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Best Online Master of Public Administration Programs

Date Updated: December 8, 2020

A master of public administration degree (MPA) is a terminal professional designation that leads to managerial and executive careers in all levels of government. An MPA also qualifies degree-holders for similar positions with non-government organizations (NGOs) and public policy-oriented nonprofit agencies. Some stakeholders characterize the degree as an MBA for public sector professionals.

The MPA overlaps with another common graduate-level designation, the master of public policy (MPP). Unlike MPP programs, which focus more on the theory of policy design, MPA degrees prepare students to meet the challenges associated with implementing and improving public policies.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), numerous public policy professions appear poised for strong growth in the years ahead. For example, the BLS anticipates a faster-than-average growth rate of 6% for administrative services managers between 2019 and 2029. The content on this page discusses what to expect from an online master of public administration and ranks the top online MPA programs.

The 10 Best Online Public Administration Degrees

Rank School Location
1 Arizona State University School of Public Affairs Phoenix, Arizona
2 University of Nebraska Omaha School of Public Administration Omaha, Nebraska
3 Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs Bloomington, Indiana
4 University of Central Florida School of Public Administration Orlando, Florida
5 Baruch College, CUNY Marxe School of Public and International Affairs New York, New York
6 Texas A&M University Bush School of Government and Public Service College Station, Texas
7 John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY New York, New York
8 Syracuse University Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs Syracuse, New York
9 San Diego State University College of Extended Studies San Diego, California
10 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Government Chapel Hill, North Carolina

See Detailed Listings

What Is Public Administration?

Public administration emerged as a distinct academic discipline in the early 20th century. In 1914, the University of Michigan began offering the first master of public administration degree to improve the delivery of public services and reduce government corruption.

During the Great Depression (1929-1939), the U.S. federal government embraced an expanded mandate in the provision and delivery of public services. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's famous New Deal marked a watershed moment in this trend, increasing demand for specially trained government service managers and executives. Public administration education flourished as a result.

Today, public administration professionals work in all branches of local, state, and federal government. Global institutions like the United Nations also employ these professionals, as do national and international NGOs and public service agencies. Most public administrators work in office settings, though some positions require varying levels of interactive fieldwork.

Public service accounts for a large percentage of the U.S. labor force. According to the Brookings Institution, nearly 24 million people held public sector employment in the United States as of May 2020. The institution's tally counted workers in all levels of government, along with the military and other public organizations.

The Brookings Institution also notes that about one-third of the federal government's current labor force will reach retirement age by 2025. This makes now an excellent time to train for and launch a career in public administration, as jobs appear ready to open up in large numbers.

Why Get a Public Administration Master's?

An online MPA offers excellent value to those aspiring to impactful positions in government and public service. As an MBA analogue for the public sector, MPA degrees give job-seekers instant credibility. Many experts consider this terminal credential an essential qualification for career advancement.

In addition to its marketability, online master of public administration degrees offer numerous other important benefits:

  • The Ability to Make a Difference: People with MPA degrees often ascend into high-ranking roles, giving them the decision-making authority to implement positive policy changes that generate far-reaching societal benefits.
  • Higher Earnings: PayScale data from December 2020 indicates that professionals with MPA degrees earn average salaries of nearly $68,000 per year. Considering that the field's average base pay hovers around $44,000, an MPA is an excellent investment.
  • Eligibility for Public Office: Many aspiring politicians elect to earn MPA degrees, or combine a master of public administration with a law degree or MBA. This looks great on the resume of any elected representative.

Ranking the Best Online MPA Programs

#1 Arizona State University School of Public Affairs – Phoenix, Arizona

U.S. News & World Report ranks ASU's executive master of public administration (EMPA) program in the top 5% in the country, and the degree is available primarily online, with the exception of three-day, in-person executive sessions in Phoenix, Arizona and Washington, D.C. ASU's EMPA takes 19 months to complete, and caters to leaders in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors with at least five to seven years of progressive leadership experience. These online MPA students work with a learning cohort, completing one class at a time. Each class lasts 7.5 weeks. Students complete 10 classes total, for 30 credit hours.

