Online Masters of Public Administration

Masters Degrees in Public Policy and Administration by Distance Learning

An online masters of public administration (MPA) or public policy provides you with the most-accepted credential for management positions in public service.

It’s the degree of choice if you want to make a positive impact on issues affecting the general public. Upon graduation, you would easily find yourself in middle to upper-level management positions in government, health and human services, or nonprofit organizations (NGO’s).

An online masters in public administration (MPA) or public policy prepares you for a strong career by teaching you the skills in communication, public administration, analysis and decision-making, all geared towards improving the quality of services in an organization. You will learn practical skills such as how to balance budgets, negotiate contracts, and build partnerships. You will also develop the skills needed to become an effective leader in both governmental and non-governmental careers.

Campus-based and online master of public administration degree is considered an inter-disciplinary degree as it combines various disciplines that include business administration, sociology, economics, public policy and political science - skills that are needed at all levels of government, from local to state and federal. As governments become more involved in the private sector, public administration officials are called on to use their business administration skills to bridge the gap between government agencies and for-profit businesses.

Masters degrees in public administration - curriculum and specializations

It will take two to three years, or more if you are attending part-time, to complete an online masters degree in public administration. Coursework for an online master degree in public administration and policy includes human resources management, organizational development, finance, and public policy. The coursework primarily focuses on the application of the acquired knowledge to government or non-profit sectors, as well as the intersection with private businesses.

You can take a general program of study that prepares you for a variety of fields in public and private sectors, or choose from a specialization such as:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Emergency Management
  • Health Administration
  • Human Resources Management
  • Law & Public Policy
  • Non-profit Organizations
  • Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs)
  • Policy Analysis
  • Public Policy
  • Terrorism, Mediation, and Peace

Many traditional and online public administration degrees are accredited by organizations such as the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). This organization sets the standards that are used to evaluate programs, not schools. Obtaining your degree from a program accredited by NASPAA, or similar, ensures that your diploma will be accepted in the industry if you’re starting a career in public administration.

Featured Universities - Online Masters in Public Administration Programs

Walden University

  • Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.)
  • Master of Public Administration (MPA) - Criminal Justice
  • Master of Public Administration (MPA) - Health Policy
  • Master of Public Administration (MPA) - Homeland Security Policy and coordination
  • Master of Public Administration (MPA) - Interdisciplinary Policy Studies
  • Master of Public Administration (MPA) - Emergency Management
  • Master of Public Administration (MPA) - International Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs)
  • Master of Public Administration (MPA) - Public Management and Leadership
  • Master of Public Administration (MPA) - Local Government Management
  • Master of Public Administration (MPA) - Nonprofit Management and Leadership
  • Master of Public Administration (MPA) - Policy Analysis
  • Master of Public Administration (MPA) - Terrorism, Mediation and Peace
  • Master of Public Policy
  • Master of Public Policy - Criminal Justice
  • Master of Public Policy - Emergency Management
  • Master of Public Policy - Health Policy
  • Master of Public Policy - Homeland Security Policy
  • Master of Public Policy - Homeland Security Policy & Coordination
  • Master of Public Policy - Interdisciplinary Policy Studies
  • Master of Public Policy - International Nongovernmental Organizations
  • Master of Public Policy - Law and Public Policy
  • Master of Public Policy - Local Government Mgmt for Sustainable Communities
  • Master of Public Policy - Nonprofit Management and Leadership
  • Master of Public Policy - Public Mgmt Leadership
  • Master of Public Policy - Terrorism, Mediation, & Peace

Strayer University

  • Masters of Public Administration
  • MBA - Public Administration

Northcentral University

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) - Public Administration


Online MPA degree expands on the benefits of a campus-based program

A state-of-the-art educational environment, and dedicated faculty with years of public administration experience, makes an online Master of Public Administration an excellent choice to advance your public administration career in the public or private sector. Programs use a variety of online educational tools to deliver instructions and interact with classmates and faculty.

Many online programs don’t just replicate the campus learning environment. Instead, they build upon it to provide you with a learning format that best fits your needs. If you prefer the traditional learning format, you can take online courses that are supplemented with virtual interactions with your professors and classmates. If you prefer to work more independently, some programs provide you with excellent resources, such as podcasts and electronic texts, that enable you to take your education offline. For the best educational experience, choose a format that fits your needs and lifestyle.


Career options

A master of public administration or public policy prepares you for careers in many fields, including government manager. Most management jobs require a master's degree in a field such as public administration or public policy. Your degree, combined with solid work experience in the public sector, will put you in the running for government positions. Even better, managers and other professionals make up 80 percent of government employees--compared to 25 percent in the private sector--, which opens up even more opportunities for you.

If government work is not for you, your degree will also prepare you for management and executive careers in non-profit organizations, including non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) such as international aid groups. Best of all, a degree such as this from an accredited school gives you career flexibility, allowing you to explore your options in many private and public-sector fields. Typical careers for MPA graduates include: public health administrator, policy analyst, grants writer, manager in governmental departments, and consultant.







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