Masters in Public Administration Degree ProgramsAre you interested in government leadership? Does a career in government agencies, health and human services, public management, or nonprofit organizations appeal to you? Leaders in these vital components of our society are needed today. A Master of Public Administration degree provides the educational foundation for leadership and managerial positions in both the public and nonprofit sectors.

What is a Master in Public Administration?

masters of public administrationA Master in Public Administration (MPA) prepares students with the leadership skills required to run a company or organization within the public sector. Focused on government and nonprofit organizations, MPA programs teach students leadership and management skills as well as contemporary public policy issues. Graduates will be able to apply these skills in policy-making and analysis, government finance management and public sector labor relations.

They will also be prepared to serve as managers in the executive branch of local, state, and federal/national government, as well as the nonprofit sectors. The curriculum covers the basics of fundamental public administration skills such as budget planning, executive organization, strategic management of human capital as well as public policy.

As the accepted degree or credential for public service professionals, the Master in Public Administration is your ticket to advancing to mid- and upper-level management positions. Typically, an MPA degree is the highest level of education needed for careers in the profession.

What are some Master of Public Administration Concentrations?

masters of public administrationThe list of potential concentrations for a Master of Public Administration degree is extensive. Because there are so many potential jobs one could qualify for with an MPA, there are as many concentrations available to ensure the degree is relevant. Don’t let this scare you, having an MPA in hand will open the doors to a large variety of positions, regardless of the concentration you choose. Choose one that interests you, and you will find that it is versatile in the field. Please note, this list is not comprehensive!

  • Applied Politics
  • Aviation
  • Budgeting and Financial Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Theory
  • Federal Policy, Politics and Management
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Criminal Justice
  • Environmental Policy and Administration
  • Ethical Leadership
  • General Public Administration
  • Global Affairs
  • Public Economics and Financial Management
  • Social Policy
  • masters of public administrationGovernment Information Strategy and Management
  • Education Policy
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Urban Government and Management
  • Technology and Information Management
  • Human Resources
  • International and National Security Policy
  • International Management
  • Leadership of Public Organizations
  • Local and State Government Financial Analysis and Management

What is your Methodology?

The ranking for the Top Online Masters in Public Administration was compiled by listing the available degrees. We compiled the list and collected relevant data from the National Center for Education Statistics, Payscale, and school websites. Using a variety of statistics that serve as indicators of the school’s reputation, availability of faculty, price, and flexibility for graduate students, we scored each school. The ranking used the following percentages:

  • Program Cost – 30%
  • Average Mid-Career Salary – 20%
  • Student to Faculty Ratio – 10%
  • Percentage of Graduate Students – 10%
  • Graduation Rate – 10%
  • Retention Rate – 10%
  • Full-time Graduate Enrollment – 10%

Top 30 Online Masters in Public Administration Degree Programs

  1. MERIT: 100.0
    View Profile Average Cost: $37,000

    Online Executive Master of Public Service and Administration

    • Location: College Station, TX
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 21.8%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 21 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Less than one year certificate, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges, as well as several other accrediting bodies.

    Founded in 1876 as the state’s first public institution of higher learning, Texas A&M University is a research-intensive flagship university. The University is dedicated to “sending Aggie leaders out into the world prepared to take on the challenges of tomorrow.” There are more than 125 undergraduate degree programs, 200 master’s degree programs, 100 doctoral degree programs, and five professional degrees available options for study.

    The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University offers an Online Executive Master of Public Service and Administration that requires 39 credit hours for graduation. The program requires one week of residency each year, (two total weeks), but all other classes may be taken online. Depending on how many classes your schedule allows, the program may be completed in as little as two years, but on average, takes three years to complete. Students who have prior schooling may transfer in up to 12 credits. Once admitted into the program, you may choose from a Homeland Security, Public Management, or a Nonprofit Management related track.

    Application requirements include at least five years of professional experience, a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, official transcripts, a resume, and current GRE/GMAT scores. Applications are accepted for the fall, spring, or summer semesters. The Master of Public Service and Administration degree at Texas A&M is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).

    Texas A&M boasts a high retention and graduation rate. Combined with a relatively low-cost program, and an excellent average mid-career salary of $115,900, there is no doubt that Texas A&M belongs at the top of the list.

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  2. MERIT: 99.8
    View Profile Average Cost: $18,900

    Master of Public Administration Online

    • Location: San Diego, CA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students:13.9%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 28 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice Doctor’s degree – other
    • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission as well as several other accrediting bodies.

    San Diego State UniversityKnown as the oldest higher education institution in San Diego, San Diego State University has been a leading public research university since 1897. There are more than 36,000 students who participate in a distinguished academic curriculum. SDSU ranks in the top 10 for students studying abroad and ethnic diversity. The University has produced 88 Fulbright student scholars since 2005.

    The Master of Public Administration Online at San Diego State University is a 16-month online degree program geared towards working professionals who currently work in government or nonprofit organizations. The curriculum requires 36 credit hours and is the same as the on-campus program except for the fast-track, an online program is taught in six, two-month modules with two on-campus experiences required at the beginning and the end of the program. During each module, students take two accelerated courses as a member of an online peer cohort. There is a brief break of approximately two weeks between modules.

    At the end of the program, students complete a capstone research course where they develop an applied research project. The project is presented to a panel of professional practitioners and faculty during the final on-campus experience. Students can be assured that they are receiving an excellent education, as San Diego State University has offered the Master of Public Administration program for almost 50 years.

    The program is accredited by NASPAA, which is the national standard for the profession. One of the ten most affordable programs on the list, San Diego State is worth considering.

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  3. MERIT: 94.9
    View Profile Average Cost: $45,220

    Online Master of Public Administration

    • Location: San Francisco, CA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students:38.1%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 13 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree – professional practice Doctor’s degree – other
    • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission as well as several other accrediting bodies.

