Chris Matthews at USF
MSNBC Host Chris Matthews leads a Master of Public Affairs seminar this springRead More »

G Public Affairs




Leadership for the Common Good
The purpose of this course is to provide some intellectual tools for approaching the ethical dimensions of public service work. Students will explore real conflicts faced and decisions and compromises made by people with long histories in different kinds of public service work in the San Francisco Bay Area. Explores the dynamics of contemporary public affairs through the lens of applied social science. Designed to familiarize students with the leading scholarly literature and practical debates in American Politics.

Master's Capstone Project
Master's degree candidates will propose, design, and implement a substantial and original research project designed to integrate theory and knowledge with political action. Topics should be designed in conjunction with the internship experience and be of interest to the host organization.

Public Affairs and Applied Democratic Theory

This foundational seminar examines and analyzes models of democratic accountability to identify viable techniques and strategies for encouraging effective public participation in governance. Provides a theoretical underpinning for discussions of public ethics.

Public Affairs Internship
This intensive fieldwork internship is required for completion of the degree. Students are expected to successfully complete 400 hours working with a public affairs organization including political campaigns, advocacy agencies, community organizations, neighborhood associations, public offices, or similar entities.

Quantitative Methods in Public Affairs
Use of quantitative information and research in politics and public policy. Topics include research design and methodology, statistical association, causal reasoning, hypothesis testing, regression analysis, and geographic information systems. Students are exposed to appropriate statistical and database software.

Writing for Public Affairs Professionals
Essential writing skills required for political professionals including such writing styles as press releases, speeches, talking points, policy memos, policy briefs, position papers, opinion editorials, and grants.


Applied Political Psychology
This course is designed to give students a practical understanding of how the media and political worlds interact on a day-to-day basis. Through projects based on real-world scenarios and discussion, students will develop a sense of what is required of a media strategist as well as research-driven concepts in political psychology that determine the success or failure of media strategies.

The Art of Advocacy: Speechwriting

Campaign Management and Organization
Explores choices made by campaigns in staffing a campaign and devising and executing a campaign plan. Includes fundraising, field organizing, voter targeting, volunteer recruitment, and get-out-the-vote efforts.

Critical Thinking and Crisis Management
This class will train students in the fundamentals of critical thinking and how communicators can best apply this thinking to a variety of practical problems, with an emphasis on crisis situations with political or public policy overtones. Critical thinking helps sharpen communicators' abilities to ask the right questions, formulate problems form multiple perspectives, anticipate and analyze stakeholder needs, and challenge assumptions and conventional wisdom.

Grassroots Advocacy & Mobilization
This course examines attempts to mobilize communities for social change. By dissecting how we set goals, create and channel motivation, build structure, create strategy and take action, students will gain a much deeper understanding of how to mobilize communities for change. These skills will translate into the real word of community, issue and electoral organizing efforts.

Lobbying & Governmental Relations
This course seeks to instill a practical understanding of lobbying - to demystify the industry, the practices and the tactics used by advocates to accomplish the goals their clients seek to achieve.

Non-Profits and Public Policy
This class explores the role of nonprofit organizations in the formation and implementation of public policy in the United States. Topics include an introductory review of public policy process, lobbying and advocacy, building organizational capacity to participate in public policy, government regulation of nonprofit organizations, developing advocacy campaigns, public policy analysis, ballot initiatives, ethics in public interest lobbying, grantmaking for public policy and challenges to nonprofit advocacy

Race, Organizing and Political Power
This course will examine urban policy issues through the lens of racial justice grassroots organizations in American cities today. Students will explore the multiple strategies employed by non-profit community organizing groups to improve conditions facing low income and working class communities of color in the US, and in San Francisco in particular.

Strategic Communications
This class addresses the formulation of communications strategies as a basis for advocacy and political persuasion. Examines messaging, policy framing, media relations, and processes of macro and micro targeting. Develops skills in various forms of communications including both written and oral.

Urban Public Policy
An introduction to policymaking in American cities, focusing on the central public policy challenges facing urban areas in the United States from a global perspective. Explores relationships between private economy and public policies in American cities; causes of urban decline and uneven development; and urban redevelopment and human capital policies. Includes development politics, land use, housing, transportation, and the political and institutional settings for policy making.