Best Online MPA Programs: Master’s in Public Administration Online Programs

An online Master’s in Public Administration degree provides a path to an array of career options in areas such as public management, government, nonprofit organizations, non-governmental organizations, health and human services, public education, and more.

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An MPA degree serves as the accepted professional credential for public service professionals desiring to advance to middle and upper-level management jobs.

A Master’s degree in Public Administration helps make graduates competitive in various careers which serves the public and promotes the general welfare of communities, neighbors, countries and the world.

What do You Learn from an MPA Degree Program?

Master’s in Public Administration degree programs combine elements of an MBA with subjects such as organizational theory, ethics and strategic management. The programs emphasize leadership and operations management. The programs cover subjects such as project and program management, public financial management, professional communications, political and legal processes, policy implementation and human resources.
Students learn to use leadership skills in public services. Students enhance their leadership skills via courses in ethics, accountability and decision making.

Students learn how to create, implement and evaluate public policy. Students also learn how to manage people and resources to solve problems and meet organizational objectives.

How long does it take to complete an online Master’s in Public Administration degree program? Typically, students can complete the online degree program in two years or less (such as 15 months).

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The Best Online MPA Degree Programs: Master’s in Public Administration Online Degree Programs

1University of Southern California (USC) – Sol Price School of Public Policy (Los Angeles, CA)University of Southern California

Founded in 1929, the Sol Price School of Public Policy acquires its curriculum from the hard work of USC’s foremost research centers.

The faculty of the Sol Price School of Public Policy includes internationally recognized research scholars who actively participate in national, state, and local, government affairs. They offer advice to members of congress heading commissions which provide information to the White House and other governing bodies. They also publish articles in prominent media outlets.

The Sol Price School offers undergraduate, graduate, professional doctorate, graduate certificate, summer certificate, and executive education programs.

The online Master of Public Administration degree program provides students a strong foundation in the vital competencies of the field. Students gain valuable experience in leadership, communication, and navigating public policy. The program incorporates major disciplines related to management and leadership in an interconnected socioeconomic and political environment.

The Online Master of Public Administration degree program is updating curriculum with specialty certificates students can earn among these concentrations:

  • Local Government Management
  • Non-Profit Management
  • Political Management and Advocacy
  • Public Policy

Credit requirements: 40-41 credit hours

Selection of core courses:

  • Public Administration and Society
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Economics for Policy, Planning, and Development
  • Public Financial Management

Students must also complete a capstone project working within teams for an actual client from the public and non-profit sectors engaging senior leadership and presenting research, analysis and consulting services on current problems and policies.

Learning options: Full-time and part-time

Degree completion time: Full-time – two to three years and part-time – three to five years. All students have up to five years to complete the degree requirements.

Start Dates: Rolling admission with class starts in the fall, spring, or summer.

Admissions and transfer credit information: General admission requires an undergraduate degree. Students submit standardized tests scores from either GRE or GMAT. Additionally, students must provide official transcripts from all prior institutions of higher education, a current resume with three letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose.

Transfer students must come from an accredited graduate program and must request a Graduate Transfer Credit Report. The University accepts applicable graduate level courses, with a minimum grade of 3.0 out of 4.0, or B equivalent. The University allows up to eight transfer units, acquired within the past seven years.

Students can receive acknowledgement for military education and work experience.

Accreditation: The Sol Price School of Public Policy received accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). The University of Southern California received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

2American University – School of Public Affairs – Department of Public Administration and Policy (Washington, D.C.)American University

The highly regarded School of Public Affairs houses three comprehensive departments: the Department of Government, the Department of Public Administration and Policy, and the Department of Justice, Law, & Criminology. The School also has ten centers and institutes of research and academic collaboration.

The online Master of Public Administration and Policy (MPAP) degree program combines competencies from the nationally recognized Master of Public Administration and Master of Public Policy programs. Students learn vital skills applicable to the work field such as organizational management, how to formulate and evaluate public policies, and human resource systems.

The MPAP program provides students access to a large alumni network, and faculty and policy experts, all connected with American University.

Credit requirements: 36 credit hours or 12 three-credit courses

Selection of core courses:

  • Legal Issues in Public Administration
  • Public Managerial Economics
  • Foundations of Policy Analysis
  • Budgeting and Financial Management
  • Managing Human Capital Assets
  • Organizational Analysis
  • Project Management
  • Policy Practicum

Students complete the degree participating in a capstone project.

Each course runs for eight weeks in duration.

Learning enrollment options: Full-time, or nine credit hours per semester

Degree time to completion: Students can complete the program in 24 months, including one summer term.

Start dates: The University accepts students on a rolling admissions basis until the program reaches capacity.

Admissions and transfer credit information: Students must have an undergraduate degree and must submit GRE or LSAT scores. Students must also provide a resume, statement of purpose, and two letters of recommendation.

Transfer students must complete the appropriate transfer form.

Accreditation: The Department of Public Administration and Policy received accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). American University received accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

3Arizona State University – School of Public Affairs – ASU Online (Tempe, AZArizona State University)

The School of Public Affairs’ teaching and research focuses on the future of governance and public policy. At both the graduate and undergraduate levels, the School provides hands-on experience in problem-solving in the classroom, capstones, and internships.

The School of Public Affairs and the McCain Institute for International Leadership collaborated to create the online Executive Master of Public Administration degree. The School and the institute designed the comprehensive program for students with five to seven years’ leadership experience in the work field.

Students in the program learn advanced skills, theories, and practices of managing public and private sector organizations.

ASU’s online executive MPA program provides the opportunity for all the students to significantly expand their professional network.

Credit requirements: 30 total credit hours or 10 classes

Selection of core courses:

  • Organization Behavior
  • Negotiating in a Global Context
  • Strategic Planning for Public Sector Leaders
  • Federal Budgeting and Tax Policy
  • Leadership in Public Organizations
  • Diversity, Ethics, Public Change

The program requires three-day face-to-face executive sessions in Washington, D.C. and Phoenix

Each course runs for seven and a half weeks during the fall and spring semesters and six weeks during the summer semesters.

Online instruction style: Mostly Asynchronous learning cohort, one course at a time

Degree time to completion: Students can complete the degree program in 19 months.

Start dates: Annual January start date.

Admissions and transfer credit information: Students must have a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Student’s may have the GPA requirement waived based on professional achievements.

Candidates must have a minimum of five to seven years progressive leadership experience. Additionally, students must submit a resume with three letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose of 300 words or less.

Accreditation: The School of Public Affairs received accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). Arizona State University received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

4University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – UNC School of Government (Chapel Hill, NC)University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

The School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the largest university-based local government training, advisory, and research organization in the United States. The School offers approximately 200 courses, webinars, and conferences annually to local and national public officials. The School of Government has specialized centers focused on information technology and environmental finance.

The online Master of Public Administration degree program covers subjects such as management of public, non-profit, and governmental organizations, public policy, ethics and accountability, budget management, and communication between citizens, bureaucracy, workforce, private organizations, and more.