Affordability Score: Above Average
TMD Ranking Score: 100.00

#2 University of Nebraska Omaha School of Public Administration – Omaha, Nebraska

The MPA program at University of Nebraska, Omaha was the first accredited program of its kind available completely online. The program holds accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA), and has been offered online since 2000. Online MPA students at UN enjoy low tuition, paying approximately $550 per credit for nonresidents, and $330 per credit for Nebraska residents. They learn from the same faculty as their on-campus counterparts, and have opportunities to network in-person with these instructors during their on-campus orientation session. Online MPA courses at UN are asynchronous, providing students with full flexibility.

Affordability Score: Very Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 98.30

#3 Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs – Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana University's online MPA combines a master of public administration with a master of public policy, preparing students to fill impactful leadership positions. The 48-credit hour program divides into three components: core courses, advanced electives, and experience. Six courses (18 credit hours) make up the core courses, while advanced electives include up to 10 courses, or 30 credit hours. The experiential component comprises an internship — Indiana University may waive this requirement for students with prior professional experience. Most MPA students take two courses per semester, but they may tackle a heavier course load, with permission from their faculty director.

Affordability Score: Average
TMD Ranking Score: 97.95

#4 University of Central Florida School of Public Administration – Orlando, Florida

University of Central Florida offers an online MPA through its college of community innovation and education. MPA students at UCF complete 42 credit hours, including nine core courses, four advanced electives, and a capstone experience. NASPAA accredits this degree, and the program is ranked by U.S. News & World Report. UCF offers two dual degree options for online MPA students, as well: an MPA plus master of science in criminal justice, and an MPA plus master of nonprofit management. Online MPA students with Florida residency pay about $330 per credit hour, while out-of-state students pay approximately $700 per credit hour.

Affordability Score: Very Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 96.47

#5 Baruch College, CUNY Marxe School of Public and International Affairs – New York, New York

Baruch College offers an online MPA, available for both full- and part-time students. Full-time students take nine credits per semester, totaling 42 credits (45 if they complete an internship), while part-time students take fewer than nine credits per semester. This breaks down to seven core classes, one internship course, and six electives. Students who work full-time may not attend Baruch's MPA program full-time. MPA students can choose between five concentration areas: health care policy, policy analysis and evaluation, nonprofit administration, public management, and urban development and sustainability. Common careers for graduates include elected officeholder, program manager, researcher, or policy advocate.

Affordability Score: Average
TMD Ranking Score: 95.86

#6 Texas A&M University Bush School of Government and Public Service – College Station, Texas

The online MPA program at Texas A&M is available as an executive master of public service and administration (EMPSA), for professionals with significant prior experience. Applicants must have five years of professional experience, and preferably two years of supervisory or management experience. This two-year program requires one week of residency each year, and offers tracks in homeland security, nonprofit management, and public management. EMPSA students at Texas A&M complete 39 credit hours between 15-week fall and spring sessions and 10-week summer sessions. They also complete a capstone public service and administration project, working collaboratively with a government or nonprofit organization.

Affordability Score: Average
TMD Ranking Score: 94.86

#7 John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY – New York, New York

John Jay College of Criminal Justice offers an online MPA with a focus on public policy and administration, which prepares students for positions in nonprofit and government organizations committed to social change and public service. The 42-credit program offers four specialization options in criminal justice policy and administration, emergency management, human resources management, and management and operations. Applicants must hold an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0, and international applicants from non-English speaking countries must also submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language. John Jay's MPA program is accredited by NASPAA.

Affordability Score: Average
TMD Ranking Score: 94.76

TMD Ranking Score: 94.17

#8 Syracuse University Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs – Syracuse, New York

Syracuse offers an EMPA online for experienced public service professionals aiming to advance their careers in government, for-profit organizations, and nonprofits. EMPA students at Syracuse must learn to integrate data analysis into policymaking and management, uphold morality and ethics in sectors experiencing controversy, manage budgets and evaluate public expenditures, and lead organizations and teams in collaboration. EMPA students can complete this 30-credit degree in 15 months. The program comprises three core courses, focusing on broad public administration topics, and seven specialized courses. Classes go live weekly, and coursework is self-paced. Online students enjoy full-time support and access to on-campus resources.