    University of San FranciscoThe University of San Francisco was the first university in the thriving West Coast city of San Francisco. It was established by the Jesuits in 1855 by Italian immigrant Anthony Maraschi. He proclaimed, “Here, in time, will be the heart of a great city.” The original college was known as St. Ignatius Academy and had three students on the first day.

    The online Master of Public Administration at the University of San Francisco is a 39-unit, 100% online program. Offered through the School of Management, there are only 13 courses required to earn your master’s degree. Goals of the program include preparing students to initiate and facilitate interactions between government, and nonprofit sectors, creating collaborative environments, translating research into effective practices and achievable, humane policies, and preparing students to determine public service strategies. Admission requirements include transcripts, letters of recommendation, a resume, essays, GRE/GMAT score, and an interview. Courses include:

    • Navigating and Negotiating the Field of Practice of Public Administration
    • Management Practice, Organizational Behavior, and Human Resources
    • Managing Budgets, Finance and Economics
    • Information Technology and E-Trends
      Strategic Planning
    • Core Value Driven Leadership and Ethics
    • Public Policy Analysis and Implementation
    • Quantitative Methods and Big Data
    • Program Evaluation and Monitoring

    Application and acceptance dates are ongoing throughout the year, making it simple to start the program when it works best for your schedule. The average mid-career salary for USF is $110,600, making the ROI high.

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  4. MERIT: 94.8
    View Profile Average Cost: $36,108

    Online Master of Public Administration

    • Location: Newark, DE
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 16.9%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 15 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education as well as several other accrediting bodies.

    University of DelawareEstablished in 1743, the University of Delaware is home to approximately 24,000 students. The first study abroad program was started at UD, and 30% of students study abroad each year. There are 4,493 faculty employed at UD.

    The University of Delaware offers an online Master of Public Administration that is designed to help public service professionals develop their knowledge of current societal issues and strengthen their administrative skills. The program is founded on theory, research, and application-based solutions. Usually completed over 30 months, the program requires 36 credits for graduation. Courses include:

    • Contemporary Issues in a Global Society​
    • Performance Management & Program Evaluation
    • Information Technology & Management in Public & Nonprofit Sectors
    • Seminar in Public Administration
    • Quantitative Analysis in Public & Nonprofit Sectors
    • Economics in Public & Nonprofit Sectors
    • Financial Management in Public & Nonprofit Sectors
    • Human Resources in Public & Nonprofit Sectors
    • Leading Organizations in Public & Nonprofit Sectors

    All courses are taught by an interdisciplinary faculty and are seven weeks long, with three terms offered per calendar year. The online Master of Public Administration program has no on-campus activities or residencies required, however, students are encouraged to attend on-campus events including career fairs, recruiting opportunities and graduation. The course content is entirely online and they use the Canvas learning management system.

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  5. MERIT: 93.5
    View Profile Average Cost: $77,120

    Master of Public Administration Online

    • Location: Los Angeles, CA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 58%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 9 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice Doctor’s degree – other
    • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.

    Founded in 1880, the University of Southern California is known across the globe for innovation, research, athletics, and dynamic student life. There are 17 professional schools at the University.

    The Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California has been widely recognized for its history of academic excellence. The online Master of Public Administration program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration, which is an organization that recognizes the best public service training and education programs in the country. Accolades abound with this online MPA degree. Classes are offered online through face-to-face video conferencing.

    There are two certificate options, providing students the flexibility to tailor their education to their career goals. The program typically takes  24 months to complete and includes two residencies and a capstone project. There are three start dates during the year in January, May, and September. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and GRE/GMAT scores to apply, but test waivers are available if you have five or more years of managerial work experience and a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Although it is one of the more expensive programs on the list, the reputation of USC Price may be worth the price tag.

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  6. MERIT: 91.8
    View Profile Average Cost: $13,636

    Master of Public Administration

    • Location: Grand Forks, ND
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 23.6%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 18 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Less than one year certificate, One but less than two years certificate, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.

    University of North DakotaThe University of North Dakota is located in Grand Forks, North Dakota and was founded six years before North Dakota became a state. The school began with a strong liberal arts foundation and has expanded to include scientific research.

    The Master of Public Administration at the University of North Dakota is the only MPA program in the state of North Dakota. Established in 1976, today it serves students on the main campus in Grand Forks as well as students in other locations through internet-assisted live classrooms.

    Students have the option to complete the degree as a stand-alone program or in combination with a track in Health Administration or a JD/MPA option. As a student in the joint JD/MPA program, students can count six credits of law school classes toward their Master of Public Administration, while they count an equal number of MPA classes towards a law degree. If you choose this option, it should be noted that you’ll need to attend law classes in person, but the MPA classes are available in a live, online feed.

    Students who are interested in the Master of Public Administration degree only will be required to complete 34 credit hours. The degree typically takes two years to complete. The Master of Public Administration at the University of North Dakota is worth checking into as it is the third cheapest on the list.

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  7. MERIT: 90.5
    View Profile Average Cost: $48,670

    Master of Public Administration

    • Location: Chicago, IL
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 34.9%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 16 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Less than one year certificate, One but less than two years certificate, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.

    DePaul UniversityThe largest Roman Catholic University in the United States, DePaul University was named after the 17th-century priest, Saint Vincent de Paul. It is known for placing special emphasis on recruiting first-generation students and others from disadvantaged backgrounds. It was founded in 1898.

    The School of Public Service at DePaul University offers several online Master of Public Administration degrees:

    • Master of Science in Public Service Management (standard concentration only)
    • Master of Public Administration with a specialization in Public Management
    • Master of Public Administration with a specialization in International Public Management
    • Master of Public Administration with a specialization in Metropolitan Planning and Urban Affairs

    Courses are taught using a combination of both asynchronous learning using the Desire2Learn course management system and faculty-directed synchronous learning with video and audio in real-time. These innovative methods include course materials, e-mail, discussion boards, online quizzes, workgroup space, an online grade book, and document sharing. There are no on-campus requirements during the year, but students have to meet for a mandatory orientation before classes begin. Students have the option to substitute an online course with an on-site class taught on DePaul’s Loop campus.

