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Top Master of Public Administration Programs 2020

Compiled and Written By Staff
Last Updated: Apr 21, 2020

Master of public administration (MPA) programs build the knowledge and skills required for careers in management and governance of the public sector. The degree overlaps somewhat with a business administration curriculum, but emphasizes principles, policies, and practices as they relate to the administration of public programs.

Public administration programs train students to thrive within ever-changing social, political, and economic climates. With a degree in public administration, individuals can pursue careers in local, state, or federal government. They also gain research skills applicable to positions in research and academia, and they qualify for careers in international and nonprofit settings.

The 10 Best Online Master of Public Administration Programs

Rank School Location
1 Harvard University Cambridge, MA
2 University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA
3 Columbia University New York, NY
4 Cornell University Ithaca, NY
5 Northwestern University Evanston, IL
6 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
7 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
8 Villanova University Villanova, PA
9 George Washington University Washington, DC
10 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC

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Top MPA Programs and Schools for 2020

Note: A detailed explanation of the methodology we used to determine the best MPA programs can be found at the end of the ranking.

#1 Harvard University – Cambridge, MA

The master of public administration (MPA) program offered by Harvard's Kennedy School serves experienced public administrators with prior master's degrees in related fields such as public policy, management, or economics.

Focused on building advanced skills and understanding needed to address public problems, Harvard's on-campus MPA boasts a flexible approach tailored to individual students' needs and goals. MPA candidates complete coursework in economics and quantitative analysis, management and leadership, public ethics and political institutions, and policy.

This 64-credit MPA curriculum takes two years to complete. Students attend class on campus and maintain full-time enrollment of 12-20 credits each semester. Harvard also offers MPA enrollees the chance to earn concurrent degrees in related fields such as law, medicine, or business.

Each applicant must possess three or more years of full-time professional experience, a bachelor's degree, and four or more completed graduate courses. Application materials include recommendations, transcripts, and GRE/GMAT scores.

Average Net Price: $47,562

#2 University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, PA

The Fels Institute of Government at Penn in Philadelphia features an accelerated, full-time master of public administration program for early-career professionals interested in nonprofit or public administration careers. Penn's on-campus, cohort-based program facilitates networking and collaborative learning. Students take electives tailored to their individual interests and career aspirations.

MPA enrollees can complete this nine-course program in just one year. The program begins with key concepts and analytical tools and then progresses to practical solutions. Penn's MPA culminates in a summer internship and capstone project dealing with a real-world problem at an approved organization.

Each candidate must submit standardized test scores, official transcripts, and a resume or CV. Additional application requirements include recommendation letters, an essay, a personal statement, and sometimes a personal interview.

Average Net Price: $38,630

#3 Columbia University – New York, NY

Serving young professionals with relevant work or internship experience, the master of public administration at Columbia compares domestic politics and institutions to illuminate national policy issues. This top MPA program prepares enrollees for domestic and international organization management.

Students complete this 21-month program by attending classes full time on Columbia's New York City campus.

The program's core curriculum includes coursework in management, economics, quantitative analysis, and public policy. Columbia MPAs choose from six policy concentrations, including urban and social policy, human rights and humanitarian policy, international finance and economic policy, and energy and environment. Columbia's MPA capstone workshop program also offers experiential learning opportunities.

Columbia graduates earn MPA careers in private, nonprofit, and public sectors, and some MPAs start their own ventures. Columbia's employment survey indicates a 92% rate of employment or further study among graduates.

Average Net Price: $48,390

#4 Cornell University – Ithaca, NY

Housed in the College of Human Ecology, Cornell's Institute of Public Affairs features a two-year master of public administration program that serves aspiring public service leaders and managers.

MPA curriculum requirements include nine foundational courses in areas such as management, quantitative analysis, economics, and finance. Cornell MPA students also complete five courses in concentration options such as economic and financial policy; environmental policy; government, politics, and policy studies; and international development studies.

Cornell's MPA program prioritizes experiential learning by requiring an internship, consulting opportunity, externship, or graduate certificate related to learners' concentration area. Each enrollee must also complete a capstone requirement involving a master's thesis, real-world consulting project, or professional report.

Average Net Price: $29,584

#5 Northwestern University – Evanston, IL

Northwestern's unique master of public policy administration (MPPA) program approaches policy as fluid, global, and interconnected. Northwestern offers part-time and accelerated, full-time attendance options. Students can take courses in an online format or on campus through evening classes in Evanston and Chicago, Illinois.

