University Senate                                                          Proposed: November 17, 2005

                                                                                    Adopted:

 

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.

 

                                                                                    Proponent

                                                                                    Education Committee

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proposed Dual M.A. (QMSS) - MPA Degree Program

 

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 School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), would provide training for individuals who seek comprehensive understanding of quantitative social research and public policy.

 

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 the School of International and Public Affairs.  It would not replace any existing programs, but would instead offer an enhanced combined curriculum designed to prepare policy analysts for careers in a wide variety of positions.

 

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 Harris School at the University of Chicago, for example, has a reputation for rigorous statistical training but offers no specific degree program for those interested in advanced quantitative techniques.  Of SIPA’s peer institutions, only the Ford School at the University of Michigan offers a policy degree with a concentration in quantitative analysis.  By creating this dual degree, Columbia would place itself at the forefront of the field’s needs.

 

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 by the Ford School at the University of Michigan – a Master in Public Policy with a concentration in Quantitative Analysis, Columbia offers a very different environment, both geographically and institutionally, so that the creation of this new program would have little or no effect on Michigan’s program.  With its New York City location, Columbia offers outstanding outstanding opportunities for students to participate in internships and to form networks that lead to employment after graduation.

 

The proposed dual degree would strengthen and add rigor and substance to both Columbia’s MPA and QMSS programs.  This would help to put Columbia in a leading position in the fields of public administration and quantitative research methods, and would generate a basis for cooperative initiatives with other institutions -- academic, governmental, corporate and non-profit -- interested in collaborative work.  QMSS is currently working to establish formal relationships with corporate and non-profit institutions in greater New York City.

 

The admissions requirements would be at the same high standard as that for other applicants to both the School of International and Public Affairs and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Columbia.  The student body would be a mixture of recent college graduates and those who are currently in the workforce. A joint committee of faculty from SIPA and QMSS would meet each spring to evaluate candidates for the dual degree program and determine the next year’s incoming class.  The program would join with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) and SIPA’s efforts to recruit from groups historically underrepresented in such programs.  Every summer since 1990, GSAS has held a Summer Research Program for Students from Historically Underrepresented Groups.  In addition, the GSAS Office of Minority Affairs recruits aggressively at a number of graduate school fairs across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, publicizing GSAS programs and recruiting applicants each year at the annual Ronald McNair Research Conference and Graduate School Fair.  It is anticipated that the first class of the dual degree program would be small, with 3-6 students.  As word of the program spreads and graduates enter the work force, it is expected that 15 students would be enrolled by the fifth year of the program.

 

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.