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The Best Online MPA Programs: Online Master's in Public Administration

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An online master's in public administration (MPA) allows graduates to work on important issues affecting the general public.

Professionals passionate about social welfare and creating change in public service should consider earning an online master's in public administration. This degree can lead to middle and upper management positions in the governmental, private, and nonprofit sectors. Public service careers may also qualify professionals for student loan forgiveness after 120 payments.

This degree does not limit professionals to a particular sector. Common specializations include financial management, healthcare management, international development, and urban affairs. Industries with the highest levels of employment include enterprise management, technical consulting services, and local governments.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), over 2.2 million managers work in this field, earning a median annual salary of $104,690. The top-paying states for these professionals include New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. States with the highest levels of employment include California, Texas, and New York.

Top Programs

#1 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
#2 Northwestern University Evanston, IL
#3 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
#4 University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA
#5 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
#6 University of Missouri - Columbia Columbia, MO
#7 Texas A & M University - College Station College Station, TX
#8 University of Miami Coral Gables, FL
#9 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN
#10 American University Washington, DC

The Best Online Master’s in Public Administration Degree Programs

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4

University of Pittsburgh 

Pittsburgh, PA

About this school

The University of Pittsburgh offers an online master's in public administration designed for mid-career public service professionals. The flexible, part-time program requires applicants to have at least five years of professional experience in areas like program management, human resource management, and budgeting and finance. The curriculum explores topics like nonprofit management, public administration, public policy, and security and intelligence.

The 30-credit, online master of public policy and management takes five terms to complete. Students take two classes per term and follow a set curriculum taught by faculty members from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Core courses include administration of public affairs, program evaluation, microeconomics, and public policy analysis.

Students develop administration and managerial skills, explore policy development and implementation, and become proficient with analytical tools and methods. The online program charges all students the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Distance learners receive help from a dedicated faculty advisor and full-time enrollment counselor.

Application requirements include a resume, a personal statement, two letters of recommendation from past supervisors, and undergraduate transcripts.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
83%
Percent Receiving Loans
56%
5

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

Chapel Hill, NC

About this school

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers an online master of public administration (MPA) degree through its School of Government. The program explores topics like public service leadership, human resource management, organization theory, and public financial management.

The 45-credit degree includes core courses, electives, an immersion experience, and practicum and portfolio courses. Students can choose from five concentrations, including local government, public management, public health, and international relations. The program features instruction from practitioner faculty with real-world experience serving the public.

UNC-Chapel Hill's partnership with other top institutions lets MPA students take online courses for the degree through George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health and American University's School of International Service. The program requires admitted students without a strong background in U.S. government functions to complete a prerequisite course in American government, available at no cost through the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government.

Application requirements include a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution, a statement of purpose, a resume, three letters of recommendation, and GRE, GMAT, or LSAT scores. Qualified applicants may apply for a standardized test score waiver.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
89%
Percent Receiving Loans
28%
6

University of Missouri - Columbia 

Columbia, MO

About this school

The University of Missouri's fully online master of public affairs explores ethical leadership, economic analysis, and public policy strategy. Most students take one nine-week class at a time and graduate in two years. Graduates can pursue careers in nonprofit management, policy analysis, public health management, and government relations. Distance learners pay in-state tuition rates regardless of residency.

The 30-credit program includes classes like introduction to public and nonprofit management, research methods and inquiry in public affairs, public service and democracy, and collaborative governance. Students can choose from specializations in public management, nonprofit management, or public policy. The flexible program offers five start dates each year.

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution, a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 credits of undergraduate education, and at least three years of progressively responsible professional experience in public affairs. The program does not require GRE scores. The Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
69%
Percent Receiving Loans
44%
7

Texas A & M University - College Station 

College Station, TX

About this school

Distance learners can pursue an online executive master of public service and administration from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A & M University. Designed for working professionals, this two-year program is mostly online, but includes a one-week, in-person residency each year.

The 39-credit program offers specializations in homeland security, nonprofit management, and public management. Required classes include foundations of public service, program evaluation in public and nonprofit organizations, economic analysis, and quantitative methods of public management.

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from an accredited university and at least five years of professional, full-time public service experience with at least three years of mid- to upper-level experience. Applicants must submit official transcripts, a resume, a statement of purpose, and three letters of recommendation.