The MPPA's 13-course curriculum entails nine core courses, three specialization-related electives, and a capstone or thesis. Students in the accelerated program can specialize in public policy, public administration, or global policy, while part-time students have two additional specialization options: global health and data analytics for public policy.

By taking three courses each quarter, students in the accelerated program finish in just one year. Part-time learners take 1-2 courses per quarter and finish in 2-5 years.

The MPPA program requires either a thesis or a capstone project, which students can complete as a team.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $54,620

#6 University of Southern California – Los Angeles, CA

Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the third-best public affairs school in the nation, the Sol Price School of Public Policy at USC features a master of public administration program available in an online, blended, or on-campus format in Los Angeles or Sacramento.

MPA students can choose between a two-year, full-time schedule or a three-year, part-time course load. The Los Angeles program follows a traditional academic schedule, while the Sacramento campus program serves working adults through a more flexible, blended format.

Core MPA requirements include 10 credits on analytics and 10 credits on institutions and organizations. MPA students also complete 16 elective credits in a specialization. Enrollees can design their own interdisciplinary specialization or choose from options such as local government management, nonprofit management, and health management.

Each MPA student completes a four-credit capstone involving a real-world policy or management analysis. The MPA program also encourages active learning by offering paid internship opportunities and MPA labs focused on social issues.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $45,561

#7 University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, MI

Serving experienced, ambitious professionals seeking leadership roles in government, nonprofits, or related business enterprises, the master of public affairs program at U-M prioritizes applied policy analysis and leadership skill development.

The MPA, offered by the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, overlaps with the master of public policy (MPP) curriculum. MPP and MPA students take courses in economics, policy writing and analysis, and nonprofit leadership. MPA students also take courses such as economics for public affairs and leadership in public affairs. MPA learners also complete an applied capstone project involving a real-world client.

Full-time students can complete this cohort-based, 30-credit program in nine months (two semesters). Applicants must submit essays, resumes, recommendation letters, and official transcripts.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $34,903

#8 Villanova University – Villanova, PA

A private, nonprofit university with Catholic heritage, Pennsylvania's Villanova University offers a master of public administration for aspiring public service leaders.

Villanova's 36- to 39-credit program includes 18 credits of required coursework in areas such as public administration theory, leadership ethics, applied data analysis, and human capital management. Students earn the remaining 18 credits through electives such as urban politics and government, effective city management, and nonprofit management.

Full-time students graduate in about two years, while part-time students have 3-6 years to finish their degree. To graduate, MPA learners must pass a comprehensive examination.

Some advanced students may opt to complete research projects tailored to their specific career needs and goals. Students with less than three years of relevant work experience must complete an additional three-credit internship.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $19,005

#9 George Washington University – Washington, DC

The Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at GW offers a master of public administration program for current and aspiring policy and administration leaders, researchers, and analysts.

Integrating public policy theory with contemporary practice, the 40-credit curriculum covers courses such as federal policy, policy analysis and evaluation, and public/private policy and management. Students also learn management knowledge and skills relevant to governmental, political, international development, and nonprofit contexts.

Classes often take place in the evening to accommodate working professionals. MPA students may choose to add juris doctor (JD) coursework from the law school to earn a dual MPA/JD degree.

Each applicant must submit two letters of recommendation, a brief statement of purpose, and prior academic records. GW does not require standardized test scores for admission.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $30,834

#10 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Chapel Hill, NC

Ranked 19th on U.S. News & World Report's list of top master of public affairs programs, the master of public administration at UNC features a versatile, competency-based curriculum with four on-campus concentration options. UNC also offers several dual-degree options for MPA students.

Full-time students can complete this on-campus, 45-credit program in about two years. Core courses include public service leadership, public financial management, and law for public administration. Enrollees may pursue a concentration by completing at least nine elective credits in local government, nonprofit management, public management, or community and economic development.

Through a professional work experience practicum, MPA students apply their learning and build their resume in real-world public service environments. Students with prior public service experience may qualify for a waiver. All MPA students must complete a portfolio and undergo a comprehensive oral examination.

Average Net Price: $18,848

#11 University of Miami – Coral Gables, FL

Through its contemporary curriculum and innovative teaching, the master of public administration at UM prepares graduates for careers as officials in nonprofits, governmental agencies, and private organizations. The program cultivates competencies in public administration leadership, ethics, and technique through the courses in the political science department.