The program provides five areas of concentration:

  • International Relations
  • Local Government
  • Non-Profit Management
  • Community & Economic Development
  • Public Health

Students in the online MPA program must take a minimum of three electives, out of five offered, in their area of specialization.

Credit requirements: 45 credit hours

Selection of graduate level courses:

  • Organization Theory
  • Public Service Leadership
  • Professional Communications
  • Human Resource Management
  • Collaborative Governance
  • Public Financial Management
  • Advanced Budgeting & Financial Analysis
  • Law for Public Administration

Throughout the MPA program students develop a comprehensive portfolio of relevant work experience. Students finish the degree with a hands-on practicum experience.

All students must take a three-credit course in American Government and Policy. Students are encouraged to take this course as a pre-requisite before applying to the program.

Online instruction style: Synchronous, live classes

Degree time to completion: As little as 18 months

Admissions and transfer credit information: Candidates need a previous bachelor’s degree with cumulative GPA of 3.0. Standardized test scores accepted: GRE – preferred, LSAT or GMAT.

Candidates need to provide a one to two-page statement of purpose and three letters of recommendation.

Accreditation: The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) provides the UNC School of Government with accreditation. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) provides the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with accreditation.

5University of Nebraska, Omaha – College of Public Affairs and Community Service – School of Public Administration (Omaha, NE)University of Nebraska Omaha

The School of Public Administration has a mission to provide strong leaders to a diverse society. The school provides graduate and undergraduate degrees and professional certifications through the Nebraska Municipal Clerk School and Academy and the Certified Public Manager programs.

The faculty includes nationally recognized leaders in the field. The same professors who teach on-campus courses also teach the online courses.

The School designed the Master of Public Administration online degree program for working professionals seeking to advance their career. The program provides a solid foundation in academic theory, applied research, and experiential learning. The program also includes internships.

The program provides six concentration options:

  • Healthcare Administration
  • Local Government
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Public Management
  • Public Policy
  • Emergency Management

The online Master’s degree in Public Administration provides two specializations:

Criminology and Criminal Justice
Information and Technology Management

The school provides two dual degree options: Master of Social Work and MPA/Master of Managing Information Systems.

Credit requirements: 39 credit hours

Selection of core courses:

  • Foundations of Public Service
  • Seminar in Organization Theory & Behavior
  • Analysis & Decision Making
  • Advanced Management & Leadership for Public & Nonprofit Professionals
  • Public Budgeting
  • Policy Design and Implementation
  • Planning & Evaluation

Students must complete a capstone project before graduation.

New online students in the online MPA degree program must attend a one-day orientation at the University of Nebraska, Omaha campus at the beginning of their coursework.

Online instruction style: Asynchronous

Learning enrollment options: One to two classes per semester

Degree time to completion: Approximately two years

Admissions and transfer credit information: Admissions counselors take into consideration the following information: Prior undergraduate degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the junior to senior year, work history, writing skills determined by an admissions essay, two letters of recommendation and GRE examination scores.

The University of Nebraska, Omaha accepts transfer credit from another accredited institution with the equivalent of a B or better. The University accepts up to one third of the required credit for the degree.

Accreditation: The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) provides the College of Public Affairs and Community Service with accreditation.

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) provides University of Nebraska, Omaha with accreditation.

6Rutgers University, Newark – School of Public Affairs and Administration – Rutgers Online (Newark, NJ)Rutgers University

The School of Public Affairs and Administration maintains a diverse student body including international students who represent more than 30 countries.

The distinguished and nationally recognized faculty includes four members who are also members of the congressionally chartered National Academy of Public Administration.

The SPAA faculty includes members who served as presidents of the major organizations in the public administration field, including the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA), the Public Management Research Association (PMRA), and the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management (ABFM).

The online Master of Public Administration degree program, designed for working professionals and students seeking to enter the field, covers subjects such as public policy, ethics and accountability, theoretical and practical knowledge of public administration, and more.
Throughout the courses, students learn to define public problems, develop and implement creative solutions, and communicate effectively, among other skills.

The comprehensive online Master’s degree in Public Administration offers four concentrations:

  • Budgeting and Financial Management
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Public and Nonprofit Performance Management

Credit requirements: 42 credit hours or 14 courses

Selection of core courses:

  • Introduction to Public Administration
  • Technology and Public Administration
  • Administrative Ethics
  • Applied Research Design
  • Managing Public Organizations
  • The Public Policy Process

Students must complete a capstone project.

Online instruction style: Asynchronous

Learning enrollment options: Full-time or part-time

Degree time to completion: Two to three years

Start dates: fall, spring, and summer

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants complete online forms and submit a CV with three letters of recommendation, official transcripts from undergraduate studies and a two to three-page personal statement. Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher are not required to submit GRE scores.

Accreditation: The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) provides the School of Public Affairs and Administration with accreditation. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) provides Rutgers University, Newark with accreditation.

7Texas A&M University – Bush School of Government and Public Policy (College Station, TX)Texas AM University

Founded in 1997, the well-regarded Bush School of Government and Public Policy, connected to the George H.W. Bush presidential library (also on campus), includes 17 faculty members who have endowed chairs or professorships.

The School offers three comprehensive graduate programs and several advanced graduate certificates. The curriculum both challenges and advances student’s leadership and communication skills bringing the school numerous national awards and recognition.

The Executive Master of Public Service and Administration (EMPSA) online degree program, designed for working professionals who seek to advance their careers, focuses on developing a strong foundation of contemporary theory and practices in public administration, ethics, and management skills.
The online EMPSA degree program provides students three track options for specialization:

  • Homeland Security
  • Public Management
  • Nonprofit Management

Credit requirements: 39 credit hours

Selection of core courses:

  • Foundations of Public Service
  • Economic Analysis
  • Public Policy Formation
  • Quantitative Methods in Public Management
  • Program Evaluation in Public and Nonprofit Organizations

Students must complete a capstone project and they must attend two one-week residencies on campus, scheduled during the summer semesters.

Degree time to completion: Two to three years

Start Dates: fall, spring, and summer

Admissions and transfer credit information: Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree and five years of full-time professional experience in the field. As part of the online application students must submit official transcripts and records, resume, statement of purpose of 750 words or less, and GRE or GMAT scores (taken within the past five years).

Accreditation: The Bush School of Government and Public Policy received accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). Texas A&M University received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

8University of Delaware – College of Arts & Sciences – School of Public Policy & Administration – UDOnline (Newark, DE)University of Delaware

The School of Public Policy and Administration maintains affiliation with several notable research centers and public service centers including the Biden Institute. Internship programs, such as the Legislative Fellows Program, provide hands-on experience with real-world issues. The majority of graduate students participate in an internship program before graduation.

The School of Public Policy and Administration offers undergraduate and graduate studies. The school provides five graduate degree programs, each with a variety of specialized concentrations.

The Online Master of Public Administration degree places an emphasis on theoretical and practical knowledge, experiential learning, commitment to public interest, and students developing working relationships with practitioners in the field. Students can gain valuable analytic and problem-solving skills, in addition to leadership and communication in diverse environments.

