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Concentrations

Coastal Management (12 credits)

This concentration is designed for students who seek careers as planners, planning directors, and town managers in coastal communities where protection of beaches, wetlands, water quality, and other natural resources has to be balanced against the needs of economic development and property rights to manage coastal resources in a sustainable manner.  This often creates a variety of problems related to public access to beaches and waterways, erosion, water quality degradation, protection of water dependent uses, user conflicts, and hazard mitigation.  Some students also work in federal or state agencies addressing these issues from a planning or regulatory standpoint or in nonprofit organizations focused on advocacy or education.  Students have also pursued careers in hazard mitigation and emergency management.  The courses in this concentration are interdisciplinary in nature and are typically populated by students from other master degree programs (e.g., environmental studies, marine science, marine biology, etc.). 

All students pursing a concentration in Coastal Management must complete the following requirements:

  • PLS 521 - Foundations of Coastal and Environmental Management (3)
  • PLS 527 - Planning Theory and Planning Law (3)

Students must take an additional six credit hours of an approved elective. For the complete list see the Academic Catalog.

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Environmental Policy and Management (12 credits)

This concentration is designed for students who seek careers that involve the analysis of environmental policy and management issues.  Students in this concentration pursue positions as environmental planners in local governments, environmental policy analysts, regulators, or program managers in federal or state environmental agencies.  Students also pursue positions in environmental advocacy or educational organizations.  Students also work in the private sector in positions that involve environmental regulatory compliance, hazardous waste management, or land development.  The courses in this concentration are interdisciplinary in nature and are typically populated by students from other master degree programs (e.g., environmental studies, marine science, marine biology, etc.).  

All students pursing a concentration in Environmental Policy and Management must complete the following requirements:

  • PLS 543 - Environmental Policy Analysis (3)

One of the following:

  • EVS 564 - Natural Resource Policy (3)
  • EVS 570 - Advanced Environmental Law and Policy (3)
  • EVS 540 - Foundations of Environmental Management (3)

Students must take an additional six credit hours of an approved elective. For the complete list see the Academic Catalog.

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Marine Policy (12 credits)

This concentration is offered in partnership with the Master of Science in Marine Science (MMS) program in the Center for Marine Studies (CMS).  Students from the MMS and MPA programs take the same required concentration courses.  MPA students then take at least one marine science course focused on applied policy issues and one additional marine policy related course.  The courses in this concentration are interdisciplinary in nature and are typically populated by students from other masters degree programs (e.g., environmental studies, marine science, marine biology, etc.).  Given the required science course, MPA students in this concentration often have an undergraduate degree in the physical or biological sciences or an applied area of scientific study (e.g., environmental science, marine science, etc.).  Students typically have career interests that involve working in regulatory programs or in fisheries management. 

All students pursing a concentration in Marine Policy must complete the following requirements:

  • PLS 543 - Environmental Policy Analysis (3)

One of the following:

  • PLS 544 - Resource Economics (3)
  • ECN 525 - Environmental Economics (3)

Students must take an additional six credit hours of an approved elective. For the complete list see the Academic Catalog.

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Nonprofit Management (12 credits)

This concentration is designed for students who seek careers in the nonprofit sector.  Nonprofits organizations increasingly play an important role in partnership with government and for-profit companies in delivering public services in a variety of fields including health and human services, arts and culture, and the environment.  Students in this concentration often pursue positions as nonprofit organization managers, program directors, fund development specialists, marketing and communications specialists, and private consultants. 

All students pursuing a concentration in Nonprofit Management must complete the following requirements:

  • PLS 530 - Management Practices in Nonprofit Organizations (3)
  • PLS 531 - Resource Development in Nonprofit Organizations (3)

Students must take an additional six credit hours of an approved elective. For the complete list see the Academic Catalog.

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Public Management (12 credits)

This concentration is designed for students seeking careers analysts, planners, planning directors, town managers, and state level managers and administrators.  Students are exposed to broad issues and training in the areas of strategic management, planning, and intergovernmental and inter-organizational relations.  This is the broadest curriculum in the program and those who are undecided with respect to their concentration often choose a concentration in Public Management.  

All students pursing a concentration in Public Management must complete the following requirements:

  • PLS 517 - Strategic Planning and Management for Public and Non-Profit Organizations (3)
  • PLS 542 - Managing Inter-organizational Relations (3)

Students must take an additional six credit hours of an approved elective. For the complete list see the Academic Catalog.

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Public Policy Analysis (12 credits)

This concentration is designed for students who seek careers as policy analysts in public and nonprofit organizations.  Students in this concentration pursue positions as budget analysts, policy analysts, regulators, program managers, consultants in public and nonprofit organizations as well as private organizations. 

All students pursing a concentration in Public Policy Analysis must complete the following requirements:

  • PLS 506 - Program Evaluation (3)
  • PLS 541 - Public Economics and Cost-Benefit Analysis (3)

Students must take an additional six credit hours of an approved elective. For the complete list see the Academic Catalog.

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Urban and Regional Policy and Planning (12 credits)

This concentration is designed for students who are interested in a range of issues and problems confronting urban communities in southeastern North Carolina related to sprawl, land use, sustainability, economic development, housing, transportation, and other social problems.  Students typically seek careers as planners, planning directors, analysts, and town managers in urban communities, primarily at the local level of government.  Some students are also interested in working in nonprofit organizations that address land use and urban policy issues. 

All students pursuing a concentration in Urban and Regional Policy and Planning must complete the following requirements:

  • PLS 513 - Regional Planning Politics and Policy (3)
  • PLS 527 - Planning Theory and Planning Law (3)

Students must take an additional three credit hours of an approved elective. For the complete list see the Academic Catalog.

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