Depending on prior academic preparation and government management experience, the MPA may require 36-48 credits. Students without prior public service experience must complete 30 core credits, including a public service internship, as well as 18 specialization-related credits. Interested students can combine the MPA with a master of public health from the Miller School of Medicine.

Each applicant must provide documentation of a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 minimum GPA, proof of a 297 minimum GRE combined score, and two letters of recommendation.

Average Net Price: $37,624

#12 Fairfield University – Fairfield, CT

Fairfield, a Jesuit-affiliated school in Connecticut, offers a master of public administration that serves aspiring and current leaders passionate about the ethical, social, and professional issues facing today's public servants. Fairfield prepares graduates for work in government, nonprofits, public healthcare management, or private research.

The 42-credit curriculum features 24 required credits on topics such as research methods, human resource management, and financial management and budgeting. The program also includes a six-credit internship, which experienced public servants can skip.

Each MPA student also completes 12-18 elective credits in areas such as state and local government, nonprofit organizations, private research, and public healthcare. All enrollees complete either an independent study or a thesis capstone project.

Fairfield features rolling admissions. Each applicant must possess a regionally accredited bachelor's degree and submit a professional resume, a personal statement, letters of recommendation, and official transcripts.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $17,415

#13 Northeastern University – Boston, MA

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Northeastern's master of public administration program teaches skills in research, communications, policy analysis, and program evaluation. This values-oriented MPA emphasizes professional integrity, advocacy for the public good, and inclusivity.

Boasting a 6-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, the MPA focuses on applied learning through small group projects, internships, and professional opportunities. The 40-credit curriculum includes 28 credits of core courses in leadership and management, including a public policy and urban affairs capstone, along with 12 elective credits.

Electives can count toward a concentration or a graduate certificate. Northeastern also offers a healthcare management and policy concentration. Available graduate certificates include urban analytics, urban studies, the nonprofit sector, and public policy analysis.

Northeastern's student outcome data for 2013-14 indicates that 61% of MPA students finished this 40-credit degree in two years.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $24,309

#14 Drake University – Des Moines, IA

The master of public administration program at Drake, a private nonprofit university in Des Moines, Iowa, serves current and aspiring public administrators interested in healthcare management, public policy, nonprofit management, or executive leadership.

The 36-credit curriculum includes 21 credits of core coursework in public policy, public organizational leadership, and public and nonprofit change management. The program also integrates an innovative capstone project. MPA students complete 15 elective credits in healthcare management, information technology management, nonprofit management, and public service and social policy.

As part of an optional European travel course, MPA students can take an 18-day class trip to Europe to meet international leaders. Drake MPA courses take place in the evenings and on weekends to accommodate the schedules of working professionals.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $10,510

#15 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – Blacksburg, VA

Virginia Tech's Center for Public Administration and Policy offers a master of public administration program that cultivates skills in public service management, analysis, and normative evaluation.

Virginia Tech's MPA curriculum includes coursework in four core areas: management, public policy, methods and analysis, and public service. Students also complete nine elective credits and a portfolio. Interested degree-seekers can pursue dual degrees by adding coursework toward a master of urban affairs and planning.

MPA students can attend classes part time or full time through the school's Arlington, Blacksburg, or Richmond campuses. Full-time attendees can complete the degree in two years, while part-time students determine their own pace.

Virginia Tech's MPA program boasts high retention and employment success rates. Student outcome data indicates that 22 out of 26 MPA students in the 2013-14 cohort persisted toward graduation.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $20,067

#16 Syracuse University – Syracuse, NY

Syracuse's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs features an accelerated master of public administration (MPA) for public servants seeking advanced skills in policy implementation, organizational management, and evidence-based decision-making.

Ranked number one in public management and leadership by U.S. News & World Report, Syracuse's MPA program includes core coursework in public affairs, economics for public decisions, public budgeting, and executive leadership and public policy. MPA students also complete a set of focused courses in public policy concentrations, such as data analytics for public policy, environmental policy and administration, and international and development administration.

Enrollees can complete this skills-focused program in just 12 months, including a four-week capstone leadership project experience. Some degree-seekers opt for an 18-month version of the program that includes a longer internship and culminates in a fall capstone experience. According to the Maxwell School's recent employment statistics, 95% of graduates find employment within six months of graduating.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $38,708

#17 American University – Washington, DC

The AU school of public affairs offers a master of public administration geared toward aspiring leaders in public agencies, national and international nonprofit organizations, and private firms. AU's MPA students benefit from the rich array of internship, networking, and professional development opportunities available in the nation's capital.

