Online MPA Programs

Masters in Public Administration online programs address the managerial sides of the public service sector. Public Administration is a field that melds business, policies, and public impact. Students in online MPA programs are exposed to administrative principles such as transparency, accountability, and ethics along with public policy management and implementation.

What Is an Online MPA?

An online MPA—which stands for Master of Public Administration—is a professional graduate degree and one of the key Masters in Public Administration online degrees conferred by universities. MPA degree online programs appeal to persons who intend it as their highest-level degree and want to actively apply their learning in the workplace. Graduates of such programs may be able to apply their skills in areas specific to the field of public administration, such as policy making and analysis, government finance management and public-sector labor relations.

How Long Does It Take to Earn the MPA?

Students who pursue an MPA degree online might complete it in two years of full-time study. Some schools offer ‘accelerated’ or ‘mid-career’ tracks for their Masters in Public Administration online programs. Because they may have fewer courses, eligible students (experienced professionals) might graduate in may graduate in as little as one-and-a-half years. Check with your admissions adviser to evaluate your work experience and see if you meet their qualifications.

What Are the Admissions Requirements for an Online MPA Program?

There are online MPA programs with no GRE requirements, though applicants do need to have earned a bachelors degree from an accredited institution. Undergraduate GPA does matter, but each school sets their own standards, so it could be 3.0 in one place, and 2.75 in another. Usually, a prospective student sends transcripts, fee and completed form with other material. Other material generally includes a professional resume, personal statement and references. Make sure to read the admissions information at the school you want to intend to stay prepared. Best Online Master's in Public Administration

What Might I Learn If I Earn an MPA Degree Online?

Most MPA online programs are flexible as well as all-inclusive. Many schools offer a degree curriculum that melds elements of an MBA and a Master of Public Policy (MPP) with organizational theory, strategic management and ethics subject matter. Students may be required to complete about 36 credit hours, divided into core and concentration courses. Core MPA Courses: Core course work typically covers the traditional management topics such as accounting, personnel, marketing, etc. These are usually examined through the lens of government and nonprofit organizations, and also public policy issues (e.g. economics, policy analysis, and issue-specific courses). Take a look at a sample course list below – then review the syllabus provided by the school you are applying to today.
  • Strategic Management of Personnel
  • Organizational Theories in the Public Sector
  • Management Policies in Government Finance
  • Public Policy
  • Ethics
  • Strategic Planning for Public Managers
  • Executive Leadership
  • Managerial Statistics for Public Managers
  • Administration and Regulatory Law

Choose Your Perfect MPA Concentration

Masters in Public Administration online programs that are accredited by NASPAA (Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration), may feature a variety of concentrations. This added focus could be a perfect way to line up courses with a career trajectory. Students may choose, for instance, to focus in nonprofit operation, public health, urban affairs, criminal justice or environmental management. We examine a few other possibilities below to show how dynamic the field of public administration is and how one might tailor studies to line up personal interests. Criminal Justice: Online students who pursue an MPA in Criminal Justice may study law enforcement and the court system, corrections and private security to build skills required in leadership positions. More narrowly, course material may highlight public policy, the judicial system and the kind of organizational leadership needed to protect and serve the public. Emergency Management: Online students who work towards an MPA in Emergency Management usually learn how to handle and prepare for all types of crisis that threaten public safety. Violence, crime, floods, blackouts, severe weather and other challenges. Highlighted course material could cover the tactics used to plan and direct disaster response or crisis management activities. As well, how to provide disaster preparedness training, and prepare emergency plans and procedures such as coordinated communication. Fire and Emergency Services: Online students who strive towards an MPA in Fire and Emergency Services could study at the crossroads of executive management, fire safety and EMS administration. Highlighted courses could include labor relations and customer service. Homeland Security: Online students who want to achieve their MPA in Homeland Security peer deeply into America’s defense infrastructure to understand how to protect and oversee. Highlighted topics might include risk analysis, international/domestic threat detection, inter-agency coordination, and public policy analysis. Participants might also gain a clearer grasp of ethics, psychology and key public communication skills. Because this is offered online it may suit those who want to cultivate expertise and also, study to be able to problem solve modern issues in their local area. Some schools even use iPad-powered learning which could be really portable.
FUN FACT Political scientists often complete a master of public administration (MPA).