The online public service and administration master's degree at the Bush School of Government and Public Service is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
82%
Percent Receiving Loans
32%
8

University of Miami 

Coral Gables, FL

About this school

The University of Miami offers an online master of public administration that prepares students for careers in public service. Grounded in practice, the program explores topics like human resource management, ethics, and financial management in public administration.

The fully online, 36-credit program requires classes on non-governmental organizations and global governance, public policy analysis and administration, and productivity improvement in the public and nonprofit sectors. Students take one seven-week course at a time. The program features expert faculty members, peer-to-peer learning, and small class sizes. Graduates quality for leadership positions in business, government, and nonprofit organizations.

Admission requirements include unofficial undergraduate transcripts, a resume, a personal statement, two professional recommendations, and GRE scores. The program may waive the GRE requirement for students with at least 18 graduate credits or extensive relevant work experience. Distance learners qualify for a variety of financial aid opportunities, including scholarships and grants.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
82%
Percent Receiving Loans
29%
9

Indiana University - Bloomington 

Bloomington, IN

About this school

The online master of public administration from Indiana University Bloomington's O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs prepares students for public service jobs. Distance learners can participate in O'Neill Online Week — an optional, three-credit, in-person, intensive course that gives public administration majors a chance to develop connections and network with classmates, professors, and program alumni.

The 48-credit degree requires core courses, focus area courses, and an internship. With help from the faculty director, students design a plan of study that reflects their professional goals. The program offers focus areas in public financial administration, public management, policy analysis, and nonprofit management.

Required core courses include statistical analysis for effective decision-making, public management economics, law and public affairs, and public finance and budgeting. Core requirements also include a capstone in public and environmental affairs. Students gain professional experience through a required internship course, which is waived for those with previous professional or military experience.

Application requirements include unofficial transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and writing samples. Applicants can optionally submit GRE or GMAT scores to bolster their applications. The program awards up to 12 credits for prior professional experience.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
78%
Percent Receiving Loans
35%
10

American University 

Washington, DC

About this school

American University's top-ranked School of Public Affairs boasts an online master of public administration that explores topics like organizational leadership, human resource systems, and public service organizations. The two-year program develops critical thinking, writing, and research skills, featuring instruction from the same highly qualified faculty members who teach on campus.

The 36-credit, online public administration program includes classes like budgeting and financial management, quantitative methods, foundations of public administration and policy analysis, and project management. Students also take a public policy practicum course that explores the legal, institutional, and ethical aspects of policy analysis. The program requires a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA to graduate.

The School of Public Affairs accepts applications year-round or until the program reaches capacity. Applicants need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college. They must also submit a resume, a statement of purpose, two letters of recommendation, and GRE or LSAT scores. Distance learners may qualify for financial aid. AU also offers an online merit scholarship for students who demonstrate academic excellence as undergraduates.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
80%
Percent Receiving Loans
56%
11

Ohio University 

Athens, OH

About this school

The fully online master of public administration program at Ohio University offers four concentrations: public leadership and management, crisis and emergency management, nonprofit management, and state and local government management. Students gain communication, project management, strategic planning, and budgeting skills.

The two-year program explores topics like human resource management, policy evaluation, and financial management. Core courses include research methods in leadership and public affairs, strategic leadership and public value, public sector program evaluation, and public/private partnerships. Faculty include industry experts with diverse experiences and research interests. Classes offer discussion boards and virtual office hours with professors.

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from an accredited college, official transcripts, a letter of intent, a resume, and three letters of recommendation. International students must also submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. The program offers three start dates each year.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
64%
Percent Receiving Loans
66%
12

University of Delaware 

Newark, DE

About this school

The University of Delaware's online master of public administration (MPA) from the Joseph R. Biden Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration ranks among the best MPA programs in the country. The program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). Most MPA majors graduate in 30 months, and the school's career services and alumni network help students find internships and job placements.