This two-year, 39-credit program includes 27 core credits, including a public administration capstone course, as well as 12 elective credits. Full-time students complete nine credits per semester, including one summer session. The AU MPA allows students to fulfill their elective requirements through concentration areas such as applied politics, international management, nonprofit management, policy analysis, and public financial management.

Students who lack professional experience often pursue for-credit or non-credit internships as part of their chosen concentration. All MPA enrollees complete substantial management analysis projects during the final semester's capstone course. Student success statistics from AU indicate that about 96% of MPA graduates secure employment or pursue continuing education within six months of graduating.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $31,446

#18 Seattle University – Seattle, WA

This private Jesuit university in Washington offers a master of public administration that mostly serves working professionals seeking to enhance their career in public service. The program at SU focuses on social justice and advances skills in administration, policy, analysis, and research.

This 57-credit MPA includes 33 required credits in topics such as public administration foundations, budgeting and financial management, policy process, and ethics and society. Each learner must also complete a nine-credit emphasis in either government or nonprofit, plus 15 credits in electives available from various disciplines.

The required public service capstone course asks students to analyze and make recommendations regarding real-world policy or management problems affecting an organization.

Enrollees can complete this MPA in 2.5 years by taking two courses per quarter throughout the year. MPA courses meet on weekday evenings or Saturdays.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $19,880

#19 Illinois Institute of Technology – Chicago, IL

The Stuart School of Business at IIT, a private nonprofit university in Chicago, Illinois, features a master of public administration that prioritizes effective management practices, policy analysis, and applied learning.

The 33-credit curriculum includes 24 required course credits and nine elective credits. Required course topics include human resource management, public financial management, and strategic competitiveness in the public sector. Other core courses include analytics in policy evaluation analytics, policy design analytics, and a three-credit practicum experience.

Learners in the MPA program select a nine-credit specialization in economic development and social entrepreneurship; nonprofit and mission-driven management; or security, safety, and risk management.

Each applicant must submit a letter of recommendation, a professional statement, and official transcripts demonstrating a 3.0 minimum GPA. International students can apply to the accelerated, one-year version of this MPA, which features five concentration options.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $30,752

#20 University of Wisconsin – Madison, WI

The Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs at UW features a two-year, 42-credit master of public affairs program for new and aspiring public affairs professionals. By allowing enrollees to choose more than half of their courses, the flexible curriculum encourages MPA students to specialize in a policy field of their choice.

Core coursework covers topics such as policy process, policy analysis, public management, and statistical analysis. Core requirements include an introductory professional development seminar and a capstone workshop in public affairs that engages students with real-world client issues.

The MPA curriculum allows degree-seekers to choose their remaining eight courses from various policy specialization areas and disciplines. Interested students may build their resume by pursuing internship opportunities in Madison and elsewhere.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $17,391

#21 University of Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh, PA

Serving aspiring leaders in nonprofit, government, and private sectors, Pitt's master of public administration cultivates diverse, flexible skills in critical thinking, data analysis, ethical leadership, and political advocacy.

Housed in Pitt's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), this MPA program enables students to specialize their degree through majors such as energy and environment; governance and international public management; and policy research and analysis.

The 48-credit MPA curriculum includes 12 GSPIA core credits, nine MPA degree core courses, 12 major-related MPA credits, and 15 elective credits. Each student must also complete a 300-hour internship at an approved national or international organization. Students interested in careers focused on specific regions of the world can supplement their MPA with an area studies certificate in one of eight regions.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $30,791

#22 North Carolina State University – Raleigh, NC

The school of public and international affairs at NC State offers a 42-credit master of public administration program that fosters ethical problem-solving and decision-making. According to NC State's 2018 Annual Accreditation Maintenance Report, 100% of MPA graduates reported finding work in their field within six months of graduation.

This 42-credit program includes 24 core credits and 18 elective credits from public administration or other departments. Degree-seekers with less than one year in public service must also complete a three-credit internship. All enrollees complete statistics and microeconomics prerequisites.

Core courses cover topics such as the budgetary process, public administration communications, public organization behavior, and public policy analysis. Students and advisors choose electives tailored to each learner's interests.