    Online students have an opportunity to participate in the University’s study abroad program which allows them to take a class in Belgium, India, Ireland, Colombia, Cuba or Brazil sometime during the program. The degree consists of 36 credit hours and typically takes two years to complete.

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  8. MERIT: 90.3
    View Profile Average Cost: $37,800

    Online Master of Public Administration

    • Location: Newark, NJ
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 33%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 15 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.

    Rutgers UniversityRutgers University is known as the State University of New Jersey and is the largest institution of higher learning in New Jersey. Interestingly, it is the eighth-oldest college in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges that were chartered before the Revolution.

    Offered as a 100% online degree, Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration provides a Master of Public Administration that takes 42 credits for completion. There are 33 core credits and nine elective credits required. Students become competent at defining public problems, developing and communicating creative solutions, analyzing quantitative and qualitative data, and implementing ethical and practical courses of action. Some examples of core courses include:

    • Introduction to Public Administration
    • Technology and Public Administration
    • Economics for Public Administration
    • Administrative Ethics
    • Applied Statistics
    • Managing Public Organizations
    • The Public Policy Process
    • Human Resources Administration

    Students who are interested in continuing their studies can easily transition into Rutgers PhD in Public Administration. Admission requirements for the online Masters in Public Administration include a resume, official transcripts, a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. An acceptable GRE score may be required for those with a GPA under 3.0. The program is offered through the School of Public Affairs and Administration.

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  9. MERIT: 90.0
    View Profile Average Cost: $16,575

    Master of Public Administration Online

    • Location: Arlington, TX
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 28.3%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 24 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Less than one year certificate, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.

    The University of Texas at Arlington is a high-level institution. Classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a “Highest Research Activity” institution, it is the only Texas institution named a “Next Generation University” by the New America Foundation for being a leader in diversity and innovation.

    The University of Texas at Arlington offers an online Master of Public Administration that provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to pursue management careers in public services. Accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration, the program required 39 credits for graduation and can be completed in as little as two years.

    This Master of Public Administration degree has a unique opportunity for its students. Students who have less than one year of professional public sector work experience will complete an internship for one semester earning three credit hours and gaining valuable experience. This opportunity sets UTA apart from other programs in those students with no prior work experience can be admitted into the program. Tuition is one of the least expensive on the list, it is only $425 per credit hour, making the entire program $16,575. Courses include:

    • Intro to Public Administration
    • Public and Non-Profit Human Resources
    • Ethics in Public Service
    • Foundations of Urban Research and Analysis
    • Public Budgeting
    • Financial Management in the Public and Non-Profit Sectors
    • Public and Non-Profit Human Resources Law

    The program culminates in a capstone project.

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  10. MERIT: 89.7
    View Profile Average Cost: $24,906

    Online Master of Public Administration

    • Location: Miami, FL
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 16%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 27 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.

    Florida International UniversityFlorida International University is a member of the State University System of Florida which consists of 12 campuses. Florida International University is one of the state’s primary graduate research universities. FIU offers students 191 programs of study with over 280 majors in 23 colleges and schools.

    The Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs at Florida International University offers an online Master of Public Administration that is 42 credit hours. Classes are offered online in an annual rotation, and admission only occurs in the fall. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, letters of recommendation from undergraduate faculty or work supervisors, a current resume, and GRE, GMAT, or LSAT score if undergraduate GPA is less than 3.25. Once admitted to the program, students will have the benefit of top quality faculty, the majority of whom are also top scholars in the field of public administration.

    The program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). Courses include 24 credits of core requirements:

    • Political, Social & Economic Context of Public Administration
    • Policy Analysis & Program Planning
    • Human Resources Management & Policy
    • Quantitative Applications
    • Public Finance & the Budgetary Process
    • Leadership & Decision Making
    • Applied Research Methods for Accountability in Public and Non-Profit Organizations
    • The Practice of Public Management

    Once completed, students choose 18 credit hours of electives. The reputation of Florida International University is excellent and combined with an affordable price tag, there is no question that FIU belongs in the top 10.

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  11. MERIT: 88.4
    View Profile Average Cost: $26,568

    Master of Public Administration

    • Location: Northridge, CA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 13.2%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 26 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.

    California State University, Northridge is one of the largest comprehensive universities in the State of California as well as the nation in terms of enrollment size. The University has a major impact on the California economy, with an estimated $1.9 billion in economic output generated on a yearly basis.

    The Master of Public Administration at California State University – Northridge is in a class of its own. The University has been California’s leading provider of MPA degrees and the nation’s third-largest provider (behind Harvard and Columbia universities). Utilizing partnerships with ten Los Angeles County agencies, eight cities and two counties outside of Los Angeles, CSUN ensures that their students become effective agents of change at all levels of government and within their communities. The best news is this excellent program can be completed online. Students can choose a concentration in high-growth areas of the public sector field, including:

    Additionally, for those who are already working in the field, CSUN can also bring the Master of Public Administration program on-site to your current employer. Nationally ranked and with a reputation to recommend it, the MPA program at CSUN is worth a look.

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  12. MERIT: 88.3
    View Profile Average Cost: $34,000

    Master of Public Administration

    • Location: Poughkeepsie, NY
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 14.4%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Less than one year certificate, One but less than two years certificate, Two but less than 4 years certificate, Bachelor’s degree
    • Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education as well as several other accrediting bodies.

    Founded in the early 1900s by the Marist Brothers, Marist College believes in the value of a liberal arts education. All students, regardless of their primary field of study should “receive a broad education across many disciplines, learn to think logically and creatively, and be able to communicate effectively.”

    The Marist College Master of Public Administration is offered both as a 100% online degree and as a hybrid at three locations in New York state: Poughkeepsie, Albany, and Queens. By using the iLearn online learning platform, students are able to earn their degree while balancing career, family, and busy life schedules. The goal of the MPA graduate degree includes instilling in their students the skills of effective communication, quantitative and qualitative analysis, data-driven decision making, and the use of technology to enhance the leadership in public organizations.

