit hours) composed of other CPAP courses or courses in other departments. Options should be related to public affairs and be discussed with faculty advisors. For pre- and early career students, internship credit (PAPA 5954) may be used for 3 of these hours.
To be completed by pre- and early career students as defined in Section I.B. above. Internships may be for credit or not for credit.
Student are required to take 3 credit hours of PAPA 5904, Project and Report [portfolio preparation and defense].

II. THE DOCTORAL PROGRAM: Ph.D. IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is academia’s highest degree and prepares one for research and scholarship, whether or not in affiliation with a university. The Center offers this degree for both full-time and part-time students. Many of these students are mid-career professionals who have reached a point in their professional development where they can commit the time and energy necessary to earn the Ph.D. degree. Qualified individuals just beginning their careers are also welcome. A master’s degree in a relevant field (not necessarily public administration or public policy) ordinarily is required for admission, but this requirement can be waived in exceptional cases. Those earning the CPAP MPA degree may apply for admission to the Ph.D. program as the end of the MPA work draws near.
All Ph.D. students take foundation courses in five core areas: policy, organizations, management, ethics, and theory/context. Advanced Topic courses examine topics in the core areas at a deeper level, and the two capstone seminars are a gateway to advanced research and preparation for the dissertation. Other components of the program include Measurement and Analysis Tools, Concentration Courses, the Qualifying Examination, the Prospectus Defense (Graduate School “Preliminary Exam”), and the Dissertation and defense (Graduate School “Final Exam”).
A. PREREQUISITES
Entering students must have had courses in United States government, microeconomics, and introductory statistics. Students failing to meet this requirement must take these courses as soon as possible and must have completed them prior to enrolling in PAPA 6224. The U.S. government prerequisite may be satisfied by equivalent experience, training, or instruction. Equivalent experience is at least three years full-time work in local, state, or federal government in the U.S. This prerequisite also can be satisfied by completing the CLEP American Government exam with a score of 60 or higher. If this requirement has not been fulfilled upon entry into the program, it should be fulfilled in the first semester. Computer competency is also required.
B. COURSE PREPARATION FOR CORE AREAS
A minimum of 90 credit hours is needed for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. A maximum of one half of the coursework, or 30 of the 60 credit hours of coursework required for the CPAP Ph.D., may be transferred from an accredited university other than Virginia Tech upon approval by two core faculty evaluating the student’s plan of study. The 60 course work credits include 18 hours of foundation courses, 15 hours of advanced topics and capstone courses, 6 hours of measurement, 9 hours of electives, and 12 hours of research concentration. These courses must correspond to the requirements of the five curriculum core areas. Students must also take 30 hours of research and dissertation credit, three hours of which must be constituted by participation in 15 sessions of the Doctoral Mentoring Program (DMP) or other activities approved by the faculty for DMP credit.
1. Foundation Courses broadly survey sub-fields of public administration and public policy. These courses are offered by the Center but, as noted above, equivalent coursework at other universities on occasion may substitute for some of these courses, subject to faculty approval.
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At least 3 credit hours must be completed or transferred in at the foundation level in each core area except Policy, which requires 6 credit hours. Students complete at least 18 credit hours of foundation coursework in the core areas, at least 9 hours of Advanced Topics, and at least 6 hours of coursework in Measurement and Analysis Tools components. Students should complete foundation courses before enrolling in Advanced Topics classes. Before enrolling in the two-course sequence of Capstone Seminars, however, they must have completed all foundation courses and passed the qualifying examination.
2. Advanced Topics Courses examine specialized areas. These courses are designed to expose the student to an in-depth analysis of some specialized aspects of a core area of the Center’s curriculum.
3. Capstone Seminars provide the opportunity to develop ideas that may form the foundation for the dissertation. They represent the most advanced formal coursework at the Center. The seminars are to be taken in sequence: Capstone A followed by Capstone B. They need not be taken in contiguous semesters. Capstone A is a research seminar that offers students the opportunity to develop ideas for a paper that may support a dissertation topic. Capstone B is a writing-intensive seminar in which students refine rough drafts developed in Capstone A. The final paper for Capstone B should be of publishable quality in a refereed journal. Admission to the capstone seminar sequence is contingent upon successful completion of all foundation coursework and the qualifying examination.
C. RESEARCH METHODS
A basic knowledge of statistics and familiarity with computers is assumed upon admission. Students taking PAPA 6514, Public Administration and Policy Inquiry, or substitute research methods courses approved by the faculty, will be expected to use qualitative and quantitative inquiry and computing skills. If they have not already completed this coursework elsewhere, students are required to complete a graduate-level, intermediate statistics course, which covers techniques through multiple regression. Where appropriate, based on the student’s research interests and with the approval of the student’s adviser, coursework covering other techniques in advanced qualitative and quantitative analysis may be substituted for multiple regression, such as ethnographic field work, textual analysis, historical research, survey design, simulation, operations research, or mathematical programming. Students may enroll in these advanced courses prior to or while enrolled in either PAPA 6514 or PAPA 6224.
D. RESEARCH CONCENTRATION
1. Focused Study: Students complete nine credit hours of focused study consisting of either coursework, independent studies, internship, and/or field studies. Students complete this work during their CPAP doctoral studies and may not transfer work completed prior to their enrollment in the Ph.D. program. This work should permit the student to delve more deeply into a subject-matter field or an area of theory or research methodology. Faculty advisors will counsel students on the need to take additional credit study or noncredit training in data collection or analysis tools needed for their anticipated dissertation projects as part of the Research Concentration requirement.
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Students are encouraged to use the Research Concentration as an opportunity to begin work on the dissertation. For example, the nine credit hours may include special study in a potential dissertation research methodology, an independent study on a preliminary review of the literature base for the dissertation, some background coursework, or some form of applied field work. Students work with a member of the faculty to determine the activities for the nine credit hours. However, the Concentration also may be used to pursue field experiences or special study independent of the dissertation topic.
The Research Concentration may be completed before or after the qualifying exam. Students are encouraged to discuss with their advisors the appropriate time to complete the nine hours of research concentration work and the three credit concentration lecture.
2. Concentration Lecture: A lecture is prepared and presented by students after completing the nine credit hours of research concentration work. This lecture (three credit hours of PAPA 7964) integrates the Concentration work and must be presented before the faculty advisor and at least six other students or guests, including faculty. The lecture may focus on either the anticipated topic of the student’s dissertation or another major area of research concentration that the student expects to offer as part of his or her academic credentials upon completion of the Ph.D. degree. This lecture is given before the dissertation prospectus defense. Where appropriate, part of this lecture should lay out the student’s five-year plan of research for post-doctoral investigation. Students are responsible for assembling the audience for the lecture.
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E. THE Ph.D. CURRICULUM
Required Courses
CORE AREA
FOUNDATION COURSES
(18 HOURS)
ADVANCED TOPICS (AT) COURSES
(9 HOURS)
CAPSTONE SEMINARS*
(6 HOURS, taken after the qualifying examination)
*Capstones A & B
THEORY/ CONTEXT
PAPA 6014: Public Administration Theory and Context