This program usually takes about two years of full-time attendance or 3-5 years of part-time enrollment to complete. Classes usually take place in the evenings to accommodate working professionals.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $17,161

#23 University of Dayton – Dayton, OH

The master of public administration program run by UD's department of political science serves current and aspiring public and nonprofit leaders. This MPA program cultivates skills in organizational leadership, collaboration, and communication.

The 39-credit degree features 21 core course credits, 12 elective credits, three ethics credits, and three public policy credits. Core requirements include a public administration capstone and courses on quantitative methods, organizational theory, and public budgeting.

UD offers many diverse electives, including government planning, emergency management, administrative law, and health policy. Students can also accumulate elective credits through independent study, internship, and public service projects.

For full-time degree-seekers enrolled in at least three courses per semester, the program takes about two years to complete. Part-time enrollees may take 3-4 years. Student outcome data from 2013-2014 indicates that 100% of learners graduated within three years.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $16,700

#24 University of Connecticut – Storrs, CT

UConn's Department of Public Policy provides the only master's in public administration accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration. According to U.S. News & World Report, UConn's MPA also ranks ninth among public affairs programs when it comes to public finance and budgeting preparation.

This 43-credit MPA program requires two years of full-time attendance to finish. Students complete nine core courses, including applied research design, economic analysis for public administration, and project management in the public sector. The core curriculum also covers labor-management relations, negotiations, and contract management.

MPA requirements also include nine additional credits in a focus area of students' choice. Enrollees may construct their own focus area or choose from eight pre-existing options in areas such as nonprofit management, social policy, and survey research.

Each student must complete a one-credit capstone portfolio and six credits of internship. Candidates with relevant prior experience may obtain waivers for the internship requirement.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $26,156

#25 University of Georgia – Athens, GA

Open to aspiring and experienced public service professionals, the master of public administration at UGA prepares graduates for doctoral study, research positions, or public sector management careers.

This 41-credit program features a foundational socialization sequence seminar, five core courses, two research methods courses, and six elective courses. Core courses cover topics such as economic foundations of policy analysis, public financial administration, and public administration and democracy.

Students seeking a specialized MPA complete at least four electives in local government administration, nonprofit administration, public policy, higher education administration, and health policy and administration.

Enrollees without equivalent experience complete a 300-hour internship, and all degree-seekers must submit a paper discussing their internship or professional experience. Each MPA student creates a capstone paper and portfolio that demonstrates their development during the MPA program. Full-time students can complete the entire MPA program in two years.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $16,698

Why an MPA?

MPA curricula build comprehensive understanding of principles, planning, and practices in the public administration field. Students build organizational and business skills in finance, budgeting, and strategic planning, while also fostering their research and analytical capabilities.

A public administration degree emphasizes public policy as it relates to local, state, federal, and international governance. Programs include coursework in public policy analysis and applied research and evaluation. Students enhance hard skills such as quantitative methods and behavior analysis while honing soft skills such as critical thinking and communication. MPA programs also build entrepreneurial, fundraising, and leadership skills.

Learners pursuing careers in business, government service, or academia benefit from MPA degrees. Employment opportunities include positions such as policy analyst, program coordinator, and development specialist. Additionally, graduates can work in for-profit and nonprofit sectors alike.

Individuals with an MPA can work as social and community service managers for private nonprofit groups and government agencies. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), projects a 13% increase in employment for these professionals from 2018-2028. Graduates who work as urban or regional planners will benefit from a projected 11% growth from 2018-2028. An MPA can also lead to careers in quantitative analysis, which could see a projected 30% increase from 2018-2028.

Learn More About MPA Programs and Business Schools

What Do the Top MPA Programs Have in Common?

Specific coursework and requirements for top MPA programs vary, but most feature similar objectives and outcomes. MPAs prepare students for careers in government, the private sector, and nonprofit organizations by exploring a breadth of topics, such as management, communication, and public policy.

Core classes in MPA programs emphasize topics such as principles of public administration, ethics and social justice, and public policy analysis. Through coursework in applied economic metrics, policy analysis, and the politics of public policy, learners establish foundations to explore advanced aspects of public administration.

MPA degrees may allow students to specialize in a subset of public administration. Specializations such as nonprofit management and leadership, social entrepreneurship and innovation, and law and public policy prepare learners for careers in nonprofit organizations, start-ups, and legal institutions, respectively. Other concentration options include policy analysis, public management, and emergency management.

