University Senate Proposed: November 17, 2005
Resolution to Establish a Dual Degree Program Linking the MA in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences (through GSAS) with the MPA (through SIPA)
WHEREAS the Education Committee of the University Senate has favorably reviewed the proposal from GSAS and SIPA to establish the dual MA-MPA degree; and
WHEREAS the proposed dual MA-MPA program, in which students earn an MA in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences (QMSS) through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) through the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), would provide training for individuals who seek comprehensive understanding of quantitative social research and public policy; and
WHEREAS the proposed dual degree program would meet the needs of MPA students who want to develop advanced tools of social science research that are increasingly in demand in policy positions, and the needs of QMSS MA students interested in public policy, needs currently not being met by the separate programs; and
WHEREAS students in the QMSS and SIPA MPA programs have expressed interest in pursuing a dual degree; and
WHEREAS the proposed dual degree would strengthen Columbia’s MPA and QMSS programs, which would help to put Columbia in a leading position in both fields, and would foster collaborative initiatives with other institutions—academic, governmental, corporate, and nonprofit; and
WHEREAS the admissions requirements would be the same as those for other applicants to both SIPA and GSAS; and
WHEREAS the required QMSS courses are to be offered on a consistent schedule, with the required fall courses offered every fall semester and the required spring courses offered every spring, so that students in the dual degree program are assured of access to the courses they need, when they need them;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the University Senate approve this proposal and forward it to the Trustees for action with the proviso that the committee will review the program in five years.
Overview of Proposal
The dual M.A.-MPA program in which
students earn a Master of Arts in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences
(QMSS) through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and a Master of Public
Administration (MPA) through the
Currently, the MPA program offers few courses for students who are interested in developing advanced tools of social science research that are increasingly in demand in policy positions. Similarly, the QMSS M.A. program can offer few courses to students with an interest in public policy. The proposed dual degree program would address both of these shortcomings.
The dual M.A.-MPA program would combine the existing M.A.
program in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences and the MPA program of
This dual degree program would provide a unique blend of rigorous training in quantitative research methods with superior substantive education in public affairs. Inquiries by current and prospective students indicate that there are a number of people interested in pursuing a degree that combines analytical training in methods and policy without the time involved in completing a Ph.D.
Moreover, given the growing number of funders who include
evaluation components in their programs, the demand for individuals who possess
detailed knowledge of both policymaking and evaluation is certain to grow. Yet few policy schools are situated to meet
the demand. The
Graduates of the program would have many possible directions for employment, with potential positions in government, private foundations, other non-profit organizations, development and relief organizations, international organizations (e.g., United Nations), and research “think tanks.”
A number of prospective and current students in both the QMSS and SIPA-MPA programs have expressed interest in pursuing a dual degree. In addition, there is increasing interest in the policy and grantmaker communities for rigorous analysis of the impacts of social policies. A sizeable and growing number of policy initiatives now specify a substantial evaluation component requiring thorough understanding of quantitative methodology. Graduates of this dual degree program would be in a prime position to conduct such analysis.
Several MPA programs offer some training in quantitative analysis of policy; however, few if any offer students in-depth training in advanced quantitative methods. The proposed M.A.-MPA dual degree program would fill that gap. It would allow students to bring significant knowledge and understanding of quantitative research and evaluation methods to their study of public administration.
Similarly, a handful of universities offer degrees in quantitative analysis, but none of them includes a focus on public policy or policy evaluation. The dual degree would also give students interested in quantitative methods in the social sciences the opportunity to channel those skills into the important substantive field of public administration.
No other institution in the metropolitan area or the
northeast offers a program similar to the dual QMSS M.A.-MPA degree. Although there is a similar program offered
The proposed dual degree would strengthen and add rigor and
substance to both
The admissions requirements would be at the same high
standard as that for other applicants to both the
The required QMSS courses are offered on a consistent schedule, with the required fall courses offered every fall semester and the required spring courses offered each spring. Students in the dual degree program can be assured that they will have access to the courses they need, when they need them. In addition, the number of courses offered through QMSS has expanded over the past year with a course in exit polling offered for the first time in Spring 2005 (and scheduled to be offered again in Spring 2006). As the program offerings continue to expand, dual degree students will have even more courses from which to choose in fulfilling their elective requirements.