Top Master's Degree Programs in Public Administration - Chicago, IL

Students interested in studying public administration at the master's degree level in Chicago have five schools to choose from. Read about the top local schools' degree programs, tuition and ranking info to find the right one for you.

School and Ranking Information

Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs in the city of Chicago are offered mainly by private, nonprofit institutions. The following universities are considered the top three schools based on rankings and number of degrees awarded:

  • Winner: DePaul University is chosen at the top school because it awards the highest number of MPA degrees in Chicago.
  • Runner Up #1: The University of Illinois at Chicago is named the first runner up due to its high national and MPA program rankings. It also has the highest student enrollment among Chicago schools offering a master's degree in public administration.
  • Runner Up #2: Illinois Institute of Technology secured the third spot due to its overall national ranking. It awards the second-highest number of MPA degrees among Chicago universities.

School Comparison Table

DePaul University University of Illinois at Chicago Illinois Institute of Technology
Rankings #121 (tie) Best National Universities (2015)* #149 (tie) Best National Universities (2015) #116 (tie) Best National Universities (2013)*
Location Chicago, IL Chicago, IL Chicago, IL
School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit
Graduate Tuition and Fees (2013-2014) $18,230** $15,800 (in-state),
$25,901 (out-of-state)**
Public Administration Master's Degrees Awarded (2012-2013) 140** 81** 105**
Noteworthy Public administration program ranked #104 among national universities (2012)* Public administration program ranked #37 among national universities (2012)* One of few MPA programs integrated into a business school***

Sources: *U.S. News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator; ***Illinois Institute of Technology

Winner: DePaul University

  • International research opportunities, internships and study abroad programs in public service are available
  • Three areas of specialization are offered through the MPA program
  • MPA program accredited by National Association of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA)

Through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the School of Public Service, students can pursue an MPA program that offers core courses in government financial administration, ethical leadership and cross-sectional analysis. In addition to a required public service internship, students can select an area of specialization among public management, international public management or community development. Graduate students also can choose to pursue one of several other master's programs offered through the School of Public Service, including the Master of Science in Public Service Management, the Master of Science in International Public Service, the Master of Nonprofit Management or the Master of Science in Leadership and Policy Studies.

Runner-Up #1: University of Illinois at Chicago

  • MPA program has seven concentration options
  • MPA program is accredited by NASPAA
  • Multiple research centers and institutes focused on public administration issues, such as the Center for Urban Economic Development and the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement

Offered through the Department of Public Administration, this MPA program features seven concentration options, including public management, financial management, information management, local government administration, nonprofit management and survey methods. Core MPA courses cover topics such as public personnel management, budgeting and policy development. The college also offers a master's degree in urban policy and planning.

Runner-Up #2: Illinois Institute of Technology

  • Public administration faculty members are practicing professionals
  • Three specializations available through the MPA program
  • Accelerated 5-year Bachelor of Science/MPA program available

Illinois Institute of Technology's MPA program includes specializations in nonprofit management, security management and economic development. Certificate programs in these four areas are also available. Some of the core courses include management with scarce resources, management in a complex society and policy design, while electives are offered in public administration law, public administration technology, philanthropy and social capital. Students can complete a 3-credit internship in an area of public sector, nonprofit or government work.

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