Hybrid and online degrees offer the same classes as traditional programs, but often with more flexible, convenient options. Hybrid public administration degrees integrate online content with in-person requirements, such as weekend class meetings or workshops. The hybrid format meets working professionals' needs through the flexibility of online classes, while still offering opportunities to meet and interact with classmates and instructors.

How Long Does It Take to Get an MPA?

The time it takes to earn an MPA varies by student and institution. Programs typically include 30-48 credit hours, which traditional students can complete in two years. Part-time learners can complete their classes in 3-5 years.

Online public administration master's degrees may allow students to complete classes on an accelerated schedule, earning their MPA in as little as 18 months. Additionally, some online MPA programs allow public administration students to earn their degree at their own pace.

MPAs often include capstone requirements, which can impact time to completion. Learners may complete an in-depth research project and write a thesis, or they may participate in an individual or group project. Capstones allow learners to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they built through the degree while gaining valuable insight into public administration or nonprofit management and leadership. Some capstones may require a significant amount of time and research.


This ranking is designed to find the best Master's in Public Administration degrees available. A list of over 320 schools was obtained and evaluated on the following factors: Accreditations, Affordability, and Prestige.

Regional Accreditation (20%): Institutional accreditations are very important and attest to each program's value and university education standards. Each bachelor's program in this list is accredited by one of the six regional accrediting institutions recognized by the US Department of Education.

Public Administration Accreditation (20%): In addition to regional accreditation, each MPA program is ranked upon if it upholds an accreditation from the NASPAA. The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) is the highest recognized global accrediting institution for master's degree programs in the fields of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration. This accreditation certifies that a master's program in public affairs has gone through a rigorous process of voluntary peer review and has attained specific standards for professional master's degree programs in the sector of public affairs, policy, and administration.

Affordability (20%): Each MPA was evaluated for the estimated total base tuition cost. Tuition costs directly affect accessibility and is an important criterion to research when deciding upon a program. The base tuition was calculated for the whole degree plan, but does not included fees, books, or room and board. For schools that offer a lower in-state tuition rate, the in-state pricing is used. Based on this base tuition data, each program was then given an Affordability Score:

Expensive = $50,000+
Above Average = $30,000-$49,999
Average = $20,000-$29,999
Affordable = $14,000-$19,999
Very Affordable = $0-$13,999

Regional College Prestige (20%): This information was collected from one of the most prestigious sources in educational rankings, the Princeton Review. Each program was ranked on if their college or university was included in one of the Princeton Review's 2018 Best Regional Colleges Rankings.

Graduate Public Affairs Program Prestige (20%): This criterion was collected from one of the most prestigious sources in educational rankings, US News and World Report. Each program was ranked based on their score within the US News and World Report's Best Graduate Public Affairs Program Ranking.

All of the data was collected, weighted equally, averaged, and then calculated on a 100-point scale. This score is the TMD Ranking Score, which provides the ranking order for this list. By evaluating the accreditations, affordability, and prestige, this ranking helps prospective students find the highest quality on campus Master's of Public Administration Programs.

Professional Organizations in Public Administration

Professional organizations for public administration professionals allow like-minded individuals to connect, cooperate, and collaborate. Professional organizations provide their members with access to continuing education resources, networking opportunities, and advocacy campaigns. Additional benefits include career guidance and access to job boards, research publications, and topical updates.

Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management

APPAM unites research, analysis, and education to improve public policy and management around the United States. Members receive access to the APPAM community, which is comprised of academics, practitioners, students, and field veterans. APPAM offers members access to webinars and podcasts, the annual conference, and a job board.

Public Management Research Association

PMRA fosters research on public organizations by publishing field-related journals and holding annual events. By linking the study of public institutions, their management, and public policy, PMRA seeks to expand interdisciplinary research into government and governance.

American Society for Public Administration

Dedicated to linking public administration scholars and practitioners, ASPA serves public service professionals by building networks and fostering solutions to governance challenges. Members include civil servants, elected officials, researchers, and nonprofit managers. Individuals who join gain access to networking opportunities, ASPA publications, and professional development programs.

Alliance for Nonprofit Management

This alliance brings together consultants, funders, academics, and executives to exchange perspectives across the nonprofit management field. Through events, award programs, and the alliance's directory, members learn to advance their practice, initiate and participate in innovative methods, and lead in the field.

International City/County Management Association

Uniting local government professionals from around the world, ICMA provides development programs, research updates, and publications to members. Additional resources include technical assistance, training programs, data, and job postings.