Credit requirements: 36 credit hours

Selected core courses:

  • Contemporary Issues in a Global Society
  • Performance Management and Program Evaluation
  • Information Technology and Management in Public and Nonprofit Sectors
  • Quantitative Analysis in Public and Nonprofit Sectors
  • Economics in Public and Nonprofit Sectors
  • Human Resources in Public and Nonprofit Sectors
  • Values and Ethics for Leadership and Management

Students in the online MPA program must complete a capstone project.

Online instruction style: Asynchronous

Degree time to completion: Students can complete the MPA program in 30 months.

Start dates: fall, spring, and summer

Admissions and transfer credit information: Strong candidates typically have an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater. Students who meet the criteria do not have to submit GRE test scores.

Candidates must submit a current resume, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. Admissions counselors also consider relevant work or volunteer experience.

Students can transfer in up to nine graduate credits from an accredited institution. The University accepts credit appropriate to the specific degree program with a B grade or better.

Accreditation: The School of Public Policy & Administration received accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). The University of Delaware received accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

9University of Colorado, Denver – School of Public Affairs – CU Online (Denver, CO)University of Colorado Denver

The School of Public Affairs offers undergraduate and graduate studies in public administration, public affairs, and criminal justice. The alumni network provides students opportunities to meet and learn from leaders in the public and nonprofit arenas.

The online Master of Public Administration degree program provides students with a foundation of knowledge, skills, and ethical standards to serve as leaders in the public administration field. Students enhance their ability to promote and enact positive, change in the communities they serve.

The Online Master of Public Administration degree offers concentrations in Nonprofit Management and Homeland Defense.

Credit requirements: 36 credits for students with work experience, 39 credits for students without work experience

Selection of required core courses:

  • Introduction to Public Administration
  • Research and Analytic Methods
  • Organizational Management and behavior
  • Economics and Public Finance
  • Ethics and Leadership
  • Policy and Process and Democracy

Students must also complete a capstone or a thesis project. Students without prior experience in the field must complete an additional three credit internship.

Admissions and transfer credit information: Graduate students seeking admission must submit two copies of official transcripts from previous educational institutions. Candidates must submit GRE scores from within the past five years. LSAT or GMAT scores are also acceptable.

Accreditation: The School of Public Affairs received accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). The University of Colorado, Denver received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

10Johns Hopkins University – Krieger School of Arts & Sciences (Baltimore, MD)Johns Hopkins University

The Krieger School of Arts and Sciences has a dedication to discovery which creates new knowledge and solutions which better the world. The faculty teach and participate in interdisciplinary and collaborative scholarship across the arts and humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences.

The University designed the Master of Arts in Public Management online degree program for working professionals in the government and nonprofit sector. The program covers the fundamentals of public management. The program reviews a variety of relevant topics including financial management, policy analysis and evaluation, and public policy and administration.

Credit requirements: 42 credits

Sample core courses:

  • Public Policy Evaluation and the Policy Process
  • Fundamentals of Quantitative Methods
  • Economics for Public Decision Making
  • Financial Management and Analysis in the Public Sector, or
  • Financial Management and Analysis in Nonprofits
  • Proseminar: Essentials of Public and Private Management, or
  • Fundamentals of Nonprofits and Nonprofit Management

Students in the online Master in Public Management degree program must complete a capstone project.

Online instruction style: Asynchronous

Learning enrollment options: Full-time or part-time

Degree time to completion: Students can complete the program in approximately two years. Students have up to five years to complete all the degree requirements.

Start dates: fall, spring, or summer start dates

Admissions and transfer credit information: Students need to submit an updated resume, one to two-page statement of purpose, two letters of recommendation, and a two to five-page, policy-oriented writing sample.

Candidates are not required to submit a GRE but it can strengthen a student’s application.

The online MPA program does not currently accept transfer credit. However, the program director awards advanced standing to qualifying students with prior relevant graduate work.

Accreditation: The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) provides Johns Hopkins University with accreditation.

11John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY – Department of Public Management – John Jay Online (New York, NY)John Jay College

The Department of Public Management prepares students for careers in public service in government agencies, especially in the uniformed and protective services, international and military organizations, justice organizations and inspection and oversight agencies.

The online Master of Public Administration: Public Policy and Administration program prepares students for specialized careers in government and non-profit organizations. The program prepares students for careers in public and independent organizations as managers, analysts and leaders.

The program provides a strong foundation in theoretical and practical knowledge, administrative practices, and policy management. The program prepares students for careers in public and independent organizations as managers, analysts and leaders.

The online degree offers four areas of specialization:

  • Criminal Justice Policy and Administration
  • Human Resources Management
  • Emergency Management
  • Management and Operations

Credit requirements: 42 credit hours

Selected core courses:

  • Public Administration
  • Human Resources Management
  • Economics Principles for Public Administration
  • Organization Theory and Management
  • Policy Analysis
  • Public Sector Financial Management
  • Research Methods and Quantitative Skills
  • Research Methods in Public Administration
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Students choose one of the following:
    Program Development and Evaluation
    Cases and Techniques in Quantitative Policy Analysis

Students in the online MPA program must complete a capstone seminar.

John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY also offers an online Master of Public Administration: Inspection and Oversight program. The program offers highly specialized training in the growing field of inspection and oversight. Developed in close collaboration with the Association of Inspectors General, the program is unique, it prepares public administration students for positions in organizations that investigate the performance of other organizations.

The online degree offers three areas of specialization:

  • Investigation and Operational inspection
  • Organizational Assessment and Monitoring
  • Health Care Services Inspection and Oversight (also available as a certificate, students can earn it separately)

Admissions and transfer credit information: Candidates need to provide previous official transcripts from all prior institutions of higher education, as well as a personal statement, letters of recommendation and the appropriate standardized test scores.

Accreditation: The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) provides the Department of Public Management with accreditation. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) provides John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY with accreditation.

12Pennsylvania State University – School of Public Affairs at Penn State Harrisburg and Penn State Online (State College, PA)Pennsylvania State University

A partnership between the Harrisburg School of Public Affairs and Penn State World Campus provides the Online Master in Public Administration degree.

The program, designed for working professionals as well as students seeking to enter the field, brings together theoretical and applied concepts to provide students with real-world experience. The program covers subjects including human resources, organizational governance, management, and finance.

Students looking for mid to upper management career positions are able to hone leadership skills and foster network connections.

Credit requirements: 36 credit hours

Core courses:

  • Public Organization and Management
  • Research Methods
  • Governmental Fiscal Decision Making
  • Human Resources in the Public and Nonprofit Sectors
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Introduction to Policy Analysis

Learning enrollment options: Students can attend the program full-time or part-time. The majority of students take three to four courses per year.

Degree time to completion: Two to five years

Admissions and transfer credit information: Candidates must submit previous transcripts, a resume, three letters of reference, and a one to two-page personal statement. Students with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of less than 3.0 must submit GRE test scores.

