Thinking about pursuing an online mpa or mpp degree program? Those hoping to make an impact in the exciting field of public policy and administration may have a few potential paths to choose from. Online learning may be a perfect choice for those with scheduling conflicts, or a lifestyle that makes traditional classroom learning difficult. If you’re interested in discovering more about online mpa programs and mpp programs that could potentially help you pursue your goals, read on for some FAQs and helpful information!
Depending on your professional goals, you may be interested in one of two potential degrees: the MPA or the MPP. Political scientists often pursue one or the other of these master’s programs. But what do these programs involve, and how are they different?
Online MPA Programs – MPA stands for Master of Public Administration, and it may focus on the administration and management of public service organizations, nonprofits, etc. Potential courses may include program evaluation, policy formation, research methodologies, and more. In some programs, students may even be able to select a concentration, like government management or public management. Prerequisites may include undergraduate coursework in political science, writing, and statistics.
Online MPP Programs – MPP stands for Master of Public Policy. An online public policy masters program may share similarities with an MPA program, though as the name suggests, curriculum may focus more on policy analysis than administration. Prerequisites may be similar to those of MPA programs, and there may be overlapping areas of study, like statistics, research, program evaluation, and more.
Online learning is one potential path to take if you’re interested in earning a masters in public administration. But why choose to pursue an online Online Masters in Public Administration program? Here are a few potential reasons:
You may have a nontraditional schedule. If your typical day doesn’t resemble the average graduate student’s, you might find it tough to attend daytime classes on campus. For example, if you work full-time or take care of a family, you might prefer to pursue your coursework at nontraditional hours – like on your lunch break, or at night. Online learning may make it possible to pursue your master of public policy or administration at times that suit your schedule.
You may live far from campus. Not everyone can pack up and move to pursue a graduate degree. If you don’t live near a college or university that offers public administration or public policy courses, online mpa programs may be worth checking out. You could potentially pursue a graduate degree from a school on the other side of the country without leaving your home.
You may learn best independently. Whether you have a disability that makes it difficult for you to navigate a traditional classroom, or you simply have an independent learning style, online mpp programs or mpa programs could be one potential way to pursue your studies. It’s important to understand your personal learning preferences, strengths, and limitations before you get started.
The answer may be different for everyone. However, here are a few traits that may be helpful if you’re considering earning a masters in public policy or masters in public administration online:
Self-motivation – Ideally, you’ll be able to keep yourself motivated and focused as you pursue your studies from home.
Good time-management – Learning online means you may not regularly meet with your professors and classmates. Using your time wisely, setting personal deadlines, and sticking to a schedule may be important to keeping your studies on-track.
Self-advocacy – You should be willing to ask for help when you need it, whether that means reaching out to faculty, peers, or support staff.
Computer skills – Technology tools, like video streaming, online discussion boards, PowerPoint, and more, may be important to your online program. These tools may help bring your studies to life even though you’re learning remotely!
Networking abilities – Does the politician in you want to get to know fellow public policy and administration students, and even forge professional relationships? That may be more challenging in an online setting, but potentially possible for those who excel at making connections!
Choosing an online masters public policy or public administration program may be a tough decision. For starters, you may want to explore each prospective program’s curriculum to see if it offers the concentration or potential academic opportunities you are looking for. Also, find out if the program you’re considering has the resources you need, whether that’s remote IT support or a career services department. Don’t hesitate to contact a program representative at this stage, to voice any questions or concerns you may have!
Another important consideration is accreditation. Accreditation means your school has been approved by a third-party organization based on a set of industry standards, so it may be a good indicator of your program’s quality.[ii] Look for accreditation by an organization that is approved by the U.S. Department of Education. (You can find a list or recognized accrediting agencies on their website.)
Finally, it may be helpful to gain a general sense of your prospective Online Masters in Public Administration and Public Policy program’s reputation. Are there any online mpa programs or mpp programs that are particularly well-known for high-quality programming? Is the program you’re interested in respected in your field, and are recent graduates on their way to achieving their professional goals in public administration and policy? It may require a bit of digging to find this Online Masters in Public Administration and Public Policy info, but talking to current and past students could be a good place to start.
Below, you’ll find some listings for online masters in public administration and master of public policy programs that may interest you. Simply click the Online Masters in Public Administration and Public Policy program that interests you to learn more. Good luck on your Online Masters in Public Administration and Public Policy search!
Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/political-scientists.htm#tab-4 | [ii] studentaid.ed.gov/sa/prepare-for-college/choosing-schools/consider#accreditation
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Minnesota State University - Mankato
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Florida Gulf Coast University