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Masters in Public Administration Degree Options and Course Info

Master in Public Administration (MPA) programs give students a solid foundation and training in research methods, public management, and public affairs, as well as business subjects like budgeting and economics.

Essential Information

Students in Master of Public Administration programs gain a thorough understanding of government and policy issues. Areas of specialization can include international development, nonprofit management, national and international security policy, social policy, environmental administration, and information management. In some MPA programs, students are encouraged to take classes in other departments that support their research and career goals. Programs often culminate in a thesis paper.

To apply to these programs, students need to hold a bachelor's degree, preferably in a mathematics or economics field. A personal statement, letters of recommendation, and satisfactory GRE scores are typically needed as well.


Master in Public Administration

A two year master in public administration program includes core and elective courses. Electives support the specialized interests of students. Students generally study ethics, nonprofit financial management, and various other business courses. Some other possible courses include:

  • Public budgeting
  • Public managers and managerial economics
  • Policy politics
  • Public organizations
  • Law and public administration
  • Regulatory law

Popular Career Options

Graduates can choose to work in government as managers. However, there are other opportunities for public administration graduates in many different industries. Some possible career outcomes include:

  • Nonprofit manager
  • Policy analyst
  • Public sector manager
  • Labor relations specialist

Continuing Education Information

A doctoral degree in public administration is an option for students who wish to continue their graduate education. Students enrolled in a Ph.D. degree program in public administration will receive instruction on complex policy issues and public management and will become prepared for careers as researchers and scholars. All Ph.D. degree programs in public administration require students to complete a dissertation.

Two-year MPA programs help students gain the skills to manage public affairs and oversee public initiatives. Many programs allow students to choose a specialized area of study relevant to their career pursuits. Graduates can pursue work as analysts or managers in the public sector, among other career options, or they can pursue doctoral degrees.

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