Becoming Adjunct: Master of Public Affairs vs. Public Administration or Political Sci

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by lidokeyfl, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. lidokeyfl

    lidokeyfl New Member

    Recently, the University of Missouri unveiled its new online Master of Public Affairs program, which will begin in Spring 2014. I am very interested in the program, but I am concerned that my future ability to teach as an adjunct instructor might be limited with Missouri's degree (as opposed to obtaining a Master of Public Administration or Master of Political Science degree).

    Can anyone tell me what the Master of Public Affairs degree might prepare me (or anyone else) to teach? Any other thoughts or input about the difference between public affairs, public administration, and/or political science graduate degrees?

    Thanks for your help!
  2. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    I can't tell you about which degree or school would be best suited to your career plans, but I have some information that you probably should know. Unfortunately, none of it is good news.

    First, it is getting more and more difficult to land an adjunct teaching job with a master's degree because there are so many doctorate holders competing for the same jobs. If you have considerable previous experience in the field you will be teaching, your chances of landing a job improve somewhat. If you have little actual experience in the field you will be teaching, a master's degree is not likely to land you a teaching job. (I have heard of individuals still being able to find a teaching job with a master's at schools in some remote rural areas)

    Second, landing an adjunct job has become much more difficult in general because competition is stiff. I was recently told that there are many applicants for each teaching job and it's to the point that only the most promising applicants are even contacted. Individuals with doctoral degrees who have experience in the field, or considerable university teaching experience, are taking the few jobs that are available.

    Third, academia in general does not look favorably on degrees that were earned by attending an online program. Misguided and unfair, but true.

    It's possible that you could beat the odds and land a job, but you need to be warned that it is no picnic out there. Sorry for all of the negatives, I hope this is useful for you even if it is not pleasant to hear.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2013
  3. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Political science is a social science that studies human behavior in political systems. Some programs focus mostly on American government while others have an international focus. Political science will prepare you to teach government and international relations courses depending on the focus of the program or concentration you choose. One of my former security studies professors has a PhD in political science. Security studies is a sub-field of international relations.

    Public administration is business administration for the government and non-profit sectors. Public affairs and public policy are pretty similar and they have become very similar to public administration in recent years. A wikipedia article does a good job of explaining the differences between public policy and public administration.
    Master of Public Affairs - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Master of Public Policy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Master of Public Administration - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2013
  4. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    I don't see any problems with using a Master of Public Affairs degree to teach in a Master of Public Administration program.

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