ORGANIZATION
PAPA 6114: Complex Public Organizations
PAPA 6154: AT in Public Organizations
POLICY
PAPA 6214: Public Policy Processes
PAPA 6224: Public Policy Design
PAPA 6254: AT in Public Policy
–OR–
PAPA 6264: AT in Policy Systems Management
MANAGEMENT
PAPA 6344: Leadership and Management
in Public Administration
PAPA 6354: AT in Public Management
ETHICS
PAPA 6414: Normative Foundations of
Public Administration
PAPA 6454: AT in Ethics & the Public Sector
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Other elements:
MEASUREMENT & ANALYSIS TOOLS
(6 Credit Hours)
ELECTIVES
(9 Credit Hours)
QUALIFYING EXAMINATION
*(see Section F below)
RESEARCH CONCENTRATION
May be taken before or after the qualifying examination
(12 Credit Hours)
DISSERTATION HOURS
May be taken before or after the qualifying examination (30 Credit Hours)
PAPA 6514: Public Administration & Policy Inquiry or substitute (or PSCI 5115)
Intermediate/Advanced Statistics or other quantitative or qualitative skills
9 semester hours in any combination of advanced PAPA courses or courses in related disciplines.
Test in three (3) of the following core areas
 THEORY/CONTEXT
 ORGANIZATION
 POLICY
 MANAGEMENT
 ETHICS
9 semester hours coursework in dissertation research area. May include Independent Study (PAPA 5974) or Internship and/or Field Studies PLUS 3 hours of Concentration Lecture (PAPA 7964) prior to the prospectus defense
30 semester hours PAPA 7994, including 3 hours dedicated to professional development (Doctoral Mentoring Program). Dissertation credits may be taken throughout the student’s studies.
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F. QUALIFYING EXAMINATION
This examination tests the substantive knowledge, analytical ability, intellectual ability, and writing skills necessary for completing the Ph.D. in Public Administration and Public Affairs. For all Ph.D. students, the format of the exam will change effective Fall 2017.
The Qualifying Exam is designed to assess student mastery of the material covered in the six Foundation courses. Students are eligible to take the exam as soon as they have accumulated at least 21 credit hours of CPA-specific course work, which must include the 18 credit hours of foundation courses plus PAPA 6514 or its designated alternative. Students must take the exam no later than after the completion of 30 credit hours, which must include all required foundation courses plus PAPA 6514 or its designated alternative. The exam will be offered in the fall and spring semesters, and students may choose to register for the qualifying exam as soon as they meet the minimum credit hour and course threshold. The Virginia Tech Graduate Honor Code is in effect for all aspects of this examination.
Students select three of the five core areas – Complex Organizations, Ethics, Public Management, Theory and Context of Public Administration, and Public Policy – to be tested in. The qualifying examination has two parts – written and oral – but will be considered as a whole.
Written: Essay questions will be based solely on the content of the foundation coursework (that is, no specific themes and related departure readings will be circulated). The written exam will consist of one broad question for each foundation area. Students must demonstrate mastery of the foundational material by composing coherent essays responding to the questions presented in their three selected fields.
Mastery is defined according to the following criteria:
1. Completeness of response to the question
2. Accuracy of response to the question
3. Grounding in the relevant scholarship
4. Synthesis
5. Critical analysis
6. Writing quality
For each foundation area, the faculty will prepare a periodically updated list of relevant published scholarship, as well as providing students access to course syllabi (both past and present) to ensure that students have a rich and relatively standardized resource in each core area on which to draw to prepare for the exam.
Faculty will set a minimum level of competence (i.e., a passing grade) based on the above criteria. Students must pass all three essays in order to be considered ready to defend the essays in the oral portion of the exam. Students failing to reach this threshold must write new essays during the next scheduled qualifying exam period, but only for the foundation area(s) not meeting the threshold. Students may not change foundation areas between attempts to pass the written portion of the exam. Failure to successfully pass the written
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exam in all three areas after a second attempt at one or more essays will constitute a failure of the qualifying exam.
Oral: The oral defense will be used to confirm faculty assessments of the students’ essays. Each of the three essays will be considered in sequence, and students will be expected to sustain and defend their arguments in each essay in response to questions.
Students judged to have passed the written and oral portions of the exam will be considered “qualified” to complete the remaining required coursework in the Ph.D. program. Students successfully completing this coursework may move on to the dissertation milestones, including the concentration lecture, prospectus defense, dissertation, and dissertation defense. Any student whose oral qualifying exam defense is considered unsatisfactory will be given one opportunity to complete an alternative project in order to pass the qualifying exam. Failure to successfully complete this project will constitute failure of the qualifying exam. All students will receive written feedback on their performance in the exam after each cycle in which they participate.
Overview of Qualifying Exam Process:
1. Students will complete foundation courses in all five core areas, and select three of the five core areas to be tested in the written and oral portions of the examination.
2. The examination will be offered twice a year in the fall and spring semesters. The written portion of the exam will consist of three take home essays (see below) and students will have 8 hours to complete each one. The essays will be written on a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday schedule with one day scheduled for each core area. The written portion of the examination will be scheduled approximately within the first three weeks of the semester followed by the oral component of the examination approximately two weeks after the last written one. The oral portion of the exam will be scheduled within the first five weeks of the fall and spring semesters.
3. Students wishing to take the examination must fill out the top portion of the CPAP form “Request to Admit Candidate to Qualifying Examination,” have it signed by their committee chair, and submit it to the CPAP office in Blacksburg or the National Capital Region no later than one month before the first day of the written portion of the examination.
4. Prior to the administration of the written examination, each core area committee will develop one question in their respective area. Students will be presented with this question on the day that each respective written exam is administered.
5. On each of the written exam days, a student will have an 8-hour period (8:00am to 5:00pm, with an hour allowed for lunch) in which to respond to the question in an essay no more than ten pages in length, double-spaced.
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6. In the two weeks following the administration of the last core area written examination, a
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six-member examining committee (two readers from each chosen core area) will read and assess the student’s essays in preparation for the oral portion of the exam. At the same time, the student will be given an electronic copy of her/his three essays so s/he may prepare for the oral exam.
7. Each student will have an oral exam committee consisting of the six readers of their written essays. The committee will ask questions that build from the questions the student answered in the written portion of the exam. The oral portion of the exam will last for approximately an hour. Following the exam the committee will discuss the student’s performance on both the written and oral portions of the examination and decide whether the student has earned a grade of pass or fail.
8. For students who fail the examination, the examining committee will determine the appropriate form of a re-take during the next scheduled examination period. In most instances this likely will involve a decision on whether a student should re-take one, two, or three of the examination core areas. Failure to start and complete the required re-take by the next scheduled examination will constitute a second failure of the examination. For students who retake the exam and fail the second time, the entire faculty will meet as a committee of the whole to assess the student’s entire performance to date and decide if the student should be allowed to continue to the dissertation.
G. DISSERTATION
Ph.D. candidates must write a dissertation. The dissertation is expected to make an original contribution to knowledge of the field. The student is eligible to receive the Ph.D. degree upon the successful defense of the dissertation. As a result of their course work and advising, students should have identified and discussed a dissertation advisory relationship with an appropriate faculty member by the time they begin the Capstone seminars.
1. Dissertation Committee: After the student completes the Qualifying Examination and before they begin Capstone A, he or she formally establishes a dissertation committee. The first step in this process is to ask a member of the Center’s core faculty to chair this committee. The faculty member who agrees to chair the dissertation committee will then become the student’s formal advisor. The next step is to constitute the dissertation committee, which consists of at least four members including the chair.
2. Criteria for Committee: Ordinarily, a dissertation committee is comprised of four members, at least three of whom shall be members of the CPAP core faculty. The chair (or co-chair) must be a member of the core faculty (see Section III. A. below). A fourth or fifth committee member, if not a member of the Virginia Tech full-time faculty, must be approved by the committee chair and by the Graduate School. Dissertation committees are subject to the approval of the Graduate School. Graduate School regulations require that persons other than Virginia Tech faculty members comprise no more than one-third of a dissertation committee’s membership. Therefore, if two members from other institutions serve on a dissertation committee, a fifth member must be added from the Virginia Tech faculty. Under no circumstances may more than two
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colleagues from other universities serve on a dissertation committee.
3. The Prospectus and Prospectus Defense (“Preliminary Examination”): After establishing the committee of a minimum of four members, the student writes the Dissertation Prospectus under the guidance of his or her committee chair. This document essentially is a research design setting forth the program of research that the student proposes to follow in writing his or her dissertation. The prospectus should address the topic or question to be assayed in the planned dissertation; the scholarly and public affairs significance of the proposed research; the present state of knowledge on the topic or question, and the sources that will shape the work; the research design (including the research strategy, methodology, and methods) to be employed; an outline of proposed chapters; and a timeline for completing the work.
When the student and the chair agree that the prospectus is ready, arrangements will be made for the student to defend it before the dissertation committee. Students must complete the “Request to Admit Candidate to Preliminary Examination” form (available from the Graduate School website under Academics/Forms) and have it approved by their advisory committee and committee chair and the Graduate School. When the prospectus has been successfully defended, the student will proceed to write the dissertation itself.
4. Dissertation Defense (“Final Examination”): The defense of the dissertation is the final requirement. No student may advance to the Dissertation Defense until all other requirements have been completed successfully and until the chair and at least two out of three or three out of four of five other members of the dissertation committee agree that the dissertation is ready to be defended. The dissertation defense focuses on the dissertation research project but is not limited to it. Candidates are expected to answer questions about the theoretical, methodological, and practical implications of the dissertation and its contribution to new knowledge in the field.
The dissertation defense must be scheduled no sooner than six weeks after a draft, approved by the chair, has been distributed to the members of the committee. Students must complete the “Request to Admit Candidate to Final Exam” form (available from the Graduate School website under Academics/Forms) and have it approved by their advisory committee and committee chair and the Graduate School. Members of the dissertation committee must be present for the defense.
H. ADVISEMENT
The advising process constitutes a crucial dimension of the graduate experience. The advisement systems may vary somewhat between CPAP’s locations.
1. General Information about Advising: The general orientation of the advising activities at both locations is directed not only toward counseling students on the choice of course work, but also toward helping them develop a clear sense of intellectual direction and a framework for thinking about their dissertation projects. The systems at the two locations
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vary only in order to meet the distinctive requirements of the type of student community that exists at each location.
2. Assignment of Advisors: The CPAP chair or associate chair will assign a member of the core faculty to each student upon his or her arrival on campus. Students who know one or more members of the core faculty may request their advisors by name before arriving, a request that the CPAP chair and/or associate chair will try to accommodate insofar as the equitable distribution of advising duties will permit.
Students may change their advisors at any time with the approval of the CPAP chair and the consent of the new advisors. After a dissertation chair has been selected, however, this option should be exercised prudently and then in accordance with Graduate School procedures. The student may also request a change in the membership of the dissertation committee, subject to the approval of the committee chair and the CPAP chair and in accordance with Graduate School procedures. This option should be exercised with increasing caution as work on the dissertation progresses.
3. Transfer of Credit and Plan of Study Development: An advising session concerning transfer credit and program of study development is offered at least once a year, usually at the beginning of the fall term. Entering students should attend the first session offered after they have entered the Ph.D. program. Students meet with teams of at least two members of the core faculty assigned by the CPAP chair to review the student’s previous graduate work in order to determine which courses match the CPAP curriculum sufficiently to merit transfer credit, to identify the remaining courses that the student must take, and to fill out the original plan of study form.
Once formal decisions have been made by the faculty at each location concerning transfer credits, the faculty will sign the Plan of Study form and submit a copy to their respective office managers who will submit the information electronically to the Graduate School and place a copy of the form into the student’s file. The Plan of Study will appear in the student’s electronic Graduate School records, along with their transcripts and other information. This document should be looked upon as though it were a contract specifying the requirements the student must meet as he or she moves through the program.
Later adjustments to the Plan of Study are made following consultation between the student and his or her faculty advisor. Before completing 24 hours of course work, the student should schedule a Plan of Study or “milestone” session with his or her advisor and a second faculty member selected by the student and advisor. At this session, the student’s Plan of Study will be reviewed and, if approved, will be forwarded to the CPAP chair or associate chair and the Graduate School. In implementing their Plans of Study, students must contact their advisors during their course work to review course options.
4. Doctoral Mentoring Program: The goal of the Doctoral Mentoring Program (DMP) is to maximize the student learning experience by developing academic-collegial relationships within the CPAP community, and to assist in professional socialization and development.
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The DMP satisfies 3 of the 30 credit hours of PAPA 7994, Research and Dissertation, required for the Ph.D. degree program. Attendance is required at a minimum of 15 DMP meetings in order to complete the DMP requirement and enroll in the special section of PAPA 7994 where DMP credit is given. New students in the doctoral program are assigned to mentoring groups in either Blacksburg or the National Capital Region (Alexandria) upon entry.
Mentoring groups meet at least three times in each fall and spring semester for a total of six regular meetings per academic year in each program location. As implied above, participation in the mentoring groups carries the same status as participation in an academic course, and course credit is allocated to students upon completion of the mentoring program. Mentoring groups meet both as a general community and in individual sessions with their colleagues and their faculty advisor. The topical agenda of the community and group sessions covers all aspects of the CPAP program, questions about individual programs of study, individual research interests, and broader topics having to do with intellectual and academic life both during the graduate school experience and afterwards in the career stage.
In some instances, such as when students begin taking courses while they are pursuing admission to the program, it may happen that a student will not be eligible to be assigned formally to a Mentoring Group or to attend an advising session for two or even three semesters. In these cases, the faculty member currently serving as Manager of the Mentoring Program will also act as the student’s individual faculty advisor. Such students are welcome to attend the DMP as guests. Should they later be admitted to the program, they will then receive DMP credit for their attendance.
I. THE RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT
As specified in the Policies of the Virginia Tech Graduate School, students may fulfill their doctoral residency requirement through two consecutive semesters of full-time enrollment. Students may also fulfill the residency requirement on the Blacksburg campus or in the National Capital via the following alternative plan, which has two components:
1. Doctoral Mentoring Program: Participation through the completion of the Mentoring Program as described in Section H.4 above.
2. Residency Capstone Seminar Sequence (Capstones A and B)
This is a special two-semester seminar sequence focused on the research and conceptual development of an academic paper, and the revision and continued development of the paper. The focus of the first seminar (Capstone A) is an advanced research topic demanding that students engage in intensive and original thought and analysis. Special colloquia and lecture presentations by various resource persons that follow the formal classroom sessions are also included in this program, and students are expected to attend and participate in them. During the second seminar in the sequence (Capstone B), students extensively critique and revise their manuscript from the first seminar, examine
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early research and developed research, learn about the publishing process, and present their work at the spring High Table conference. The final capstone requirement is to submit the manuscript for review to a journal.
University residency requirements require that National Capital Region students spend some time on the Blacksburg campus. Students enrolled in capstone seminars spend several days on the Blacksburg campus in the fall semester and in the spring semester during CPAP’s annual High Table conference.
J. PROGRAM WAIVERS
A request for a waiver of any CPAP policy should be initially discussed by the student and his/her advisor. The request should then be presented to the CPAP chair. He or she shall use discretion to decide which, if any, of the CPAP policy making bodies should hear and decide the request. In all cases, strong and compelling evidence of both the necessity for the individual and minimal impact on the department must be presented.
K. GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES
1. The Program and Appeals Procedures at the Program and School Levels
The Center for Public Administration and Policy follows the procedures for grievance as accepted by the Graduate School. Whenever a graduate student believes that any work has been improperly evaluated, or believes that there has been unfair treatment, it is expected that the student will follow the procedures below in a timely fashion.
The student should take up the questions directly with the faculty member involved. This may be the committee chair, another faculty member, or an instructor responsible for a course.
a. If the matter is not reconciled, the graduate student will be expected to appeal the question to the CPAP chair.
b. If the matter cannot be resolved there, then the chair takes the question to the CPAP core faculty. If the CPAP chair is a party to the grievance, the Director of the School for Public and International Affairs (SPIA) will assume this responsibility.
c. If the matter is still unresolved, the Director of the School of Public and International Affairs, in consultation with the SPIA Executive Committee and the Dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies as appropriate, shall take all reasonable and proper actions to resolve the question at the departmental level. The student shall be informed in writing of the results no later than one month after the appeal to the Director of the School of Public and International Affairs.
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2. The University Appeals Procedure
If the aggrieved student believes that their rights were abridged at the program and school levels, the student may file a request for review with the Dean of the Graduate School. A full description of these procedures is found in the Graduate School Policies and Procedures.
III. GENERAL INFORMATION
A. CORE FACULTY
The term “core faculty” as used in this document includes the following: Professors Cook, Dull, Eckerd, Hult, Jensen, Jordan, Khademian, Lemaire, Rees, Roberts, and Sterett, and Professors Emeriti/ae Dudley, Goodsell, Kronenberg, Wamsley, White, and Wolf.
B. NORMS FOR COURSE GRADING
As a policy, the classroom faculty members are responsible for assigning the grades that they deem appropriate. Faculty should make standards for grading known to students at the beginning of each semester. The CPAP faculty agrees that grades should provide an opportunity to provide feedback on various dimensions of performance in courses.
C. STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES AND GRADES
All students are expected to assume full responsibility for knowledge of all regulations pertinent to the procedures of the Graduate School as set forth in Graduate School Policies, available on-line at (http://graduateschool.vt.edu/graduate_catalog/policies.htm?policy=002d14432c654287012c6542e38200a) and any other regulations and procedures published by the Graduate School and the Center for Public Administration and Policy.
In scheduling their preliminary exams (prospectus defense) and final exams (dissertation defense), Ph. D. students are expected to adhere strictly to Graduate School deadlines and are responsible for confirming those deadlines as announced by the Graduate School for a given semester. Exceptions to those deadlines will be considered only under very unusual circumstances, and must be approved by both the student’s committee chair and the CPAP chair. Concentration lectures must be scheduled before December 1 for the fall semester and before May 1 for the spring semester. No concentration lecture can be scheduled during summer sessions.
The Center abides by the rules and procedures of the Virginia Tech Graduate Honor System, which may be found on-line at: http://ghs.graduateschool.vt.edu .
Letter grades A through F are given for all regular courses. No grades are given for research and thesis/dissertation hours; however, thesis and dissertation hours are assigned appropriate equivalent credit hours for the purpose of registration and payment of fees.
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Students must be registered to take examinations and defend theses and dissertations.
Students must maintain an overall grade point average (GPA) of at least “B” (3.00). The Graduate School automatically places students whose GPA falls below 3.00 on academic probation. They will have one regular semester to return the GPA to 3.00 or better or face recommended dismissal. All courses taken at Virginia Tech that are listed on the approved program of study must be completed with a grade of “C” or better. Transferred courses will count only as credit hours and will not be used in computing the grade index; the grade transferred, however, must be a “B” or better.
Incompletes remains “I’s” until students complete the work; however, they may not graduate until all incompletes are removed from courses on the official Plan of Study. Most incompletes should be finished within one semester. Grades of “NR” and “NG” count in the GPA calculation, so students should monitor their transcripts regularly for grades that may not have been recorded.
D. COMMITTEE PARTICIPATION AND MONITORING
Procedures Used in Monitoring Advisory Committee Assignment Criteria: At the time graduate student dissertation committees are established, the above criteria are considered by the CPAP chair and by the student’s committee chair. The CPAP faculty or specific Graduate degree committees that may be established offer supervision of the process and must review exceptions to the criteria.
Expectations for Faculty Participation on Student Committees: It is the expectation that all faculty serving on advisory, thesis, and dissertation committees will actively participate in the academic advisement of students in the direction of their research programs. Participation on student committees should be limited in number to ensure that the faculty member is able to fulfill the responsibilities of committee membership. Evaluation of the performance of faculty in this important capacity is the joint responsibility of the CPAP chair and appropriate chairs of graduate degree committees that may be established.
E. CURRENCY OF POLICY GUIDELINES
Twice a year the faculty meets to discuss policy issues and often changes to the Policy Guide become necessary. The CPAP Policy Guide will be revised appropriately.
IV. GRADUATE CERTICATES
SPIA and other University programs offer graduate certificates of possible interest to CPAP students. (See http://graduateschool.vt.edu/graduate_catalog/certificates.htm.) Two certificates – Homeland Security Policy and Local Government Management – are lodged in CPAP. MPA students may use certificate courses to fulfill elective requirements; one of the local government certificate courses may substitute for one of the required courses (either PAPA 6314 or PAPA 6324).
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A. Homeland Security Policy
The graduate certificate in homeland security policy (12 credits) focuses on domestic security and emergency management issues. The certificate can serve either as a stand-alone credential of advanced educational achievement for non-degree students or as a supplement to a master’s or a doctoral degree. Taking four homeland security courses will introduce students to the complexity of the homeland security environment, from analyzing the terrorist threat, to considering questions of hazard mitigation, preparedness, and resilience, to investigating response and recovery strategies.
The certificate is comprised of four courses (12 hours of graduate coursework). The core courses focus on 1) threat (PAPA 5254 Homeland Security and the Terrorist Threat), 2) prevention (PAPA 6264 Advanced Topics in Policy: Homeland Security and Prevention 3) response and recovery (PAPA 5354 Homeland Security Response and Recovery). A fourth course is selected from specified electives.
MPA students may use the certificate as their concentration and reflect upon the certificate and homeland security issues in their portfolio or internship. Ph.D. students may use the certificate as a foundation for dissertation research in homeland security policy and management.
B. Local Government Management
The graduate certificate in local government management (12 credits) is a set of master’s level courses designed to prepare the next generation of U.S. local government leaders including county and city managers. The certificate provides a thorough understanding of the operations of U.S. local government and the political and administrative contexts of working with elected officials, citizens, and other stakeholders. The courses are taught by current or former practitioners in Virginia local government and are available through at 12 sites throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia or at the Fairfax County Government Center. Master of Public Administration students can use the certificate courses to satisfy the 9 elective hours, and they can elect to substitute one course for either PAPA6314 (Public Budgeting Processes) or PAPA6324 (Public Personnel). (See the table below for the courses in the certificate.) An on-line version of the certificate examines local governments throughout the United States; students need permission from the program director to enroll in these on-line classes.
C. Homeland Security Policy
The graduate certificate in homeland security policy (12 credits) focuses on domestic security and emergency management issues. The certificate can serve either as a stand-alone credential of advanced educational achievement for non-degree students or as a supplement to a master’s or a doctoral degree. Taking four homeland security courses will introduce students to the complexity of the homeland security environment, from analyzing the terrorist threat, to considering questions of hazard mitigation, preparedness, and resilience, to investigating response and recovery strategies.
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The certificate is comprised of four courses (12 hours of graduate coursework). The core courses focus on 1) threat (PAPA 5254 Homeland Security and the Terrorist Threat), 2) prevention (PAPA 6264 Advanced Topics in Policy: Homeland Security and Prevention 3) response and recovery (PAPA 5354 Homeland Security Response and Recovery). A fourth course is selected from specified electives.
MPA students may use the certificate as their concentration and reflect upon the certificate and homeland security issues in their portfolio or internship. Ph.D. students may use the certificate as a foundation for dissertation research in homeland security policy and management.
D. Local Government Management
The graduate certificate in local government management (12 credits) is a set of master’s level courses designed to prepare the next generation of U.S. local government leaders including county and city managers. The certificate provides a thorough understanding of the operations of U.S. local government and the political and administrative contexts of working with elected officials, citizens, and other stakeholders. The courses are taught by current or former practitioners in Virginia local government and are available at multiple sites throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia or at the Fairfax County Government Center. Master of Public Administration students can use the certificate courses to satisfy the 9 elective hours, and they can elect to substitute PAPA 6354 (Human Resources, Financial and Performance Management for Local Government Managers) for either PAPA 6314 (Public Budgeting Processes) or PAPA 6324 (Public Personnel). See the table below for the courses in the certificate. An on-line version of the certificate examines local governments throughout the United States; students need permission from the program director to enroll in these on-line classes.
PAPA 5044
Local Government and the Professional Manager
PAPA 5784
Local Economic Development Planning
PAPA 6354
Human Resources, Financial and Performance Management for Local Government Managers
PAPA 6154
The Context of Local Government Management and Service Delivery

Academic Resources on Developing and Delivering Effective Presentations

Here is a compilation of Virginia Tech and online resources that can provide you with some tips on giving great presentations.

RESOURCES THROUGH VIRGINIA TECH CAMPUS

The Comm Lab located in the Newman Library at Virginia Tech/ Blacksburg Campus

The mission of the organization is to provide Virginia Tech students and faculty members with access to constructive feedback and practical resources for improving oral presentations.  Students can gain valuable presentation-related insight and develop the necessary toolsets to become successful speakers.  The Comm Lab may be available for off-campus students through google hangouts.  Please inquire with the staff for their availability.  Students have to make appointments online, which is the best way to set up appointments.  The coaches are considered experts in public speaking. They will go through your Powerpoint presentation with you to make sure that you are meeting the professor’s objectives in your presentation.

Online Learning and Collaboration Services (Lynda.com; Software Tutorial and Training)

Lynda.com is your one stop shop for online tutorials and training in a variety of software suites and programs. Access is free to current Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff. Once you are at the website, sign in via your PID to access the materials.  After you have entered the site, type in the skills you would like to learn (e.g. giving great presentations)

ONLINE RESOURCES

Improving Presentation Skills of PhD Students (By Susanne Ulm, Next Scientist)

Presentation Skills (Joel Bowman, Ph.D., West Michigan University)

Preparing an Oral Presentation (By Jeff Radel, Ph.D.,  University of Kansas Medical Center)

Ten Simple Rules for Making Good Oral Presentations (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

Oral Presentation and PowerPoint (compiled by Joe Schall, Penn State)

Adapted from Style for Students (https://www.e-education.psu.edu/styleforstudents) by Joe Schall is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) via The Pennsylvania State University.

Why Bad Presentation Happen to Good Causes (Online Book by Andy Goodman)

YOU TUBE VIDEO RESOURCES

Public Speaking and Giving Presentation (By Scott Berkun, Author of the “Confessions of a Public Speaker”)

POWERPOINT SLIDES/RESOURCES

Giving Effective Presentations (By Lisa G. Bullard, Ph.D., North Carolina State University)

Presentation 101 for Graduate Students (By J. Paul Robinson, Ph.D., Purdue University)

Academic Resources on Writing

Here is a compilation of writing resources from Virginia Tech and other sources.