The 36-credit program emphasizes experiential learning and includes classes in performance management and program evaluation, quantitative analysis in public and nonprofit sectors, financial management in public and nonprofit sectors, and values and ethics for leadership and management. The program also requires a capstone.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also submit unofficial transcripts, a current resume, three letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and a personal statement. All foreign applicants must submit TOEFL scores.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
81%
Percent Receiving Loans
53%
13

Kansas State University 

Manhattan, KS

About this school

Kansas State University offers an online master of public administration (MPA) degree that prepares students to become civic leaders. The student-centered program is designed for both pre-career and mid-career students, requires some in-person coursework, and features a low student-to-faculty ratio. K-State's MPA typically takes five full-time semesters to complete. The program strongly encourages part-time students to graduate within six years.

The 39-40-credit degree includes 24 core credits, nine elective credits, and six emphasis area credits. Required classes include public budgeting, administrative ethics, urban politics, and organization theory. MPA students must pass a comprehensive exam and complete a capstone course in their final semester.

The program requires pre-career students to complete a one-credit, 400-hour internship at a nonprofit agency or in the public sector. The director of graduate studies coordinates internship positions, which students must complete after their second semesters.

Application requirements include a statement of objectives, three letters of recommendation, and transcripts from all previously attended colleges. International applicants must also submit TOEFL scores and a financial affidavit. K-State's master of public administration is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
64%
Percent Receiving Loans
48%
14

DePaul University 

Chicago, IL

About this school

DePaul University's online master of public administration (MPA) degree prepares students for leadership positions in the public sector. Students can complete all coursework online or take some classes in the evening on campus. Those who take two classes per quarter can graduate in just over two years.

The 52-credit program explores topics in human resource management, ethical organizational leadership, public policy design and analysis, and public finance and budgeting. Students can choose from specializations in emergency management, international public management, domestic public management, and metropolitan and urban affairs.

Regardless of specialization, all students take classes in government financial administration, fundamentals of human resource management, applied statistics for public service, and policy design and analysis. The program also offers the option to complete a for-credit internship in a government setting. MPA students with a minimum 3.5 GPA can choose to complete a thesis in lieu of a required integrative seminar course.

DePaul accepts applications on a rolling basis. Students can start the program during any quarter. Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university, a professional statement, a resume, and official transcripts.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
72%
Percent Receiving Loans
62%
15

San Diego State University 

San Diego, CA

About this school

San Diego State University offers a fast-track, online master of public administration (MPA) degree designed for managers currently working in nonprofit and government agencies. The program may also accept students with previous experience in public administration, criminal justice, or urban planning. Distance learners must complete two on-campus learning experiences — one at the start of the program and one at the end.

The 16-month MPA consists of six two-month sessions. Students take two accelerated classes each session. The final session requires a capstone research project that students present to faculty and industry professionals during the final on-campus experience. Students take seven core and four elective courses. The 36-credit degree requires classes in public financial management, the scope of public administration, administration and public policy development, and administrative theory.

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree in any subject from a regionally accredited university and a minimum 2.85 GPA, though at least a 3.0 GPA is preferred. Applicants must also submit GRE scores, two letters of recommendation, a resume, transcripts, and a statement of purpose.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
74%
Percent Receiving Loans
31%
16

Kent State University at Kent 

Kent, OH

About this school

The two-year, fully online master of public administration (MPA) degree from Kent State University ranks among the best MPA programs in the country. Designed for working professionals who want to advance their careers in the public sector, the program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).

The 36-credit program includes eight core courses, three electives, and one capstone project. Core classes include public personnel administration, methods in public administration, strategic planning, and public sector IT management. Electives explore topics like nonprofit law, nonprofit financial resource development, and electronic governance. Students without full-time administrative experience working in public service must complete a three-credit internship in addition to the required 36 credits to graduate.

New students choose from three start dates per year. Each class lasts seven weeks, and students take two sequential classes each semester. Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Those with a 2.7 GPA or higher may receive conditional admission. Applicants must also submit official transcripts, a resume, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a writing sample.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
60%
Percent Receiving Loans
66%
17

University of Wyoming 

Laramie, WY

About this school

The University of Wyoming offers an interdisciplinary, online master of public administration (MPA) program through its School of Politics, Public Affairs, and International Studies. In this program, students learn to implement policies, design programs, and manage administrative issues.

The curriculum emphasizes the ethical and effective management of organizations, integrating theory and practice to explore topics in budgeting and financial administration, organizational and managerial practices, and personnel and human relations. Students take core classes like survey of public administration, ethics in government, public administration in law, and public policy and program management.

