Remember that Walden’s Title IV Code is 025042.
The Law and Public Policy specialization explores the relationship between statutes and case law and the impact that legislation and court systems can have on public policy. Explore fundamental legal concepts and current topics in law as well as U.S. Supreme Court cases that have had a major precedential effect on individual rights. As a student, you will gain an understanding of legal research and how it is used as a foundation to help support public policy. This specialization will introduce you to the legal challenges you may face as a leader and enable you to learn the strategic planning and organizational management skills you will need to help overcome these challenges.
Estimated time to completion is less than 2 years. Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress; credits transferred, if applicable; and prerequisite courses. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.
Visit the video gallery to learn more about some of the following courses.
The program’s courses are 11 weeks in length and are delivered in a prescribed sequence.
Public administrators work to increase the efficacy of government and organizations on a local and international level. In this course, students explore the diverse political, social, and economic contexts within which public administrators carry out responsibilities. They also examine the history, foundations, and theories of public administration as well as public policy and organizational environments. Students engage in coursework focused on ethical and legal issues, governance, fiscal planning, and current topics and trends in public administration. Gaining real-world insight into the field, they examine the overall history, purpose, and operation of a public organization of their choice. They also assess and describe the operation and health of their organization through the application of public administration theory.
Students in this course are introduced to Walden University and to the requirements for successful participation in an online curriculum. Students work toward building a foundation for academic and professional success as scholar-practitioners and social change agents. They assess the relationship of mission and vision to professional goals and develop a program of study, a Professional Development Plan, and strategies for online success. Students also explore resources used throughout the program, such as the online Walden University Library. Students engage in course assignments focused on the practical application of professional writing, critical-thinking skills, and the promotion of professional and academic excellence and integrity.
Ethics is a foundational element of leadership. In this course, students examine the philosophy of ethics as well as responsibility and social justice—basic tenets of public service. Students explore the complex social, political, and related ethical challenges leaders face as they seek to meet the needs of diverse constituents. They examine ethics and social justice related to economic disparity, power, and privilege. Students also assess demographic data and current social trends and themes to understand, analyze, and address ethical and social justice issues that impact service delivery in a global community. Applying concepts presented in the course, students engage in an in-depth assessment of an emerging or persistent ethical or social justice issue, through which they demonstrate their ability to make recommendations for improvement or change.
Public and nonprofit leaders in all areas of public administration require a thorough understanding of the expectations of their roles as leaders and managers of diverse and complex organizations. Students use theoretical and applied perspectives from which they study the intricacies of these roles, including the distinction between leadership and management, organizational culture, change management, systems theories, and organizational development. Students gain a practical understanding of these topics through the application of principles and concepts to public, private, and nonprofit organizational settings.
Sound financial practices are crucial to managing scarce funds in both public and nonprofit operations. Students in this course examine finance and budgeting concepts, policies, and practices related to organizations as well as the fiscal climate within which they operate. They assess theories for motivating major fiscal-policy debates, and they explore and discuss auditing practices, tax systems, financial management, budgetary reform, financial technology systems, the use of dashboards for financial reporting, and the impact of globalization on finance and budget. Students read and analyze budgets, financial statements, and reports. They contextualize their learning as they apply knowledge gained from their analysis to develop a new budget and financial plan for either a public or private organization.
The acquisition, development, and retention of talent are critical elements in the success of any organization. In this course, students examine theories, approaches, and systems related to hiring, managing, training, and retaining employees in government and nonprofit organizations. Through the use of case studies, students explore topics that include legal and ethical considerations, diversity, performance management, the establishment and implementation of policy, technology, and conflict management. Students apply principles and concepts learned in this course to real-world situations encountered in public, private, and nonprofit organizations.
In an increasingly complex world, leaders and managers in public and nonprofit organizations plan strategies to fulfill the organizational mission and enhance stakeholder satisfaction. Students in this course explore the role and process of strategic planning, including collaboration, cooperation, and coordination. They also examine the benefits, challenges, and pitfalls of strategic planning, in addition to the impact of globalization. Students apply these concepts to real-life scenarios and develop a strategic plan for a nonprofit or public organization.
Contemporary public administrators work in a dynamic, partisan environment with unprecedented access to public policy data—conditions leading to extraordinary opportunities and, often times, severe constraints. Students in this course thoroughly examine key stakeholders involved in the public policy process and devote special attention to their function, impact, and constraint on policy development. In addition, students explore professional ethics related to the role of the policy analyst and consider the significant social outcomes of public policy. They examine the theories and strategies used by policy makers and policy analysts to develop, implement, execute, evaluate, and promulgate public policy. They also assess the impact and consequences of public policy and evaluate it though a social justice framework. Using critical-thinking and communication skills, students craft a policy memorandum regarding a current public policy problem, for which they consider and evaluate competing policy alternatives.
Organizational credibility, community trust, and fundraising are increasingly dependent upon demonstration of program effectiveness and success. Students in this course are introduced to research and evaluation methods in the public and nonprofit sectors to learn ways to measure and assess a program’s effectiveness and potential success as well as to address problems or issues in the field. Students examine the strengths, limitations, and threats to validity; models, quantitative metrics, and tools used to evaluate programs and policies; and legal and ethical issues associated with research and evaluation methods. Using these parameters and other concepts presented in the course, students critically evaluate sample research, consider ways to communicate results to an intended audience, and reflect on trends and challenges that could affect future program evaluation.
Legal decisions and the law often have a major impact on the creation of public policy. In this course, students explore and discuss the relationship between laws and public policy and the impact that court decisions have on policy and policy leaders. They examine the role of administrative agencies in the creation and execution of law and public policy and the role of the courts in resolving challenges to agency rule making; conflicts between executive and legislative branches of government; and conflicts between and among federal, state, and local laws. Students have the opportunity to sharpen their critical-thinking and research-database skills as they search for real-world examples of how fundamental legal concepts and processes affect the creation and execution of law and public policy.
There is a wealth of vital legal knowledge available to public policy practitioners. In this course, students explore the many print and electronic resources available for legal research. Students examine how practitioners use the law to inform the creation of public policy. They engage in assignments designed to provide practical application of content to learn how to navigate legal libraries, cite cases, and employ research to support public policy. Students also gain experience in applying legal research to case studies and contemporary issues.
Major issues in the Supreme Court continue to have an impact on public policy at the state and local levels. In this course, students examine major past and current U.S. Supreme Court cases related to abortion, privacy, due process, personal property, and freedom of religion and speech. They also examine major cases related to state powers, government entitlement, and powers of the judicial and federal branches of government. From this assessment, students determine how outcomes of such cases affect public policy. Students also explore and discuss individual rights, property rights, administrative law, immigration law, and foreign policy as well as contemporary issues and case studies, to which they apply legal research and verdicts.
In this course, students complete a capstone project using action research that fosters social change in public administration or nonprofit management and leadership. In the project they demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and competencies acquired in their master’s degree program. The project employs an action research model. Students reflect on how the project and the program have contributed to their personal, scholarly, and professional growth.
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