RESOURCES THROUGH VIRGINIA TECH CAMPUS

Writing Resources

For Individual Help

The Virginia Tech Writing Center:

http://www.composition.english.vt.edu/writing-center/

This is a free service to all Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff, at all levels. Appointments are made online.  This service is done in-person and through google hangout for off-campus students.  They will work with writing and reading assignments from any course in the University. They can also help with writing projects not linked to classes.

GSA Research Symposium & Exposition

https://blogs.lt.vt.edu/gsars/abstract-submissions/writing-resources/

General Information

University Style Guide:

http://www.branding.unirel.vt.edu/style-guide/

Academic Writing Guide:

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/1/2/ 

Ethical Writing Guide:

http://www.lib.vt.edu/instruct/plagiarism/

Find/Citation and Style Manuals

http://www.lib.vt.edu/find/citation/index.html

On Professional/Academic Writing and Presenting

Resources for Technical and Grant Writing:

http://www.research.vt.edu/proposal-development-resources/resources/technical-and-grant-writing/index.php

Guidelines for scientific writing & presenting:

http://www.writing.engr.psu.edu/

How to write a good abstract:

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2011/06/20/essential-guide-writing-good-abstracts/

How to write a good introduction:

http://www.jclinepi.com/article/S0895-4356(13)00020-6/pdf

On Writing Well

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E. B. White

The Elements of Grammar by Margaret Shertzer

Style: Toward Clarity and Grace by Joseph M. Williams

Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre by Keith Johnstone

Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art by Stephen Nachmanovitch

Improvisation for the Theatre by Viola Spolin[/su_spoiler]][/su_accordion][/

FACULTY

Courses are broadcast to the Virginia Tech Commonwealth Campus Centers in Abingdon, Alexandria, Blacksburg, Charlottesville, Danville, Fairfax, Falls Church, Lynchburg, Richmond, Roanoke, and Virginia Beach. Students at remote sites participate via two-way videoconferencing. This approach allows the class to be taught around the state simultaneously giving more students the opportunity to participate in the program.

Virginia Tech Southwest Center
P.O. Box 1987 – One Partnership Circle
Abingdon, VA 24210
Classroom: Room 143
Virginia Tech: SPIA Alexandria Campus
1021 Prince Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Virginia Tech, Blacksburg
104 Draper Rd
Blacksburg, VA 24060
Classroom: varies
Charlottesville City Hall, City Hall Annex
Neighborhood Development Services
Room 405
603 East Market St (605 East Market St – Main Entrance)
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Institute for Advanced Learning and Research
150 Slayton Ave
Danville, VA 24540
Fairfax County Government Center
12000 Government Center
Fairfax, VA 22035
Virginia Tech, Northern Virginia Center
7054 Haycock Road
Falls Church, VA 22043
Classroom: 103
Central Virginia Community College
3506 Wards Rd
Lynchburg, VA 24502
Virginia Tech Richmond Center
2810 Parham Road, Suitye 300
Richmond, VA 23294
Classroom: 309
Virginia Tech Roanoke Center
Roanoke Higher Education Center – Suite 701
108 North Jefferson Street
Roanoke, VA 24016
Classroom: 710
Virginia Tech Hampton Roads Center
1444 Diamond Springs Road
Virginia Beach, Virginia U.S.A 23455
Classroom: 201

Application Deadlines for All Campuses

CPAP-SPECIFIC DEADLINES
For Fall admission, the deadline is May 1st.
For Spring Admission the deadline is November 1st.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT DEADLINES
For Fall admission, the deadline is April 1st.
For Spring admission, the deadline is September 1st.

Tuition & Fees

The Bursar’s Office maintains complete information about Virginia Tech tuition and fees for in-state and out-of-state residents.

Financial Aid

For all other information about admissions and financial aid, please visit the graduate school admissions website.

Apply Online

Application and Fee. File an application with the graduate school online here and pay the nonrefundable application fee, which is currently $75.

Want more help with filing the application? See the graduate school’s help page.

Transcripts. Have two official copies of undergraduate and/or graduate study transcripts sent directly to the graduate school from universities and colleges previously attended. VT applicants an simply request from the registrar.

Personal Statement of Purpose. As part of the online application process, provide a personal statement in which you (a) describe previous employment experiences and (b) discuss thoughtfully your future career plans. The statement should express how the Center’s curriculum for which you are applying will assist you in achieving your future career goals.

Resume. As part of the online application process, provide a professional resume.

Test Scores. Applicants for the Ph.D. program must provide scores on a recognized aptitude test. The educational testing service will send the scores directly to the graduate school, upon request. The aptitude test scores are optional for MPA applicants. International students may be required to take TOEFL.

Letters of Recommendation/Reference Forms. As part of the online application, all applicants should arrange for submission of three (3) persons to provide a letters of recommendation. Once submitted, each reference is sent an electronic form to complete. Preferably the applicant’s references should include a mix of former professors and others who know the applicant professionally, such as employment supervisors or others who have had an opportunity to observe the applicant in a professional capacity. It is especially important that applicants to the Ph.D. program provide at least two letters or forms from former college or university teachers.

Paper Application

Paper Applications. If you are unable or choose not to apply online, you may download the application form for US and Permanent Resident Students or for International Students.

Submission. ALL PAPER APPLICANTS, including Northern Virginia and Richmond campuses, please send application materials including: application and fee, personal statement of purpose, resume, and letters of recommendation/reference forms directly to the Graduate School. Transcripts and test scores should be sent from the issuing authority to the same address.

Virginia Tech Graduate School (0325)
Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061

To confirm that your application materials are complete please contact:

Center for Public Administration and Policy
Phone: (540) 231-5133
Email: cpap@vt.edu

CPAP POLICY GUIDE


Download the Policy Guide

CPAP GRADUATE CERTIFICATE IN PUBLIC AND NON-PROFIT FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT


This certificate program is designed to develop students’ understanding of the concepts and practice of financial management in government, university, and complex non-profit organizations. The certificate integrates financial management perspectives from the Federal, State, Local and Nonprofit and Nongovernmental Organizations while synthesizing the concept of financial resiliency for organizations.

As organizations in the public service continue to face financial difficulty, financial mastery can no longer simply be the sole purview of accountants and other specially trained individuals. In the new public service landscape, financial competency is a must for all employees, and financial mastery is increasingly a pre-requisite for high level positions in public service organizations. Available throughout the Commonwealth through virtual classroom technology, the Public and Non-Profit Financial Management certificate is designed for full-time students as well as part-time and working professional students. This shared format allows for a productive mix of viewpoints and experience levels, which enhances learning for all students. Students earning this certificate are prepared for a public service labor market that will demand financial literacy, whether they’re a pre-career student seeking their first job or a working professional looking to broaden their horizons and seeking opportunities for advancement.

The certificate program consists of five 3-credit hour courses, of which students must complete four (4), for a total of twelve (12) hours of graduate coursework. Students are required to complete four courses with a GPA of 3.0 or better in order to earn the certificate. Students are exposed to a full spectrum of financial management issues through both theoretical instruction and case studies. Classroom discussion and both group and individual assignments simulate real work scenarios and prepare students for real life application. All courses are taught by experienced, highly qualified Virginia practitioners via two-way video telecasts to Virginia Tech broadcast centers, allowing the class to be taught around the state simultaneously giving more students the opportunity to participate in the program. The Virginia Tech broadcast centers are located in key parts of the Commonwealth including Abingdon, Alexandria, Blacksburg, Charlottesville, Danville, Fairfax, Falls Church, Lynchburg, Richmond, Roanoke, and Virginia Beach.

Current students include both in-career professionals and pre-career students enrolled in the Center for Public Administration and Policy MPA degree program. This mix of students provides both a lively education environment and significant networking opportunities both inside and outside class.
Non-degree candidates may apply for admission to the certificate program using the Virginia Tech Graduate School’s online application system found under “Admissions” at http://graduateschool.vt.edu/applying.

Interested students must submit an official copy of their college transcript or diploma documenting receipt of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university with an acceptable grade point average mailed to the Virginia Tech Graduate School as part of the application process. Please contact us for specific instructions on applying online.

Application deadlines are as follows:

Fall: August 1st
Spring: January 1st
Summer: May 1st

Students who complete the graduate certificate are encouraged to continue their studies on their own in a master’s program at Virginia Tech. The credits earned as part of this certificate may be applied to the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree. CPAP offers the MPA Program in Blacksburg, Alexandria, and Richmond, Virginia. Students who successfully complete all four courses in the Certificate program with a B average or better are not required to submit entrance test scores such as the GRE when applying for degree status to CPAP.

The University Bursar is responsible for all tuition, fees, and student accounts. Their website contains extensive details on topics such as tuition and fees, deadlines, payment instructions, refunds, penalties, tax information, and more. Tuition is applied at the time a student if officially registered in a course. Regardless of attendance or performance, students are responsible for tuition payment unless a formal request is made to be withdrawn and proper paperwork is submitted and approved. Tuition refunds follow a sliding scale.

Payment – Application fees (non-refundable) must be made before applications are processed. Graduate students may pay online by credit card or check. Students in courses awarding university credit will receive a bill via e-mail from the University Bursar for tuition and fees. Payments can be made by check, by money order, or online by credit card.

Virginia Residency – To qualify for Virginia Resident rates, students must meet a set of residency requirements and provide relevant documentation. All others pay non-Virginia resident tuition.

For More Information, Please Contact:

Stephanie Dean Davis
Phone: 804-980-5549
sddavis@vt.edu

Thinking about graduate study in public administration and policy? We hold information sessions in person in Alexandria. For information session questions, email SPIAAlexandria@vt.edu or call 703-706-8111.

CERTIFICATE STRUCTURE & CURRICULUM


The courses comprising the graduate certificate were designed to provide a challenging, master’s level, “real world”-based educational opportunity in organizational financial management and public policy. The courses engage faculty, practitioners, and graduate students in systematic research and study designed to improve the quality of financial management, policy making, and public service. All students must complete SPIA 5024 and at least three of the other four courses listed below for a total of 12 hours of graduate coursework. Students are required to complete four courses with a GPA of 3.0 or better in order to earn the certificate.

Concepts, tools and techniques, analytical capacities necessary to evaluate financial condition and the overall financial health of governmental and nonprofit organizations. Resiliency and the impact of policy on the organization.
Role of finance in the management of complex public, nonprofit, and nongovernmental organizations. Functions of financial management, including planning and budgeting, reporting, resource acquisition, and internal controls in the nonprofit context.
Provides an understanding of asset management for governmental and nonprofit/nongovernmental entities. Focuses on the essentials of cash
budgeting and cash management, investment of endowments and pension funds, and debt management and debt financing for governmental and nonprofit/nongovernmental organizations.
Fundamental concepts and tools of public and nonprofit financial management. Organization, administration, leadership and ethics. Budgeting, accounting, cash management, auditing and internal controls. Capital and debt financial management. Financial resiliency and financial condition analysis.
Surveys the public budgeting processes of public organizations. The contrasting norms and behaviors of participants, their impacts on policy, and their implications for democracy are examined. Processes studied include the work of budgeteers, decision making processes, control and financial accounting, and intergovernmental interaction.

RANKING & ACCREDITATION

A Highly Ranked Program

Best Grad Schools Rating US News and World Report
The Center for Public Administration and Policy is nationally ranked in the top 25 schools for public management / administration by U.S. News & World Report, out of nearly 300 schools.

Virginia Tech has also been ranked 15th in the 2015 Best Value Schools ranking of the 50 most innovative public service schools in the United States.

According to the survey, the rankings were based on U.S. News ranking for public affairs for:

  • number of degree programs
  • student-to-faculty ratio
  • strength of internship programs
  • QS Top Universities innovation ranking and
  • a ranking of innovative features.

NASPAA logo

This degree has undertaken a rigorous process of peer review conducted by the Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA).

Download the Policy Guide

POLICY GUIDE
THE MASTER OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION PROGRAM
REQUIREMENTS

PORTFOLIO REQUIREMENT

D. CRITERIA FOR CHAIR AND MEMBERS OF THE MPA COMMITTEES

All MPA committee members are appointed by the Graduate School upon the recommendation of the CPAP chair. For each student’s committee, the committee chair (or co-chair) must be a member of the CPAP core faculty, and the committee must include three faculty members total, with a majority consisting of CPAP core faculty. CPAP faculty emeriti/ae, faculty from other departments, and adjunct faculty may serve on a student’s committee with approval of the CPAP chair. Appropriate non-faculty personnel may be recommended to the Dean of the Graduate School for inclusion on an MPA committee. Graduate students may not serve on an MPA committee. The full committee must be present for the portfolio meeting, and members must contribute to determining whether the student’s portfolio is a Fail, Pass, or Pass with Distinction.

THE M.P.A. CURRICULUM (39 Credit Hours)
Required Courses — 27 Credit Hours

PUBLIC MANAGEMENT
PAPA 5315: Behavioral Skills for Managers
PAPA 5316: Systems Skills For Managers
PAPA 6314: Public Budgeting Processes and Their Policy Implications*
PAPA 6324: Public Personnel Processes and Their Policy Implications*

PUBLIC POLICY
PAPA 6214: Public Policy Processes and Analytical Approaches
PAPA 6224: Design, Implementation and Evaluation of Policy and Programs (prerequisites: a statistics course and PAPA 6514)

PUBLIC SERVICE
PAPA 5014: Concepts and Approaches in Public Administration
PAPA 6414: Normative Foundations of Public Administration

METHODS AND ANALYSIS
PAPA 6514: Public Administration and Policy Inquiry (prerequisite: a statistics course)
*PAPA 6354 may be substituted for one of these classes, when taken as part of the Local Government Management certificate.
Electives (9 credits), Internship, and Portfolio Requirement (3 Credits)
Elective Courses
Internship
Portfolio
Three courses (9 credit hours) composed of other CPAP courses or courses in other departments. Options should be related to public affairs and be discussed with faculty advisors. For pre- and early career students, internship credit (PAPA 5954) may be used for 3 of these hours.
To be completed by pre- and early career students as defined in Section I.B. above. Internships may be for credit or not for credit.
Student are required to take 3 credit hours of PAPA 5904, Project and Report [portfolio preparation and defense].