    Courses foster critical thinking, problem-solving, innovation, and strategic management. Students can choose from the following concentrations:

    There are 39-42 credits required for graduation including nine credits of foundation courses, 21 credits of core courses, nine electives, and one internship that is required for pre-service students. Students with prior experience can waive the foundation courses, shortening the time needed to complete the degree. The program is accredited by the NASPAA.

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  13. MERIT: 87.9
    View Profile Average Cost: $29,148

    Master of Public Administration

    • Location: Orlando, FL
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 13.9%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 30 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as several other accrediting bodies.

    University of Central FloridaLocated in the bustling metropolis of Orlando, Florida, the University of Central Florida offers more than 220 degree programs in 13 colleges. The University is home to almost 70,000 students and 324 merit scholars.

    The online Master of Public Administration at the University of Central Florida focuses on strategic planning, organizational management, public policy, financial management and more. Coursework incorporates service learning, provides real-world experiences, develops community partnerships, and cultivates leadership skills. Accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA), the program is recognized as one of the best. The online Master of Public Administration is offered through the School of Public Administration.

    Students are also able to earn their MPA and their Master of Nonprofit Management simultaneously. Application requirements include an application, immunization forms, official transcripts, and a GRE/GMAT score. There are 42 credit hours required for graduation. First, students must complete a core of nine courses, or 27 credit hours, an advanced curriculum of four electives, or 12 credit hours, and a capstone experience equivalent of three credit hours. It only costs $327 for Florida residents and $694 for out of state students.

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  14. MERIT: 87.5
    View Profile Average Cost: $73,080

    Master of Public Administration

    • Location: Coral Gables, FL
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 36.3%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 12 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Less than one year certificate, One but less than two years certificate, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.

    19 Miami-logoThe University of Miami is a private research university that is home to over 17,000 students. There are 12 separate colleges that offer 138 undergraduate, 144 master’s, and 68 doctoral degree programs.

    The University of Miami offers an online Master of Public Administration that takes 24 months to complete. The program consists of 36 credits divided over 12 courses. Each course is seven weeks long and students only take one course at a time. This unique delivery method allows the working student the ability to complete the degree without it being too much strain on their life. Courses include:

    • Organizational Dynamics
    • Budget and Financial Management and Administration
    • Political Environment of Business
    • Political Analysis
    • NGO’s and Global Governance
    • Human Resource Management in Public Service

    Admission requirements include letters of recommendation, official transcripts, two professional recommendations, and possibly a GRE/GMAT score. Boasting both a flexible online environment and small class sizes, the online classroom is an environment that provides peer-to-peer learning and knowledge acquisition, while small class sizes ensure students receive personalized academic support from faculty. While it is one of the more expensive programs on the list, the average mid-career salary is $101,500, which makes the ROI worth the initial cost.

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  15. MERIT: 86.4
    View Profile Average Cost: $15,480

    Master of Public Administration

    • Location: La Jolla, CA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 53.9%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 19 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Less than one year certificate, Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate
    • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.

    National UniversityFounded in 1971 by veterans, National University is located in San Diego, California. The mission of the University is to provide accessible, achievable higher education to adult learners. Students come from across the United States and all over the world. There are over 150,000 alumni worldwide.

    The Master of Public Administration at National University can be completed either on-campus or online. The program is offered through NU’s unique four-week course schedule. Students focus on one subject at a time, one per month, which allows you to finish your degree faster. Studying in this way has been shown to be effective as you can delve into one subject without the distraction of two or three other subjects. Completion of the online Master of Public Administration requires 54 quarter units of graduate work. A total of 13.5 quarter units of graduate credit may be transferred in if they meet requirements. There are 36 credits of core requirements, and 18 credits of electives. Courses include:

    • Foundations of Public Administration
    • Urban Affairs
    • Public Personnel Policy
    • Quantitative Methods
    • Ethics
    • Urban Planning & Redevelopment
    • Finance Management and Grant Administration

    There is also the option to specialize in Human Resource Management or Organizational Leadership. One of the most affordable programs on the list, National University is worth considering.

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  16. MERIT: 86.1
    View Profile Average Cost: $26,316

    Master of Public Administration

    • Location: Denver, CO
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 37.2%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as several other accrediting bodies.

    The largest research institution in Colorado, the University of Colorado Denver receives more than $375 million in research grants annually. The University of Colorado Denver – Anschutz Medical Campus offers more than 140 degree programs through 13 schools and colleges.

    The School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado, Denver offers seven Master of Public Administration degrees, all of which are both on-campus or online. Students can choose from the following options:

    There are so many options available, it is difficult to cover them all. The Master of Public Administration degree is 36 credits, and students may transfer in up to nine credits. Students who don’t have at least one year of professional work experience in the public or nonprofit sectors must complete an internship through an additional three-credit course, bringing their total requirement to 39 credit hours. Students have the option to complete either a capstone or thesis project at the end of the program. Options abound at UCD, and with an affordable price tag, this is a great place to earn your online Master of Public Administration.

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  17. MERIT: 86.0
    View Profile Average Cost: $68,601

    Online Master of Public Administration and Policy

    • Location: Washington, D.C.
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 37.2%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 11 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Less than one year certificate, One but less than two years certificate, Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education as well as several other accrediting bodies.

    American UniversityChartered by Congress in 1893, American University is a private research university located in Washington, D.C. Its main campus spans a picturesque 90 acres near Ward Circle, which is a residential area in the northwest of the District.

    The online Master of Public Administration & Policy (MPAP) at American University is a two-year program that enables you to study on your schedule. Because of the University’s location in the midst of the nation’s political, cultural, and media capital, students will reap the benefits as they study Public Administration and Policy. This is a program that will strengthen your foundational knowledge and expand your policy management and analysis knowledge base. There are 36 credit hours of approved graduate work required for students entering the program.