Affordability Score: Expensive
TMD Ranking Score: 91.79

#9 San Diego State University College of Extended Studies – San Diego, California

SDSU offers this 16-month program to experienced professionals working in managerial positions in nonprofit and government agencies. The accelerated curriculum comprises 36 units, and mirrors San Diego State's on-campus MPA program. The online MPA takes place in six two-month modules, with two weeks' break between modules. It requires on-campus experiences at the beginning and end of the program, and a capstone research course during the final module. Students present their research project to a panel of professionals during their last on-campus experience. MPA students at San Diego State can expect to pay $20,000 in program expenses to complete their MPA.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 91.50

#10 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Government – Chapel Hill, North Carolina

UNC's online MPA, also known as MPA@UNC, offers part- and full-time options to approximately 200 students each year, as opposed to only 60 students in UNC's on-campus MPA program. The online format combines flexible distance learning with quality on-campus education by delivering weekly live online classes by UNC faculty. MPA@UNC students receive self-paced coursework, and still gain hands-on learning experience through the program's experiential component. Students choose from concentrations in international relations, local government, nonprofit management, public management, and public health. Online students at UNC receive full student support from an admissions counselor, program faculty, and student support teams.

Affordability Score: Expensive
TMD Ranking Score: 90.31

#11 American University School of Public Affairs – Washington, District of Columbia

The school of public affairs at American University offers a master of public administration and policy (MPAP) for professionals seeking to advance their careers in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, and across all levels of government. Graduates are equipped to analyze administrative problems and apply organizational management knowledge to come up with solutions. They also hold broad knowledge of how contemporary public policies and programs exist in legal and political contexts. American University's two-year MPAP program lets students earn their degrees according to their own schedules. Online students have access to American University's alumni, faculty, and policy expert networks.

Affordability Score: Expensive
TMD Ranking Score: 89.49

#12 Kansas State University College of Arts and Sciences – Manhattan, Kansas

Kansas State's MPA program is available in a hybrid format, with all core classes and most elective courses offered online. The program caters to learners who want to establish themselves as civic leaders, providing students with theory-informed, research-driven, and skills-based approaches to learning. Graduates are equipped to lead in the public and nonprofit sectors, and know how to apply knowledge, think critically, and seek practical solutions to real-world problems. Kansas State limits each MPA cohort to 15 new students in an attempt to minimize the faculty-to-student ratio. For that reason, the school's MPA student body totals only about 30 students.

Affordability Score: Average
TMD Ranking Score: 88.92

#13 University of Texas at Arlington College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs – Arlington, Texas

University of Texas, Arlington offers an accelerated online MPA, comprising 39 required core hours, plus a three-hour capstone and a three-hour internship. Students with at least one year of experience in the public sector may not have to complete an internship. The only course flexibility for online students is a choice between public capital budgeting and nonprofit management and social entrepreneurship — all other courses are mandatory. UTA expects online MPA students to take two courses each term (fall, spring, and summer), wherein summer courses have staggered starting dates. Online students work in cohorts, and may not choose a concentration.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 88.77

#14 Old Dominion University School of Public Service – Norfolk, Virginia

ODU's online MPA program caters to students of all experience levels: Those with prior experience in the public sector can build on their existing skills, and those with little to no experience can start on a foundation for their future. ODU provides its MPA students with the abilities, skills, and professional knowledge they need to advance their careers in public administration. The program emphasizes five areas: public management processes; public administration's political, legal, and ethical concepts and issues; organizational behavior and design processes; program evaluation and policy analysis; and qualitative and quantitative analysis techniques.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 88.16

#15 University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy – Los Angeles, California

Online MPA students at USC enjoy an education that integrates the major disciplines bearing on leadership and management in today's interconnected political and socioeconomic environment. The program implements modern research into public policy and management practice, preparing students for the opportunities and challenges of a career in public administration. Graduates come away with skills in management, analysis, and policy, equipped to work in the public, private, or nonprofit sector in healthcare, resource management, or city planning. Full-time students can complete USC's MPA program in five to six semesters, including summer semesters, while part-time students usually finish in approximately 10 semesters.

Affordability Score: Expensive
TMD Ranking Score:87.65

#16 Villanova University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences – Villanova, Pennsylvania

Villanova's 100% online MPA program teaches students through highly interactive courses focusing on management and strategic planning in the nonprofit and public sectors. Graduates are able to lead ethically, intelligently, and creatively in public administration roles. Online students at Villanova enjoy full access to their faculty, plus a comprehensive course curriculum. MPA students can tailor their degrees by focusing in nonprofit management or city management, and they can earn graduate certificates in city management, nonprofit management, or public administration. Successful program candidates have a bachelor's from an accredited university and at least three years of prior relevant work experience.