The school accepts graduate transfer credit if the course grade is a B or better and a student did not use the course to complete a previous degree. The school accepts up to 10 credits from other accredited institutions. The school accepts up to 15 credits from non-degree coursework students complete at Penn State University.

Accreditation: The School of Public Affairs at Penn State Harrisburg received accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). Pennsylvania State University received accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

13University of Baltimore – College of Public Affairs – School of Public and International Affairs (Baltimore, MD)University of Baltimore

Faculty members of the College of Public Affairs include a Fulbright Scholar and a group of fellows of the National Academy of Public Administration. The College manages two centers of excellence: The Center for Drug Policy and Enforcement and the Schaefer Center for Public Policy.

The College offers a diverse selection of undergraduate and graduate degrees through three Schools: The School of Criminal Justice, the School of Health and Human Services, and the School of Public and International Affairs.

The online Master of Public Administration degree program, with a specialization in Public and Nonprofit Management, provides practical and theoretical knowledge for public administration, such as how to evaluate and navigate public policy and bureaucracy when dealing with political systems.

The program prepares students for jobs in public administration, they learn to work with and manage public sector and nonprofit organizations.

The online Master’s in Public Administration degree offers a specialization in Public and Nonprofit Management. On-campus students have additional specializations.

Credit requirements: 42 credit hours

Core courses:

  • Public Management
  • Public Policy
  • Public Personnel and Human Resource Management
  • Public Budgeting and Fiscal Administration
  • Bureaucracy and the Political Process
  • Information Resource Management

Students in the online MPA program must also complete an internship, but depending on relevant professional experience, some students may forgo an internship.

Start Dates: Fall admission occurs on a rolling basis. The University also offers spring and summer start dates. The University only offers core courses online during the summer session.

Admissions and transfer credit information: Qualifying students have a prior bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or greater. The online application requires official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a statement of personal interest.

Accreditation: The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) provides the School of Public and International Affairs with accreditation. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) provides the University of Baltimore with accreditation.

14University of Central Florida – College of Health and Public Affairs – School of Public Administration – UCF Online (Orlando, FL)University of Central Florida

The College of Health and Public Affairs, a nationally recognized institution, manages a number of multidisciplinary research centers that strive to have a real-world impact and positive economic development. The College offers undergraduate and graduate programs.

The online Master of Public Administration degree program provides a comprehensive education in the skills and knowledge for public administration positions. Students in the program enhance their ability to serve as effective leaders in public and non-profit organizations.

In addition to the standard online MPA, the College of Health and Public Affairs in partnership with the Department of Criminal Justice offers two dual degrees; the MPA and Master of Science in Criminal Justice, and the MPA and Master of Non-Profit Management.

Credit requirements: 42 credit hours

Selection of core courses:

  • Public Administration in the Policy Process
  • Public Organization Management
  • Public Administrators in the Governance Process
  • Public Financial Management
  • Public Budgeting
  • Strategic Planning and Management
  • Human Resource Management

Students in the online MPA program must also complete a capstone project.

Learning enrollment options: Full-time or part-time

Degree time to completion: Two to five years

Admissions and transfer credit information: Candidates must submit prior official transcripts, GRE scores, and a student immunization form. There are additional departmental requirements based on the students’ program of study.

Accreditation: The School of Public Administration received accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). The University of Central Florida received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

15Northeastern University – College of Social Sciences and Humanities – School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs (Boston, MA)Northeastern University

The School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs participates in research and outreach via the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy, the Boston Area Research Initiative, the Global Resilience Institute, the Resilient Cities Lab, the Social Impact Lab at Northeastern University, and the Consortium on Food Systems Sustainability, Health, and Equity.

The Master of Public Administration online degree program, provides a career-oriented curriculum. Students practice organizational management and leadership skills in group projects, internships, co-ops, capstone projects and other networking experiences with professionals. The program helps students develop the analytical, conceptual, and practical competencies to work effectively in the public administration field.

Credit requirements: 40 credit hours

Required core courses:

  • Principles of Public Administration
  • Economic Institutions and Analysis
  • Techniques of Policy Analysis
  • Public Budgeting and Financial Management
  • Institutional Leadership and the Public Manager
  • Capstone in Public Policy and Urban Affairs

Students must complete an internship, but depending on prior, relevant experience, some students may waive the internship requirement.

Learning enrollment options: Full-time or part-time

Degree time to completion: 18 months (4 semesters) for full-time students, two to seven years for part-time students

Start dates: Rolling admission

Admissions and transfer credit information: The online graduate school application requires students submit GRE test scores, a current resume, three letters of recommendation, prior transcripts, and a personalized statement.

The University evaluates and accepts graduate transfer credit on a case-by-case basis.

Accreditation: The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) provides accreditation for the MPA program. Northeastern University received accredited from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

16DePaul University – College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences – School of Public Service (Chicago, IL)DePaul University

The School of Public Service is a leader in research, service and education in the fields of public and nonprofit leadership, administration and policy analysis. The School of Public Service faculty members have experience in areas such as community health, housing, crime, sustainable development, and more. After graduation, students have an expansive alumni network to connect with.

The Master of Public Administration online degree program focuses on creating a foundation of knowledge in ethics, and policy analysis, and administrative theory and practice. Students in the program enhance their ability to serve as effective agents of positive change to best serve their communities.

The MPA online degree program offers the following specializations:

  • Public Management
  • International Public Management
  • Metropolitan Planning and Urban Affairs

Credit requirements: 52 credit hours

Selection of core courses:

  • Introduction to Public Service Management
  • Applied Statistic for Public Service
  • Fundamentals of Human Resource Management
  • Cross-Sector Analysis
  • Government Financial Administration
  • Research Methods for Public Service
  • Economic Foundations of Public Service
  • Policy Design and Analysis
  • Ethical Leadership in Public Service
  • Integrative Seminar

Students must complete an internship, however, if students already have one year of relevant work experience they may forgo an internship.

Online learning style: Mix of synchronous and asynchronous. The program uses a cohort model, in which students proceed through a fixed sequence of courses alongside a learning team of other like-minded students.

Degree time to completion: Students can choose to complete the program on two, three, or four-year timelines.

Start dates: The on-line students must start in the fall

Admissions and transfer credit information: Eligible applicants must have an undergraduate degree and demonstrate academic or professional achievement. The online application requires official transcripts, a two-page personal statement, and a current resume.

The University accepts up to two courses of graduate transfer credit under certain circumstances. The University may consider the credit suitable if it’s relevant to the current degree and students have not used it in acquiring a previous degree.

Accreditation: The MPA online degree program at the School of Public Service has accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). DePaul University received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

17University of San Francisco – School of Management – Department of Public and Nonprofit Administration (San Francisco, CA)University of San Francisco

The University established the School of Management at the University of San Francisco, in 2009 with the merger of the College of Professional Studies and the School of Business and Management. The curriculum throughout the School encourages service learning, community involvement, entrepreneurship, and innovation.

The School provides a diverse range of undergraduate and graduate educational opportunities. The School has a growing alumni network which currently represent a large number of industries.