    The core courses, which are required, are a total of 33 credit hours. These include classes in the foundations of public administration and policy analysis as well as economics, legal, budgeting and financial management, among others. There is a Public Policy Practicum worth three credits required at the end of the program. Admission requirements include two letters of recommendation, GRE test scores, and an essay. Applicants may substitute test scores from similar tests, such as the GMAT or LSAT, for the GRE.

    Students typically complete the program in two years. Again, the location of American University gives it a distinct advantage in Public Administration, and there are faculty who have led state legislation implementation and some who have held senior leadership positions in organizations such as the American Society of Public Administration and the National Academy of Public Administration.

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  18. MERIT: 85.9
    View Profile Average Cost: $33,300

    Master of Public Administration

    • Location: Villanova, PA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 36.6%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 11 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Less than one year certificate, One but less than two years certificate, Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education as well as several other accrediting bodies.

    Villanova University was founded in 1842 by the Order of Saint Augustine. Pleasantly situated on 254 acres, the University is only 12 miles from Center City Philadelphia. The campus was formerly known as Arboretum Villanova. However, its status as an official arboretum was revoked later when the university did not meet complete arboretum standards. There are approximately 1500 trees on campus.

    Villanova University offers a Master of Public Administration with the mission “to help you become a successful professional capable of ethical, intelligent, inclusive and creative leadership in public service.” There are several options for those seeking a Master of Public Administration. In addition to the MPA degree, you can earn a graduate certificate that allows you to focus on a specific area of study, either an MPA with a Nonprofit Management Certificate or an MPA with a City Management Certificate.  The MPA degree requires 18 credit hours of core courses including:

    After core courses are completed, students will choose six of the following electives:

    There are numerous start dates throughout the year. Application requirements include three professional letters of recommendation, application, a resume or CV, statement of goals, official transcripts, and an essay. Villanova has a reputation for excellence, which continues in its online Master of Public Administration degree.

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  19. MERIT: 85.4
    View Profile Average Cost: $19,655

    Master of Public Administration

    • Location: Springfield, IL
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 36.6%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 13 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: One but less than two years certificate, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as several other accrediting bodies.

    UIS, Illinois, online college, online degrees, online masters, online bachelorsThe University of Illinois, Springfield is located on the southeast side of Springfield, near Lake Springfield. It is approximately 100 miles northeast of St. Louis and 200 miles southwest of Chicago.

    The University of Illinois, Springfield offers a Master of Public Administration that is both on-campus and online. The online format allows students to complete their coursework using networked information technologies for access to advisors, educational resources, and materials with no on-campus visits required. The online degree follows the same curriculum as the on-campus degree, with a few exceptions. Additionally, students can earn a Graduate Certificate in Management of Nonprofit Organizations or a Graduate Certificate in Community Planning online.

    There is also a joint degree in MPA/MPH available online. The Master of Public Administration requires 36 credit hours for graduation. Students who don’t have professional work experience in the public or private sector are encouraged to include internships as part of their program of study. These opportunities are available through the UIS Graduate Public Service Internship (GPSI) Program, the Illinois Legislative Staff Internship Program (ILSIP), or departmental internship programs.

    The program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). Graduation requires a final three-credit senior capstone which allows students to integrate their coursework in public and nonprofit administration by bringing it to a real-life situation.

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  20. MERIT: 85.0
    View Profile Average Cost: $30,000

    Online Master of Public Administration

    • Location: Carson, CA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 18.1%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 25 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as several other accrediting bodies.

    California State University, Dominguez Hills offers 46 undergraduate degrees, 23 different Master’s degrees, a variety of single, multi-subject and specialized teaching credentials, and a number of undergraduate, graduate and post-baccalaureate certificate programs within five colleges. It is part of the California State University system.

    Accredited by NASPAA, the online Master of Public Administration at California State University, Dominguez Hills is flexible, affordable, and reputable. Available concentrations include Criminal Justice Administration, Nonprofit Management, Health Care Policy and Administration, and Public Management. Core courses are designed to provide a thorough background in each of the major areas of public administration. They include:

    • Environment and Practice of Public Administration
    • Public Management
    • Administrative Theory and Behavior
    • Quantitative Methods in Public Administration
    • Applied Statistics in Public Administration
    • Administration and Public Policy Analysis
    • Public Human Resource Management
    • Public Budgeting
    • Foundations of Ethical Administration

    Once the core courses of 27 credits are complete, the rest of the degree, including the number of required credits for graduation varies depending on the chosen concentration. There is a unique schedule that accompanies this MPA. There are numerous sessions and start times throughout the year, and each session is 12 weeks. The average course load is two courses per session. The online formats for the MPA program operate with two different academic calendars, and students interested in specific concentrations will determine their online course schedule.

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  21. MERIT: 83.7
    View Profile Average Cost: $18,368

    Master of Public Administration

    • Location: Huntsville, TX
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 12.2%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 21 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.

    Sam Houston State University is a large public university in Huntsville, Texas. SHSU offers many options at a high quality. Academic programs include over 130 degree programs from bachelors to doctorates. Sam Houston is Carnegie-classified for research and nationally ranked for programs in Banking, Mathematics, and Criminal Justice.

    The Master of Public Administration (MPA) at SHSU is designed for the working adult. Since the degree is 100 percent online and delivered with the best digital learning technology, you can continue both work and family life. The 36-credit program breaks down into a 24-credit core and a 12-credit concentration. Concentrations include Disaster and Emergency Management or a self-designed focus (with approval). The cohort model maximizes student-to-student interaction as you journey through the program with up to 20 others. Since SHSU caps courses at 20 students, your relationships will be meaningful. Courses include:

    • Human Resource Management
    • Public Budgeting and Finance
    • Ethics In Government
    • Public Management
    • Decision Making in Public Administration
    • Global Disaster Politics

    Graduates are prepared to work in government at the local, state, or national level, various nonprofit organizations, and private companies. Sam Houston’s online MPA will give you confidence on day one of your new job or promotion. There is a comprehensive exam at the end of the program. You can enroll in the Fall, Spring, or Summer. Admissions do require a GRE if your undergraduate GPA is under 3.0 and do not have a graduate degree.