Affordability Score: Above Average
TMD Ranking Score: 87.46

#17 Grand Valley State University School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration – Allendale, Michigan

MPA students at Grand Valley State University study public administration in a hybrid format, combining online courses with on-campus ones at GVSU's Grand Rapids campus. The program aims to develop students' general knowledge and specific skills related to professional careers in public service organizations. Graduates are prepared to work effectively and ethically in urban and regional policy, public management, nonprofit management, healthcare administration, and criminal justice. Courses focus on economic and community development, nonprofit financial management, politics and administration, the nonprofit sector and philanthropy, public policy analysis, public budgeting, and health administration.

Affordability Score: Average
TMD Ranking Score: 87.05

#18 California State University, San Bernardino Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration – San Bernardino, California

California State University, San Bernardino offers all its MPA classes in both on-campus and online formats each year, but all online MPA students must take their comprehensive exam on-campus in San Bernardino. Students may focus their degree in cybersecurity, leadership, or public financial management. They may also opt for a dual degree in MPA and MSW (master's in social work), or pursue their certificate in public procurement or nonprofit leadership. Applicants must have prior work experience in the public or nonprofit sectors. Those without prior experience must undergo an internship early in their MPA program.

Affordability Score: Average
TMD Ranking Score: 86.81

#19 University of Delaware School of Public Policy & Administration – Newark, Delaware

Aspiring leaders of public service organizations might consider the online MPA program at University of Delaware, which equips students with foundational public policy knowledge, plus hands-on management skills. Graduates are prepared to contribute to modern nonprofit and public service solutions to make an impact on their communities. UD's MPA develops students' knowledge of current societal issues, strengthening their leadership skills through contemporary case studies and applied research. The 36-credit program typically takes 30 months to complete, during which students explore current public service research and learn skills to oversee the financial and administrative aspects of nonprofit and public service organizations.

Affordability Score: Expensive
TMD Ranking Score: 86.72

#20 California State University, Long Beach College of Health & Human Services – Long Beach, California

The online MPA at CSU Long Beach caters to full-time employees looking to study remotely while maintaining their current careers. Students can complete their degree as quickly as in 24 months, completing 39 units' worth of six-week classes, with a two-week break between courses. The program focuses on five core areas of knowledge: leading and managing in public services organizations; participating in and contributing to public policy; analyzing, synthesizing, problem-solving, decision-making, and critical thinking; articulating and applying a public service perspective; and interacting and communicating productively with the workforce and general public.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 86.21

#21 University of South Florida School of Public Affairs – Tampa, Florida

USF launched its fully online MPA program in 2013, in an attempt to accommodate working students who wanted to advance their careers in public administration. The degree comprises 45 credit hours (or 42 credit hours for students with prior management experience in the public or nonprofit sectors), and enrolls between 60 and 70 students, ensuring small class sizes (of 10-25 students). Full-time students can complete their MPA in two years, while part-time students usually complete it in 3-4 years. Graduates are equipped to pursue leadership roles in the state, local, or federal government, or nonprofit organizations or special service districts.

Affordability Score: Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 86.20

#22 Arkansas State University College of Liberal Arts & Communication – Jonesboro, Arkansas

Arkansas State makes its MPA available to online students who wish to pursue a public management track of study. Students can complete their degree in as little as 18 months. The program comprises 36 credit hours. MPA students at A-State focus on developing the skills to rigorously analyze problems and successfully collaborate on finding solutions. They also learn to build community and social infrastructures, and integrate theory and practice. MPA students concentrating in public management explore administrative structures and behavior patterns in the public sector, and learn to analyze and evaluate policy and political processes.

Affordability Score: Very Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 84.64

#23 DePaul University School of Public Service – Chicago, Illinois

The online MPA program at DePaul caters to current professionals in the government sector, or prospective students who aspire to work in the public sector. The program equips students with the knowledge to practice public administration in government at the local, state, federal, and international levels. Students may specialize in public management, international public management, or metropolitan planning and urban affairs. All specializations are available completely online. MPA students may pursue certification, as well, pairing their master's in public administration with a certificate in community development, metro planning and development, social research, global health, or women's and gender studies.

