Washington Masters in Public Administration (MPA) Degrees

Why Earn a Masters in Public Administration?

Are you hoping to make a positive impact in the field of public administration and policy? Then perhaps earning a masters in public administration or master of public policy degree is a perfect next step for you! Prospective students with interest or past experience in public administration and policy may have big dreams. They may want to make a difference in areas like government, public service, nonprofit organizations, and more. If that describes you, it’s time to learn more about Masters in Public Administration and Public Policy programs. In these programs, you could earn an MPP or MPA that could potentially help you pursue your goals!

What Careers Could I Pursue After Earning  a MPA Degree?

This may depend on a lot of factors such as the program you choose, your potential area of focus, and your goals! For example, you may be able to pursue a master of public administration degree with a concentration in areas like public management, nonprofit management, or environmental policy (depending on your interests). Hoping to pursue a political science career track? Most political scientists earn a master of public administration (MPA), master of public policy (MPP), or master of public affairs degree.[i] In other words, “what can you do with a masters in public administration” has no one-size-fits-all answer. But, by exploring some prospective master’s programs, you may be able to find one that suits your passions and professional ambitions!

What kinds of MPA Programs may be available?

When deciding on the master of public policy or administration program that may be perfect for you, there are a few factors to keep in mind. For starters, choose your Masters in Public Administration and Public Policy program type. You might consider one of the following Masters degree:

MPP Degree

 The Master of Public

Policy, or MPP, is a professional graduate degree that may help students prepare for their goals in political science and other potential areas. Curriculum may include research methods, program evaluation, policy formation, and other key topics. Ideally, candidates should have taken courses in statistics, political science, and writing at the undergraduate level.

MPA Degree

The Master of Public Administration, or MPA, may share some overlapping areas with the MPP; for example, students may study areas like statistics, research methodology, policy formation, and program evaluation. However, this graduate professional degree program may focus on managing aspects of public and nonprofit organizations, such as budgets and human resources. Students could even explore the private sector. They may also potentially choose a concentration like public management or nonprofit management.

Next, you’ll need to consider program format. Your choice could depend on what may be available at the graduate schools you’re interested in. Also, your lifestyle and learning preferences may affect your decision. Here are three formats you may encounter:

Online MPA

Pursuing an online public policy masters or online masters in public administration program may be a perfect choice if you have a busy life. If you are struggling to fit traditional graduate courses into your schedule, an online MPA program may be a good choice. There could be many reasons why online learning appeals to you such as: a full-time job that makes it tough to take classes during the day, or family responsibilities that call for a bit more flexibility than a campus-based program may offer. In some cases, students may live too far away to commute to their school of choice. And some candidates may simply prefer to learn independently, from anywhere with an internet connection! If any of these reasons apply to you, consider pursuing an online masters in public administration or policy.

Campus MPA

Some students opt to earn their MPP or MPA on campus. Potential benefits of traditional, campus-based learning could include social opportunities, in-person networking, and the chance to get involved in your school’s community. Depending on your learning style, you may also prefer a face-to-face classroom setting. And if you’re hoping to take advantage of some potential resources and amenities like the computer lounge or fitness center, you’ll probably need to come to campus!

Hybrid MPA

Can’t decide between online and campus programs? Hybrid programs may offer the best of both worlds! You could potentially pursue your master of public administration or master of public policy degree mostly online while taking a few classes on campus, or vice versa.

What should I consider when choosing a public policy schools?

If you’re hoping to earn a masters in public administration or policy, it’s natural to wonder about how to pick a public policy school that is a perfect fit for you. A school that’s great for one student may not suit somebody else’s needs and goals. You may have to evaluate potential Masters in Public Administration and Public Policy programs based on your personal criteria. Here are just a few points to consider:

Academics – Does your prospective school offer the program and concentration you are looking for? For example, some schools may have an MPP program but not an MPA program, or vice versa. Also, what does the program curriculum look like, and do the courses appeal to your interests and goals? Ideally, you’ll be excited by the course descriptions and eager to start learning!

Accreditation[ii] – Is your prospective masters in public administration or master of public policy school accredited by an agency that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education? Accreditation helps ensure a program meets important quality standards. Approved regional and national accrediting agencies can be found on the U.S. Department of Education website.

Resources and opportunities – Hoping to take advantage of tutoring, childcare, professional organizations, the student theater group, etc.? You may not be able to find a program that offers everything you want, but ideally your school may have some or most of the resources you’re looking for. 

Reputation[iii] – Check with the Better Business Bureau or your state education agency to learn more about how your school handles student concerns. You can also talk to current and former students, or ask to review stats such as graduation and retention rate, if available.

Masters in Public Administration and Public Policy: Ready to get started?

Below, you may find some Masters in Public Administration and Public Policy program listings that may interest you. Feel free to narrow your Masters in Public Administration and Public Policy search by format or location. Or simply click a listing to learn more. Best of luck finding the masters in public administration or master of public policy degree that is great for you!

Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/political-scientists.htm#tab-4 | [ii] www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/index.html | [iii] studentaid.ed.gov/sa/prepare-for-college/choosing-schools/consider

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