Top University in Portland for a Master's in Public Administration

Portland, OR, has few schools with master's degree programs in public administration. Find the best program for you by reading about schools' rankings, program offerings and tuition info.

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School and Ranking Information

The Portland area only has about 3 schools with offering public administration master's degree programs. Based on location, school rankings, and program options, the top 3 schools in the Portland area that offer public administration programs are listed below. All 3 schools have nationally ranked graduate programs in public affairs.

  • Winner: Portland State University is located in Portland and offers the #42nd ranked graduate program in public affairs. It is the only school of the 3 to offer programs at the master's and doctorate levels.
  • Runner Up #1: Willamette University is located 40 miles away from Portland and has the highest undergraduate graduate rate on the list.
  • Runner Up #2: The University of Oregon is the only school of the 3 to offer programs at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. It takes third place since it is located more than 100 miles away from Portland.

School Comparison Chart

Category Portland State University Willamette University University of Oregon
Ranking(s) 10th for Up-and-Coming Schools, nationwide (2013),
16th for Graduate City Management and Urban Policy, nationwide (2012),
46th for Graduate Public Affairs, nationwide (2012),
175th for High School Counselor Rankings, nationwide (2013)*
61st for High School Counselor Rankings, nationwide (2013),
61st for National Liberal Arts Colleges (2014),
73rd for Graduate Public Affairs, nationwide (2012)*
53rd for Top Public Schools, nationwide (2014),
73rd for Graduate Public Affairs, nationwide (2012),
69th for High School Counselor Rankings, nationwide (2013),
109th for National University Rankings (2014)*
Location Portland, OR Salem, OR (43.4 miles from Portland) Eugene, OR (104.2 miles from Portland)
School Type 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, public
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $7,653 (undergraduate, in-state),
$22,863 (undergraduate, out-of-state),
$13,395 (graduate, in-state),
$20,235 (graduate, out-of-state)**
$40,874 (undergraduate),
$33,206 (graduate)**
$9,310 (undergraduate, in-state),
$28,660 (undergraduate, out-of-state),
$14,530 (graduate, in-state),
$22,198 (graduate, out-of-state)**
Public Administration Degree Levels Offered Master's and doctorate degrees Master's degrees Bachelor's and master's degrees
Public Administration Degrees (all levels) Awarded in 2011-2012 96** 0** 57**
Most Popular Public Administration Program 2011-2012 Master's in Public Administration (92 awarded)** Not available Bachelor's in Planning, Public Policy and Management (42 awarded)**
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2006 Entering Class 42% (8% transfer-out rate)** 77%** 67% (7% transfer-out rate)**
Noteworthy Ranked in the top 10 Highest ROI Colleges in Oregon by Affordable Colleges Online in 2013*** WU's MBA is one of two MBA programs in the world that is accredited by both the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA)*** Ranked 15th for America's Top Public Colleges in the West by Forbes in 2013***

Sources: *U.S. News & World Report rankings, **NCES College Navigator, ***Schools' websites.

Winner: Portland State University

  • The Department of Homeland Security, the Oregon Department of Justice, and the Oregon Department of Human Services are among the organizations that hire PSU MPA graduates
  • In 2012, PSU had 259 students enrolled in graduate programs in public affairs
  • The PSU College of Urban and Public Affairs had 81 full time instructional faculty members in 2012
  • 78% of PSU faculty have a terminal degree

The Portland State University Division of Public Administration awards degrees at the master's and doctorate levels. Graduate students at the master's level have the option to pursue a Master of Public Administration (MPA) with a focus on 1 of 5 specializations, a Master of Public Administration: Health Administration (MPA:HA), or an Executive Master of Public Administration (EPMA). The MPA and the EMPA both focus on preparing students for administrative and governmental positions, while the MPA:HA focuses on preparing students for careers in public service and health care management. The EMPA is an accelerated program designed for completion within 2 years. All 3 master's programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). Doctoral-level students in the division may pursue a Public Affairs and Policy PhD. Qualified students are eligible to apply for multiple scholarships designated for students in the public affairs programs. Additionally, students may choose to join the Public Administration Student Association (PASA), a PSU student organization, or the PSU Chapter of Pi Alpha Alpha, the National Honor Society for public affairs and public administration.

Runner-Up #1: Willamette University

  • WU alumni include the CTO of Twitter, the former CEO of Boeing, a former Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice, a former Oregon Secretary of State, and a Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences
  • WU's MBA program was listed in the 10 lowest cost MBA programs in the U.S. for private universities by U.S. News
  • 92% of WU full time instructional faculty members have a terminal degree
  • WU has an overall 10 to 1 student to faculty ratio, according to NCES
  • For the 2011-2012 academic year, 99% of first-time undergraduates received financial aid, according to NCES

The Willamette University Atkinson Graduate School of Management (AGSM) offers 5 Master of Business Administration (MBA) program options that are accredited by the NASPAA. These options include the Early Career MBA, the Career Change MBA, the Accelerated MBA, an MBA/JD joint degree, and a BA/MBA combined degree. The programs allow students to focus on 1 or more of 10 concentrations. Qualified students are eligible to apply for multiple scholarships designated for students within the AGSM. Additionally, students may choose to join a number of student organizations at the AGSM and the WU Chapter of Pi Alpha Alpha.

Runner-Up #2: University of Oregon

  • Graduates of the UO MPA program have worked for organizations such as the Oregon Department of Administrative Services and the Oregon Commission on Children and Families
  • In 2013, UO was ranked in the top 5 Highest ROI Colleges in Oregon by Affordable Colleges Online
  • Over 100 UO faculty have been Fulbright Scholars
  • 95% of UNF faculty have a terminal degree

The University of Oregon Department of Planning, Public Policy, and Management awards a Master of Public Administration (MPA). The program is accredited by the NASPAA. Department faculty includes the Associate Director of the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) and the former President of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP). Qualified students are eligible to apply for fellowship opportunities and scholarships designated for students within the department. Additionally, students may choose to join student organizations within the department or the UO Chapter of Pi Alpha Alpha.

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