What’s an MPA degree? Will it be a good fit for you? Which school should you choose, and is it accredited? With a with range of programs to choose from–and finer points of the selection process to consider, like overlap with similar degrees (like a Master of Public Policy, Juris Doctorate and even a Master of Business Administration), there’s a lot to consider.
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.
Please note this information was last updated on 2/12/2018. If any information needs to be modified, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All Online MPA / Executive MPA Programs
|University||Live Classes||Offline Accessible Mobile App||Capstone or Dissertation||GRE or GMAT||Class Size Under 15|
|University of North Carolina||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|University of Southern California||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|University||Live Classes||Offline Accessible Mobile App||Capstone or Dissertation||GRE or GMAT||Class Size Under 15|
|California State University-Northridge||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|University of Phoenix-Arizona||No||No||No||No||No|
|CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|Grand Canyon University||No||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|American Public University System||No||No||Yes||Yes||No|
University of North Carolina
The University of North Carolina (UNC) Chapel Hill offers a nationally ranked MPA degree program that prepares students to become leaders in public service. This degree places an emphasis on local government to equip students with the management, communication, and leadership skills necessary to affect social change. The MPA at UNC Chapel Hill also educates leaders for positions at the state and federal levels, as well as within the nonprofit sector. It is ranked in the top 25 programs in the country by US News and World Report, and 5th in the country for city management.
The MPA at the UNC Chapel Hill School of Government is offered in an online format: MPA@UNC. This revolutionary, fully immersive online MPA degree program lets students experience the same comprehensive curriculum as on-campus students, delivered by the same faculty while allowing them the flexibility to pace themselves and incorporate education into their active lifestyles. The program requires 45 credits to complete.
The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University offers an online Executive MPA (EMPA) degree program designed to prepare students to become leaders in the public sector. Through the online EMPA program, the Maxwell School helps experienced public servants to advance within government, nonprofit, and for-profit organizations, both nationally and internationally.
The Executive MPA online program teaches students to formulate, implement, and evaluate policy; lead and manage organizations; and use evidence-based analysis to make a positive impact on the public good. It is designed for public service professionals with at least 5 years of work experience in a position with significant organizational responsibility including managerial positions in the public or non-profit sectors or related to public policy development.
The program consists of 30 credits that can be taken over a 15-month period for full-time students.
University of Southern California
The USC Price online MPA program is a multidisciplinary and comprehensive experience that prepares students to become leaders in public policy. Through extensive research and hands-on, practical experience, USC Price students learn to navigate the modern landscapes of socioeconomic and political environments, equipped with the skills required to conquer the challenges of public administration.
The dynamic curriculum of the USC MPA degree combines all the major disciplines within public administration to equip students with several key skills, including strong analytic abilities, political acumen, and communication. Students will develop a thorough understanding of policy making, as well as problem-solving strategies to seek real-world solutions to the real world challenges of the political process. They will demonstrate strong leadership, program management, and communication, by combining cutting-edge research with practical experience. Areas of focus within this degre include Public Policy, Local Government, Community and Economic Development, Urban Planning, Civil Infrastructure, Political Management, Nonprofit Management, Financial Management, Environmental Management and Land-Use Policy, Intergovernmental Management, and Public Policy.
The USC Price Master in Public Administration is a two-year program for full-time students and a three-year program for part-time students. 41 credits are required to graduate.
The MPA degree program at the American University School of Public Affairs is ranked third in the U.S., and number one in the Washington D.C. area. The program educates students in the primary components of leadership, both in public and nonprofit organizations, as well as in the principals of public policy and organization. Students build leadership and management skills, strengthen analytical thinking and communication skills, and learn how to navigate various challenges facing public administration.
The American University MPA program empowers you to align your degree with the disciplines you’re most passionate about. There are eight concentrations, including nonprofit management, international management, public management, state and local administration, public financial management, policy analysis, policy and management, and applied politics.
The MPA degree requires 39 credit hours, and students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0 throughout the entire program. The program takes two years to complete, including one summer, and students must take 9 credits per semester to be considered full-time. The MPA is structured around three tiers: Tier 1 comprises six core classes, Tier 2 consists of 9 credits of electives, and Tier 3 requires 12 credits focused on your concentration. Students must complete a Capstone project, synthesizing all they have learned into a thorough management analysis paper.