II. THE DOCTORAL PROGRAM: Ph.D. IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is academia’s highest degree and prepares one for research and scholarship, whether or not in affiliation with a university. The Center offers this degree for both full-time and part-time students. Many of these students are mid-career professionals who have reached a point in their professional development where they can commit the time and energy necessary to earn the Ph.D. degree. Qualified individuals just beginning their careers are also welcome. A master’s degree in a relevant field (not necessarily public administration or public policy) ordinarily is required for admission, but this requirement can be waived in exceptional cases. Those earning the CPAP MPA degree may apply for admission to the Ph.D. program as the end of the MPA work draws near.
All Ph.D. students take foundation courses in five core areas: policy, organizations, management, ethics, and theory/context. Advanced Topic courses examine topics in the core areas at a deeper level, and the two capstone seminars are a gateway to advanced research and preparation for the dissertation. Other components of the program include Measurement and Analysis Tools, Concentration Courses, the Qualifying Examination, the Prospectus Defense (Graduate School “Preliminary Exam”), and the Dissertation and defense (Graduate School “Final Exam”).
A. PREREQUISITES
Entering students must have had courses in United States government, microeconomics, and introductory statistics. Students failing to meet this requirement must take these courses as soon as possible and must have completed them prior to enrolling in PAPA 6224. The U.S. government prerequisite may be satisfied by equivalent experience, training, or instruction. Equivalent experience is at least three years full-time work in local, state, or federal government in the U.S. This prerequisite also can be satisfied by completing the CLEP American Government exam with a score of 60 or higher. If this requirement has not been fulfilled upon entry into the program, it should be fulfilled in the first semester. Computer competency is also required.
B. COURSE PREPARATION FOR CORE AREAS
A minimum of 90 credit hours is needed for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. A maximum of one half of the coursework, or 30 of the 60 credit hours of coursework required for the CPAP Ph.D., may be transferred from an accredited university other than Virginia Tech upon approval by two core faculty evaluating the student’s plan of study. The 60 course work credits include 18 hours of foundation courses, 15 hours of advanced topics and capstone courses, 6 hours of measurement, 9 hours of electives, and 12 hours of research concentration. These courses must correspond to the requirements of the five curriculum core areas. Students must also take 30 hours of research and dissertation credit, three hours of which must be constituted by participation in 15 sessions of the Doctoral Mentoring Program (DMP) or other activities approved by the faculty for DMP credit.
1. Foundation Courses broadly survey sub-fields of public administration and public policy. These courses are offered by the Center but, as noted above, equivalent coursework at other universities on occasion may substitute for some of these courses, subject to faculty approval.
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At least 3 credit hours must be completed or transferred in at the foundation level in each core area except Policy, which requires 6 credit hours. Students complete at least 18 credit hours of foundation coursework in the core areas, at least 9 hours of Advanced Topics, and at least 6 hours of coursework in Measurement and Analysis Tools components. Students should complete foundation courses before enrolling in Advanced Topics classes. Before enrolling in the two-course sequence of Capstone Seminars, however, they must have completed all foundation courses and passed the qualifying examination.
2. Advanced Topics Courses examine specialized areas. These courses are designed to expose the student to an in-depth analysis of some specialized aspects of a core area of the Center’s curriculum.
3. Capstone Seminars provide the opportunity to develop ideas that may form the foundation for the dissertation. They represent the most advanced formal coursework at the Center. The seminars are to be taken in sequence: Capstone A followed by Capstone B. They need not be taken in contiguous semesters. Capstone A is a research seminar that offers students the opportunity to develop ideas for a paper that may support a dissertation topic. Capstone B is a writing-intensive seminar in which students refine rough drafts developed in Capstone A. The final paper for Capstone B should be of publishable quality in a refereed journal. Admission to the capstone seminar sequence is contingent upon successful completion of all foundation coursework and the qualifying examination.
C. RESEARCH METHODS
A basic knowledge of statistics and familiarity with computers is assumed upon admission. Students taking PAPA 6514, Public Administration and Policy Inquiry, or substitute research methods courses approved by the faculty, will be expected to use qualitative and quantitative inquiry and computing skills. If they have not already completed this coursework elsewhere, students are required to complete a graduate-level, intermediate statistics course, which covers techniques through multiple regression. Where appropriate, based on the student’s research interests and with the approval of the student’s adviser, coursework covering other techniques in advanced qualitative and quantitative analysis may be substituted for multiple regression, such as ethnographic field work, textual analysis, historical research, survey design, simulation, operations research, or mathematical programming. Students may enroll in these advanced courses prior to or while enrolled in either PAPA 6514 or PAPA 6224.
D. RESEARCH CONCENTRATION
1. Focused Study: Students complete nine credit hours of focused study consisting of either coursework, independent studies, internship, and/or field studies. Students complete this work during their CPAP doctoral studies and may not transfer work completed prior to their enrollment in the Ph.D. program. This work should permit the student to delve more deeply into a subject-matter field or an area of theory or research methodology. Faculty advisors will counsel students on the need to take additional credit study or noncredit training in data collection or analysis tools needed for their anticipated dissertation projects as part of the Research Concentration requirement.
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Students are encouraged to use the Research Concentration as an opportunity to begin work on the dissertation. For example, the nine credit hours may include special study in a potential dissertation research methodology, an independent study on a preliminary review of the literature base for the dissertation, some background coursework, or some form of applied field work. Students work with a member of the faculty to determine the activities for the nine credit hours. However, the Concentration also may be used to pursue field experiences or special study independent of the dissertation topic.
The Research Concentration may be completed before or after the qualifying exam. Students are encouraged to discuss with their advisors the appropriate time to complete the nine hours of research concentration work and the three credit concentration lecture.
2. Concentration Lecture: A lecture is prepared and presented by students after completing the nine credit hours of research concentration work. This lecture (three credit hours of PAPA 7964) integrates the Concentration work and must be presented before the faculty advisor and at least six other students or guests, including faculty. The lecture may focus on either the anticipated topic of the student’s dissertation or another major area of research concentration that the student expects to offer as part of his or her academic credentials upon completion of the Ph.D. degree. This lecture is given before the dissertation prospectus defense. Where appropriate, part of this lecture should lay out the student’s five-year plan of research for post-doctoral investigation. Students are responsible for assembling the audience for the lecture.
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E. THE Ph.D. CURRICULUM
Required Courses
CORE AREA
FOUNDATION COURSES
(18 HOURS)
ADVANCED TOPICS (AT) COURSES
(9 HOURS)
CAPSTONE SEMINARS*
(6 HOURS, taken after the qualifying examination)
*Capstones A & B
THEORY/ CONTEXT
PAPA 6014: Public Administration Theory and Context

ORGANIZATION
PAPA 6114: Complex Public Organizations
PAPA 6154: AT in Public Organizations
POLICY
PAPA 6214: Public Policy Processes
PAPA 6224: Public Policy Design
PAPA 6254: AT in Public Policy
–OR–
PAPA 6264: AT in Policy Systems Management
MANAGEMENT
PAPA 6344: Leadership and Management
in Public Administration
PAPA 6354: AT in Public Management
ETHICS
PAPA 6414: Normative Foundations of
Public Administration
PAPA 6454: AT in Ethics & the Public Sector
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Other elements:
MEASUREMENT & ANALYSIS TOOLS
(6 Credit Hours)
ELECTIVES
(9 Credit Hours)
QUALIFYING EXAMINATION
*(see Section F below)
RESEARCH CONCENTRATION
May be taken before or after the qualifying examination
(12 Credit Hours)
DISSERTATION HOURS
May be taken before or after the qualifying examination (30 Credit Hours)
PAPA 6514: Public Administration & Policy Inquiry or substitute (or PSCI 5115)
Intermediate/Advanced Statistics or other quantitative or qualitative skills
9 semester hours in any combination of advanced PAPA courses or courses in related disciplines.
Test in three (3) of the following core areas
 THEORY/CONTEXT
 ORGANIZATION
 POLICY
 MANAGEMENT
 ETHICS
9 semester hours coursework in dissertation research area. May include Independent Study (PAPA 5974) or Internship and/or Field Studies PLUS 3 hours of Concentration Lecture (PAPA 7964) prior to the prospectus defense
30 semester hours PAPA 7994, including 3 hours dedicated to professional development (Doctoral Mentoring Program). Dissertation credits may be taken throughout the student’s studies.
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F. QUALIFYING EXAMINATION
This examination tests the substantive knowledge, analytical ability, intellectual ability, and writing skills necessary for completing the Ph.D. in Public Administration and Public Affairs. For all Ph.D. students, the format of the exam will change effective Fall 2017.
The Qualifying Exam is designed to assess student mastery of the material covered in the six Foundation courses. Students are eligible to take the exam as soon as they have accumulated at least 21 credit hours of CPA-specific course work, which must include the 18 credit hours of foundation courses plus PAPA 6514 or its designated alternative. Students must take the exam no later than after the completion of 30 credit hours, which must include all required foundation courses plus PAPA 6514 or its designated alternative. The exam will be offered in the fall and spring semesters, and students may choose to register for the qualifying exam as soon as they meet the minimum credit hour and course threshold. The Virginia Tech Graduate Honor Code is in effect for all aspects of this examination.
Students select three of the five core areas – Complex Organizations, Ethics, Public Management, Theory and Context of Public Administration, and Public Policy – to be tested in. The qualifying examination has two parts – written and oral – but will be considered as a whole.
Written: Essay questions will be based solely on the content of the foundation coursework (that is, no specific themes and related departure readings will be circulated). The written exam will consist of one broad question for each foundation area. Students must demonstrate mastery of the foundational material by composing coherent essays responding to the questions presented in their three selected fields.
Mastery is defined according to the following criteria:
1. Completeness of response to the question
2. Accuracy of response to the question
3. Grounding in the relevant scholarship
4. Synthesis
5. Critical analysis
6. Writing quality
For each foundation area, the faculty will prepare a periodically updated list of relevant published scholarship, as well as providing students access to course syllabi (both past and present) to ensure that students have a rich and relatively standardized resource in each core area on which to draw to prepare for the exam.
Faculty will set a minimum level of competence (i.e., a passing grade) based on the above criteria. Students must pass all three essays in order to be considered ready to defend the essays in the oral portion of the exam. Students failing to reach this threshold must write new essays during the next scheduled qualifying exam period, but only for the foundation area(s) not meeting the threshold. Students may not change foundation areas between attempts to pass the written portion of the exam. Failure to successfully pass the written
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exam in all three areas after a second attempt at one or more essays will constitute a failure of the qualifying exam.
Oral: The oral defense will be used to confirm faculty assessments of the students’ essays. Each of the three essays will be considered in sequence, and students will be expected to sustain and defend their arguments in each essay in response to questions.
Students judged to have passed the written and oral portions of the exam will be considered “qualified” to complete the remaining required coursework in the Ph.D. program. Students successfully completing this coursework may move on to the dissertation milestones, including the concentration lecture, prospectus defense, dissertation, and dissertation defense. Any student whose oral qualifying exam defense is considered unsatisfactory will be given one opportunity to complete an alternative project in order to pass the qualifying exam. Failure to successfully complete this project will constitute failure of the qualifying exam. All students will receive written feedback on their performance in the exam after each cycle in which they participate.
Overview of Qualifying Exam Process:
1. Students will complete foundation courses in all five core areas, and select three of the five core areas to be tested in the written and oral portions of the examination.
2. The examination will be offered twice a year in the fall and spring semesters. The written portion of the exam will consist of three take home essays (see below) and students will have 8 hours to complete each one. The essays will be written on a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday schedule with one day scheduled for each core area. The written portion of the examination will be scheduled approximately within the first three weeks of the semester followed by the oral component of the examination approximately two weeks after the last written one. The oral portion of the exam will be scheduled within the first five weeks of the fall and spring semesters.
3. Students wishing to take the examination must fill out the top portion of the CPAP form “Request to Admit Candidate to Qualifying Examination,” have it signed by their committee chair, and submit it to the CPAP office in Blacksburg or the National Capital Region no later than one month before the first day of the written portion of the examination.
4. Prior to the administration of the written examination, each core area committee will develop one question in their respective area. Students will be presented with this question on the day that each respective written exam is administered.
5. On each of the written exam days, a student will have an 8-hour period (8:00am to 5:00pm, with an hour allowed for lunch) in which to respond to the question in an essay no more than ten pages in length, double-spaced.
.
6. In the two weeks following the administration of the last core area written examination, a
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six-member examining committee (two readers from each chosen core area) will read and assess the student’s essays in preparation for the oral portion of the exam. At the same time, the student will be given an electronic copy of her/his three essays so s/he may prepare for the oral exam.
7. Each student will have an oral exam committee consisting of the six readers of their written essays. The committee will ask questions that build from the questions the student answered in the written portion of the exam. The oral portion of the exam will last for approximately an hour. Following the exam the committee will discuss the student’s performance on both the written and oral portions of the examination and decide whether the student has earned a grade of pass or fail.
8. For students who fail the examination, the examining committee will determine the appropriate form of a re-take during the next scheduled examination period. In most instances this likely will involve a decision on whether a student should re-take one, two, or three of the examination core areas. Failure to start and complete the required re-take by the next scheduled examination will constitute a second failure of the examination. For students who retake the exam and fail the second time, the entire faculty will meet as a committee of the whole to assess the student’s entire performance to date and decide if the student should be allowed to continue to the dissertation.
G. DISSERTATION
Ph.D. candidates must write a dissertation. The dissertation is expected to make an original contribution to knowledge of the field. The student is eligible to receive the Ph.D. degree upon the successful defense of the dissertation. As a result of their course work and advising, students should have identified and discussed a dissertation advisory relationship with an appropriate faculty member by the time they begin the Capstone seminars.
1. Dissertation Committee: After the student completes the Qualifying Examination and before they begin Capstone A, he or she formally establishes a dissertation committee. The first step in this process is to ask a member of the Center’s core faculty to chair this committee. The faculty member who agrees to chair the dissertation committee will then become the student’s formal advisor. The next step is to constitute the dissertation committee, which consists of at least four members including the chair.
2. Criteria for Committee: Ordinarily, a dissertation committee is comprised of four members, at least three of whom shall be members of the CPAP core faculty. The chair (or co-chair) must be a member of the core faculty (see Section III. A. below). A fourth or fifth committee member, if not a member of the Virginia Tech full-time faculty, must be approved by the committee chair and by the Graduate School. Dissertation committees are subject to the approval of the Graduate School. Graduate School regulations require that persons other than Virginia Tech faculty members comprise no more than one-third of a dissertation committee’s membership. Therefore, if two members from other institutions serve on a dissertation committee, a fifth member must be added from the Virginia Tech faculty. Under no circumstances may more than two
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colleagues from other universities serve on a dissertation committee.
3. The Prospectus and Prospectus Defense (“Preliminary Examination”): After establishing the committee of a minimum of four members, the student writes the Dissertation Prospectus under the guidance of his or her committee chair. This document essentially is a research design setting forth the program of research that the student proposes to follow in writing his or her dissertation. The prospectus should address the topic or question to be assayed in the planned dissertation; the scholarly and public affairs significance of the proposed research; the present state of knowledge on the topic or question, and the sources that will shape the work; the research design (including the research strategy, methodology, and methods) to be employed; an outline of proposed chapters; and a timeline for completing the work.
When the student and the chair agree that the prospectus is ready, arrangements will be made for the student to defend it before the dissertation committee. Students must complete the “Request to Admit Candidate to Preliminary Examination” form (available from the Graduate School website under Academics/Forms) and have it approved by their advisory committee and committee chair and the Graduate School. When the prospectus has been successfully defended, the student will proceed to write the dissertation itself.
4. Dissertation Defense (“Final Examination”): The defense of the dissertation is the final requirement. No student may advance to the Dissertation Defense until all other requirements have been completed successfully and until the chair and at least two out of three or three out of four of five other members of the dissertation committee agree that the dissertation is ready to be defended. The dissertation defense focuses on the dissertation research project but is not limited to it. Candidates are expected to answer questions about the theoretical, methodological, and practical implications of the dissertation and its contribution to new knowledge in the field.
The dissertation defense must be scheduled no sooner than six weeks after a draft, approved by the chair, has been distributed to the members of the committee. Students must complete the “Request to Admit Candidate to Final Exam” form (available from the Graduate School website under Academics/Forms) and have it approved by their advisory committee and committee chair and the Graduate School. Members of the dissertation committee must be present for the defense.
H. ADVISEMENT
The advising process constitutes a crucial dimension of the graduate experience. The advisement systems may vary somewhat between CPAP’s locations.
1. General Information about Advising: The general orientation of the advising activities at both locations is directed not only toward counseling students on the choice of course work, but also toward helping them develop a clear sense of intellectual direction and a framework for thinking about their dissertation projects. The systems at the two locations
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vary only in order to meet the distinctive requirements of the type of student community that exists at each location.
2. Assignment of Advisors: The CPAP chair or associate chair will assign a member of the core faculty to each student upon his or her arrival on campus. Students who know one or more members of the core faculty may request their advisors by name before arriving, a request that the CPAP chair and/or associate chair will try to accommodate insofar as the equitable distribution of advising duties will permit.
Students may change their advisors at any time with the approval of the CPAP chair and the consent of the new advisors. After a dissertation chair has been selected, however, this option should be exercised prudently and then in accordance with Graduate School procedures. The student may also request a change in the membership of the dissertation committee, subject to the approval of the committee chair and the CPAP chair and in accordance with Graduate School procedures. This option should be exercised with increasing caution as work on the dissertation progresses.
3. Transfer of Credit and Plan of Study Development: An advising session concerning transfer credit and program of study development is offered at least once a year, usually at the beginning of the fall term. Entering students should attend the first session offered after they have entered the Ph.D. program. Students meet with teams of at least two members of the core faculty assigned by the CPAP chair to review the student’s previous graduate work in order to determine which courses match the CPAP curriculum sufficiently to merit transfer credit, to identify the remaining courses that the student must take, and to fill out the original plan of study form.
Once formal decisions have been made by the faculty at each location concerning transfer credits, the faculty will sign the Plan of Study form and submit a copy to their respective office managers who will submit the information electronically to the Graduate School and place a copy of the form into the student’s file. The Plan of Study will appear in the student’s electronic Graduate School records, along with their transcripts and other information. This document should be looked upon as though it were a contract specifying the requirements the student must meet as he or she moves through the program.
Later adjustments to the Plan of Study are made following consultation between the student and his or her faculty advisor. Before completing 24 hours of course work, the student should schedule a Plan of Study or “milestone” session with his or her advisor and a second faculty member selected by the student and advisor. At this session, the student’s Plan of Study will be reviewed and, if approved, will be forwarded to the CPAP chair or associate chair and the Graduate School. In implementing their Plans of Study, students must contact their advisors during their course work to review course options.
4. Doctoral Mentoring Program: The goal of the Doctoral Mentoring Program (DMP) is to maximize the student learning experience by developing academic-collegial relationships within the CPAP community, and to assist in professional socialization and development.
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The DMP satisfies 3 of the 30 credit hours of PAPA 7994, Research and Dissertation, required for the Ph.D. degree program. Attendance is required at a minimum of 15 DMP meetings in order to complete the DMP requirement and enroll in the special section of PAPA 7994 where DMP credit is given. New students in the doctoral program are assigned to mentoring groups in either Blacksburg or the National Capital Region (Alexandria) upon entry.
Mentoring groups meet at least three times in each fall and spring semester for a total of six regular meetings per academic year in each program location. As implied above, participation in the mentoring groups carries the same status as participation in an academic course, and course credit is allocated to students upon completion of the mentoring program. Mentoring groups meet both as a general community and in individual sessions with their colleagues and their faculty advisor. The topical agenda of the community and group sessions covers all aspects of the CPAP program, questions about individual programs of study, individual research interests, and broader topics having to do with intellectual and academic life both during the graduate school experience and afterwards in the career stage.
In some instances, such as when students begin taking courses while they are pursuing admission to the program, it may happen that a student will not be eligible to be assigned formally to a Mentoring Group or to attend an advising session for two or even three semesters. In these cases, the faculty member currently serving as Manager of the Mentoring Program will also act as the student’s individual faculty advisor. Such students are welcome to attend the DMP as guests. Should they later be admitted to the program, they will then receive DMP credit for their attendance.
I. THE RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT
As specified in the Policies of the Virginia Tech Graduate School, students may fulfill their doctoral residency requirement through two consecutive semesters of full-time enrollment. Students may also fulfill the residency requirement on the Blacksburg campus or in the National Capital via the following alternative plan, which has two components:
1. Doctoral Mentoring Program: Participation through the completion of the Mentoring Program as described in Section H.4 above.
2. Residency Capstone Seminar Sequence (Capstones A and B)
This is a special two-semester seminar sequence focused on the research and conceptual development of an academic paper, and the revision and continued development of the paper. The focus of the first seminar (Capstone A) is an advanced research topic demanding that students engage in intensive and original thought and analysis. Special colloquia and lecture presentations by various resource persons that follow the formal classroom sessions are also included in this program, and students are expected to attend and participate in them. During the second seminar in the sequence (Capstone B), students extensively critique and revise their manuscript from the first seminar, examine
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early research and developed research, learn about the publishing process, and present their work at the spring High Table conference. The final capstone requirement is to submit the manuscript for review to a journal.
University residency requirements require that National Capital Region students spend some time on the Blacksburg campus. Students enrolled in capstone seminars spend several days on the Blacksburg campus in the fall semester and in the spring semester during CPAP’s annual High Table conference.
J. PROGRAM WAIVERS
A request for a waiver of any CPAP policy should be initially discussed by the student and his/her advisor. The request should then be presented to the CPAP chair. He or she shall use discretion to decide which, if any, of the CPAP policy making bodies should hear and decide the request. In all cases, strong and compelling evidence of both the necessity for the individual and minimal impact on the department must be presented.
K. GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES
1. The Program and Appeals Procedures at the Program and School Levels
The Center for Public Administration and Policy follows the procedures for grievance as accepted by the Graduate School. Whenever a graduate student believes that any work has been improperly evaluated, or believes that there has been unfair treatment, it is expected that the student will follow the procedures below in a timely fashion.
The student should take up the questions directly with the faculty member involved. This may be the committee chair, another faculty member, or an instructor responsible for a course.
a. If the matter is not reconciled, the graduate student will be expected to appeal the question to the CPAP chair.
b. If the matter cannot be resolved there, then the chair takes the question to the CPAP core faculty. If the CPAP chair is a party to the grievance, the Director of the School for Public and International Affairs (SPIA) will assume this responsibility.
c. If the matter is still unresolved, the Director of the School of Public and International Affairs, in consultation with the SPIA Executive Committee and the Dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies as appropriate, shall take all reasonable and proper actions to resolve the question at the departmental level. The student shall be informed in writing of the results no later than one month after the appeal to the Director of the School of Public and International Affairs.
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2. The University Appeals Procedure
If the aggrieved student believes that their rights were abridged at the program and school levels, the student may file a request for review with the Dean of the Graduate School. A full description of these procedures is found in the Graduate School Policies and Procedures.
III. GENERAL INFORMATION
A. CORE FACULTY
The term “core faculty” as used in this document includes the following: Professors Cook, Dull, Eckerd, Hult, Jensen, Jordan, Khademian, Lemaire, Rees, Roberts, and Sterett, and Professors Emeriti/ae Dudley, Goodsell, Kronenberg, Wamsley, White, and Wolf.
B. NORMS FOR COURSE GRADING
As a policy, the classroom faculty members are responsible for assigning the grades that they deem appropriate. Faculty should make standards for grading known to students at the beginning of each semester. The CPAP faculty agrees that grades should provide an opportunity to provide feedback on various dimensions of performance in courses.
C. STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES AND GRADES
All students are expected to assume full responsibility for knowledge of all regulations pertinent to the procedures of the Graduate School as set forth in Graduate School Policies, available on-line at (http://graduateschool.vt.edu/graduate_catalog/policies.htm?policy=002d14432c654287012c6542e38200a) and any other regulations and procedures published by the Graduate School and the Center for Public Administration and Policy.
In scheduling their preliminary exams (prospectus defense) and final exams (dissertation defense), Ph. D. students are expected to adhere strictly to Graduate School deadlines and are responsible for confirming those deadlines as announced by the Graduate School for a given semester. Exceptions to those deadlines will be considered only under very unusual circumstances, and must be approved by both the student’s committee chair and the CPAP chair. Concentration lectures must be scheduled before December 1 for the fall semester and before May 1 for the spring semester. No concentration lecture can be scheduled during summer sessions.
The Center abides by the rules and procedures of the Virginia Tech Graduate Honor System, which may be found on-line at: http://ghs.graduateschool.vt.edu .
Letter grades A through F are given for all regular courses. No grades are given for research and thesis/dissertation hours; however, thesis and dissertation hours are assigned appropriate equivalent credit hours for the purpose of registration and payment of fees.
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Students must be registered to take examinations and defend theses and dissertations.
Students must maintain an overall grade point average (GPA) of at least “B” (3.00). The Graduate School automatically places students whose GPA falls below 3.00 on academic probation. They will have one regular semester to return the GPA to 3.00 or better or face recommended dismissal. All courses taken at Virginia Tech that are listed on the approved program of study must be completed with a grade of “C” or better. Transferred courses will count only as credit hours and will not be used in computing the grade index; the grade transferred, however, must be a “B” or better.
Incompletes remains “I’s” until students complete the work; however, they may not graduate until all incompletes are removed from courses on the official Plan of Study. Most incompletes should be finished within one semester. Grades of “NR” and “NG” count in the GPA calculation, so students should monitor their transcripts regularly for grades that may not have been recorded.
D. COMMITTEE PARTICIPATION AND MONITORING
Procedures Used in Monitoring Advisory Committee Assignment Criteria: At the time graduate student dissertation committees are established, the above criteria are considered by the CPAP chair and by the student’s committee chair. The CPAP faculty or specific Graduate degree committees that may be established offer supervision of the process and must review exceptions to the criteria.
Expectations for Faculty Participation on Student Committees: It is the expectation that all faculty serving on advisory, thesis, and dissertation committees will actively participate in the academic advisement of students in the direction of their research programs. Participation on student committees should be limited in number to ensure that the faculty member is able to fulfill the responsibilities of committee membership. Evaluation of the performance of faculty in this important capacity is the joint responsibility of the CPAP chair and appropriate chairs of graduate degree committees that may be established.
E. CURRENCY OF POLICY GUIDELINES
Twice a year the faculty meets to discuss policy issues and often changes to the Policy Guide become necessary. The CPAP Policy Guide will be revised appropriately.
IV. GRADUATE CERTICATES
SPIA and other University programs offer graduate certificates of possible interest to CPAP students. (See http://graduateschool.vt.edu/graduate_catalog/certificates.htm.) Two certificates – Homeland Security Policy and Local Government Management – are lodged in CPAP. MPA students may use certificate courses to fulfill elective requirements; one of the local government certificate courses may substitute for one of the required courses (either PAPA 6314 or PAPA 6324).
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A. Homeland Security Policy
The graduate certificate in homeland security policy (12 credits) focuses on domestic security and emergency management issues. The certificate can serve either as a stand-alone credential of advanced educational achievement for non-degree students or as a supplement to a master’s or a doctoral degree. Taking four homeland security courses will introduce students to the complexity of the homeland security environment, from analyzing the terrorist threat, to considering questions of hazard mitigation, preparedness, and resilience, to investigating response and recovery strategies.
The certificate is comprised of four courses (12 hours of graduate coursework). The core courses focus on 1) threat (PAPA 5254 Homeland Security and the Terrorist Threat), 2) prevention (PAPA 6264 Advanced Topics in Policy: Homeland Security and Prevention 3) response and recovery (PAPA 5354 Homeland Security Response and Recovery). A fourth course is selected from specified electives.
MPA students may use the certificate as their concentration and reflect upon the certificate and homeland security issues in their portfolio or internship. Ph.D. students may use the certificate as a foundation for dissertation research in homeland security policy and management.
B. Local Government Management
The graduate certificate in local government management (12 credits) is a set of master’s level courses designed to prepare the next generation of U.S. local government leaders including county and city managers. The certificate provides a thorough understanding of the operations of U.S. local government and the political and administrative contexts of working with elected officials, citizens, and other stakeholders. The courses are taught by current or former practitioners in Virginia local government and are available through at 12 sites throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia or at the Fairfax County Government Center. Master of Public Administration students can use the certificate courses to satisfy the 9 elective hours, and they can elect to substitute one course for either PAPA6314 (Public Budgeting Processes) or PAPA6324 (Public Personnel). (See the table below for the courses in the certificate.) An on-line version of the certificate examines local governments throughout the United States; students need permission from the program director to enroll in these on-line classes.
C. Homeland Security Policy
The graduate certificate in homeland security policy (12 credits) focuses on domestic security and emergency management issues. The certificate can serve either as a stand-alone credential of advanced educational achievement for non-degree students or as a supplement to a master’s or a doctoral degree. Taking four homeland security courses will introduce students to the complexity of the homeland security environment, from analyzing the terrorist threat, to considering questions of hazard mitigation, preparedness, and resilience, to investigating response and recovery strategies.
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The certificate is comprised of four courses (12 hours of graduate coursework). The core courses focus on 1) threat (PAPA 5254 Homeland Security and the Terrorist Threat), 2) prevention (PAPA 6264 Advanced Topics in Policy: Homeland Security and Prevention 3) response and recovery (PAPA 5354 Homeland Security Response and Recovery). A fourth course is selected from specified electives.
MPA students may use the certificate as their concentration and reflect upon the certificate and homeland security issues in their portfolio or internship. Ph.D. students may use the certificate as a foundation for dissertation research in homeland security policy and management.
D. Local Government Management
The graduate certificate in local government management (12 credits) is a set of master’s level courses designed to prepare the next generation of U.S. local government leaders including county and city managers. The certificate provides a thorough understanding of the operations of U.S. local government and the political and administrative contexts of working with elected officials, citizens, and other stakeholders. The courses are taught by current or former practitioners in Virginia local government and are available at multiple sites throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia or at the Fairfax County Government Center. Master of Public Administration students can use the certificate courses to satisfy the 9 elective hours, and they can elect to substitute PAPA 6354 (Human Resources, Financial and Performance Management for Local Government Managers) for either PAPA 6314 (Public Budgeting Processes) or PAPA 6324 (Public Personnel). See the table below for the courses in the certificate. An on-line version of the certificate examines local governments throughout the United States; students need permission from the program director to enroll in these on-line classes.
PAPA 5044
Local Government and the Professional Manager
PAPA 5784
Local Economic Development Planning
PAPA 6354
Human Resources, Financial and Performance Management for Local Government Managers
PAPA 6154
The Context of Local Government Management and Service Delivery