The Master of Public Administration online degree program, designed for mid-career professionals and aspiring professionals, helps students enhance their ability to effectively lead and manage programs and to mediate between private and public sectors.

Credit requirements: 39 credit hours

Selection of required courses:

  • Public Administration as a Field and Practice in Contemporary Society
  • Leadership Ethics
  • Management and Organization Theory
  • Human Resource Planning and Management
  • Emerging Technologies for Public Managers
  • Policy Analysis
  • Economics and Finance for Public Managers
  • Public Sector Budgeting

Online learning style: An asynchronous style. The program utilizes a fixed sequence of coursework.

Degree time to completion: Approximately 21 months

Start dates: Rolling admission with fall, spring, or summer start dates for online classes

Admissions and transfer credit information: Candidates must provide official transcripts, resume, two letters of recommendation, and a 1000-word statement of purpose. GRE test scores and two years of professional experience are preferred but not required.

Graduate transfer students may have up to six credits accepted. Courses must be graduate level with a final grade of B or better. The University does not accept credits students used to acquire a previous degree.

Accreditation: The School of Management received accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). The University of San Francisco received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

18California State University, Northridge – Tseng College (Northridge, CA)California State University

Tseng College at California State University, focuses on providing adult students with further education opportunities. The College offers a variety of graduate degrees and certificate programs geared towards advancing midcareer students.

The online Master of Public Administration degree program provides a solid foundation in theory and practical knowledge of public administration, and their application. The College designed the program for individuals currently employed in public, private, or non-profit sectors and students seeking a career in these areas.

The online Master’s degree in Public Administration offers concentrations in:

  • Health Administration
  • Public Sector Management and Leadership
  • Nonprofit Sector Management

The Public Sector Management and Leadership option is also offered in partnership with various state agencies and municipalities across Southern California.

Credit requirements: 36 credit hours

Selected core courses:

  • Seminar in Public Administration
  • Seminar in Public Policy Process
  • Public Budgeting and Financial Administration
  • Research Methods in Public Administration
  • Seminar in Organization Theory and Human Behavior

Students must complete a culminating experience graduate project.

Learning enrollment options: Students take two courses per semester as part of a cohort.

Degree time to completion: Two years

Start Dates: fall and spring

Admissions and transfer credit information: Candidates need to complete profile information, select the program they wish to apply to and fill out information for the four-quadrants: personal information, academic history, supporting information, and program materials

Students can use the ASSIST program, a transfer-credit information system, to determine if they can transfer previous course credits.

Accreditation: The online MPA program received accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). California State University, Northridge received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

19University of Illinois at Springfield – College of Public Affairs and Administration – Department of Public Administration (Springfield, IL)University of Illinois Springfield

The Department of Public Administration is the oldest department in the school. The department offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, a joint MPA/Master in Public Health and certificates.

The online Master of Public Administration degree program, designed for professionals working in the field and students seeking to enter the field, focuses on providing students a strong foundation for evaluating and meeting significant public issues.

Students gain exposure to a variety of relevant field related topics and experience with practical application.

Credit requirements: 36 credit hours

Selection of core courses:

  • Introduction to the Profession
  • Organization Dynamics
  • Analytical Tools
  • Budget and Finance
  • Human Resource Management
  • Public Policy for Managers
  • Information for Decision Making

Students in the online MPA degree program must complete a capstone project.

Online learning style: Asynchronous

Degree time to completion: The majority of students graduate between two and three years.

Start Dates: fall and spring admission

Admissions and transfer credit information: Candidates must submit a resume, and personal statement. Candidates are not required to submit GRE scores but they may enhance an application with a low GPA. The University expects a minimum GPA of 2.5.

Accreditation: The College of Public Affairs and Administration received accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). The University of Illinois at Springfield received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

20Marist College – School of Management (Poughkeepsie, NY)Marist College

The Marist College School of Management offers undergraduate and graduate degrees. The School of Management has approximately 400 graduate and 1,350 undergraduate students in accounting, business, economics, and public administration programs. The School of Management offers valuable opportunities to its students, during their time on campus and throughout their careers.

The Master of Public Administration online degree provides students valuable insight and awareness of multiple aspects of the field. The program covers ethical principles in diverse workplaces, analysis in the decision-making process, and more.

The program has three concentrations:

  • Ethical Leadership
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Public Management

The School invites all students in the MPA program to attend the annual Graduate Student and Alumni Leadership Development Weekend. The large networking event provides students opportunities to connect with industry leaders, participate in workshops, and hear speakers on relevant topics.

Credit requirements: 39-42 credit hours

Selection of core courses:

  • Introduction to Public Administration
  • Administrative law
  • Public Budgeting
  • Technology Management for Public Managers
  • Organizational Theory and Change
  • Program Planning and Evaluation
  • Innovation in Public Administration

“Pre-service” students (students not already working in the field) must complete an internship. The college may waive some coursework for students who are not “pre-service.” All courses run for eight weeks in duration.

Online learning style: Asynchronous

Learning enrollment options: Part-time or full-time

Degree time to completion: Two to three years

Start Dates: September or January

Admissions and transfer credit information: Candidates must provide official transcripts, a current resume, and a personal essay. Qualifying students do not have to submit GRE scores.

Accreditation: The School of Management received accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). The School of Management received accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) provides Marist College with accreditation.

21University of Massachusetts, Boston – McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies – Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs – UMass Online (Boston, MA)University of Massachusetts Boston

The McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies strives to educate students to serve as publicly engaged leaders who desire to create a sustainable future. Some of the Schools nationally and internationally recognized academic and research centers include the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy, the Sustainable Solution lab, and the Edward J. Collins Jr. Center for Public Management.

The online Master of Public Administration in Global Comparative Public Administration degree, designed to help students serve as effective global public administrators, provides an in-depth study of leadership and administration in a variety of fields appropriate for experienced professionals and students coming from an undergraduate program.

Students in the program learn to resolve global inequity, evaluate and create policies and strategies to promote change in the best interest of the public, as well as deal with the complexities and nuances of relationships between local, state, federal, and global organizations.

Credit requirements: 39 credit hours

Selection of core courses:

  • Theory and Content of Global Comparative Public Administration
  • The History of U.S. Public Administration
  • Public Management in a Global Perspective: Theories and Principles
  • Global Comparative Public Budgeting and Finance
  • Ethics in Public Administration
  • Government: Internet and Public Policy
  • Analytic Skills I
  • Analytic Skills II

Students must complete a capstone project.

Learning enrollment options: Full-time or part-time

Degree time to completion: Students can complete the degree program in approximately two years, longer for part-time students.

Start dates: fall admission only.

Admissions and transfer credit information: The online application for the MPA requires a 300-word statement of purpose, official undergraduate transcripts, GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, and a current resume.

Accreditation: The University of Massachusetts, Boston received accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

22University of Miami – College of Arts & Sciences – Department of Political Science – University of Miami Online (Miami, FL)University of Miami

The Department of Political Science faculty members have appeared frequently in the top journals and presses in the fields of political science and public administration.