California State University-Northridge
The CSUN Tseng College MPA degree program is well suited for students who are currently employed in the public, private, or nonprofit sectors seeking to advance their careers. It is also ideal for those who are looking to enter these fields, either for the first time, or as a transition from another field. The program offers three concentrations, including health administration, nonprofit sector management, and public sector management and leadership.
Health Administration aims to equip students with the management and leadership skills required to navigate the intersections of the health and public sectors. Nonprofit Sector Management is ideal for purpose-driven students who want to deepen their knowledge of advocacy, strategic planning, financial management, and fundraising. Finally, Public Sector Management empowers students to become effective change makers in public organizations.
CSUN is the nation’s third largest provider of MPA degrees, behind Harvard and Columbia, as well as California’s leading provider, and has more off-campus locations than any other provider. CSUN collaborates with 10 Los Angeles County agencies, eight cities, and two other counties to provide students with every opportunity to gain both a theoretical foundation in public administration as well as practical, hands-on experience. The CSUN MPA degree consists of 33 credits.
University of Phoenix-Arizona
The University of Phoenix MPA degree program empowers students to make a difference, providing them with the skills needed to create and implement impactful public policy. Integrating theory and practical application, the MPA degree gives students real-world insight into how government works at every level—federal, state, and local—and takes an entrepreneurial approach to problem solving. Students will learn at a pace of one six-week course at a time, allowing them to integrate their education into the demands of their everyday life and learn at their convenience.
The curriculum for the MPA degree is aligned with the standards of leaders in the public administration industry, like the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration© (NASPAA). It focuses on different environments, theories, and concepts to help you become a leader in public administration and have an influence on the organizations you work with.
The University of Phoenix MPA program consists of 36 credits, earned from a combination of core courses and electives. The actual required courses, however, may differ from student to student based on a variety of factors including previous experience, prior training, and any transferrable credits the student may have.
CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice
John Jay College of Criminal offers a Master of Public Administration to prepare students for careers in the public and private sectors. The curriculum for the MPA at John Jay is designed to equip students with the skills needed to become impactful managers, analysts, and leaders. It seeks to inspire students to uphold the highest ideals of citizenship and public service, and engenders a commitment to integrity, equality, transparency, and accountability in policy creation and implementation. Through academic instruction, research, public service, and practical applications, the MPA degree program provides students with the professional and political knowledge needed for a successful career in public administration.
The MPA degree program at John Jay is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). The program consists of 42 credits, comprised of core courses, electives, and courses directly related to your concentration. Ares of concentration include court administration, criminal justice policy and administration, emergency management, human resources management, law and public management, management and operations, public policy analysis, and urban affairs. Students are also expected to pass the MPA qualifying examination.
Ashford University offers an online Master of Public Administration for students aspiring to have a career in public service. The MPA at Ashford University is accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE). The program’s curriculum is designed to provide students with a diverse range of skills and proficiencies, including financial management, budgeting, quantitative methods, urban planning, redevelopment, and personnel management.
Students of the MPA program at Ashford University are given the tools they need to hone their critical thinking skills as they pertain to public administration, applying management theory to practical situations, and navigating the impact of political influences on the public sector. They learn how to evaluate the impact of political influences on decision making in the public sector, and assess the effectiveness of public administration strategies for urban planning and redevelopment.
Students take one six-week course at a time, and the flexibility of an online program allows students at virtually any stage of their career to expand their knowledge, helping them to advance in their current career path or transition entirely. This program consists of 36 credits. There are also specific degree scholarships available to qualifying students who pursue their online MPA.
At National University, students can receive a Master of Public Administration to further their careers in government management at the federal, state, or local levels. This MPA is also well suited for those seeking careers in nonprofit management. The program offers students a well-rounded education in the crucial tenants of public administration, providing them with skills in financial management, budgeting, quantitative methods, urban planning and redevelopment, politics, and grant writing.
Students in the online MPA program will learn a variety of important skills, including how to utilize critical thinking and research methods, analyze the impact of political influences on the decision-making process in the public sector, and evaluate the concept of new public management within a historical context. While each foundational course is structured upon its specific learning objectives, there is a heavy focus on continuous improvement of communication skills, and an integration of case studies, presentations, and research papers to better prepare students for the culminating Capstone Project. This final research endeavor bridges theory and practice, and is a requirement for all MPA students.