All MPA majors without at least two years of progressive administrative experience with a nonprofit or public organization must complete a three-credit internship. Designed for both pre-service and in-service students, the MPA prepares individuals for administrative, management, and leadership roles in nonprofit and government organizations.

Applicants must hold an accredited bachelor's degree in any subject. They must also submit transcripts, GRE scores, two letters of recommendation, a letter of interest, and an analytical writing response. International applicants must also submit TOEFL scores. MPA graduates qualify for jobs as county administrators, human resources directors, city managers, and directors of financial aid.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
57%
Percent Receiving Loans
50%
18

Virginia Commonwealth University 

Richmond, VA

About this school

Virginia Commonwealth University offers an online master of public administration degree through its L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs. The program holds accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) and won NASPAA's Social Equity Award in 2016.

Most MPA students work full time, but the program also welcomes individuals without professional experience in public service. The 36-credit degree includes core courses in public administration theory, public human resource management, public policy analysis, and quantitative methods for public administration. Students with less than one year of professional experience in the nonprofit or public sectors must complete a three-credit internship in addition to the required 36 credits.

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants must also submit three letters of recommendation, a statement of intent, transcripts, and a current resume. The program offers three start dates per year.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
67%
Percent Receiving Loans
57%
19

University of San Francisco 

San Francisco, CA

About this school

The University of San Francisco offers an online master of public administration (MPA) that emphasizes public leadership serving the most vulnerable communities. The curriculum explores the intersections of the private, public, and nonprofit sectors and gives students practical experience implementing public service projects and programs. The program offers small class sizes and a flexible schedule ideal for working professionals.

The 38-credit MPA includes core classes like value-driven leadership and ethics, public policy analysis and implementation, information technology and e-trends, and quantitative methods and big data. Students can optionally add a health service administration concentration to the degree. Distance learners develop interpersonal, administrative, and communication skills.

The MPA program prefers applicants with at least two years of professional experience, which can include internships. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and submit a resume, two letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. The School of Management's online MPA is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
75%
Percent Receiving Loans
60%
20

Texas Tech University 

Lubbock, TX

About this school

Texas Tech University's College of Arts and Sciences offers a fully online master's in public administration degree accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).

The 42-credit program offers concentrations in healthcare administration, public management, nonprofit management, and environmental policy and administration. Core classes include public administration theory and practice, public organization theory, research methods in public administration, and program evaluation and quantitative analysis. Students must maintain a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA to graduate.

Out-of-state online MPA students pay a tuition rate comparable to that of in-state learners. Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree, official GRE scores, two letters of recommendation, and a resume. Individuals with extensive public service work experience can request a GRE waiver.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
60%
Percent Receiving Loans
44%
21

Villanova University 

Villanova, PA

About this school

Designed for working professionals, Villanova University's fully online master of public administration (MPA) degree takes two years to complete. Distance learners pay a flat per-credit tuition rate, regardless of residency.

The 36-credit program includes 12 core and elective courses, including required classes in public administrative theory, human capital management, applied data analysis, and leadership ethics. Electives cover topics like effective city management and fundraising for nonprofit organizations. MPA students must also pass a comprehensive exam, which serves as the program's capstone experience. Learners must complete at least 24 credits with a minimum 3.0 GPA to qualify to take the exam.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and submit official transcripts from all prior colleges, plus three professional or academic recommendations, a resume or CV, a statement of goals, and an essay. The school prefers applicants with at least three years of relevant experience. Students can transfer up to six graduate credits from a regionally accredited university to the MPA.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
91%
Percent Receiving Loans
46%
22

Clemson University 

Clemson, SC

About this school

The College of Behavioral, Social, and Health Sciences at Clemson University offers a fully online master of public administration (MPA) that ranks among the best MPA programs in the country. The flexible program features group activities, a diverse mix of students, and experienced faculty members.

Core courses include perspectives on public administration, research methods for public administration, administrative leadership, and public financial management. Students can choose from five specializations, including nonprofit management, emergency management, homeland defense and security, or local and state government. Students can also choose between a comprehensive exam or a capstone project to culminate the degree.

