American University MPA Program

The American University School of Public Affairs (SPA), which is located in Washington, D.C., was established in 1934 with a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. Among all graduate schools of public affairs, American University SPA has been ranked 12th overall and seventh in Public Management Administration by U.S. News & World Report. American University SPA’s proximity to the nation’s institutions of power and people of influence gives it a distinct advantage over other schools of public affairs.

A strong curriculum delivered by a renowned faculty prepares students for leadership roles in public service. With an emphasis on evening courses, the American University MPA program allows mid-career professionals to complete an advanced degree while maintaining employment. Pre-career students have the opportunity of completing internships during the day while attending evening courses. SPA also offers the Key Executive Leadership MPA program for senior executives with federal, state and local government agencies, and with non-profit and private-sector organizations. Students have the option of attending classes on one or two weekends per month for 12 or 24 months. The curriculum is designed solely for the Key Executive MPA and draws on the expertise of D.C. and national experts.


Top-Ranked MPA Designed to Prepare Tomorrow’s Public Service Leaders.
Multidisciplinary Curriculum with Real-World Experience; GRE Waivers Available.

Delivered by Syracuse University’s #1-Ranked Maxwell School.
Action-Oriented Curriculum Completed in as Little as 15 Months; No GRE.

MPA Online from USC Price
Earn your MPA online from USC Price, ranked #3 for public affairs.
The program can be completed in as few as 24 months. A bachelor’s degree is required to apply.


American University MPA Curriculum

The American University MPA program requires completion of 42 credit hours that include a required set of core courses and a set of elective courses chosen from an area of concentration. Prior to graduating, students must complete a comprehensive master’s examination. The exam includes a reflective essay and an exercise in management analysis. MPA students who have more than three years experience in a supervisory or managerial role in a non-profit organization or government agency can apply to receive up to six credit hours for their work experience. The number of credit hours granted depends on the level of responsibility and is determined by the MPA program director.

American University MPA Specializations

In addition to a set of core courses, American University MPA students are required to complete 12 credit hours of specialization coursework from one of these eight concentration areas:

  • Public Management
  • Policy and Management
  • Public Financial Management
  • State and Local Administration
  • Nonprofit Management
  • International Management
  • Applied Politics
  • Policy Analysis

Several of these specialization areas include separate focus topics, such as an Art Management Focus within the Non-Profit Management specialization and a Management Consulting Focus and Human Resource Focus within the Public Management specialization. If students have a particular interest that is not covered by one of these specializations, they may create their own under program faculty advisement.

American University MPA Tuition

Graduate tuition at American University can be found on the official website. Additional activity and technology fees are also required for each semester of attendance. These fees vary each year but are generally less than $1,000. For the most current fees, contact the Office of the Registrar.

American University MPA Admissions

The American University School of Public Affairs handles applications through its Online Application website. The website includes detailed information about program requirements and the application process. The School of Public Affairs values applicants who have gained practical experience before beginning a professional degree program. If more than eight years have passed since earning an undergraduate degree, candidates can petition to waive the admission requirement for GRE test scores.