Buffalo Online MPA Master of Public Administration Programs

Online MPA Master of Public Administration programs are professional graduate degrees designed to prepare individuals for management roles in the public sectors. Public Administration is the field that sits at the intersection of business, policies, and public impact. Students learn administrative principles of public administration, public policy management and implementation to prepare for potential roles in government, nongovernmental organizations and the nonprofit sector. If you are enthusiastic about earning a Masters Degree in Public Administration or Public Policy, distance-learning may be a convenient format; online MPA Degree Programs often have a flexible format, and integrate core courses, elective courses, an internship, and specialization courses.

Online Public Admnistration Masters Degree Program Information

Online MPA Degree Program Overview

A Master of Public Administration (MPA) online program is designed to educate the next generation of potential leaders. These are individuals who aspire to solve pertinent issues - from the environment to healthcare reform, immigration, infrastructure, urban development, and more. 

Some Online MPA Programs are run from the faculty of Business, while others are offered from schools of public policy. In some cases, online Public Policy Masters (MPP) Programs are similar to the masters in public administration programs. However, an Online Masters of Public Policy (MPP) degree is considered the professional degree for analyzing, evaluating, and solving all aspects of policy. 

Much like their campus counterpart, admission to Online MPA Degree program typically requires potential candidates who have a Bachelor’s degree, GRE scores and preferably, some background in mathematics, economics or business. Typically earning a Masters in Public Administration takes 2 years to complete full time; you might need to verify the duration of an online program.

Why Earn an Online MPA Degree?

For currently working students, earning an online MPA Degree might be a great way to balance work and university. Some Universities actually have both campus and online degree options, so you are ensured of their quality and perhaps the same faculty. This being said, it is up to you to review the curriculum, the professors and check whether your program will require any on-site visits, or whether you will have to be online at certain times for streaming seminars or web-based meetings.

FUN FACT: Interested in working as a fundraising manager? Courses in advertising, business administration, public affairs, public speaking, and creative and technical writing might be helpful.

Often courses are offered in an asynchronous format, where pre-recorded video and audio of classes can be accessed 24/7. While interaction with classmates and professors is not face-to-face, digital technology such as web cams, web chat, emails and online group discussion boards is often utilized to keep people connected. Study and research tools such as online libraries are provided, so you are generally able to study from wherever you have reliable Internet and your computer set up. If you work well independently or live too far from a graduate school, you might consider reviewing this type of study.

Also, it is important to note that every graduate school is different in what it provides in terms of curriculum and specializations. One school may focus on nonprofit management, another may be well-known for its program in state/local administration, and others may be respected for specific policy topics.

Use the GradSchools.com site to filter a search for programs such as: Master of Public Administration Online, Master of Public Administration –Public Affairs Administration, Master of Science in Management - Public Administration or Online Master of Business Administration –Public Administration. Request info from the school directly from the site – very convenient and efficient!

SEARCH TIP: The National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) Accreditation is the peer review quality assurance process for graduate-level, master’s degree programs in public policy, affairs, and administration. 

Online MBA or Online MPA?

Online MBA/Public Administration: Choosing a public administration focus within an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree might prepare graduates for management in professional settings such as government, corporate, nonprofits and public service organizations. In addition to the general business concepts of economics, accounting, management and finance, students in this track learn about the principles of public administration and the management of public policy. Usually students fulfill the core business administration courses before the specialization in public administration.

Online MPA: The Masters of Public Administration (MPA) degree is the professional degree for students seeking a career in public service or nonprofit management. Online MPA programs develop the skills and techniques used by managers to implement policies, projects, and programs that resolve important problems within their organization and in society. Some of the specializations offered by NASPAA accredited programs include areas such as public management, nonprofit management, health care management, international development, urban affairs, human-resource management, state/local government administration, and financial management.

As with any decision, it helps to know what type of career you are trying to prepare for, then find a program that has appropriate courses, or supports a doctorate degree in your chosen field.

Online MPA Potential Curriculum

Coursework for MPA online students commonly includes required core courses and a concentration or specialization. These core courses might include:

  • Introduction to public administration
  • Budgeting/finance
  • Managerial economics
  • Political and legal processes
  • Quantitative methods
  • Ethics
  • Problem-solving strategies
  • Research

Beyond the core courses, students are usually encouraged to deepen their area of interest by selecting from the afore-mentioned specialization; as per above these are often dependant on the specific learning institution.

Potential Career Paths For Master of Public Administration Graduates

Depending on the orientation of your degree, education and experience levels and other factors, MPA graduates are prepared to take on a variety of potential roles:

Labor relations specialists interpret and administer labor contracts regarding issues from wages and salaries, to healthcare, pensions, and union and management practices.

Human resources specialists recruit, screen, interview, and place workers in new jobs. 

Emergency management directors prepare plans and procedures for responding to natural disasters or other emergencies.

Fundraising managers coordinate campaigns that raise donations for their organization.

Policy analysts evaluate current policies and events using public opinion surveys, economic data, and election results to learn the expected impact of new policies.

Urban and regional planners identify community needs and develop short- and long-term solutions to develop and potentially revitalize communities and areas. 

Medical and health services managers, also referred to as healthcare executives or healthcare administrators, plan, direct, and coordinate medical and health services and must be up-to-date in order to conform to changes in healthcare laws, regulations, and technology.

Financial Managers are responsible for the financial health of an organization.

Ready to Pursue an Online MPA Degree?

With the array of Online MPA Degree programs, finding one that appeals to your academic interests and your career goals is at your fingertips. If you have a commitment to potentially becoming one of the next great managers and leaders in public service, start reviewing your options for Masters in Public Administration online programs today!


Sources: bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/labor-relations-specialists.htm | bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/human-resources-specialists.htm | bls.gov/ooh/management/emergency-management-directors.htm | bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/urban-and-regional-planners.htmbls.gov/ooh/management/public-relations-managers.htm | bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/political-scientists.htm | bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm | bls.gov/ooh/management/financial-managers.htm

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