For Rutgers-Camden master’s students, research skills are the key to policy jobs


Sponsored: A program with the opportunity to conduct research at the doctoral level and then apply those research skills in the field.

Research skills are critical for future careers in public policy. Rutgers-Camden University built the Master of Public Affairs and Community Development to ensure their graduates are competitive in that environment.

The evidence-based movement requires that public officials be able to keep up with academic research. The program evaluation requires nonprofit staff to design the research. Grants require an evidence base to win, and even more evidence of success to maintain. But many master’s programs have given up on teaching research skills. In response, Rutgers-Camden University has created a master’s degree that provides students with world-class research training, with programming that connects that training to real-world application.

For freshman Jonetta White, the hands-on approach is already paying off. Jonetta White describes her first year on the show by saying:

Best of all, the work I’m doing is focused on the mission; it is work with a purpose that goes beyond intellectual curiosity to a kind of philanthropy through which I can contribute my talents and passion to carry out research that generates real change in the world.”

from Rutgers-Camden Master of Public Affairs and Community Development ensures that students receive world-class research skills in two ways that stand out from their competitors:

  1. Master’s students take core classes in a cohort with Ph.D. Students: Ensuring not only that Masters students leave the program with doctoral-level research skills, but also that students are immersed in a research culture with peers who are conducting original research. The cohort model leads to a peer effect, where students are constantly engaged in high-level conversations that extend beyond the classroom and create a culture of sharing research with each other.

    For students who fall in love with that culture, the degree offers a flexible 2+3 model, where each class taken as part of the two-year master’s degree counts towards a five-year doctorate. Program. For professionals, this not only gives them the option to develop doctoral-level research skills, but also dramatically reduces the time required to earn a doctorate, making it feasible for those who wish to continue in the program and pursue their studies. own studies. investigate.

  2. The program provides professional development opportunities aimed at using research skills in the field as professionals. Too often, research-oriented degrees have a laser focus on academic jobs like professorships. In a tight academic job market, that is both unsustainable and undesirable, particularly for Public Policy departments where so many graduates will use their research skills as professionals. While program graduates have a fantastic track record of gaining permanent positions (see Dr. Prentiss Danzler, Dr Rasheda Weaver, Dr. Ashley Nickels), the program also has a fantastic track record of supporting professionals and helping them with job placements (see Dr. Christopher Wheeler, jasmine mcneese). That support includes: professional development on leadership by Dr. Gloria Bonilla-Santiago; our Ph.Ds over Pints ​​program that supports students by helping them navigate what it means to be a community-engaged scholar; and an association that places students on research teams at United Way for ALICE Y Rising Tide Capital. That latter program helps students build professional networks while providing opportunities to use the research skills developed in the program.

At Rising Tide Capital, Jazmyne McNeese was assigned to conduct research on entrepreneurs. She says of the experience:

“Not only were my clients already doing the critical work, but their commitment to the work allowed for really deep conversations about what it means to combine theory and practice. I was able to put my research and client management skills to the test.”

At United Way, Kathy Lopez works for a data-focused research team to Limited Assets, Restricted Income, Employed (ALICE) families: a critical area of ​​research for those feeling the pressure of the modern economy. She says of the experience:

“As a non-traditional student who also changed careers in mid-life, I have been delighted to have been assigned to the United for ALICE Fellows Program at Rutgers-Camden University. Being assigned to the United by ALICE research team has allowed me to step back and look at the work from a different perspective, and has helped guide my thinking to examine what larger societal factors influence the work that needs to be done.”

For these students and more, Rutgers-Camden University Master of Public Affairs and Community Development it is a place both to develop research skills and to apply them. It is a national leader in community development research, where students can make the same bet the program has: that research skills will propel their own careers in public policy.

Applications for Master of Public Affairs and Community Development they expire March 1, 2022. Contact Dr. Stephen Danley for details.

Dr Stephen Danley is the Graduate Director of the Masters/PhD in Public Affairs and Community Development at Rutgers-Camden University. He is a Marshall Scholar, a graduate of Oxford and Penn, and the author of A Neighborhood Politics of Last Resort: Post-Katrina New Orleans and the Right to the City.


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