Academic Resources on Developing and Delivering Effective Presentations

Here is a compilation of Virginia Tech and online resources that can provide you with some tips on giving great presentations.

RESOURCES THROUGH VIRGINIA TECH CAMPUS

The Comm Lab located in the Newman Library at Virginia Tech/ Blacksburg Campus

The mission of the organization is to provide Virginia Tech students and faculty members with access to constructive feedback and practical resources for improving oral presentations.  Students can gain valuable presentation-related insight and develop the necessary toolsets to become successful speakers.  The Comm Lab may be available for off-campus students through google hangouts.  Please inquire with the staff for their availability.  Students have to make appointments online, which is the best way to set up appointments.  The coaches are considered experts in public speaking. They will go through your Powerpoint presentation with you to make sure that you are meeting the professor’s objectives in your presentation.

Online Learning and Collaboration Services (Lynda.com; Software Tutorial and Training)

Lynda.com is your one stop shop for online tutorials and training in a variety of software suites and programs. Access is free to current Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff. Once you are at the website, sign in via your PID to access the materials.  After you have entered the site, type in the skills you would like to learn (e.g. giving great presentations)

ONLINE RESOURCES

Improving Presentation Skills of PhD Students (By Susanne Ulm, Next Scientist)

Presentation Skills (Joel Bowman, Ph.D., West Michigan University)

Preparing an Oral Presentation (By Jeff Radel, Ph.D.,  University of Kansas Medical Center)

Ten Simple Rules for Making Good Oral Presentations (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

Oral Presentation and PowerPoint (compiled by Joe Schall, Penn State)

Adapted from Style for Students (https://www.e-education.psu.edu/styleforstudents) by Joe Schall is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) via The Pennsylvania State University.

Why Bad Presentation Happen to Good Causes (Online Book by Andy Goodman)

YOU TUBE VIDEO RESOURCES

Public Speaking and Giving Presentation (By Scott Berkun, Author of the “Confessions of a Public Speaker”)

POWERPOINT SLIDES/RESOURCES

Giving Effective Presentations (By Lisa G. Bullard, Ph.D., North Carolina State University)

Presentation 101 for Graduate Students (By J. Paul Robinson, Ph.D., Purdue University)

Academic Resources on Writing

Here is a compilation of writing resources from Virginia Tech and other sources.

RESOURCES THROUGH VIRGINIA TECH CAMPUS

Writing Resources

For Individual Help

The Virginia Tech Writing Center:

http://www.composition.english.vt.edu/writing-center/

This is a free service to all Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff, at all levels. Appointments are made online.  This service is done in-person and through google hangout for off-campus students.  They will work with writing and reading assignments from any course in the University. They can also help with writing projects not linked to classes.

GSA Research Symposium & Exposition

https://blogs.lt.vt.edu/gsars/abstract-submissions/writing-resources/

General Information

University Style Guide:

http://www.branding.unirel.vt.edu/style-guide/

Academic Writing Guide:

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/1/2/ 

Ethical Writing Guide:

http://www.lib.vt.edu/instruct/plagiarism/

Find/Citation and Style Manuals

http://www.lib.vt.edu/find/citation/index.html

On Professional/Academic Writing and Presenting

Resources for Technical and Grant Writing:

http://www.research.vt.edu/proposal-development-resources/resources/technical-and-grant-writing/index.php

Guidelines for scientific writing & presenting:

http://www.writing.engr.psu.edu/

How to write a good abstract:

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2011/06/20/essential-guide-writing-good-abstracts/

How to write a good introduction:

http://www.jclinepi.com/article/S0895-4356(13)00020-6/pdf

On Writing Well

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E. B. White

The Elements of Grammar by Margaret Shertzer

Style: Toward Clarity and Grace by Joseph M. Williams

Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre by Keith Johnstone

Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art by Stephen Nachmanovitch

Improvisation for the Theatre by Viola Spolin[/su_spoiler]][/su_accordion][/

FACULTY

Courses are broadcast to the Virginia Tech Commonwealth Campus Centers in Abingdon, Alexandria, Blacksburg, Charlottesville, Danville, Fairfax, Falls Church, Lynchburg, Richmond, Roanoke, and Virginia Beach. Students at remote sites participate via two-way videoconferencing. This approach allows the class to be taught around the state simultaneously giving more students the opportunity to participate in the program.

Virginia Tech Southwest Center
P.O. Box 1987 – One Partnership Circle
Abingdon, VA 24210
Classroom: Room 143
Virginia Tech: SPIA Alexandria Campus
1021 Prince Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Virginia Tech, Blacksburg
104 Draper Rd
Blacksburg, VA 24060
Classroom: varies
Charlottesville City Hall, City Hall Annex
Neighborhood Development Services
Room 405
603 East Market St (605 East Market St – Main Entrance)
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Institute for Advanced Learning and Research
150 Slayton Ave
Danville, VA 24540
Fairfax County Government Center
12000 Government Center
Fairfax, VA 22035
Virginia Tech, Northern Virginia Center
7054 Haycock Road
Falls Church, VA 22043
Classroom: 103
Central Virginia Community College
3506 Wards Rd
Lynchburg, VA 24502
Virginia Tech Richmond Center
2810 Parham Road, Suitye 300
Richmond, VA 23294
Classroom: 309
Virginia Tech Roanoke Center
Roanoke Higher Education Center – Suite 701
108 North Jefferson Street
Roanoke, VA 24016
Classroom: 710
Virginia Tech Hampton Roads Center
1444 Diamond Springs Road
Virginia Beach, Virginia U.S.A 23455
Classroom: 201

Application Deadlines for All Campuses

CPAP-SPECIFIC DEADLINES
For Fall admission, the deadline is May 1st.
For Spring Admission the deadline is November 1st.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT DEADLINES
For Fall admission, the deadline is April 1st.
For Spring admission, the deadline is September 1st.