Most students in the program work as nonprofit or public administration professionals. Clemson strongly encourages learners without at least five years of professional experience to complete an internship course.

The program admits prospective students three times per year. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and submit transcripts, GRE scores (or a waiver request), two letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and documentation of any relevant professional experience. All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
83%
Percent Receiving Loans
40%
23

The University of Montana 

Missoula, MT

About this school

The online master of public administration (MPA) degree from the University of Montana prepares experienced professionals and pre-career students for nonprofit and public sector work. The program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).

The 36-credit degree requires core and elective coursework and a portfolio project. Core courses include human resource management, budgeting and finance, organization theory, and policy analysis. Students can add a formal concentration in nonprofit administration or design their own concentrations with approval from the program director. Distance learners can also complete 18 elective credits in lieu of a concentration.

The MPA program accepts applications on a rolling basis. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit GRE scores, transcripts, three letters of recommendation from past employers or professors, a resume, and a personal statement. Students can complete up to nine MPA credits in non-degree status prior to admission into the program.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
46%
Percent Receiving Loans
57%
24

Seton Hall University 

South Orange, NJ

About this school

Seton Hall University offers a fully online master of public administration and nonprofit management that prepares students to lead nonprofit and public organizations. The program explores leadership and management strategies and combines theory with practice. The master's program is one of the first to be designed using guidelines from the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council. The program holds accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).

Students in this program study social advocacy, collaborative decision-making, public policy, and research and analysis. Core classes include the economic environment of public service management, ethics in public service, cross-sector collaboration and cooperation, and research methods and statistical analysis. The program also offers an optional nonprofit concentration.

Students culminate the degree with an internship, practicum, or research seminar. Potential jobs for graduates include nonprofit program director, fundraising manager, municipal business manager, and social and community services manager.

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants must also submit a statement of purpose, a resume, and three letters of recommendation. All distance learners in the MPA program pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
70%
Percent Receiving Loans
57%
25

University of North Dakota 

Grand Forks, ND

About this school

The two-year, fully online master of public administration (MPA) from the University of North Dakota emphasizes management, ethics, and leadership. The 36-credit program offers tracks in social entrepreneurship and health administration.

Required courses include administrative ethics in the public sector, public budgeting and financial administration, creation and management of social enterprises, and research methods. In addition to coursework, students may complete internships with NGOs, nonprofit groups, and city and state government agencies. Students gain strategic planning, public administration, project management, and public relations skills.

Online classes take place in a virtual classroom in real time, and MPA students can access job search resources through UND's career services office.

UND's MPA program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum cumulative 2.75 GPA or a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last two years of undergraduate work. They must also submit transcripts, a statement of goals, GRE scores, and three letters of recommendation.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
55%
Percent Receiving Loans
63%
👏

End of list, bravo!

Ranking Methodology
Best Online Programs

Online Master's in Public Administration Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked the following degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

What Is an Online Master's in Public Administration Degree?

An online master's in public administration is an interdisciplinary degree that offers a humanistic approach to management, preparing graduates for executive administration and policy analyst roles. The best MPA programs incorporate economics, political science, law, and sociology courses. Students learn to analyze both qualitative and quantitative data, serve diverse populations, and manage resources.

An online master's in public administration is an interdisciplinary degree that offers a humanistic approach to management, preparing graduates for executive administration and policy analyst roles.

Schools that offer an online master's in public administration often prefer candidates with a relevant bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. The best applicants also have experience in relevant industries or leadership positions.

The best MPA programs help students develop knowledge and skills in human relations, policy formation, economic analysis, and data analytics. Learners also develop soft skills like problem-solving and decision-making.

Choosing an Online Program

Working students may prefer a 100% online degree, while others may enjoy a hybrid format, which requires up to 50% in-person attendance. It's important to take your personal and professional responsibilities into account when choosing a format for your online program.

How To Choose Your Major

What Else Can I Expect From a Master's in Public Administration Program?

An online master's in public administration prepares graduates to assess challenges facing the public and provide policy recommendations that foster positive change. Core courses emphasize policy research, economics, and statistical analysis. Universities usually also offer specializations, which can help students prove their expertise in a competitive job market.

The following list explores some courses that students may take during an online public administration degree.