Other Masters in Public Administration Online Programs

Apart from the MPA degree, searchers could compare with other degrees conferred at this level. Masters in Public Administration online programs could also include Master of Science (MS), Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs.

What Is the Difference Between an MBA and MPA?

To many, the MBA is the private sector equivalent to the Master of Public Administration so the main difference is the sector in which students want to ready themselves for. Private sector (MBA) classes usually focus on studying the market and profit and so may shed light on the strategies, plans and decisions geared to help a business meet its bottom line. Students might also spend time on accounting, sales and learning how to compete in competitive business areas. Public sector (MPA) classes are typically oriented to public sector and nonprofit management. It may still cover management and financial skills, but also public policy, governance and law. The coursework usually covers public institutional values, administrative analysis, service leadership and theory of organizations.

More About an Online MBA in Public Administration

An online MBA in Public Administration could enhance the management skills one needs to perform effectively within public, government, or non-governmental organizations. Through specific courses students may work to master the ways needed to keep a civil society and social justice in tandem with expertise in public budgeting, human resources, quantitative methods, and public policy. Usually an online MBA divides its curriculum in two. In a (let’s say) 42 credit program, students might need to complete 33 credit hours of core – compulsory – material. The remainder credits could amount to three courses (9 credit hours) in the concentration. The core classes in an online MBA could cover managerial operations, finance, marketing, accounting and business strategy. Three topics devoted to public administration might include the following.
  1. Foundations of Public Administration
  2. Government Budgeting
  3. Public Policy Development

Online Master of Arts in Public Management/Public Administration

An online Master of Arts in Public Management could meld rigorous academics with strategic skills. Students may be challenged to understand and apply a lot of theory to help solve real world governance and policy issues. Three potential course topics are listed below.
  1. Economics for Public Decisions
  2. Public Policy Evaluation
  3. Financial Management Analysis in the Public Sector
In some ways, a MA may provide insight into the things that governmental and nonprofit sectors share – common goals. Courses may cover the fundamentals of public management: policy analysis and evaluation, financial management, economics and fiscal policy, and public policy and administration. Students also typically choose a series of electives which could include courses as diverse as health care reform, climate change economics and negotiation. A capstone paper may be required at the end of the program.

Online Master of Science in Management – Public Administration

An online Master of Science in Management with a focus in public administration could build the tactical skills needed to problem solve today’s organizational challenges. Students might explore the technical leadership and managerial skills needed to manage business operations in the areas of public administration and policy. Potential course topics could shed light on the following three topics.
  1. IT Management
  2. Applied Managerial Marketing
  3. Applied Managerial Finance
MS in Management courses might stress things like leadership, managerial decisions based on data analytics, ways to manage projects and operations. Students might finish their degree with a Management Capstone – an in-depth project that makes use of discipline-specific strategies.

Why Should I Earn a Masters in Public Administration Online?

For those who cannot put their life on hold but do want to pursue a grad degree, the a Masters in Public Administration online program could spell ‘accessibility’. They don’t all have the same format but essentially place the student in a virtual campus where they might access courses any time and even, one at a time. No commute is usually required which also means one may study from wherever there is Internet. Usually the motivation to stay on track comes from both the student and the deadlines that must be met. Also common are online discussion threads with faculty and/or online classmates, and perhaps the chance to use the workplace as a guinea pig for new ideas and methods.

Easily Apply to 69 Online Public Administration Degree Programs

Compare Masters in Public Administration online programs to scope out some options. Then, contact online MPA schools directly. We provide the on-page form to make it extra simple.

  • Some of the nation’s most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
  • Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access
  • Northcentral University

  • Southern New Hampshire University

  • Purdue University Global

  • Liberty University Online

  • Regent University

  • University of the Southwest

  • Villanova University

  • Sullivan University

  • University of Arizona

  • University of North Carolina at Pembroke

  • University of Colorado Denver

  • University of Alaska - Southeast