Masters Degrees in Government Finance: Program Overviews

Two options for students interested in government finance are the Master of Governmental Administration degree or the Master of Public Affairs degree. Both degree programs offer multiple concentrations, requiring bachelor's degrees and potentially taking up to two years to complete.

Essential Information

The Master of Governmental Administration program focuses largely on public leadership, management and public services teachings. Students of the Master of Public Affairs program may explore the financial aspects of public affairs. Program graduates who are aspiring scholars might begin doctoral studies.

  • Government Finance Program Fields: Master of Government Administration; Master of Public Affairs in Public Financial Administration
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree; GRE, LSAT, or GMAT scores
  • Program Length: Two years

Master of Governmental Administration

A Master of Governmental Administration (MGA) degree offers a specialization in finance and gives students a broad background for many government fields. The degree touches on aspects of management, politics, analysis, and finance for students interested in different areas of public service and government.

An MGA degree offers a number of core courses falling within such subfields of government administration as finance and management. Programs also typically require students to earn 10-15 credits in electives. Students can choose to specialize in one area or cross-train in several areas. These are some of the core and elective courses:

  • Public leadership statistics
  • Public finance and budgeting
  • Public communication
  • Public service
  • Nonprofit fundraising and marketing
  • Media management

Masters of Public Affairs in Public Financial Administration

Another option for students interested in government financing is a program in public financial administration. This program gives students a deep understanding of government finance and the management of public, private, and nonprofit organizations. A program typically takes two years to complete, and students may have the option pursuing multiple concentrations if they feel they need a more diverse background.

Programs require around 35-40 credit hours of coursework. Courses train individuals not only on the financial ends of public affairs but also on such concepts as personnel management, policy analysis, and labor relations. Common core courses will educate students in:

  • Effective decision-making skills
  • Finance and budgeting for private, public or nonprofit organizations
  • Economics of public managing
  • Law and ethics

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Many potential career opportunities exist for students interested in government finance, and most of those fields seem to be on the rise. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the budget analyst job market is expected to increase by 6% from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). In that same time frame, financial analyst and financial management positions are expected to grow by 16% and 9%, respectively.

Continuing Education

Individuals who wish to teach government finance in universities can pursue Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in public administration. Individuals who've completed such programs also go into consulting careers. Another option for MGA recipients is to take their knowledge of government finance and apply it to a career in law, through the pursuit of a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree.

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