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  22. MERIT: 83.1
    View Profile Average Cost: $18,972

    Public Administration (M.P.A.)

    • Location: Terre Haute, IN
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 15.8%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 21 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Less than one year certificate, Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.

    Founded in 1865 as Indiana State Normal School for training teachers, ISU is now a large comprehensive university with incredible academic and extracurricular options.  Located in Terre Haute, Indiana the School serves 13,500 students who are educated through six colleges with more than 100 majors.

    The 100-percent online MPA at Indiana State University is affordable and convenient. The advantage of earning an MPA online at ISU is you add the rich experience and expertise of Indiana State, and specifically, this program, which stretches back to 1976. ISU is a member of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) and is associated with the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) so their credentials are solid. The online degree is housed in the Department of Political Science and includes 36-39 credits.

    The additional three credits are for those who have sufficient work experience and counts as an internship. The online program is delivered mostly asynchronously with some web-based video-conferencing at set times. All in all, at ISU you will learn what it takes to excel in professional leadership including working in public policy and administration (all levels of government), as well as within nonprofit organizations. There is particular emphasis is on intelligent and creative analysis, communication, and action in the public sector. Just recently added to the online MPA are three concentrations: Criminology/Criminal Justice, Human Resources Development, and Public Health. Admission does not require a GRE.

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  23. MERIT: 82.5
    View Profile Average Cost: $12,632

    Masters in Public Administration

    • Location: Carrollton, GA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 16.9%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 20 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s degree, Post Baccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.

    The University of West Georgia started as an agricultural and mechanical school. Now UWG is a large, public. research university. The University offers a lot of academic options: 43 undergraduate, 23 master’s, and five doctoral degree programs. The top graduate programs are Media, Education, and Business Administration.

    The mission of UWG’s Master of Public Administration program is to train “public service leaders…that promote public service values extending from UWG’s values of achievement, caring, collaboration, inclusiveness, innovation, integrity, sustainability, and wisdom.” The online MPA combines strong mission with affordability (the 3rd most affordable on our top 30), flexibility, and quality. The MPA is built on a 21-credit core and a 12-credit concentration/elective track. You can choose one of three concentrations Public Management, Management of Nonprofit Organizations and Community Development, and Disaster/Emergency Management or your own electives to fulfill the credit requirements.

    The 100-percent online degree can be completed two years if you take three courses per semester as a full-time student. If you are not working full-time, you will need to complete an internship and all students must complete a Comprehensive Research Project. The program is NASPAA-accredited and guided by NASPAA Universal Competencies. Admission to the program requires a GRE if you don’t 1) have an accredited master’s degree, 2) have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher, or 3) a minimum of three years of work experience and a minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA.

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  24. MERIT: 82.1
    View Profile Average Cost: $24,000

    Public Administration, MPA

    • Location: Omaha, NE
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 19.7%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Two but less than 4 years certificate, Bachelor’s degree, Post Baccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

    University of Nebraska Omaha, Online College, online college degrees, online mastersEngagement, discovery, and integrity are just a few values of the University of Nebraska Omaha. UNO is a public, space-grant, research university. The school is classified as a Metropolitan University of distinction and a Carnegie Doctoral Research Institution.

    The UNO Master of Public Administration program goal is to strengthen public service in a democratic and diverse society. With this vision framing the curriculum, what you get at UNO is an online MPA that teaches ethical, professional, and effective principles and skills of public administration. Graduates make a difference in federal, state, and local governments, private businesses, and nonprofit organizations such as health care, youth and human services, international development, and more.

    Something else that stands out at UNO is options. There are several concentrations: Aviation, Emergency Management, Local Government, Nonprofit Management, Public Management., and Public Policy. There are also specializations in Criminology and Criminal Justice. The difference between a concentration and specialization is that a concentration shows up specifically on your transcript whereas a specialization doesn’t.

    The online Master of Public Administration consists of 13 classes or 39 credits. The NASPAA-accredited MPA features a robust core of essential knowledge for public administration. You then move into concentration/specialization courses where you hone the skills you want for your career and life. Lastly, you are required to complete either a final capstone project or thesis. Admission to the program does include a GRE requirement but offers a waiver under certain conditions.

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  25. MERIT: 82.0
    View Profile Average Cost: $25,884

    Master of Public Administration

    • Location: Northfield, VT
    • Percentage of Graduate Students:  21.3%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 13 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s degree, Post Baccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree
    • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education

    Norwich UniversityNorwich University traces its history back to 1819 and the pioneering work of Captain Alden Partridge. NU is the oldest private military college in the country. Its mission of public leadership and service has been consistent for 200 years. The school is the birthplace of the ROTC program.

    Norwich’s online Master of Public Administration was made for working men and women—military and non-military people. The 36-credit curriculum consists of a core, concentration, and capstone. The degree can be completed in 18 months by taking the six courses consecutively.

    The nine concentrations are the most offered among our top 30, so odds are, there is something that aligns with your life goals. Students can choose from:

    • Contract Management
    • Criminal Justice and Public Safety
    • Fiscal Management
    • International Development and Influence
    • Leadership and Crisis Management
    • Municipal Governance
    • Nonprofit Management
    • Policy Analysis and Analytics
    • Procurement and Government
    • Public Administration
    • Public Works and Sustainability

    With a generous transfer policy, NU will take up to 12 credits. With choice, flexibility, and the proven experience of Norwich, you will be prepared to work in a variety of settings and roles in public, private, and non-profit organizations such as Air National Guard, Barnes ANGB, Catholic Charities, Department of Defense,  and USAID. The degree is online but does require an on-campus visit for the final culminating experience. Another NU benefit includes a partnership with The MITRE Corporation.

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  26. MERIT: 81.0
    View Profile Average Cost: $19,512

    Master of Public Administration

    • Location: Marquette, MI
    • Percentage of Graduate Students:  7.8%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 13 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Less than one year certificate, One but less than two years certificate, Associate’s degree, Two but less than 4 years certificate, Bachelor’s degree, Post Baccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as several other accrediting bodies.

