Masters in Public Administration Programs Information Guide

MasterOfPublicAdministration is a site devoted to providing useful resources on MPA programs. A public administrator is an unelected public employee, including city managers, cabinet secretaries, police officers, and more. An MPA is the professional degree for individuals seeking to enter public service at a management level. Jobs available upon completion of this degree include policy analyst, budget analyst, HR manager, executive director, and more.

Recently there has been a convergence between the MPA program and Master of Public Policy (MPP) degrees, with many of the course offerings being similar and having overlap. There are a few differences between the programs though: MPP programs tend to provide more focused training in policy analysis and policy design, while MPA programs usually still provide more focused coursework in program implementation and public management.

University of Southern California Masters of Public Administration University of Southern California › University of Southern California, a respected and accredited college, provides online programs for students who prefer interaction with a community of peers or that have busy schedules. The Masters in Public Administration can be completed at a pace that is comfortable to you and assignments can be turned in at anytime on or before deadlines expire.
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Anna Maria College Master of Public Administration Anna Maria College › Anna Maria College's MPA program not only provide a background in administrative theory and practice, it also has students study specific cases that have affected past and present public policy decisions. Courses combine broad understandings of public administration with advanced level study in planning, organization, management and analysis in the public sector.
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Northcentral University MBA in Public Administration DBA in Public Administration Northcentral University › Northcentral University's 100% online classes make getting an MBA in Public Administration easy to work around any professional's schedule. Specialized MBAs such as this one allow the student to choose six specific courses in addition to the regular course load. The 12-week semesters start each month, allowing students to progress much faster than in other colleges.
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Seton Hall University Master of Public Administration Seton Hall University › Seton Hall University's Master of Public Administration is designed to provide students the foundation and fundamentals of public administration. Students have three concentration choices, and explore courses that provide a real-world blend of theory and application. Online degree programs can be customized to your professional needs and interests.
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George Washington University Master in Political Management George Washington University › George Washington University is one of the nation’s largest providers of online education and offers several online degrees at every level. Students looking to quickly advance their career goals in Public Administration will be interested in the highly-rated Master in Political Management degree. This degree is also great because at can cut many of the costs associated with campus programs.
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Purdue University Global Master of Public Administration Purdue University Global › Purdue's Master in Public Administration is designed to help working administrators improve their leadership skills in public service. Courses teach students how to evaluate, implement and manage policy, as well as ethics, budgeting, and administering public funds with strategic planning.
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California State University, Northridge Master of Public Administration MPA - Public Sector Mgmt MPA - Nonprofit Management MPA - Health Administration California State University, Northridge › Cal State Northridge's numerous MPA programs place the student in a global network of experienced faculty and professional peers while strengthening theoretical and practical knowledge of public administration practices. Students also gain insights from professionals in related fields like public safety and health care.
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Ashford University Master of Public Administration MBA in Public Administration MA/OM - Public Administration Ashford University › Ashford University offers many routes to getting a masters degree in Public Administration: Students can get a Master of Public Administration, an MBA in Public Administration, an MA in Organizational Management with a focus on Public Administration, or an MA in Education & Public Policy. Ashford U is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission, 985 Atlantic Ave, Ste 100, Alameda, California 94501, (510) 748-9001,
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Grand Canyon University MPA in Govt & Policy MPA in Healthcare Policy Grand Canyon University › Grand Canyon University's Master of Public Administration degrees prepare students for careers in the public sector. With specializations available in health care management and government & policy, the Master of Public Administration programs are structured to educate students on the foundational and specific skills required for successful careers in the public eye.
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Norwich University Master of Public Admin MPA in Leadership MPA in Fiscal Mgmt Norwich University › Norwich University offers campus and online classes; students can choose either, or a combination of both. Their Masters in Public Administration teaches the fundamentals of public administration with a focus on career-oriented real-world application that can be put to use immediately by those already working in the public sector. There are also programs for specific fields of focus like Leadership or Organizational Fiscal Management
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What is a Master of Public Administration?

A master of public administration (MPA) is a professional post-graduate degree for individuals looking for a career in public administration. MPA programs are designed for future leaders of public agencies, non-profit companies, and the emerging new class of social entrepreneurs. A MPA program prepares students to serve as managers in the executive arm of local, state, and federal or national government, as well as nongovernmental organizations (NGO) and nonprofit sectors. A focus on the systematic investigation of executive organization and management, as well as the intersection of government and community in the public policy landscape, is also a component of public administration.

An MPA program requires individuals to already have a 4-year baccalaureate degree and a minimum GPA of 2.5 or higher. Usually the degree takes 2 years of full-time study, with additional time to complete a thesis. Most online programs are 36-credit-hours.

MPA degrees are designed to be more interdisciplinary so graduates have a broader range of skills and knowledge in a wide range of topics and disciplines relevant to the public sector. Different fields, such as economics, sociology, law, anthropology, political science, and regional planning, are drawn from to make up the core component of classes. In addition to a core component of course classes, there is usually a concentration component in which a student can focus their studies. Examples of concentration include human resources, urban planning, emergency management, transportation, health care (public health), economic development, urban management, community development, education, non-profits, information technology, environmental policy, cultural policy, criminal justice, and more.