The online MPA program at National University consists of 54 quarter units, or credits, divided into 36 units of core courses, and 18 units of electives.
Grand Canyon University
The Master of Public Administration offered by the Grand Canyon University College of Humanities and Social Sciences features an Emphasis in Government and Policy. The degree is designed to help you apply administrative skills in the areas of leadership, policy and governance, human resources and capital development, and the nonprofit and community sectors. This MPA program prepares students to solve public policy challenges, identifying issues and providing solutions that impact change in various public sector organizations.
The MPA program examines the relationship between all levels of government—federal, state, and local—exploring the various ways they compete and interact with one another. The degree focuses on public governance, strategic solutions, law, and administration to help you learn how government works and how to improve and implement public policy.
Coursework for the MPA at Grand Canyon University explores how societal challenges become policy issues, and how government and public organizations operate in serving their communities. Students learn about constitutional law, the exercise of governmental power, legislative and executive oversight, and regulatory management. The curriculum reinforces core concepts of leadership, the impact of policy on the economy, the management of public resources, and prepares students to serve in government. This program requires 38 credits to complete.
Walden University’s online MPA degree program is designed for those wishing to pursue a career in public service, equipping them with the skills needed to become successful leaders in public administration. With the Walden MPA, you’ll learn everything you need to know about collaborating with government agencies, as well as private and nonprofit organizations. Students learn how to serve the public with transparency, efficiency, and integrity. Students can hone their study by specializing in a variety of fields including emergency management, criminal justice, health policy, global leadership, law and public policy, policy analysis, public management and leadership, and more.
The MPA curriculum focuses on cross-sectoral management and communication across the public and private sectors. Students learn how to effectively lead in the public sector, contribute to public and nonprofit policy processes, critically evaluate problem-solving strategies in a global economic and political environment, and develop ethical solutions to improve the lives others.
The program requires 48 credits, consisting of foundation courses, core courses, and a Capstone seminar that guides students through their final research project. Throughout the program, you’ll learn how to translate policies into effective public programs, and acquire the organizational skills you need to administer and oversee complex agencies.
The MPA degree program offered by the Frank J. Rooney School of Professional and Career Education at Barry University reinforces the university’s founding principles of democracy and scholarship. It is designed for career professionals seeking to expand their knowledge of administration in public, nonprofit, and government organizations. Driven by the pursuit of knowledge and truth, the program seeks to impart a commitment to serving society and culture for the greater good.
The MPA degree is grounded in an examination of how the modern public sector has evolved to serve the common good, and which factors are responsible for this evolution. The curriculum for the Barry University MPA program aims to develop the skills that students need to become competent administrators in the public and nonprofit sectors. Students will be able to apply research and theory to practical uses, evaluating the effectiveness of public programs and implementing new policies to yield better outcomes. The program instills qualities of leadership, management, strategy, and decision-making, promoting ethical behavior and responsibility to affect social change.
The MPA program at Barry University requires 36 credits to complete, and may be completed online. Students may also choose to specialize in Nonprofit Administration, developing the distinct skills needed to work in nonprofit agencies.
American Public University System
The MPA degree offered by American Public University provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the complex administrative environments of public service. This is an online degree program that is well suited for those who currently work in public management or public service, or for those looking to transition into the field from another sector. The American Public University MPA program promotes essential values of service, ethics, knowledge, competence, and diversity. Students will learn how to collaborate across various agencies and with multiple stakeholders to address challenges and seek effective, creative solutions.
The curriculum for the MPA consists of 36 credits, spread across courses that address the latest trends in the public administration landscape. Students will learn how to assess various approaches to managing public organizations, evaluate all aspects of decision-making processes, navigate the government budgeting process, and assess the role of government organizations in public policy. They may choose to concentrate in one of eight disciplines, and must also enroll in a capstone seminar. The project completed during this seminar is the culminating degree requirement in the form of a graduate-level thesis or creative project that demonstrates your mastery of the tenants of public administration, and applies research to practice.
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.
The U.S. World News MPA Rankings
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.