Affordability Score: Above Average
TMD Ranking Score: 84.63

#24 University of West Georgia College of Social Sciences – Carrollton, Georgia

Prospective students working in public service or aspiring to work in government or nonprofit agencies should consider an online MPA from University of West Georgia, which integrates academic study with administrative practice in its public administration program. Students may choose between a hybrid or fully online format, and they may transfer up to six prior credits toward the 36-credit requirement. This includes 12 elective credits and a comprehensive research project. Graduates are able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of public service values, including constitutional principles, democracy, and ethics; generalist management skills and techniques; and the relationship between practice and theory.

Affordability Score: Very Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 84.50

#25 Georgia College & State University College of Arts and Sciences – Milledgeville, Georgia

Online MPA students at Georgia College develop the management skills they need to implement programs, projects, and policies in a public service career. Graduates are equipped to work at any level of government or in nonprofit organizations, community and housing development, international development, or private businesses that work with the public sector. Alumni from Georgia College's MPA program most commonly work in state government. Coursework prepares students to serve, manage, and lead with competence and ethics. The degree comprises 36 credits in a fully online format, which full-time students can complete in four semesters.

Affordability Score: Very Affordable
TMD Ranking Score: 84.30

What to Expect From Public Administration Master's Programs

Most master of public administration programs take two years of full-time study to complete. Some institutions offer accelerated options for candidates with existing graduate degrees and/or extensive relevant experience. In these cases, degree-seekers can graduate in as little as one academic year.

As a terminal designation, the MPA is the highest degree a public administrator can hold. Therefore, learners should expect intensive and challenging curricula that include required courses, specialized electives, and culminating experiences like capstones or thesis projects. Most programs cover about 60 credits, or 20 courses of academic requirements.

Admission standards vary among schools, but candidates should hold at least a four-year bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Many of the best MPA programs accept applicants from all academic backgrounds, but the social sciences generally provide the most relevant foundational knowledge. Most schools require GRE scores, though their performance expectations usually put more emphasis on the examination's qualitative sections.

A growing number of institutions offer fully online MPA programs free of campus presence requirements. Degree-seekers who prefer traditional learning also have the option of campus-based programs and hybrid programs that blend the physical and virtual classrooms.

Public Administration Degree Options

MPA and MPP degrees are the two main degree options for graduate students interested in public policy. Both designations develop professional proficiencies in policy-based governance, but they differ in their respective emphases. MPP degrees typically explore the theory behind policy design, while MPA degrees cover the practical application of those theories.

Career goals should inform your program choice. If you prefer to work in policy research and design, an MPP may align more closely with your goals. The MPA makes a better match for those aspiring to roles involving management, human resource allocation, and public interface duties.

Some schools offer dual degree paths that compress the typical graduation timelines for students with complex professional ambitions. These include programs that combine MPA degrees with law credentials like the juris doctor or master of law. Learners can also pursue dual-degree MPA/MBA programs, which empower professionals to move between the public and private sectors.

Popular MPA Courses

As they research programs, aspiring MPA students find that schools offer a diverse selection of courses. While the respective curricula of various MPA programs cover the same general topics and themes, individual classes vary significantly from one school to the next.

The following information summarizes a cross-section of the types of classes you can expect to encounter in traditional and online master of public administration programs.

  • Policy Analysis: This course or its equivalent appears as a required class in practically all public administration programs. Drawing on the perspectives of various stakeholders, it guides students to develop systematic methods for analyzing policy proposals and identifying potential areas for policy reform.
  • Organizational Theory: A required course usually positioned in an MPA program's first semester, this class surveys historical and contemporary theories on organizational structure and governance. Coursework considers organizational theory from political, cultural, psychological, and managerial perspectives.
  • Government Finance: Usually offered as an elective in government-oriented specialization tracks, this course examines the various sources of government financial resources. Content uses economic modeling theory to explore government revenues, spending, debt, budgeting priorities, and resource allocation.
  • Nonprofit Resource Development: Schools usually offer this course as an elective in nonprofit-oriented specialization tracks. It teaches the fundamental strategies and techniques nonprofit organizations use to raise funds and distribute financial resources to various priorities.
  • Capstone in Public Administration: In their culminating experience, the public administration capstone, students apply their proficiencies to a targeted question or problem in policy analysis, implementation, or administration."