The online Master of Public Administration degree, designed for working professionals in the public, non-profit, and private sectors, strives to provide students with a comprehensive and holistic understanding of public service leadership. The courses address a variety of concepts including financial budgeting, political analysis, digital governance, and ethical issues.

Credit requirements: 36 credit hours

Selection of core courses:

  • Organizational Dynamics
  • Budget and Financial Management and Administration
  • Political Analysis
  • Political Environment of Business
  • Human Resource Management in Public Service
  • Political Ethics: The Dynamic Dilemmas of Contemporary Leadership
  • Public Policy Analysis and Administration

Online instruction style: The MPA program uses a fixed sequence of coursework

Learning enrollment options: Students take one seven-week course at a time.

Degree time to completion: 24 months

Start dates: spring, summer, and fall start dates

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants need to submit official transcripts, GRE scores, a resume, a one-page personal statement, and two letters of recommendation. The Director of Students can waive the GRE requirement for students with significant work experience or 18 credits of graduate coursework.

Accreditation: The University of Miami received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

23Villanova University – College of Liberal Arts and Sciences – Department of Public Administration (Villanova, PA)Villanova University

The Department of Public Administration’s undergraduate and graduate programs have a focus on ethical decision-making. Undergraduate and graduate students learn about a range of effective practices in the public service field. The Department provides networking and professional development opportunities.

The online Master of Public Administration degree program, designed for working professionals seeking to advance their career, covers areas such as ethical actions, financial management and budgeting, the structures and dynamics of organizations, personnel management, mediation strategic planning, and statistics.

The Online Master of Public Administration degree offers specializations in Nonprofit Management and City Management. Students can take these specializations as stand-alone graduate certificates.

Required credits: 36 credit hours or 12 courses

Selection of core courses:

  • Public Administration Theory
  • Organization Theory
  • Public Personnel Management
  • Financial Management
  • Analysis and Research I
  • Analysis and Research II

Students in the MPA online program must also complete a comprehensive exam.

Degree time to completion: Approximately two years

Admissions and transfer credit information: Graduate admission requires official transcripts from previous degree programs. Students must also submit a resume, a statement of goals, three professional letters of recommendation, and a 500-word essay describing relevant work experience and career goals. Applicants must have three years of relevant work experience.

Graduate students may transfer in up to six course credits towards graduation if the credit is equivalent to a required course.

Accreditation: The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) provides the Department of Public Administration with accreditation. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) provides Villanova University with accreditation.

24University of North Dakota – College of Business and Public Administration -Department of Political Science and Public Administration – UND Online (Grand Forks, ND)University of North Dakota

The Department of Political Science and Public Administration offers a curriculum to prepare students for graduate studies or careers in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. The Bureau of Governmental Affairs serves as the research department.

The Master of Public Administration online degree program provides students extensive leadership and administrative training. The program provides a strong foundation in public policy, fiscal management, and ethics.

Students enrolled in the online Master of Public Administration degree have three tracks to choose from: General Track, Health Track, and Social Entrepreneurship Track.

Credit hours: 36 credit hours

Selection of core courses:

  • Research Methods
  • Political and Public Policy Analysis
  • Seminar: Public Administration
  • Foundations of Public Administration
  • Public Policy

Students must complete an internship, a capstone project, and an independent study project. Students with at least one year of administrative experience may apply for an internship waiver.

Online instruction style: Semester based courses with one weekly live web class held in the evening

Learning enrollment options: Part-time only

Degree time to completion: Two years or more

Start dates: fall, spring, and summer start dates

Admissions and transfer credit information: Candidates submit an application to the Graduate School of Studies. Material should include official undergraduate transcripts, three letters of recommendation (with one preferable from a professor), a personal statement, and standardized test scores from within the past five years (GRE, GMAT, and LSAT accepted).

The Graduate School considers graduate transfer credit on an individual basis. The Graduate Schools only accepts credits from an accredited institution with a final grade of B or greater. The work must not be more than seven years old. The Graduate School accepts a maximum of eight credits.

Accreditation: The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) provides the Department of Political Science and Public Administration with accreditation. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) provides the University of North Dakota with accreditation.

25Eastern Kentucky University – College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences – Department of Government (Richmond, KY)Eastern Kentucky University

The Department of Government provides education in the areas of public administration, political science, paralegal, globalization and international affairs, and economics.

The online Master of Public Administration degree program, designed for mid-career working professionals and individuals at the entry-level of a public administration career, places a special emphasis on regional and local government. The program covers subjects such as administrative law, ethics and public policy, leadership, and human resource management. The program provides a Community Development track and a Customizable General Track.

Credit requirements: 39 credit hours

Core courses:

  • Administrative law
  • Research Methods
  • Public Sector Leadership
  • Administration, Ethics, and Public Policy
  • Public Sector Organizations and Management
  • Public Finance Administration
  • Public Human Resources Management
  • Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation

Students in the Master’s in Public Administration online degree program must complete an internship.

The program uses eight-week terms.

Online instruction style: Asynchronous

Learning enrollment options: Two courses per semester

Degree time to completion: Approximately two years

Start dates: Two start dates each fall, spring, and summer

Admissions and transfer credit information: Candidates must meet application requirements for both the department and the Graduate School. Students with an undergraduate GPA of less than 3.0 must submit GRE scores and the University enrolls them in a probationary status. The GRE requirement is waived for students with a GPA of 3.0 or greater. Students must also provide two letters of recommendation and a personal statement.

The Department of Government approves transfer credit for the MPA program. The Department accepts a maximum of 12 credits.

Accreditation: The Department of Government received accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). Eastern Kentucky University received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

26San Diego State University – School of Public Affairs – College of Extended Studies (San Diego, CA)San Diego State University

The School of Public Affairs, a highly integrated academic unit in the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, provides undergraduate and graduate degrees.

The online Master of Public Administration degree program, designed for experienced professionals currently working in government and non-profit agencies, covers subjects such as policy analysis, mediation between organizations, research methods, and effective management practices.

Credit requirements: 36 credit hours

Required courses:

  • Scope of Public Administration
  • Quantitative Approach to Public Administration
  • Methods of Analysis in Public Affairs
  • Administration and Public Policy
  • Public Personnel Administration
  • Seminar in Administrative Theory
  • Seminar in Public Finance

Students in the online Master’s in Public Administration degree program must complete a capstone project.

Students complete two on-campus experiences to start and finish the program.

Online instruction style: Asynchronous, the program uses a cohort model; students proceed through a fixed sequence of courses alongside a learning team of other like-minded students. The classes, offered in pairs, use an eight-week module arrangement.

Learning enrollment options: Two courses per module.

Degree time to completion: 16 months

Start dates: Annual start date

Admissions and transfer credit information: Students must hold a prior undergraduate degree and have relevant work experience. The application requires GRE scores, two letters of recommendation, resume, and a three-page statement of purpose. Full-time professional students can eliminate the internship requirement.

Accreditation: The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) provides the School of Public Affairs with accreditation. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) provides San Diego State University with accreditation.