    Northern Michigan University is a public comprehensive research university in Marquette. Marquette was named the Best Small Town for Adventure by USA Today in 2018. NMU is known for innovative programs and recognized for its approach in entrepreneurship and manufacturing.

    Two factors converge at NMU in their Master of Public Administration program: 100-percent online convenience and a low cost. The Master of Public Administration at NMU is housed in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration. Preparation for service is based on industry standards taught by expert faculty. The online MPA program is built on theoretical knowledge and essential competencies in basic methodological and technical areas. Courses include:

    • Principles of Public Administration,
    • Seminar: Intergovernmental Relations
    • Organizational Theory,
    • Municipal Management
    • Grant Writing for Public Administrators
    • HRM in Public and Nonprofit Organizations
    • Special Problems in Public Administration

    Concentrations are available in Criminal Justice Administration, Human Resource Administration, State and Local Government, and Public Management. After you complete the core, concentrations and electives, you are required to complete either a capstone or thesis; an internship is required for those who entered the 34-36 credit program without experience. Admission to the program requires an accredited bachelor’s, minimum GPA of 3.0, a professional resume, cover letter, and transcripts. Graduates of NMU are working in nonprofits, public and private organizations, and more.

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  27. MERIT: 79.1
    View Profile Average Cost: $11,025

    Master of Public Administration (MPA) Online

    • Location:  Jonesboro, AR
    • Percentage of Graduate Students:  31%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 18 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Less than one year certificate, One but less than two years certificate, Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.

    Arkansas State University, A-State, Online Courses, Online Degree Programs, Hybrid DegreesArkansas State University was established in 1909 and is the second largest university in Arkansas. Arkansas State is a public research university with more than 150 areas of study and a diverse student body. The online program is also one of the oldest in the whole state.

    ASU’s online Master of Public Administration is for those seeking careers or advancement as public sector professionals who can lead in management-, director- or executive-level positions. The NASPAA-accredited program is 36 credits and 100-percent online. Since it is totally online you can continue working or your family responsibilities. The most notable factor about ASU though, besides its clear quality, is the cost. The program cost is the lowest on our list at only $11,025. When you take this and the average salary in the range of $60 to $80K, the ROI is assured. You also can choose between two tracks, the Non-Profit Management or Public Management.

    At A-State you can apply through a streamlined process and start at multiple times making it accessible and flexible. Generally, the program can be completed in 18 months. This can be aided by up to nine transfer credits. Core courses include Public Budgeting and Finance, Grant Writing and Administration, Seminar in Human Resources Management, and Administrative Leadership. A capstone is also required and is the culminating experience where you put it all together in a real-world scenario.

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  28. MERIT: 78.8
    View Profile Average Cost: $25,372

    Master of Public Administration

    • Location: Colorado Springs, CO
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 16.4%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 16 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: One but less than two years certificate, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as several other accrediting bodies.

    Colorado Springs is a beautiful city set amidst the Rockies and home to the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. UCCS is one of the four schools in the University of Colorado System. The public research-institution is nationally ranked and offers 46 bachelor’s degrees, 22 masters, and five doctoral degree programs.

    The Master of Public Administration at UCCS is accredited, affordable, and online. Accredited by the NASPAA with a curriculum guided by competencies set forth by the accrediting body lends to greater confidence of the quality of the program. The thrust of the online MPA is leadership and expertise. The 30-39 credit program covers fundamental knowledge and essential skills of administration, communication, problem-solving, and leadership. Courses include:

    • Intro to Public Administration and Public Service
    • Organizational Management and Behavior
    • Research and Analytic Methods
    • Economics and Public Finance
    • The Policy Process and Democracy
    • Ethics and Leadership

    Admission to the program includes an accredited bachelor’s, three letters of recommendation, and a minimum GPA of 3.0. Admission does not include a GRE/GMAT. If you are accepted and have less than one year of professional service you are admitted as a “pre-service” student and are required to do an internship. Graduates of the UCCS online MPA are working in public, private, and non-profit organizations. Over 26 percent are working for domestic non-profits while another 23 percent are working at the local government level.

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  29. MERIT: 78.7
    View Profile Average Cost: $29,444

    MPA Accelerated Online Program

    • Location: Edinburg, TX
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 12.9%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 19 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as several other accrediting bodies.

    The University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley was founded in 2013. UTRGV is the largest university to have a majority Hispanic population. As a public research institution with several campuses in the area, there are many options. Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Biology, Psychology, and Rehabilitation Science are the most popular majors.

    The UTRGV Master of Public Administration accelerated online program is aligned for professionals of the 21st century. The 36-credit curriculum prepares dynamic leaders in public policy analysis, grant writing and administration, management of local government, non-profit, and/or political and public administration research. Coursework features theories and skills that are relevant, real-world, and practice-based. A sample of classes includes Policy Implementation/Program Evaluation, Public Finance Administration, Management of Governmental Information Systems, and a Capstone.

    Since the program is 100-percent online you can continue working and earn your degree part- or full-time. If you enroll full-time and continuously take the 7-week modules you can complete the degree in as little as one year. UTRGV is also committed to making education accessible. Tuition is affordable and there is financial aid available in terms of loans, grants, scholarships, and assistantships. With the carousel of courses, two modules during fall, spring, and summer a core and elective are offered. This allows you to begin the program during the most convenient time for you.

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  30. MERIT: 77.4
    View Profile Average Cost: $12,500

    Online Master of Public Administration

    • Location: Pembroke, NC
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 12.5%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 16 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as several other accrediting bodies.

    Located in Pembroke, North Carolina, the University of North Carolina, Pembroke boasts one of the safest campuses in the University of North Carolina system. The University offers a low student-faculty ratio, small class sizes, and one of the most diverse campuses in the nation.

