You'll also need to think about how an MPA program is structured. From executive, part-time and full-time to completely online MPA programs, you've got lots of options. Some people prefer the feel of a physical classroom, but depending on their level of flexibility around time and location, many find online to be a better fit.
Delivered by Syracuse University’s #1-Ranked Maxwell School. Action-Oriented Curriculum Completed in as Little as 15 Months; No GRE.
Finally it's time to choose the right institution for you. Many people reference MPA Rankings and these are certainly a good place to start if reputation and brand are important to you. Learn about a few top ranked schools offering an MPA:
One of the most popular rankings is that of U.S. News, which conducts peer assessment surveys with the input of deans, directors, and department chairs of 266 public affairs and administration schools.
Respondents assign quality rating between 1 and 5 to the academics of a graduate program, which the U.S. News then totals and calculate the average of. "Specialty" programs are also ranked (by teachers only), via a request that public affairs school deans and other academics nominate up to 10 programs for excellence in a given specialty. The schools receiving the most of these recommendations are listed.
Our partner The University of North Carolina School of Government just recently announced the launch of MPA@UNC, a fully online Masters of Public Administration for those committed to public service leadership. As of 2012, the UNC School of Government was ranked 23rd by US News and World Report with impressive placement for specialties within the school:
City management and urban policy: 6th Environmental policy and management: 12th Health policy and management: 14th Public policy analysis program: 20th Public management administration: 25th
The MPA@UNC program offers weekly, live online classes with UNC professors and limits classes to 15 students per section. A unique aspect of this program is the hands-on component of the program which incorporates in-person course work and professional development. With a learning management system that looks "more like Facebook than Blackboard" the large investment in the technology behind the program and great reputation of the UNC School of Government make this an attractive option for those seeking flexible, online MPA degree options.
USC's Sol Price School of Public Policy
One of the first schools in the country to offer an MPA degree in the United States, USC's MPA program is currently ranked in the top 10 by U.S. News. The Sol Price School of Public Policy boasts world-class faculty who are actively engaged in solving public policy issues related to health care, the environment, immigration, terrorism, housing and transportation throughout the world. The Sol Price online MPA program offers the same award-winning content as the on-campus program, using social media tools, local gatherings around the country and a high level of faculty interaction to prepare graduates for careers in public administration.
The University of Colorado Denver
This school, ranked in the top 12 percent of MPA programs nationwide by U.S. News, offers an online MPA degree through the School of Public Affairs. The CU Online program was established in 1996 and is accredited through the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Students can mix online and on-campus courses in order to balance school with professional and personal responsibilities.
Indiana State University
Indiana State is another one of the major public institutions that now offer an online MPA degree for professionals who have working experience with nonprofit or public organizations. ISU's Public Administration Program is a member of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). No campus visits are required; the degree can be completed entirely online. Some courses are also offered on ISU's Terre Haute campus, and distance students are free to mix online and on-campus class formats.