Tuition & Fees

The Bursar’s Office maintains complete information about Virginia Tech tuition and fees for in-state and out-of-state residents.

Financial Aid

For all other information about admissions and financial aid, please visit the graduate school admissions website.

Apply Online

Application and Fee. File an application with the graduate school online here and pay the nonrefundable application fee, which is currently $75.

Want more help with filing the application? See the graduate school’s help page.

Transcripts. Have two official copies of undergraduate and/or graduate study transcripts sent directly to the graduate school from universities and colleges previously attended. VT applicants an simply request from the registrar.

Personal Statement of Purpose. As part of the online application process, provide a personal statement in which you (a) describe previous employment experiences and (b) discuss thoughtfully your future career plans. The statement should express how the Center’s curriculum for which you are applying will assist you in achieving your future career goals.

Resume. As part of the online application process, provide a professional resume.

Test Scores. Applicants for the Ph.D. program must provide scores on a recognized aptitude test. The educational testing service will send the scores directly to the graduate school, upon request. The aptitude test scores are optional for MPA applicants. International students may be required to take TOEFL.

Letters of Recommendation/Reference Forms. As part of the online application, all applicants should arrange for submission of three (3) persons to provide a letters of recommendation. Once submitted, each reference is sent an electronic form to complete. Preferably the applicant’s references should include a mix of former professors and others who know the applicant professionally, such as employment supervisors or others who have had an opportunity to observe the applicant in a professional capacity. It is especially important that applicants to the Ph.D. program provide at least two letters or forms from former college or university teachers.

Paper Application

Paper Applications. If you are unable or choose not to apply online, you may download the application form for US and Permanent Resident Students or for International Students.

Submission. ALL PAPER APPLICANTS, including Northern Virginia and Richmond campuses, please send application materials including: application and fee, personal statement of purpose, resume, and letters of recommendation/reference forms directly to the Graduate School. Transcripts and test scores should be sent from the issuing authority to the same address.

Virginia Tech Graduate School (0325)
Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061

To confirm that your application materials are complete please contact:

Center for Public Administration and Policy
Phone: (540) 231-5133
Email: cpap@vt.edu

CPAP POLICY GUIDE


Download the Policy Guide

CPAP GRADUATE CERTIFICATE IN PUBLIC AND NON-PROFIT FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT


This certificate program is designed to develop students’ understanding of the concepts and practice of financial management in government, university, and complex non-profit organizations. The certificate integrates financial management perspectives from the Federal, State, Local and Nonprofit and Nongovernmental Organizations while synthesizing the concept of financial resiliency for organizations.

As organizations in the public service continue to face financial difficulty, financial mastery can no longer simply be the sole purview of accountants and other specially trained individuals. In the new public service landscape, financial competency is a must for all employees, and financial mastery is increasingly a pre-requisite for high level positions in public service organizations. Available throughout the Commonwealth through virtual classroom technology, the Public and Non-Profit Financial Management certificate is designed for full-time students as well as part-time and working professional students. This shared format allows for a productive mix of viewpoints and experience levels, which enhances learning for all students. Students earning this certificate are prepared for a public service labor market that will demand financial literacy, whether they’re a pre-career student seeking their first job or a working professional looking to broaden their horizons and seeking opportunities for advancement.

The certificate program consists of five 3-credit hour courses, of which students must complete four (4), for a total of twelve (12) hours of graduate coursework. Students are required to complete four courses with a GPA of 3.0 or better in order to earn the certificate. Students are exposed to a full spectrum of financial management issues through both theoretical instruction and case studies. Classroom discussion and both group and individual assignments simulate real work scenarios and prepare students for real life application. All courses are taught by experienced, highly qualified Virginia practitioners via two-way video telecasts to Virginia Tech broadcast centers, allowing the class to be taught around the state simultaneously giving more students the opportunity to participate in the program. The Virginia Tech broadcast centers are located in key parts of the Commonwealth including Abingdon, Alexandria, Blacksburg, Charlottesville, Danville, Fairfax, Falls Church, Lynchburg, Richmond, Roanoke, and Virginia Beach.

Current students include both in-career professionals and pre-career students enrolled in the Center for Public Administration and Policy MPA degree program. This mix of students provides both a lively education environment and significant networking opportunities both inside and outside class.
Non-degree candidates may apply for admission to the certificate program using the Virginia Tech Graduate School’s online application system found under “Admissions” at http://graduateschool.vt.edu/applying.

Interested students must submit an official copy of their college transcript or diploma documenting receipt of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university with an acceptable grade point average mailed to the Virginia Tech Graduate School as part of the application process. Please contact us for specific instructions on applying online.

Application deadlines are as follows:

Fall: August 1st
Spring: January 1st
Summer: May 1st

Students who complete the graduate certificate are encouraged to continue their studies on their own in a master’s program at Virginia Tech. The credits earned as part of this certificate may be applied to the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree. CPAP offers the MPA Program in Blacksburg, Alexandria, and Richmond, Virginia. Students who successfully complete all four courses in the Certificate program with a B average or better are not required to submit entrance test scores such as the GRE when applying for degree status to CPAP.

The University Bursar is responsible for all tuition, fees, and student accounts. Their website contains extensive details on topics such as tuition and fees, deadlines, payment instructions, refunds, penalties, tax information, and more. Tuition is applied at the time a student if officially registered in a course. Regardless of attendance or performance, students are responsible for tuition payment unless a formal request is made to be withdrawn and proper paperwork is submitted and approved. Tuition refunds follow a sliding scale.

Payment – Application fees (non-refundable) must be made before applications are processed. Graduate students may pay online by credit card or check. Students in courses awarding university credit will receive a bill via e-mail from the University Bursar for tuition and fees. Payments can be made by check, by money order, or online by credit card.

Virginia Residency – To qualify for Virginia Resident rates, students must meet a set of residency requirements and provide relevant documentation. All others pay non-Virginia resident tuition.

For More Information, Please Contact:

Stephanie Dean Davis
Phone: 804-980-5549
sddavis@vt.edu

Thinking about graduate study in public administration and policy? We hold information sessions in person in Alexandria. For information session questions, email SPIAAlexandria@vt.edu or call 703-706-8111.

CERTIFICATE STRUCTURE & CURRICULUM


The courses comprising the graduate certificate were designed to provide a challenging, master’s level, “real world”-based educational opportunity in organizational financial management and public policy. The courses engage faculty, practitioners, and graduate students in systematic research and study designed to improve the quality of financial management, policy making, and public service. All students must complete SPIA 5024 and at least three of the other four courses listed below for a total of 12 hours of graduate coursework. Students are required to complete four courses with a GPA of 3.0 or better in order to earn the certificate.

Concepts, tools and techniques, analytical capacities necessary to evaluate financial condition and the overall financial health of governmental and nonprofit organizations. Resiliency and the impact of policy on the organization.
Role of finance in the management of complex public, nonprofit, and nongovernmental organizations. Functions of financial management, including planning and budgeting, reporting, resource acquisition, and internal controls in the nonprofit context.
Provides an understanding of asset management for governmental and nonprofit/nongovernmental entities. Focuses on the essentials of cash
budgeting and cash management, investment of endowments and pension funds, and debt management and debt financing for governmental and nonprofit/nongovernmental organizations.
Fundamental concepts and tools of public and nonprofit financial management. Organization, administration, leadership and ethics. Budgeting, accounting, cash management, auditing and internal controls. Capital and debt financial management. Financial resiliency and financial condition analysis.
Surveys the public budgeting processes of public organizations. The contrasting norms and behaviors of participants, their impacts on policy, and their implications for democracy are examined. Processes studied include the work of budgeteers, decision making processes, control and financial accounting, and intergovernmental interaction.

RANKING & ACCREDITATION

A Highly Ranked Program

Best Grad Schools Rating US News and World Report
The Center for Public Administration and Policy is nationally ranked in the top 25 schools for public management / administration by U.S. News & World Report, out of nearly 300 schools.

Virginia Tech has also been ranked 15th in the 2015 Best Value Schools ranking of the 50 most innovative public service schools in the United States.

According to the survey, the rankings were based on U.S. News ranking for public affairs for:

  • number of degree programs
  • student-to-faculty ratio
  • strength of internship programs
  • QS Top Universities innovation ranking and
  • a ranking of innovative features.

NASPAA logo

This degree has undertaken a rigorous process of peer review conducted by the Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA).

Download the Policy Guide

POLICY GUIDE
THE MASTER OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION PROGRAM
REQUIREMENTS

PORTFOLIO REQUIREMENT

D. CRITERIA FOR CHAIR AND MEMBERS OF THE MPA COMMITTEES

All MPA committee members are appointed by the Graduate School upon the recommendation of the CPAP chair. For each student’s committee, the committee chair (or co-chair) must be a member of the CPAP core faculty, and the committee must include three faculty members total, with a majority consisting of CPAP core faculty. CPAP faculty emeriti/ae, faculty from other departments, and adjunct faculty may serve on a student’s committee with approval of the CPAP chair. Appropriate non-faculty personnel may be recommended to the Dean of the Graduate School for inclusion on an MPA committee. Graduate students may not serve on an MPA committee. The full committee must be present for the portfolio meeting, and members must contribute to determining whether the student’s portfolio is a Fail, Pass, or Pass with Distinction.

THE M.P.A. CURRICULUM (39 Credit Hours)
Required Courses — 27 Credit Hours

PUBLIC MANAGEMENT
PAPA 5315: Behavioral Skills for Managers
PAPA 5316: Systems Skills For Managers
PAPA 6314: Public Budgeting Processes and Their Policy Implications*
PAPA 6324: Public Personnel Processes and Their Policy Implications*

PUBLIC POLICY
PAPA 6214: Public Policy Processes and Analytical Approaches
PAPA 6224: Design, Implementation and Evaluation of Policy and Programs (prerequisites: a statistics course and PAPA 6514)

PUBLIC SERVICE
PAPA 5014: Concepts and Approaches in Public Administration
PAPA 6414: Normative Foundations of Public Administration

METHODS AND ANALYSIS
PAPA 6514: Public Administration and Policy Inquiry (prerequisite: a statistics course)
*PAPA 6354 may be substituted for one of these classes, when taken as part of the Local Government Management certificate.
Electives (9 credits), Internship, and Portfolio Requirement (3 Credits)
Elective Courses
Internship
Portfolio
Three courses (9 credit hours) composed of other CPAP courses or courses in other departments. Options should be related to public affairs and be discussed with faculty advisors. For pre- and early career students, internship credit (PAPA 5954) may be used for 3 of these hours.
To be completed by pre- and early career students as defined in Section I.B. above. Internships may be for credit or not for credit.
Student are required to take 3 credit hours of PAPA 5904, Project and Report [portfolio preparation and defense].

II. THE DOCTORAL PROGRAM: Ph.D. IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is academia’s highest degree and prepares one for research and scholarship, whether or not in affiliation with a university. The Center offers this degree for both full-time and part-time students. Many of these students are mid-career professionals who have reached a point in their professional development where they can commit the time and energy necessary to earn the Ph.D. degree. Qualified individuals just beginning their careers are also welcome. A master’s degree in a relevant field (not necessarily public administration or public policy) ordinarily is required for admission, but this requirement can be waived in exceptional cases. Those earning the CPAP MPA degree may apply for admission to the Ph.D. program as the end of the MPA work draws near.
All Ph.D. students take foundation courses in five core areas: policy, organizations, management, ethics, and theory/context. Advanced Topic courses examine topics in the core areas at a deeper level, and the two capstone seminars are a gateway to advanced research and preparation for the dissertation. Other components of the program include Measurement and Analysis Tools, Concentration Courses, the Qualifying Examination, the Prospectus Defense (Graduate School “Preliminary Exam”), and the Dissertation and defense (Graduate School “Final Exam”).
A. PREREQUISITES
Entering students must have had courses in United States government, microeconomics, and introductory statistics. Students failing to meet this requirement must take these courses as soon as possible and must have completed them prior to enrolling in PAPA 6224. The U.S. government prerequisite may be satisfied by equivalent experience, training, or instruction. Equivalent experience is at least three years full-time work in local, state, or federal government in the U.S. This prerequisite also can be satisfied by completing the CLEP American Government exam with a score of 60 or higher. If this requirement has not been fulfilled upon entry into the program, it should be fulfilled in the first semester. Computer competency is also required.
B. COURSE PREPARATION FOR CORE AREAS
A minimum of 90 credit hours is needed for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. A maximum of one half of the coursework, or 30 of the 60 credit hours of coursework required for the CPAP Ph.D., may be transferred from an accredited university other than Virginia Tech upon approval by two core faculty evaluating the student’s plan of study. The 60 course work credits include 18 hours of foundation courses, 15 hours of advanced topics and capstone courses, 6 hours of measurement, 9 hours of electives, and 12 hours of research concentration. These courses must correspond to the requirements of the five curriculum core areas. Students must also take 30 hours of research and dissertation credit, three hours of which must be constituted by participation in 15 sessions of the Doctoral Mentoring Program (DMP) or other activities approved by the faculty for DMP credit.
1. Foundation Courses broadly survey sub-fields of public administration and public policy. These courses are offered by the Center but, as noted above, equivalent coursework at other universities on occasion may substitute for some of these courses, subject to faculty approval.
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At least 3 credit hours must be completed or transferred in at the foundation level in each core area except Policy, which requires 6 credit hours. Students complete at least 18 credit hours of foundation coursework in the core areas, at least 9 hours of Advanced Topics, and at least 6 hours of coursework in Measurement and Analysis Tools components. Students should complete foundation courses before enrolling in Advanced Topics classes. Before enrolling in the two-course sequence of Capstone Seminars, however, they must have completed all foundation courses and passed the qualifying examination.
2. Advanced Topics Courses examine specialized areas. These courses are designed to expose the student to an in-depth analysis of some specialized aspects of a core area of the Center’s curriculum.
3. Capstone Seminars provide the opportunity to develop ideas that may form the foundation for the dissertation. They represent the most advanced formal coursework at the Center. The seminars are to be taken in sequence: Capstone A followed by Capstone B. They need not be taken in contiguous semesters. Capstone A is a research seminar that offers students the opportunity to develop ideas for a paper that may support a dissertation topic. Capstone B is a writing-intensive seminar in which students refine rough drafts developed in Capstone A. The final paper for Capstone B should be of publishable quality in a refereed journal. Admission to the capstone seminar sequence is contingent upon successful completion of all foundation coursework and the qualifying examination.
C. RESEARCH METHODS
A basic knowledge of statistics and familiarity with computers is assumed upon admission. Students taking PAPA 6514, Public Administration and Policy Inquiry, or substitute research methods courses approved by the faculty, will be expected to use qualitative and quantitative inquiry and computing skills. If they have not already completed this coursework elsewhere, students are required to complete a graduate-level, intermediate statistics course, which covers techniques through multiple regression. Where appropriate, based on the student’s research interests and with the approval of the student’s adviser, coursework covering other techniques in advanced qualitative and quantitative analysis may be substituted for multiple regression, such as ethnographic field work, textual analysis, historical research, survey design, simulation, operations research, or mathematical programming. Students may enroll in these advanced courses prior to or while enrolled in either PAPA 6514 or PAPA 6224.
D. RESEARCH CONCENTRATION
1. Focused Study: Students complete nine credit hours of focused study consisting of either coursework, independent studies, internship, and/or field studies. Students complete this work during their CPAP doctoral studies and may not transfer work completed prior to their enrollment in the Ph.D. program. This work should permit the student to delve more deeply into a subject-matter field or an area of theory or research methodology. Faculty advisors will counsel students on the need to take additional credit study or noncredit training in data collection or analysis tools needed for their anticipated dissertation projects as part of the Research Concentration requirement.
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Students are encouraged to use the Research Concentration as an opportunity to begin work on the dissertation. For example, the nine credit hours may include special study in a potential dissertation research methodology, an independent study on a preliminary review of the literature base for the dissertation, some background coursework, or some form of applied field work. Students work with a member of the faculty to determine the activities for the nine credit hours. However, the Concentration also may be used to pursue field experiences or special study independent of the dissertation topic.
The Research Concentration may be completed before or after the qualifying exam. Students are encouraged to discuss with their advisors the appropriate time to complete the nine hours of research concentration work and the three credit concentration lecture.
2. Concentration Lecture: A lecture is prepared and presented by students after completing the nine credit hours of research concentration work. This lecture (three credit hours of PAPA 7964) integrates the Concentration work and must be presented before the faculty advisor and at least six other students or guests, including faculty. The lecture may focus on either the anticipated topic of the student’s dissertation or another major area of research concentration that the student expects to offer as part of his or her academic credentials upon completion of the Ph.D. degree. This lecture is given before the dissertation prospectus defense. Where appropriate, part of this lecture should lay out the student’s five-year plan of research for post-doctoral investigation. Students are responsible for assembling the audience for the lecture.
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E. THE Ph.D. CURRICULUM
Required Courses
CORE AREA
FOUNDATION COURSES
(18 HOURS)
ADVANCED TOPICS (AT) COURSES
(9 HOURS)
CAPSTONE SEMINARS*
(6 HOURS, taken after the qualifying examination)
*Capstones A & B
THEORY/ CONTEXT
PAPA 6014: Public Administration Theory and Context

