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Areas of Emphasis

The MPA plan of study includes twelve credit hours of electives.  MPA students may tailor their own selection of elective courses based on their professional interests.  The MPA program offers two established Areas of Emphasis in Healthcare Administration and Local Governance & Community Development.   

Healthcare Administration

The Healthcare Administration (HCA) Area of Emphasis is for students interested in a career in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, public health departments, long-term care facilities, mental health services, home health services, nonprofit voluntary agencies, health research foundations, public and private insurers and governmental agencies. It is designed to produce an administrative generalist with a broad perspective of the health care system, to provide leadership and management skills for health care professionals who wish to advance in their careers and for college graduates who wish to enter the healthcare fields.

See the Graduate Catalog for more information on Healthcare Administration Area of Emphasis.

Local Governance and Community Development

The Local Governance and Community Development (LGCD) Area of Emphasis includes courses in local governance, public engagement, public planning, and sustainable community development. Counties and municipalities are the levels of government most directly involved in community and economic development. Localities are where we live, learn, work, and recreate. These and other local governments, like school districts and public utilities, comprise the largest sector of public employment in the United States. Employment in local government has even been growing while it declines at other levels of government. Adding to this sub-sector the many nonprofit organizations that engage in community and economic development, the opportunities for employment in this field of public service abound. 

See the Graduate Catalog for more information about the Local Governance and Community Development Area of Emphasis.


Cultural Resource Management

The Department of History offers a 15-credit hour graduate certificate in cultural resource management. Students pursuing an MPA can complete this certificate to add an area of emphasis. Cultural resource management is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on the study of preserving and administering those items, places and ideas that make up the cultural assets of a population, such as historically significant buildings, sites and documents, religious sites and Native American artifacts. Career opportunities include federal agencies, such as the National Park Service, National Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management; state historical and cultural agencies; nonprofit historical and cultural organizations, such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Preservation Alliance of West Virginia; and city and county management positions, including community development and housing and redevelopment.