27Old Dominion University – Strome College of Business – School of Public Service – ODU Online (Norfolk, VA)Old Dominion University

The School of Public Service offers a Master of Public Administration program and a PhD in Public Administration and two graduate-level certificate programs as well as an undergraduate minor in Public Service.

The online Master of Public Administration degree program, designed for individuals with and without work experience in the public sector, provides a strong foundation in public management processes, quantitative and qualitative research techniques, organizational design processes, policy analysis and evaluation, and ethical and political issues in public administration.

Students in the program enhance their ability to serve as effective leaders in the public sector.

The online program offers a concentration area in Multi-Sector Public Service.

Credit requirements: 39 credit hours

Selection of core courses:

  • Administrative Theory I: The Context of Public Administration
  • Administrative Theory II: The Process of Public Administration
  • Public Budgeting and Financial Management
  • Ethical Foundations of Public Administration
  • Public Policy Analysis and Evaluation
  • Research Methods for Public Administration

Students in the online MPA program must complete a capstone project.

Online learning style: Many of the classes use an asynchronous format.

Learning enrollment options: Full-time or part-time

Degree time to completion: Full-time – two years; part-time – three to four years

Admissions and transfer credit information: Students must submit all previous college transcripts, a personal statement, at least two letters of recommendation, and GRE/GMAT/LSAT scores. The University gives a standardized testing score waiver to qualifying working professional students with at least three years’ experience.

Accreditation: The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) provides the School of Public Service with accreditation. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) provides Old Dominion University with accreditation.

28California State University, Long Beach – Graduate Center for Public Policy and Administration – College of Continuing & Professional Education (Long Beach, CA)California State University Long Beach

The Graduate Center for Public Policy and Administration opened in 1973. Graduates from the Center work in a variety of fields including non-profit, government, and academia. The growing alumni network has contacts across the nation in many positions of distinction.

The online Master of Public Administration degree program, designed to accommodate working professionals already in the public administration field or related fields, covers human resource management, policy analysis, organizational theory, direct research, and more. The professional emphasis of the program gives students a cutting-edge in the work field.

Students have the option to specialize in Public Works Administration or Urban Affairs. The program provides several certificate programs.

Credit requirements: 39 credit hours

Required courses:

  • Foundations of Public Policy and Administration
  • Government Budgeting and Finance
  • Public Sector Personnel Administration
  • Seminar in Organization Theory and Behavior
  • Seminar of Policy Issue Analysis
  • Research Methods in Public Administration

Students in the online MPA program must complete directed research and a student learning portfolio.

Online Instruction Style: The program uses a cohort model, students proceed on a fixed sequence of coursework, alongside a team of other students. The program includes a mix of synchronous web-casts, asynchronous coursework as well as one face-to-face Saturday meeting on campus. The courses use six-week sessions.

Learning enrollment options: Full-time and part-time enrollment

Degree time to completion: Students can complete the program in approximately two to three years. Students have up to seven years to meet all the requirements.

Start Dates: fall or spring start dates.

Admissions and transfer credit information: Candidates must submit one application to Cal State and one application to the department. In addition to previous transcripts students must submit two letters of recommendation and a one to two-page personal statement.

The strongest applicants have substantial professional experience and can demonstrate successful achievements. GRE scores are not required but are encouraged for students who have a GPA less than 3.0.

Accreditation: The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) provides the Graduate Center for Public Administration with accreditation. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) provides California State University, Long Beach with accreditation.

29Kent State University – College of Arts and Sciences – Department of Political Science (Kent, OH)Kent State University

The Department of Political Science provides graduate and undergraduate programs.

The online Master of Public Administration degree program, designed to prepare students for advanced level careers in all levels of government and in non-profit organizations, provides students leadership skills through coursework and assignments designed to provide experiential learning.

Credit requirements: 36 credit hours or 12 three-credit courses

Required courses:

  • Graduate Introduction to Public Administration
  • Public Personnel Administration
  • Public Budgeting and Financial Management
  • Program Evaluation
  • Methods in Public Administration
  • Strategic Planning
  • Public Sector IT Management
  • Personable Accountability in the Public Service
  • Capstone Seminar

Students in the MPA online program must complete an internship, however an admissions advisor can waive the requirement due to sufficient work experience.

Online Instruction Style: Students take two seven-week courses sequentially each semester

Degree Time to Completion: Two years

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants need to submit official transcripts, current resume, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a writing sample.

Students should have a GPA of at least 3.0. The school considers conditional admission for students with a GPA of 2.7. Qualifying students do not need to submit GRE test scores.

The school allows a maximum of 12 credits for transfer if they meet the following conditions: The credits are equivalent to a required class and students obtained them from an accredited university, the student received a grade of B or higher and received the credits within six years of the transfer request and the student did not use the credits toward a previous degree.

Accreditation: The Department of Political Science received accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). Kent State University received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

30University of South Dakota – College of Arts and Sciences – Department of Political Science – USD Online (Vermillion, SD)University of South Dakota

The Department of Political Science provides graduate and undergraduate degree programs. The Department contains the W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership and the Government Research Bureau.

The University designed the online Executive Master of Public Administration degree for experienced professionals already working in the field seeking to advance their career. The program emphasizes skills of leadership, communication, and innovation.

The program covers a variety of relevant areas such as diversity in the work environment, how to analyze and evaluate public policy, applying a public service perspective, and more.

Credit requirements: 30 credit hours

Selected core courses:

  • Advanced Leadership Theory and Practice
  • Executive Public Administration
  • Budgetary and Fiscal Management
  • Public Personnel Management
  • Organization and Management
  • Administrative Law and Government

Students in the online EMPA program must complete a capstone project or a professional report.

Degree time to completion: Approximately two years

Admissions and transfer credit information: The Graduate School admission requirements include official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. The program requires applicants have at least five years of documented cumulative professional experience, including three years at the middle-to-upper level.

The University accepts graduate transfer credit no older than seven years and completed with a final grade of B or greater from an accredited institution. The University accepts a maximum of 12 credit hours.

Accreditation: The Department of Political Science received accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). The University of South Dakota received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).


MPA Programs Degree and Career Information


What can you do with a Master’s in Public Administration Degree?

A Master’s degree in Public administration prepares graduates for numerous roles within large business organizations, nonprofits, and government agencies. A position may involve long-term project planning, budget analysis, marketing, fundraising, curriculum development and training, public relations, and other elements.

Nonprofit organizations, increasingly seek professionals with a good understanding of budgeting, law, management, and legal processes to take leadership roles.


