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Public Administration Program Rankings

Master of public administration (MPA) programs build the knowledge and skills required for careers in management and governance of the public sector. The degree overlaps somewhat with a business administration curriculum, emphasizing principles, policies, and practices as they relate to the administration of public programs.

public administration program rankings

Public administration programs train students to thrive within ever-changing social, political, and economic climates. With a degree in public administration, individuals can pursue careers in local, state, or federal government. They also gain research skills applicable to positions in research and academia, and they qualify for careers in international and nonprofit settings.

The ideal MPA candidate is an early- to mid-career professional interested in management positions in the nonprofit, public, or government sector. Successful MPA program candidates possess a bachelor's degree with completed quantitative coursework in economics and statistics, and several years of experience in a relevant field. Passion for public policy is a must.

On this page, readers can explore the top 15 master of public administration programs for 2021. Read on for more information on MPA degrees. Follow the link below to learn more about our ranking methodology.

A program of the John Glenn College of Public Affairs, Ohio State's MPA approaches public policy through economics, management, and data analysis. The program offers many opportunities for customization, including dual degrees that pair topics like business administration or social work with the MPA. A degree-seeker can also select a graduate minor such as neuroscience, African American and African studies, or rural sociology.

Ohio State MPA students take courses in public policy formulation and implementation, managing public sector organizations, and public affairs statistics. The program also requires an integrative capstone project, where each enrollee engages in a classroom-based professional experience by defining a problem, constructing alternatives, and finishing with a workable recommendation.

CSULB's MPA program welcomes full-time and part-time students, especially individuals already employed in the public sector. The program emphasizes building leadership skills to prepare students for advancement in the field.

Required coursework includes foundations of public policy and administration, government budgeting and finance, and policy issue analysis. Each degree-seeker must also complete a directed research project and assemble a student learning portfolio.

Enrollees can customize their degrees by focusing on public works administration or urban affairs. Learners can also add graduate certificates in personnel management, public management analysis, or public sector financial management.

With the backdrop of a major urban center as a starting point, Cal State LA's MPA emphasizes critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and ethical public service. As a program of the Department of Political Science, the MPA requires courses in public administration as a field of practice, public sector organization and management, and public budgeting and financial administration.

Students can select electives in management perspectives and analytic perspectives. Each enrollee completes a capstone project and an administration-focused internship in a public or nonprofit organization. The capstone also includes a comprehensive exit examination.

The curriculum diverges as each degree-seeker chooses a sector emphasis such as nonprofit, local government, or state and federal government. Designed for learners with four years of professional experience, the executive MPA requires coursework in organizational behavior, administrative environment, and legal issues in public administration.

Harvard's MPA, fitting for full-time professionals already working in the public sector, features high flexibility. The program requires courses in key areas of economics and quantitative analysis, management and leadership, and public ethics and political institutions. The program offers dual degrees such as medicine and law.

Course requirements include legal issues in public affairs, public policy analysis, and public personnel management. Each enrollee completes a capstone project by partnering with a local organization. The program also requires a professional field experience, usually through an internship.

Core courses include scope of public administration, seminar in administrative theory, and methods of analysis in public and urban affairs. Elective options, which each cohort chooses by vote, include negotiation and bargaining in the public service, managing water and energy resources, and policy design and analysis.

Course requirements include research methods in government, public budgeting, public policy analysis, and ethics in government. Each enrollee also completes 18 credits of electives and can choose between a final thesis or an internship. The program offers dual-degree options to combine the MPA with a criminal justice or public history degree.

Each applicant must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA over the last two years of study. Prerequisite expectations include American government and politics, public administration, economics, and statistics or research methods. Admission materials include three recommendations, a personal statement, a writing sample, a resume, and a $30 fee.

Established in 1968, CSUF's MPA degree emphasizes public service, diversity, and social equity. Degree-seekers can specialize in human resources, public finance, local government management, or public policy. The program boasts strong Orange County connections, including a city management fellowship program, career development resources, and internship opportunities.

The program requires core courses in foundations of public administration, administrative research and analysis, and public budgeting and finance. Each enrollee also completes a capstone seminar in public administration theory, which situates public administration within the overall structure of government. The MPA culminates with a comprehensive examination consisting of two take-home essay questions.

The 21-credit core curriculum requires courses in administration and society, quantitative applications for public administration, and human resources management. Prior to graduation, students may elect to complete a comprehensive examination or a thesis that addresses a specific problem in public administration.

Texas State's MPA degree offers three tracks: an applied research project concentration, a thesis option, and a non-thesis option. All three options require similar core courses, such as introduction to public policy and administration, public finance administration, and public personnel administration. All students must pass a comprehensive examination to graduate.

Degree-seekers at UCF take core courses in public administration in the policy process, analytical techniques for public administration, public budgeting, and human resource management. Each learner also completes an integrative capstone for three credits. The program encourages students without work experience to complete internships.

USF's MPA degree prioritizes partnerships with local government offices and public agencies to emphasize real-world experience. The university's professional mentorship program and internship opportunities provide a career-focused approach. Enrollees can pursue graduate certificates in public management, management of non-governmental and nonprofit organizations, and data science for public administration.

Required courses for USF's MPA include research methods in public administration, organization theory and leadership, political economy for public managers, and human resources management. Students can pursue electives in management, nonprofit administration, budgeting and financial management, or public organizational management.

Specific coursework and requirements for top MPA programs vary, but most feature similar objectives and outcomes. MPAs prepare students for careers in government, the private sector, and nonprofit organizations by exploring a breadth of topics including management, communication, and public policy.

MPA degrees may allow students to specialize in a subset of public administration. Specializations such as nonprofit management and leadership, social entrepreneurship and innovation, and law and public policy prepare learners for careers in nonprofit organizations, start-ups, and legal institutions, respectively. Other concentration options include policy analysis, public management, and emergency management.

Hybrid and online degrees offer the same classes as traditional programs, but often with more flexible, convenient options. Hybrid public administration degrees integrate online content with in-person requirements, such as weekend class meetings or workshops. The hybrid format meets working professionals' needs through the flexibility of online classes, while still offering opportunities to meet and interact with classmates and instructors.

Online public administration master's degrees may allow students to complete classes on an accelerated schedule, earning their MPA in as little as 18 months. Some online MPA programs allow public administration students to earn their degree at their own pace.

Degree-seekers who elect to complete a master's thesis produce a substantial, independent 50- to 60-page research paper. A thesis aims to contribute original research to the field of public administration.

A capstone project serves the needs of degree candidates who plan to seek leadership positions in the public administration sector. Candidates who plan to continue their education and pursue a Ph.D. often find that a thesis better suits their goals.

These professionals coordinate programs that support public well-being and supervise the workers who provide program services. Tasks include identifying necessary programs, analyzing data to determine effectiveness, and implementing improvements. 041b061a72

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