ORGANIZATION
PAPA 6114: Complex Public Organizations
PAPA 6154: AT in Public Organizations
POLICY
PAPA 6214: Public Policy Processes
PAPA 6224: Public Policy Design
PAPA 6254: AT in Public Policy
–OR–
PAPA 6264: AT in Policy Systems Management
MANAGEMENT
PAPA 6344: Leadership and Management
in Public Administration
PAPA 6354: AT in Public Management
ETHICS
PAPA 6414: Normative Foundations of
Public Administration
PAPA 6454: AT in Ethics & the Public Sector
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Other elements:
MEASUREMENT & ANALYSIS TOOLS
(6 Credit Hours)
ELECTIVES
(9 Credit Hours)
QUALIFYING EXAMINATION
*(see Section F below)
RESEARCH CONCENTRATION
May be taken before or after the qualifying examination
(12 Credit Hours)
DISSERTATION HOURS
May be taken before or after the qualifying examination (30 Credit Hours)
PAPA 6514: Public Administration & Policy Inquiry or substitute (or PSCI 5115)
Intermediate/Advanced Statistics or other quantitative or qualitative skills
9 semester hours in any combination of advanced PAPA courses or courses in related disciplines.
Test in three (3) of the following core areas
 THEORY/CONTEXT
 ORGANIZATION
 POLICY
 MANAGEMENT
 ETHICS
9 semester hours coursework in dissertation research area. May include Independent Study (PAPA 5974) or Internship and/or Field Studies PLUS 3 hours of Concentration Lecture (PAPA 7964) prior to the prospectus defense
30 semester hours PAPA 7994, including 3 hours dedicated to professional development (Doctoral Mentoring Program). Dissertation credits may be taken throughout the student’s studies.
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F. QUALIFYING EXAMINATION
This examination tests the substantive knowledge, analytical ability, intellectual ability, and writing skills necessary for completing the Ph.D. in Public Administration and Public Affairs. For all Ph.D. students, the format of the exam will change effective Fall 2017.
The Qualifying Exam is designed to assess student mastery of the material covered in the six Foundation courses. Students are eligible to take the exam as soon as they have accumulated at least 21 credit hours of CPA-specific course work, which must include the 18 credit hours of foundation courses plus PAPA 6514 or its designated alternative. Students must take the exam no later than after the completion of 30 credit hours, which must include all required foundation courses plus PAPA 6514 or its designated alternative. The exam will be offered in the fall and spring semesters, and students may choose to register for the qualifying exam as soon as they meet the minimum credit hour and course threshold. The Virginia Tech Graduate Honor Code is in effect for all aspects of this examination.
Students select three of the five core areas – Complex Organizations, Ethics, Public Management, Theory and Context of Public Administration, and Public Policy – to be tested in. The qualifying examination has two parts – written and oral – but will be considered as a whole.
Written: Essay questions will be based solely on the content of the foundation coursework (that is, no specific themes and related departure readings will be circulated). The written exam will consist of one broad question for each foundation area. Students must demonstrate mastery of the foundational material by composing coherent essays responding to the questions presented in their three selected fields.
Mastery is defined according to the following criteria:
1. Completeness of response to the question
2. Accuracy of response to the question
3. Grounding in the relevant scholarship
4. Synthesis
5. Critical analysis
6. Writing quality
For each foundation area, the faculty will prepare a periodically updated list of relevant published scholarship, as well as providing students access to course syllabi (both past and present) to ensure that students have a rich and relatively standardized resource in each core area on which to draw to prepare for the exam.
Faculty will set a minimum level of competence (i.e., a passing grade) based on the above criteria. Students must pass all three essays in order to be considered ready to defend the essays in the oral portion of the exam. Students failing to reach this threshold must write new essays during the next scheduled qualifying exam period, but only for the foundation area(s) not meeting the threshold. Students may not change foundation areas between attempts to pass the written portion of the exam. Failure to successfully pass the written
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exam in all three areas after a second attempt at one or more essays will constitute a failure of the qualifying exam.
Oral: The oral defense will be used to confirm faculty assessments of the students’ essays. Each of the three essays will be considered in sequence, and students will be expected to sustain and defend their arguments in each essay in response to questions.
Students judged to have passed the written and oral portions of the exam will be considered “qualified” to complete the remaining required coursework in the Ph.D. program. Students successfully completing this coursework may move on to the dissertation milestones, including the concentration lecture, prospectus defense, dissertation, and dissertation defense. Any student whose oral qualifying exam defense is considered unsatisfactory will be given one opportunity to complete an alternative project in order to pass the qualifying exam. Failure to successfully complete this project will constitute failure of the qualifying exam. All students will receive written feedback on their performance in the exam after each cycle in which they participate.
Overview of Qualifying Exam Process:
1. Students will complete foundation courses in all five core areas, and select three of the five core areas to be tested in the written and oral portions of the examination.
2. The examination will be offered twice a year in the fall and spring semesters. The written portion of the exam will consist of three take home essays (see below) and students will have 8 hours to complete each one. The essays will be written on a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday schedule with one day scheduled for each core area. The written portion of the examination will be scheduled approximately within the first three weeks of the semester followed by the oral component of the examination approximately two weeks after the last written one. The oral portion of the exam will be scheduled within the first five weeks of the fall and spring semesters.
3. Students wishing to take the examination must fill out the top portion of the CPAP form “Request to Admit Candidate to Qualifying Examination,” have it signed by their committee chair, and submit it to the CPAP office in Blacksburg or the National Capital Region no later than one month before the first day of the written portion of the examination.
4. Prior to the administration of the written examination, each core area committee will develop one question in their respective area. Students will be presented with this question on the day that each respective written exam is administered.
5. On each of the written exam days, a student will have an 8-hour period (8:00am to 5:00pm, with an hour allowed for lunch) in which to respond to the question in an essay no more than ten pages in length, double-spaced.
.
6. In the two weeks following the administration of the last core area written examination, a
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six-member examining committee (two readers from each chosen core area) will read and assess the student’s essays in preparation for the oral portion of the exam. At the same time, the student will be given an electronic copy of her/his three essays so s/he may prepare for the oral exam.
7. Each student will have an oral exam committee consisting of the six readers of their written essays. The committee will ask questions that build from the questions the student answered in the written portion of the exam. The oral portion of the exam will last for approximately an hour. Following the exam the committee will discuss the student’s performance on both the written and oral portions of the examination and decide whether the student has earned a grade of pass or fail.
8. For students who fail the examination, the examining committee will determine the appropriate form of a re-take during the next scheduled examination period. In most instances this likely will involve a decision on whether a student should re-take one, two, or three of the examination core areas. Failure to start and complete the required re-take by the next scheduled examination will constitute a second failure of the examination. For students who retake the exam and fail the second time, the entire faculty will meet as a committee of the whole to assess the student’s entire performance to date and decide if the student should be allowed to continue to the dissertation.
G. DISSERTATION
Ph.D. candidates must write a dissertation. The dissertation is expected to make an original contribution to knowledge of the field. The student is eligible to receive the Ph.D. degree upon the successful defense of the dissertation. As a result of their course work and advising, students should have identified and discussed a dissertation advisory relationship with an appropriate faculty member by the time they begin the Capstone seminars.
1. Dissertation Committee: After the student completes the Qualifying Examination and before they begin Capstone A, he or she formally establishes a dissertation committee. The first step in this process is to ask a member of the Center’s core faculty to chair this committee. The faculty member who agrees to chair the dissertation committee will then become the student’s formal advisor. The next step is to constitute the dissertation committee, which consists of at least four members including the chair.
2. Criteria for Committee: Ordinarily, a dissertation committee is comprised of four members, at least three of whom shall be members of the CPAP core faculty. The chair (or co-chair) must be a member of the core faculty (see Section III. A. below). A fourth or fifth committee member, if not a member of the Virginia Tech full-time faculty, must be approved by the committee chair and by the Graduate School. Dissertation committees are subject to the approval of the Graduate School. Graduate School regulations require that persons other than Virginia Tech faculty members comprise no more than one-third of a dissertation committee’s membership. Therefore, if two members from other institutions serve on a dissertation committee, a fifth member must be added from the Virginia Tech faculty. Under no circumstances may more than two
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colleagues from other universities serve on a dissertation committee.
3. The Prospectus and Prospectus Defense (“Preliminary Examination”): After establishing the committee of a minimum of four members, the student writes the Dissertation Prospectus under the guidance of his or her committee chair. This document essentially is a research design setting forth the program of research that the student proposes to follow in writing his or her dissertation. The prospectus should address the topic or question to be assayed in the planned dissertation; the scholarly and public affairs significance of the proposed research; the present state of knowledge on the topic or question, and the sources that will shape the work; the research design (including the research strategy, methodology, and methods) to be employed; an outline of proposed chapters; and a timeline for completing the work.
When the student and the chair agree that the prospectus is ready, arrangements will be made for the student to defend it before the dissertation committee. Students must complete the “Request to Admit Candidate to Preliminary Examination” form (available from the Graduate School website under Academics/Forms) and have it approved by their advisory committee and committee chair and the Graduate School. When the prospectus has been successfully defended, the student will proceed to write the dissertation itself.
4. Dissertation Defense (“Final Examination”): The defense of the dissertation is the final requirement. No student may advance to the Dissertation Defense until all other requirements have been completed successfully and until the chair and at least two out of three or three out of four of five other members of the dissertation committee agree that the dissertation is ready to be defended. The dissertation defense focuses on the dissertation research project but is not limited to it. Candidates are expected to answer questions about the theoretical, methodological, and practical implications of the dissertation and its contribution to new knowledge in the field.
The dissertation defense must be scheduled no sooner than six weeks after a draft, approved by the chair, has been distributed to the members of the committee. Students must complete the “Request to Admit Candidate to Final Exam” form (available from the Graduate School website under Academics/Forms) and have it approved by their advisory committee and committee chair and the Graduate School. Members of the dissertation committee must be present for the defense.
H. ADVISEMENT
The advising process constitutes a crucial dimension of the graduate experience. The advisement systems may vary somewhat between CPAP’s locations.
1. General Information about Advising: The general orientation of the advising activities at both locations is directed not only toward counseling students on the choice of course work, but also toward helping them develop a clear sense of intellectual direction and a framework for thinking about their dissertation projects. The systems at the two locations
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vary only in order to meet the distinctive requirements of the type of student community that exists at each location.
2. Assignment of Advisors: The CPAP chair or associate chair will assign a member of the core faculty to each student upon his or her arrival on campus. Students who know one or more members of the core faculty may request their advisors by name before arriving, a request that the CPAP chair and/or associate chair will try to accommodate insofar as the equitable distribution of advising duties will permit.
Students may change their advisors at any time with the approval of the CPAP chair and the consent of the new advisors. After a dissertation chair has been selected, however, this option should be exercised prudently and then in accordance with Graduate School procedures. The student may also request a change in the membership of the dissertation committee, subject to the approval of the committee chair and the CPAP chair and in accordance with Graduate School procedures. This option should be exercised with increasing caution as work on the dissertation progresses.
3. Transfer of Credit and Plan of Study Development: An advising session concerning transfer credit and program of study development is offered at least once a year, usually at the beginning of the fall term. Entering students should attend the first session offered after they have entered the Ph.D. program. Students meet with teams of at least two members of the core faculty assigned by the CPAP chair to review the student’s previous graduate work in order to determine which courses match the CPAP curriculum sufficiently to merit transfer credit, to identify the remaining courses that the student must take, and to fill out the original plan of study form.
Once formal decisions have been made by the faculty at each location concerning transfer credits, the faculty will sign the Plan of Study form and submit a copy to their respective office managers who will submit the information electronically to the Graduate School and place a copy of the form into the student’s file. The Plan of Study will appear in the student’s electronic Graduate School records, along with their transcripts and other information. This document should be looked upon as though it were a contract specifying the requirements the student must meet as he or she moves through the program.
Later adjustments to the Plan of Study are made following consultation between the student and his or her faculty advisor. Before completing 24 hours of course work, the student should schedule a Plan of Study or “milestone” session with his or her advisor and a second faculty member selected by the student and advisor. At this session, the student’s Plan of Study will be reviewed and, if approved, will be forwarded to the CPAP chair or associate chair and the Graduate School. In implementing their Plans of Study, students must contact their advisors during their course work to review course options.
4. Doctoral Mentoring Program: The goal of the Doctoral Mentoring Program (DMP) is to maximize the student learning experience by developing academic-collegial relationships within the CPAP community, and to assist in professional socialization and development.
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The DMP satisfies 3 of the 30 credit hours of PAPA 7994, Research and Dissertation, required for the Ph.D. degree program. Attendance is required at a minimum of 15 DMP meetings in order to complete the DMP requirement and enroll in the special section of PAPA 7994 where DMP credit is given. New students in the doctoral program are assigned to mentoring groups in either Blacksburg or the National Capital Region (Alexandria) upon entry.
Mentoring groups meet at least three times in each fall and spring semester for a total of six regular meetings per academic year in each program location. As implied above, participation in the mentoring groups carries the same status as participation in an academic course, and course credit is allocated to students upon completion of the mentoring program. Mentoring groups meet both as a general community and in individual sessions with their colleagues and their faculty advisor. The topical agenda of the community and group sessions covers all aspects of the CPAP program, questions about individual programs of study, individual research interests, and broader topics having to do with intellectual and academic life both during the graduate school experience and afterwards in the career stage.
In some instances, such as when students begin taking courses while they are pursuing admission to the program, it may happen that a student will not be eligible to be assigned formally to a Mentoring Group or to attend an advising session for two or even three semesters. In these cases, the faculty member currently serving as Manager of the Mentoring Program will also act as the student’s individual faculty advisor. Such students are welcome to attend the DMP as guests. Should they later be admitted to the program, they will then receive DMP credit for their attendance.
I. THE RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT
As specified in the Policies of the Virginia Tech Graduate School, students may fulfill their doctoral residency requirement through two consecutive semesters of full-time enrollment. Students may also fulfill the residency requirement on the Blacksburg campus or in the National Capital via the following alternative plan, which has two components:
1. Doctoral Mentoring Program: Participation through the completion of the Mentoring Program as described in Section H.4 above.
2. Residency Capstone Seminar Sequence (Capstones A and B)
This is a special two-semester seminar sequence focused on the research and conceptual development of an academic paper, and the revision and continued development of the paper. The focus of the first seminar (Capstone A) is an advanced research topic demanding that students engage in intensive and original thought and analysis. Special colloquia and lecture presentations by various resource persons that follow the formal classroom sessions are also included in this program, and students are expected to attend and participate in them. During the second seminar in the sequence (Capstone B), students extensively critique and revise their manuscript from the first seminar, examine
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early research and developed research, learn about the publishing process, and present their work at the spring High Table conference. The final capstone requirement is to submit the manuscript for review to a journal.
University residency requirements require that National Capital Region students spend some time on the Blacksburg campus. Students enrolled in capstone seminars spend several days on the Blacksburg campus in the fall semester and in the spring semester during CPAP’s annual High Table conference.
J. PROGRAM WAIVERS
A request for a waiver of any CPAP policy should be initially discussed by the student and his/her advisor. The request should then be presented to the CPAP chair. He or she shall use discretion to decide which, if any, of the CPAP policy making bodies should hear and decide the request. In all cases, strong and compelling evidence of both the necessity for the individual and minimal impact on the department must be presented.
K. GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES
1. The Program and Appeals Procedures at the Program and School Levels
The Center for Public Administration and Policy follows the procedures for grievance as accepted by the Graduate School. Whenever a graduate student believes that any work has been improperly evaluated, or believes that there has been unfair treatment, it is expected that the student will follow the procedures below in a timely fashion.
The student should take up the questions directly with the faculty member involved. This may be the committee chair, another faculty member, or an instructor responsible for a course.
a. If the matter is not reconciled, the graduate student will be expected to appeal the question to the CPAP chair.
b. If the matter cannot be resolved there, then the chair takes the question to the CPAP core faculty. If the CPAP chair is a party to the grievance, the Director of the School for Public and International Affairs (SPIA) will assume this responsibility.
c. If the matter is still unresolved, the Director of the School of Public and International Affairs, in consultation with the SPIA Executive Committee and the Dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies as appropriate, shall take all reasonable and proper actions to resolve the question at the departmental level. The student shall be informed in writing of the results no later than one month after the appeal to the Director of the School of Public and International Affairs.
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2. The University Appeals Procedure
If the aggrieved student believes that their rights were abridged at the program and school levels, the student may file a request for review with the Dean of the Graduate School. A full description of these procedures is found in the Graduate School Policies and Procedures.
III. GENERAL INFORMATION
A. CORE FACULTY
The term “core faculty” as used in this document includes the following: Professors Cook, Dull, Eckerd, Hult, Jensen, Jordan, Khademian, Lemaire, Rees, Roberts, and Sterett, and Professors Emeriti/ae Dudley, Goodsell, Kronenberg, Wamsley, White, and Wolf.
B. NORMS FOR COURSE GRADING
As a policy, the classroom faculty members are responsible for assigning the grades that they deem appropriate. Faculty should make standards for grading known to students at the beginning of each semester. The CPAP faculty agrees that grades should provide an opportunity to provide feedback on various dimensions of performance in courses.
C. STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES AND GRADES
All students are expected to assume full responsibility for knowledge of all regulations pertinent to the procedures of the Graduate School as set forth in Graduate School Policies, available on-line at (http://graduateschool.vt.edu/graduate_catalog/policies.htm?policy=002d14432c654287012c6542e38200a) and any other regulations and procedures published by the Graduate School and the Center for Public Administration and Policy.
In scheduling their preliminary exams (prospectus defense) and final exams (dissertation defense), Ph. D. students are expected to adhere strictly to Graduate School deadlines and are responsible for confirming those deadlines as announced by the Graduate School for a given semester. Exceptions to those deadlines will be considered only under very unusual circumstances, and must be approved by both the student’s committee chair and the CPAP chair. Concentration lectures must be scheduled before December 1 for the fall semester and before May 1 for the spring semester. No concentration lecture can be scheduled during summer sessions.
The Center abides by the rules and procedures of the Virginia Tech Graduate Honor System, which may be found on-line at: http://ghs.graduateschool.vt.edu .
Letter grades A through F are given for all regular courses. No grades are given for research and thesis/dissertation hours; however, thesis and dissertation hours are assigned appropriate equivalent credit hours for the purpose of registration and payment of fees.
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Students must be registered to take examinations and defend theses and dissertations.
Students must maintain an overall grade point average (GPA) of at least “B” (3.00). The Graduate School automatically places students whose GPA falls below 3.00 on academic probation. They will have one regular semester to return the GPA to 3.00 or better or face recommended dismissal. All courses taken at Virginia Tech that are listed on the approved program of study must be completed with a grade of “C” or better. Transferred courses will count only as credit hours and will not be used in computing the grade index; the grade transferred, however, must be a “B” or better.
Incompletes remains “I’s” until students complete the work; however, they may not graduate until all incompletes are removed from courses on the official Plan of Study. Most incompletes should be finished within one semester. Grades of “NR” and “NG” count in the GPA calculation, so students should monitor their transcripts regularly for grades that may not have been recorded.
D. COMMITTEE PARTICIPATION AND MONITORING
Procedures Used in Monitoring Advisory Committee Assignment Criteria: At the time graduate student dissertation committees are established, the above criteria are considered by the CPAP chair and by the student’s committee chair. The CPAP faculty or specific Graduate degree committees that may be established offer supervision of the process and must review exceptions to the criteria.
Expectations for Faculty Participation on Student Committees: It is the expectation that all faculty serving on advisory, thesis, and dissertation committees will actively participate in the academic advisement of students in the direction of their research programs. Participation on student committees should be limited in number to ensure that the faculty member is able to fulfill the responsibilities of committee membership. Evaluation of the performance of faculty in this important capacity is the joint responsibility of the CPAP chair and appropriate chairs of graduate degree committees that may be established.
E. CURRENCY OF POLICY GUIDELINES
Twice a year the faculty meets to discuss policy issues and often changes to the Policy Guide become necessary. The CPAP Policy Guide will be revised appropriately.
IV. GRADUATE CERTICATES
SPIA and other University programs offer graduate certificates of possible interest to CPAP students. (See http://graduateschool.vt.edu/graduate_catalog/certificates.htm.) Two certificates – Homeland Security Policy and Local Government Management – are lodged in CPAP. MPA students may use certificate courses to fulfill elective requirements; one of the local government certificate courses may substitute for one of the required courses (either PAPA 6314 or PAPA 6324).
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A. Homeland Security Policy
The graduate certificate in homeland security policy (12 credits) focuses on domestic security and emergency management issues. The certificate can serve either as a stand-alone credential of advanced educational achievement for non-degree students or as a supplement to a master’s or a doctoral degree. Taking four homeland security courses will introduce students to the complexity of the homeland security environment, from analyzing the terrorist threat, to considering questions of hazard mitigation, preparedness, and resilience, to investigating response and recovery strategies.
The certificate is comprised of four courses (12 hours of graduate coursework). The core courses focus on 1) threat (PAPA 5254 Homeland Security and the Terrorist Threat), 2) prevention (PAPA 6264 Advanced Topics in Policy: Homeland Security and Prevention 3) response and recovery (PAPA 5354 Homeland Security Response and Recovery). A fourth course is selected from specified electives.
MPA students may use the certificate as their concentration and reflect upon the certificate and homeland security issues in their portfolio or internship. Ph.D. students may use the certificate as a foundation for dissertation research in homeland security policy and management.
B. Local Government Management
The graduate certificate in local government management (12 credits) is a set of master’s level courses designed to prepare the next generation of U.S. local government leaders including county and city managers. The certificate provides a thorough understanding of the operations of U.S. local government and the political and administrative contexts of working with elected officials, citizens, and other stakeholders. The courses are taught by current or former practitioners in Virginia local government and are available through at 12 sites throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia or at the Fairfax County Government Center. Master of Public Administration students can use the certificate courses to satisfy the 9 elective hours, and they can elect to substitute one course for either PAPA6314 (Public Budgeting Processes) or PAPA6324 (Public Personnel). (See the table below for the courses in the certificate.) An on-line version of the certificate examines local governments throughout the United States; students need permission from the program director to enroll in these on-line classes.
C. Homeland Security Policy
The graduate certificate in homeland security policy (12 credits) focuses on domestic security and emergency management issues. The certificate can serve either as a stand-alone credential of advanced educational achievement for non-degree students or as a supplement to a master’s or a doctoral degree. Taking four homeland security courses will introduce students to the complexity of the homeland security environment, from analyzing the terrorist threat, to considering questions of hazard mitigation, preparedness, and resilience, to investigating response and recovery strategies.
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The certificate is comprised of four courses (12 hours of graduate coursework). The core courses focus on 1) threat (PAPA 5254 Homeland Security and the Terrorist Threat), 2) prevention (PAPA 6264 Advanced Topics in Policy: Homeland Security and Prevention 3) response and recovery (PAPA 5354 Homeland Security Response and Recovery). A fourth course is selected from specified electives.
MPA students may use the certificate as their concentration and reflect upon the certificate and homeland security issues in their portfolio or internship. Ph.D. students may use the certificate as a foundation for dissertation research in homeland security policy and management.
D. Local Government Management
The graduate certificate in local government management (12 credits) is a set of master’s level courses designed to prepare the next generation of U.S. local government leaders including county and city managers. The certificate provides a thorough understanding of the operations of U.S. local government and the political and administrative contexts of working with elected officials, citizens, and other stakeholders. The courses are taught by current or former practitioners in Virginia local government and are available at multiple sites throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia or at the Fairfax County Government Center. Master of Public Administration students can use the certificate courses to satisfy the 9 elective hours, and they can elect to substitute PAPA 6354 (Human Resources, Financial and Performance Management for Local Government Managers) for either PAPA 6314 (Public Budgeting Processes) or PAPA 6324 (Public Personnel). See the table below for the courses in the certificate. An on-line version of the certificate examines local governments throughout the United States; students need permission from the program director to enroll in these on-line classes.
PAPA 5044
Local Government and the Professional Manager
PAPA 5784
Local Economic Development Planning
PAPA 6354
Human Resources, Financial and Performance Management for Local Government Managers
PAPA 6154
The Context of Local Government Management and Service Delivery