MPA Jobs

Graduates of MPA degree programs have a broad skill set applicable to various employment areas. Individuals with an MPA degree have a variety of career paths to choose from:

  • Advocacy Director
  • Agency Director
  • County Manager
  • Community Affairs Manager
  • Community Development Director
  • Compliance Program Director
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Director
  • Foundation Director
  • International Activities Director
  • Law Enforcement Department Manager
  • Government Administrator
  • Government Relations Director
  • Grants Development Director
  • Nonprofit Fundraising Director
  • Nonprofit Manager
  • Operations Manager
  • Planning Director
  • Public Affairs and Communications Manager
  • Public Housing Manager
  • Urban Planning Manager
  • Utilities Manager
  • Volunteer Coordination and Development Manager

MPA Employment Settings

Individuals with an MPA degree can seek jobs in array of settings:

  • Nursing Homes
  • Local, State and Federal Government Agencies
  • Outpatient Clinics
  • Public Works
  • Fiscal Planning
  • Hospitals
  • National Security
  • Public Relations Offices
  • Law Enforcement
  • Human Resources Management
  • Utilities
  • Nonprofits
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Transportation
  • Public Education and Administration
  • Urban Planning and Development

MPA Salary Information

Beginning salaries for individuals with and MPA degree vary significantly based on sector, geography, work experience and other factors. Individuals with an MPA typically enter the federal government at GS-9 or at GS-11 if they have obtained relevant work experience. GS-9 annual pay in 2017 begins at $43,251 and a GS-11 begins at $52,329. The federal government also utilizes cost of living (geographical area) to determine the salary.

MPA Career TitleMedian SalaryNumber of Profiles Used to Obtain These Salaries
Executive Director$72,924 138 profiles
Program Manager, Non-Profit Organization$52,26290 profiles
Director of Development, Non-Profit Organization$66,84070 profiles
Source: PayScale, 2018


MPA Degree Concentrations

MPA concentrations provide training in specialized subjects.

  • Applied Politics
  • Aviation
  • Budgeting and Financial Management
  • Criminal Justice
  • Education Policy
  • Environmental Policy and Administration
  • Ethical Leadership
  • Federal Policy, Politics and Management
  • General Public Administration
  • Global Affairs
  • Government Information Strategy and Management
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Human Resources
  • International and National Security Policy
  • International Management
  • Leadership of Public Organizations
  • Local and State Government Financial Analysis and Management
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Theory
  • Planning and Economic Development
  • Policy Analysis
  • Policy and Management
  • Public and Nonprofit Management
  • Public Economics and Financial Management
  • Public Finance
  • Public Health
  • Public Management
  • Social Policy
  • State and Local Government Policy and Administration
  • Technology and Information Management
  • Urban Government and Management

MBA vs MPA

The MPA and MBA degree programs strongly emphasize operations management, leadership and organizational management. Both programs typically cover human resource management, leadership and policy analysis. The MBA and MPA programs promote improving operations, effectiveness, and efficiency.

Individuals seeking a public service career typically discover their values and goals are more similar to an MPA program, which focuses on the public and nonprofit sectors. Also, typically an MPA program better prepares individuals to obtain funding for nonprofits. An MBA program basically prepares professional for positions in middle-to-upper management in the private sector.

Unlike MBA programs, MPA programs have a focus on how government and nonprofits operate including working with proposed budgets, acquiring public funding for programs and initiatives, and public policy.

A college’s business school or business department often provides MBA programs, whereas MPA programs are sometimes associated with a political science department, a public policy department or a law school.

MPA program coursework emphasis: The programs review subjects including community development, government, urban planning, public financing, management, budget processing, public policy, administrative law, and sociology.

MBA program coursework emphasis: The programs provides a solid foundation in basic management skills. The programs also provide core business courses including marketing, economics, human resources management, and finance. The MBA classes cover the important business principles and practices. MBA degrees also emphasize skills such as financial analysis, strategic thinking, and communications. Students in MBA programs often specialize in an area.


Financing an Online Master’s in Public Administration Degree:

Many colleges and universities offer online students financial aid. Online students as well as traditional students applying for federal financial aid must attend a school which has accreditation from an accrediting agency which received recognition from the Department of Education.

Our Financial Aid Guide for Online College Students provides vital information about the various types of financial assistance such as Federal Direct Subsidized Loans, Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Grants, Lifetime Learning Credit, the American Opportunity Tax Credit, Parent Plus Loans, Grad Plus Loans, and more.

Financial Aid Guide for Online College Students


Professional Organizations

American Society for Public Administration (ASPA)

The ASPA, the biggest and most prominent broadly based professional association in American public administration, represents all forums in the public service area. The ASPA has four core values: Professionalism, accountability and performance, social equity, and ethics.

The ASPA has approximately 8,000 members including practitioners, academicians and students. ASPA serves as the major arena for connecting theory and practice within the public administration field. The American Society for Public Administration provides individuals who care about public service values, networking and professional development opportunities.

Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management (APPAM)

APPAM has a dedication to improving public policy and management through fostering excellence in education, research, and analysis. APPAM hosts a multidisciplinary yearly research conference which attracts research on a wide array of important policy and management issues. APPAM provides a peer-reviewed multidisciplinary journal which publishes research on public policy and management.

Alliance for Nonprofit Management

The Alliance for Nonprofit Management includes nonprofit consultants, academics, funders, and other professionals. The Alliance for Nonprofit Management has a mission to increase the effectiveness of the individuals, groups and organizations which help nonprofits and communities achieve positive social change. The organization amplifies research in the field and promotes its implications for effective practice.

International City/County Management Association

The International City/County Management Association has a mission to provide leadership and professional development for public administrators in the areas of financial and human resources, developing performance metrics, service delivery, and strategic planning.

Membership provides numerous benefits, such as professional and career support through its Members in Transition program and career network, a formal mentoring program, voluntary credentialing program, ICMA University professional development programs, webinars, and conferences as well as exclusive fellowship and scholarship opportunities. The Association’s annual conference has international recognition as a major resource for public administrators.

National Academy of Public Administration

The National Academy of Public Administration, a congressionally chartered, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, assists government leaders in creating more efficient, effective, transparent and accountable organizations. The Academy analyzes emerging trends in governance and public administration. A large group of peer-elected fellows directs the Academy’s studies.

Pi Alpha Alpha (PAA)

Pi Alpha Alpha (PAA), The Global Honor Society for Public Affairs & Administration, has over 160 chapters at NASPAA member schools located throughout the world. NASPAA operates Pi Alpha Alpha.

PAA membership identifies individuals with the highest performance levels in educational programs preparing them for careers in public service.

Pi Alpha Alpha encourages and recognizes outstanding scholarship and accomplishment in public affairs and administration.

Pi Alpha Alpha provides members major benefits such as acknowledgement of academic achievement, public service volunteer opportunities to practice what they learned in the classroom in the field, and job-searching and networking benefits.

Members can include their membership on their resume and highlight activities they participated in as a member of PAA.

Graduate students desiring to join Pi Alpha Alpha need to have and maintain a 3.7/4.0 GPA and have completed 50 percent of their public administration, public policy or sub-degree coursework. Alumni can join Pi Alpha Alpha as an alumni member if the alma mater has a PAA chapter and they graduated with a 3.7/4.0 GPA or higher.


Online Master of Public Administration Degree Program Ranking Guidelines

We selected the programs based on the quality of the program, the types of courses provided, the faculty, ranking, awards, and reputation, including the school’s reputation for providing online degree programs.


Best Online MPA Programs: Master’s in Public Administration Online Programs


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