In Public Administration Master’s Programs, students learn how to plan, implement, and assess public policy and administer governmental services. Courses offer theoretical, analytical, and practical lenses for exploring how to create, run, and adjust government programs and initiatives. Because curricula often includes communications, management, and business components, students develop skills and knowledge to apply to public, private, and nonprofit settings.
written by Annie Rose Stathes
There are several common avenues through which students pursue a master’s in public administration.
In a master’s in public admin or public policy program, students typically explore a blend of theoretical and applied concepts that cover organizational governance, finance, and administration. They examine
case studies that provide real-world examples, and they work with classmates and professors to examine historical and contemporary challenges in public administration and policy. More specifically, master’s degree programs in MPP and MPA cover a variety of subjects.
Depending on the program and its focus, core curricula could cover a number of areas.
In public administration master’s programs, students might study the following subjects to develop their foundational knowledge:
Through their MPA elective coursework, students might opt to study subjects such as:
In an MPA program, students might specialize or concentrate their learning in areas such as:
Similarly, students might be able to pursue “dual degrees,” or two degrees at once. Some common pairings are: MPA and Juris Doctor, MPA and Master of Planning, and MPA and Master of Social Work. These are just some options.
In a public policy degree program, students might study these core subjects to develop their foundational knowledge:
Students in MPP programs might concentrate their learning in areas such as:
These are just some of a plethora of subjects in which MPP students might focus their learning.
By and large, the degree requirements for a master’s degree in public administration, business administration, public policy, and political science are similar if not the same. In all of them, students complete core courses to develop foundational knowledge in their primary subject and elective courses to develop their knowledge in supplemental subjects. Students may also have options to emphasize certain subjects, concentrate their learning in certain areas, or follow particular tracks. These options and electives help students pursue skills and knowledge in specific areas of public administration or policy that are professionally relevant or of interest to students.
For admissions to their public administration or public policy master’s programs, applicants might have to demonstrate having had professional experience in the fields, or they might have to have completed an internship. Otherwise, they might have to commit to participating in an internship during their program. They may have to take the GMAT or GRE for admittance into public policy or public administration master’s programs.
To conclude their programs and to officially earn a master’s in public policy or public administration, students typically have to successfully complete and defend a thesis and potentially earn a particular score on an oral or written comprehensive exam.
Public policy and public administration master’s programs help students develop their knowledge in nonprofit, nongovernmental, and governmental work. Professionals with degrees in the subjects might work at local, state, federal, or international levels, and the might work for public, private, or nonprofit agencies.
Students who earn a degree in public administration or public policy might develop the skills and knowledge to work as:
Many students wonder, “what can I do with a master’s in public administration?” These are just some of many potential paths students with master’s degrees in public policy or public administration might pursue.
The following are career and salary potentials for professionals who hold an MPP or MPA:
Why Pursue an MPP or MPA? Not all of the occupations listed above require professionals to have a master’s degree, but some of them—like urban planning and political scientist—do. And, having a master’s degree can enhance your resume and help you gain the skills and knowledge you need to pursue the career of your dreams.
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