Typical core course classes include:

  • Microeconomics
  • Public Finance
  • Research Methods and Analysis
  • Statistics
  • Policy Process
  • Policy Analysis
  • Organizational Management Theory
  • Public Financial Management
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Government Budgeting
  • Ethics
  • Public Management
  • Leadership Concepts
  • Planning and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Course instruction within the core curriculum usually includes the roles, development, and principles of public administration; the relations between organizational management and legislators; administrative law; professional ethics; public policy management and implementation; the public and non-profit budget processes and financial management; personnel management focusing on civil employees; and appropriate research methods.

What are the Opportunities with a Master of Public Administration Degree?

A master of public administration degree is ideal for you if you’re seeking leadership positions at all levels of government or public sector. Examples of governmental positions would be administrators or elected officials, and leaders of police and fire departments. This degree can also help prepare you to succeed in top executive of development positions in the non-profit community. Finally, if you’re seeking to start innovative non-profit companies, or non-governmental organizations (NGOs), a masters in public administration would be the right choice for you.

Due to the wide variety of uses for a master of public administration, the doors are wide open for job opportunities in many different public and private career fields. This kind of job flexibility is especially ideal for a rapidly evolving economy. Even in times of economic distress, there is still a need for people in the public administrator field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates federal employment to grow by ten percent and the number of jobs in state and local government is expected to increase by eight percent in the decade between 2008 and 2018. Also, as existing public administrators retire, the number of available existing job openings at all levels of government is expected to increase. There are many positive benefits that come with public-sector employment, such as job stability, pension, and healthcare.

Additionally, many graduates end up creating their own public administration jobs. Social entrepreneurism is a high trend in the non-profit and NGO area. Many people tend to focus on creating innovative new public service organization that are economically viable and capable of quickly providing aid and service to people in need around the world. These types of NGO businesses are popular career choice among many public administration graduates, and also often play critically important roles in times of world crisis. offers a list of the “pressing problems” on our country and world’s agenda today. This list outlines a few of the issues those with public administration masters can assist in:

  • Managing global climate change and controlling its underlying causes such as carbon emissions.
  • Supplying food, energy and clean water to the growing populations in developing countries.
  • Securing the United States and other countries against the possibility of chemical, biological and nuclear terrorism.
  • Redeveloping older urban areas that have lost their economic base in manufacturing.
  • Transitioning recently incarcerated persons into productive, nonviolent lives in society.
  • Ending the epidemic of HIV infection in developed and developing countries.
  • Providing quality education and health care to children living in poverty.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has outlined salaries for positions that a master of public administration degree can acquire:

Local, State and Federal Administrative Jobs – Average Annual Salaries

  • Financial management (federal): $128,422
  • City manager/Chief administrative officer: $94,992
  • Information technology management (federal): $91,104
  • Assistant city chief administration officer: $89,000
  • Human resources management (federal): $81,837
  • Human resources director (local): $78,234
  • Human services director (local): $75,961
  • All federal occupations: $74,403

Hourly Wages – Non-profit and Government vs. Private Sector:

Among full-time public administration employees, those working in public and non-profit agencies earn more per hour than those in the private sector:

  • Local government: $25.16/hr
  • State government: $23.77/hr
  • Non-profit: $21.68/hr
  • Private: $20.46/hr

Current Master of Public Administration Degree Role Models

Resources for More Information About Master of Public Administration

  • Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management: The APPAM is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving public policy and management by fostering excellence in research, analysis and education. The APPAM has over 1,500 academic, practitioner, organizational and institution members. There are many ways in which the APPAM improves the field of public administration, including an annual fall research conference, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (JPAM), the association’s journal, several award programs and various activities including international and national conferences and workshops.
  • American Society for Public Administration: The ASPA is the largest and most prominent professional society for public administration practitioners and educators. It is dedicated to advancing the art, science, teaching and practice of public and non-profit administration. ASPA’s four core values are Accountability and Performance, Professionalism, Ethics and Social Equity.
  • National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration: The NASPAA is the accrediting body for MPA and MPP programs in the U.S. It is an institutional membership organization that exists to promote excellence in public service education. The membership includes U.S. university programs in public affairs, public policy, public administration and nonprofit management.
  • European Association for Public Administration Accreditation: The EAPAA is the accrediting body for MPA programs in Europe. It’s oriented to institutions that offer academic degree programs in public administration, public management, and public policy in Europe. They’ve built and maintained a voluntary accreditation system in order to stimulate high quality in public administration education. If you’re interested in acquiring your MPA in Europe, this is an important resource for you.
  • Global MPA web portal: The NASPAA Website is for international students and programs outside the U.S. It’s an important resource if you’re not from the U.S., or if you’re looking to study outside of the U.S.
  • Public Service Careers: This is public sector non-profit job site for those seeking jobs in the public sector. You can get an idea of what kind of jobs are available for public administrators through this site.

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