Public Administration Curriculum

  • Microeconomics: This course helps students understand how markets affect global relationships and how professionals can respond to various economic conditions. Topics include economic theory, market structure, and government regulation.
  • Policy-making: This course examines government at the national, state, and local levels. Students also learn strategies for balancing policy objectives and organizational politics to foster change. Other course objectives include describing the role of policy analysis in the decision-making process and identifying areas for improvement.
  • Public Management: This course explores the bureaucracy of political processes, issues in public management, and strategies for managing organizations. Course objectives include analyzing the impact of ethical practices in public administration and assessing theories and techniques related to public organizational management.

Public Administration Professional Organizations

Students earning an online master's of public administration should consider joining professional organizations. These organizations provide online resources, professional development opportunities, conferences, mentorship opportunities, and a support network of like-minded practitioners.

American Society for Public Administration

ASPA has over 70 years of experience in helping public administration professionals advance their careers. Graduates and young professionals who become members benefit from an active professional support network that provides mentorship opportunities. ASPA also offers bi-weekly newsletters and other online publications.

National Academy of Public Administration

Established in 1967, NAPA assists government leaders facing management challenges. The Academy creates a scope of work, drawing from current fellows to form an advisory group to meet sponsors' needs. Focus areas include intergovernmental evaluation, financial management, strategic planning, and organizational assessment. Members include state legislators, governors, business executives, and scholars.

Careers in Public Administration

An online master's in public administration covers topics related to government and business, including economic development, political science, public policy, and leadership. As such, this advanced interdisciplinary degree prepares graduates for careers in many industries.

Read on to learn more about three specific careers in public administration.

General and Operations Managers

General and operations managers work with employees and other management leaders to ensure that businesses function efficiently. These leaders often control budgets, develop strategies for improvement, and reinforce organizational policies. Other responsibilities include hiring new employees and creating effective training procedures.

Candidates must have at least a bachelor's degree and leadership experience. However, employers value applicants with advanced degrees, especially for upper-level management positions. The best applicants understand resource allocation, human resource modeling, and production methods. Relevant skills include active listening, coordination, social perceptiveness, and public speaking.

Median Annual Salary

$100,930

Projected Growth Rate

9%

Urban and Regional Planners

Urban and regional planners create proposals to establish communities, provide avenues for land or structure revitalization, and accommodate population growth. These professionals often collaborate with developers, public officials, and other stakeholders regarding land use and planning. Other duties include gathering and analyzing data, reviewing site plans, assessing feasibility of plans, and maintaining compliance with zoning.

The best candidates hold a master's degree from an accredited school. Employers favor candidates with professional experience in leadership or relevant industries. Currently, New Jersey is the only state that requires a license for this role.

Median Annual Salary

$74,350

Projected Growth Rate

11%

Legislators

Citizens elect legislators to develop laws and serve as members of legislative bodies. Duties include identifying national and local implications of legislation, processing bills that can become state law if approved, debating bills and amendments on the legislative floor, and conferring with colleagues on committee assignments.

The best legislators are aware of new developments in their areas of expertise, offer professional development support, and keep the public informed of policy changes. While no guidelines exist for educational requirements, candidates typically have extensive educational and professional experience.

Median Annual Salary

$24,670

Projected Growth Rate

7%

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Master's in Public Administration Program?

Full-time students can earn a degree in two years. Some programs may offer accelerated options, which allow students to earn their degrees in a shorter time frame.

What Can I Do With a Master's in Public Administration?

A master's in public administration can lead to many different careers working in management or administration. Students should begin their career searches by identifying industries that spark their interests.

How Much Do You Make in Public Administration?

Salaries for advanced roles in public administration vary significantly. Learners should research data for specific job titles, geographic locations, and industries to determine accurate projections.

What Is Public Administration?

Public administration is the management and organization of public programs, especially those designed to create positive change in communities. Succeeding in this field requires policy and decision-making skills.

What Is a Master's in Public Administration?

The best MPA programs emphasize systematic investigation of organizational management and operations. This degree prepares graduates for management roles in both public and private industries.

What's the Difference Between an MBA and an MPA?

Both an MBA and a MPA prepare graduates for administrative roles. However, an MPA focuses on public affairs, while an MBA covers business management.

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