What Jobs Can a Public Administration Degree Get You?

A terminal MPA degree signals job-seekers' readiness for roles with strong upward mobility. The best online MPA programs deliver management and leadership training, plus insights into the practical applications of government policy. Given strong employer demand for candidates with these proficiencies and the relatively short time investment required to earn an MPA, this study path offers outstanding value.

Public administration programs are interdisciplinary by nature, equipping students with versatile, transferable qualifications.

Because MPAs are considered the public sector "gold standard," an online master of public administration can maximize career potential. Opportunities also extend well beyond government, encompassing roles with NGOs and in healthcare, education, and the nonprofit sector.

Popular jobs available to experienced professionals with MPA degrees include:

Urban or Regional Planner

Urban and regional planners formulate and implement policies that guide population growth management, land use, and infrastructure development.

  • Required Education: MPA plus specialized training from an accredited municipal or regional planning program
  • Job Outlook (2019-29): +11%
  • Median Annual Salary: $74,350

Political Scientist

These experts apply academic theory and research to the practical function of political and government institutions.

  • Required Education: Master's degree or doctorate in public administration, public policy, or political science
  • Job Outlook (2019-29): +6%
  • Median Annual Salary: $122,220

Management Analyst

Organizations in both the private and public sectors have increasing needs for management analysts. These professionals specialize in identifying and remediating organizational efficiency shortcomings.

  • Required Education: MPA and/or MBA degree
  • Job Outlook (2019-29): +11%
  • Median Annual Salary: $85,260

Selecting Your Master's in Public Administration Degree

The rankings list contained in this page offers valuable insights into the structural features and requirements of top programs. However, competitive rankings only offer a partial view of the depth and breadth of relevant study opportunities. They function best as a launching pad for further research and should not be considered a prescriptive end point that limits your options.

Every student has different interests, preferences, and learning goals, and a top-ranked program may carry prestige but fail to match your unique objectives. Thus, you should also consider other important program selection factors. Depending on your perspective, these may include:

  • – The program's culture or orientation toward specific shared values, such as social justice or economic equity
  • – School size and student-to-teacher ratios
  • – Faculty members' diversity profiles and professional credentials
  • – Program location: Those situated in or near seats of government typically offer valuable networking opportunities that can boost your job search
  • – Costs and the availability of financial aid

No matter where you ultimately decide to pursue your MPA, ensure the school you attend holds valid national or regional accreditation. You can also look for specialized endorsements from the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration, the nation's preeminent accreditor of MPA programs.

Why You Should Get Your MPA Online

Online delivery formats continue to make major inroads in higher education. Public administration counts among the many subjects particularly well-suited to the virtual classroom. Coursework maintains a lecture-heavy focus on applied theory, making distance learning an appealing alternative to physical attendance.

The key benefit of an online master of public administration derives from its scheduling flexibility. Degree-seekers do not adhere to rigid class schedules, as asynchronous online learning facilitates an "anytime, anywhere" approach to learning. Students can create their own schedules and attend virtual classes at their convenience.

Earning an MPA online can also help reduce costs. Many schools offer competitive tuition rates to online learners, and enrollees can avoid the costs of traveling to campus or moving to a new city.

Online programs also maximize educational options, allowing learners to enroll in programs at faraway schools that might otherwise be out of reach.

Several caveats counterbalance these advantages. Online learning demands high levels of self-discipline and independence. Learners who prefer in-person interaction should consider hybrid programs, which combine virtual and physical learning formats.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is an MPA worth it?

Labor market experts and employers widely consider the MPA the most useful and versatile professional credential for public servants and government administrators. An MPA degree grants access to roles with more responsibility and better pay, optimizing the student's potential return on investment.

What can I do with a master's in public administration?

MPA degrees qualify job-seekers for management and executive roles with local, state, and federal government agencies. They also lead to extensive job opportunities in the nonprofit sector, philanthropy, and with national and global NGOs.

What is a master's in public administration?

A MPA is the equivalent of an MBA for the public sector. This terminal degree is the preferred credential for those seeking management-level careers in public service and government.

Is an MPA or MBA better?

If your career plans include roles in government, public service, or the nonprofit sector, an MPA degree delivers more utility. MBA degrees focus more on the needs of private, for-profit enterprises.

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