    The University of North Carolina, Pembroke offers an online Master of Public Administration that is designed to train students for leadership positions within public and non-profit sectors. UNCP believes in “‘aggressive’ career development, preparing students to move beyond existing career positions as opportunities arise, or education to accelerate career access.” Students start with a set of core courses including:

    • Leadership and Administration in Public Affairs
    • Organizational Behavior
    • Analytical Methods
    • Human Resource Administration
    • Quantitative Analysis
    • Policy Studies
    • Principles of Budgeting and Finance

    Students must complete 21 hours of core courses and then choose from four areas of specialization: Criminal Justice, Emergency Management, Health Administration, and Public Management. Each concentration consists of 12 credit hours. Once these are complete, students will choose six electives to round out the degree. There are a total of 39 credit hours required for those who have prior management experience. If you don’t have prior management experience, there is an additional three-credit internship required, bumping the graduation requirements up to 42. The online Master of Public Administration at UNCP is one of the least expensive on the list.

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What is an Online Master of Public Administration Degree?

masters of public administrationAn online Master of Public Administration degree prepares graduates for leadership positions to serve public interests, or primarily, the common good. They are trained to look at an organization, whether it be in the government or a nonprofit organization and develop plans to advance equality, or democracy and improve the lives of people. The degree focuses on how government and nonprofits operate, including public policy and budgets, as well as acquiring public funding for programs and initiatives. Additionally, an MPA degree provides management, leadership, and analytical skills.

There is variation across Master of Public Administration programs, but typically students will take administration courses in finance, strategy, human resources, and management education. There are also public policy courses covering government/nonprofit organization and public policy issues, as well as courses in public administration, managerial economics, political and legal processes, budgeting/finance, quantitative methods, and ethics.

Upon graduation, MPA students will know how to create budgets, obtain public funding, perform research and statistical analysis, evaluate program effectiveness, and how to implement policy. Essentially, they will be ready to lead and manage an organization.

There are many areas of specialization within a Public Administration degree program that allows students to concentrate on areas that interest them and tailor their degree to their professional goals. This is especially helpful if you know what branch of public administration you want to enter into, you can choose the specialization to make you the most marketable.

Why Earn an Online Master of Public Administration Degree?

masters of public administrationIt could be said that those with a Public Administration degree in hand are running our country. Known as public servants, professionals in this industry are working to address our nation’s most pressing issues, including immigration, health care accessibility, infrastructure, urban development, and social policy. Public administrators are working at the ground level to run government agencies, nonprofits, and nongovernmental organizations. They have all hands on deck and are trained to identify areas for improvement in their communities and organizations and ensure the change is implemented. They develop policies and then help carry them out to ensure systems across all sectors of society run efficiently. Some specific duties include:

  • Evaluate, develop and implement policy.
  • Ensure strategic solutions are implemented to meet challenges.
  • Recommend changes to procedures or policies to improve operations.
  • Communicate with leaders in the community as well as constituents to identify issues.
  • Track, allocate and raise funds.
  • Supervise clerical and administrative personnel.
  • Set goals and deadlines for their department.
  • Monitor facilities to ensure that it remains safe, secure, and well maintained.
  • Develop, manage, and monitor records.
  • Ensure that their facilities meet environmental, health, and security standards and are up to standard with government regulations.
  • Oversee the maintenance and repair of equipment, machinery, and electrical and mechanical systems.

How much Money can I make with an Online Master of Public Administration Degree?

masters of public administrationAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “the median annual wage for administrative services managers was $96,180 in May 2018. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $55,000, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $165,470.” There are nuances to these numbers, and your salary depends on what job you choose. Those with an MPA who go into finance and insurance make an average of $104,780 annually, while those who go into local government earn an average of $93,630 annually. Educational services earn an average of $91,420 annually, and those who enter into healthcare or social assistance make $88,050. All of these options are lucrative, and considering the average cost of the programs, the ROI is high. The workload in these careers is not too strenuous; only one in four worked more than 40 hours per week. Facility managers were sometimes called upon to come in and fix problems after hours, but other than these after-hours calls, the schedule and the pay make a Master of Public Administration degree worth considering.

What is the Difference Between a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Public Policy Degree?

masters of public administrationBoth a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Public Policy degree focus on teaching students to understand what it means to be a member of global society from an economic, social, and political perspective. MPA programs concentrate coursework on administration, leadership, and management, while MPP programs concentrate coursework on statistics, economics, and policy research and analysis. Graduates of an MPA program will be trained to focus on managing and motivating groups and organizations and how to implement techniques, while graduates of an MPP program will be prepared on policy research and evaluation. Primarily, the Public Administration degree focuses more on working with and managing others, while the Public Policy degree is based more on research and implementing policy. Often, courses in MPA and MPP programs overlap each other.

A Master of Public Administration program prepares students to manage everything from projects to people, as well as money in a wide variety of organizations, including nonprofits, government organizations, and social enterprises.

A Master of Public Policy program prepares students to be policy analysts who evaluate problems, evaluate and interpret data, and implement new strategies. They will be ready to enter into fields such as consulting, advocacy, health policy, and environmental policy. With a focus on analyzing and solving policy-related issues, the program will cover concepts such as financial modeling, research methods, data management, statistical and economic cost-benefit analyses, and statistical analysis.

Are Online Masters of Public Administration Degrees Accredited?

masters of public administrationIt is essential to check the program’s accreditation before signing up. The typical accreditation for a Master of Public Administration degree is through the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration, or NASPAA. The NASPAA is a nonprofit organization, that is regarded as the global standard in public service education. Their goal is to ensure the excellence of quality in training and education for public service, as well as promote an ideal of public service. Essentially, NASPAA accreditation verifies a degree meets the standards of the public service education field.

The NASPAA accreditation process consists of a voluntary, peer-review process, and is an indicator that a program has undergone a rigorous mission and outcomes–based review. It also demonstrates that a program has a long-term commitment to providing students the best public service education.

NASPAA’s Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA) is the accrediting organization that specializes in master’s degree programs in public affairs, administration, and policy. The Council on Higher Education recognizes the organization as a global accreditor and therefore carries weight.

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