Academic Resources on Developing and Delivering Effective Presentations

Here is a compilation of Virginia Tech and online resources that can provide you with some tips on giving great presentations.

RESOURCES THROUGH VIRGINIA TECH CAMPUS

The Comm Lab located in the Newman Library at Virginia Tech/ Blacksburg Campus

The mission of the organization is to provide Virginia Tech students and faculty members with access to constructive feedback and practical resources for improving oral presentations.  Students can gain valuable presentation-related insight and develop the necessary toolsets to become successful speakers.  The Comm Lab may be available for off-campus students through google hangouts.  Please inquire with the staff for their availability.  Students have to make appointments online, which is the best way to set up appointments.  The coaches are considered experts in public speaking. They will go through your Powerpoint presentation with you to make sure that you are meeting the professor’s objectives in your presentation.

Online Learning and Collaboration Services (Lynda.com; Software Tutorial and Training)

Lynda.com is your one stop shop for online tutorials and training in a variety of software suites and programs. Access is free to current Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff. Once you are at the website, sign in via your PID to access the materials.  After you have entered the site, type in the skills you would like to learn (e.g. giving great presentations)

ONLINE RESOURCES

Improving Presentation Skills of PhD Students (By Susanne Ulm, Next Scientist)

Presentation Skills (Joel Bowman, Ph.D., West Michigan University)

Preparing an Oral Presentation (By Jeff Radel, Ph.D.,  University of Kansas Medical Center)

Ten Simple Rules for Making Good Oral Presentations (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

Oral Presentation and PowerPoint (compiled by Joe Schall, Penn State)

Adapted from Style for Students (https://www.e-education.psu.edu/styleforstudents) by Joe Schall is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) via The Pennsylvania State University.

Why Bad Presentation Happen to Good Causes (Online Book by Andy Goodman)

YOU TUBE VIDEO RESOURCES

Public Speaking and Giving Presentation (By Scott Berkun, Author of the “Confessions of a Public Speaker”)

POWERPOINT SLIDES/RESOURCES

Giving Effective Presentations (By Lisa G. Bullard, Ph.D., North Carolina State University)

Presentation 101 for Graduate Students (By J. Paul Robinson, Ph.D., Purdue University)

Academic Resources on Writing

Here is a compilation of writing resources from Virginia Tech and other sources.

RESOURCES THROUGH VIRGINIA TECH CAMPUS

Writing Resources

For Individual Help

The Virginia Tech Writing Center:

http://www.composition.english.vt.edu/writing-center/

This is a free service to all Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff, at all levels. Appointments are made online.  This service is done in-person and through google hangout for off-campus students.  They will work with writing and reading assignments from any course in the University. They can also help with writing projects not linked to classes.

GSA Research Symposium & Exposition

https://blogs.lt.vt.edu/gsars/abstract-submissions/writing-resources/

General Information

University Style Guide:

http://www.branding.unirel.vt.edu/style-guide/

Academic Writing Guide:

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/1/2/ 

Ethical Writing Guide:

http://www.lib.vt.edu/instruct/plagiarism/

Find/Citation and Style Manuals

http://www.lib.vt.edu/find/citation/index.html

On Professional/Academic Writing and Presenting

Resources for Technical and Grant Writing:

http://www.research.vt.edu/proposal-development-resources/resources/technical-and-grant-writing/index.php

Guidelines for scientific writing & presenting:

http://www.writing.engr.psu.edu/

How to write a good abstract:

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2011/06/20/essential-guide-writing-good-abstracts/

How to write a good introduction:

http://www.jclinepi.com/article/S0895-4356(13)00020-6/pdf

On Writing Well

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E. B. White

The Elements of Grammar by Margaret Shertzer

Style: Toward Clarity and Grace by Joseph M. Williams

Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre by Keith Johnstone

Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art by Stephen Nachmanovitch

Improvisation for the Theatre by Viola Spolin[/su_spoiler]][/su_accordion][/

FACULTY

Courses are broadcast to the Virginia Tech Commonwealth Campus Centers in Abingdon, Alexandria, Blacksburg, Charlottesville, Danville, Fairfax, Falls Church, Lynchburg, Richmond, Roanoke, and Virginia Beach. Students at remote sites participate via two-way videoconferencing. This approach allows the class to be taught around the state simultaneously giving more students the opportunity to participate in the program.

Virginia Tech Southwest Center
P.O. Box 1987 – One Partnership Circle
Abingdon, VA 24210
Classroom: Room 143
Virginia Tech: SPIA Alexandria Campus
1021 Prince Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Virginia Tech, Blacksburg
104 Draper Rd
Blacksburg, VA 24060
Classroom: varies
Charlottesville City Hall, City Hall Annex
Neighborhood Development Services
Room 405
603 East Market St (605 East Market St – Main Entrance)
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Institute for Advanced Learning and Research
150 Slayton Ave
Danville, VA 24540
Fairfax County Government Center
12000 Government Center
Fairfax, VA 22035
Virginia Tech, Northern Virginia Center
7054 Haycock Road
Falls Church, VA 22043
Classroom: 103
Central Virginia Community College
3506 Wards Rd
Lynchburg, VA 24502
Virginia Tech Richmond Center
2810 Parham Road, Suitye 300
Richmond, VA 23294
Classroom: 309
Virginia Tech Roanoke Center
Roanoke Higher Education Center – Suite 701
108 North Jefferson Street
Roanoke, VA 24016
Classroom: 710
Virginia Tech Hampton Roads Center
1444 Diamond Springs Road
Virginia Beach, Virginia U.S.A 23455
Classroom: 201

Application Deadlines for All Campuses

CPAP-SPECIFIC DEADLINES
For Fall admission, the deadline is May 1st.
For Spring Admission the deadline is November 1st.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT DEADLINES
For Fall admission, the deadline is April 1st.
For Spring admission, the deadline is September 1st.

Tuition & Fees

The Bursar’s Office maintains complete information about Virginia Tech tuition and fees for in-state and out-of-state residents.

Financial Aid

For all other information about admissions and financial aid, please visit the graduate school admissions website.

Apply Online

Application and Fee. File an application with the graduate school online here and pay the nonrefundable application fee, which is currently $75.

Want more help with filing the application? See the graduate school’s help page.

Transcripts. Have two official copies of undergraduate and/or graduate study transcripts sent directly to the graduate school from universities and colleges previously attended. VT applicants an simply request from the registrar.

Personal Statement of Purpose. As part of the online application process, provide a personal statement in which you (a) describe previous employment experiences and (b) discuss thoughtfully your future career plans. The statement should express how the Center’s curriculum for which you are applying will assist you in achieving your future career goals.

Resume. As part of the online application process, provide a professional resume.

Test Scores. Applicants for the Ph.D. program must provide scores on a recognized aptitude test. The educational testing service will send the scores directly to the graduate school, upon request. The aptitude test scores are optional for MPA applicants. International students may be required to take TOEFL.

Letters of Recommendation/Reference Forms. As part of the online application, all applicants should arrange for submission of three (3) persons to provide a letters of recommendation. Once submitted, each reference is sent an electronic form to complete. Preferably the applicant’s references should include a mix of former professors and others who know the applicant professionally, such as employment supervisors or others who have had an opportunity to observe the applicant in a professional capacity. It is especially important that applicants to the Ph.D. program provide at least two letters or forms from former college or university teachers.

Paper Application

Paper Applications. If you are unable or choose not to apply online, you may download the application form for US and Permanent Resident Students or for International Students.

Submission. ALL PAPER APPLICANTS, including Northern Virginia and Richmond campuses, please send application materials including: application and fee, personal statement of purpose, resume, and letters of recommendation/reference forms directly to the Graduate School. Transcripts and test scores should be sent from the issuing authority to the same address.

Virginia Tech Graduate School (0325)
Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061

To confirm that your application materials are complete please contact:

Center for Public Administration and Policy
Phone: (540) 231-5133
Email: cpap@vt.edu

CPAP POLICY GUIDE


Download the Policy Guide

A REGIONAL COMMUNITY  ADDRESSING GLOBAL CHALLENGES

A REGIONAL COMMUNITY  ADDRESSING GLOBAL CHALLENGES

A REGIONAL COMMUNITY  ADDRESSING GLOBAL CHALLENGES

BLACKSBURG

WASHINGTON, DC

RICHMOND

BLACKSBURG

WASHINGTON, DC

RICHMOND

BLACKSBURG

WASHINGTON, DC

RICHMOND