#1 Anna Maria College
Anna Maria College (AMC) hosts an online Master of Public Administration. Graduation requirements state that students must complete 36 credit hours, which they can do in approximately two years on a full-time schedule. Concentrations include those in criminal justice, emergency management, and homeland security. AMC's acceptance rate is 73%, with 53% of students graduating with degrees.
Online students at AMC use the Engage learning management system to complete their 100% online coursework. Although classes are asynchronous, online students must meet specific login requirements each week. The curriculum prepares students for executive-level leadership roles in public-facing organizations, which is accomplished by raising diversity awareness, studying organizational design and theory, and mastering fiscal management. Required courses include Strategic Management of Human Capital, Organizational Theories and The Public Sector, and Executive Leadership. Students are also required to complete a capstone project. Graduates may find employment as public works directors, chief development officers, and human resources managers.
#2 Golden Gate University
Golden Gate University (GGU) is a private institution that features an online Executive Master of Public Administration requiring 36 credit hours. The completion time for this degree is approximately two years for full-time students. Experienced professionals can graduate in as little as 18 months. The acceptance rate at GGU is unavailable, but the graduation rate is 49%.
At GGU, students use Moodle as their learning management system, where courses are delivered entirely online through synchronous and asynchronous formats. The core curriculum teaches advanced problem-solving, organizational leadership skills, public policy, and personnel management. Examples of required courses include Personnel Management and Labor Relations, Public Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation, and Research Methods and Analysis. The final course is a capstone project, where students must create and defend a public policy. Generally, graduates of an MPA become development coordinators, park managers, and public affairs specialists.
#3 California State University - Northridge
California State University - Northridge (CSUN) is a public university that offers an online Master of Public Administration. This degree requires 33 credit hours, and students can generally finish it in two years while studying full time. Concentrations are available in nonprofit sector management as well as public sector management and leadership. CSUN accepts 88% of applicants, while 70% of students graduate on average.
Canvas is the primary learning platform CSUN students use for their coursework, which can be completed 100% online through synchronous and asynchronous formats. This program is for mid-career administrators who want to learn about the ethics of public service, communications strategies for media, and the implementation of data in policy strategies. Required credits include Research Methods for Public Administration, Ethics and Professionalism, and Organization Theory and Human Behavior. Additional credits are required for a graduate project. Jobs may be available as public affairs specialists, human resources managers, and development coordinators.
#4 California State University - Dominguez Hills
California State University - Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) is a public institution with an online Master of Public Administration requiring the completion of 42 credit hours. Concentrations include Public Management; Criminal Justice Policy and Administration; Health Care Policy and Administration; and Nonprofit Management. Typically, students graduate in approximately two years while studying full time. CSUDH accepts 90% of applicants, with 65% of students graduating.
All online courses at CSUDH are delivered through the Blackboard and Canvas learning management systems. These software allow students to study entirely online and asynchronously. This core curriculum focuses on essential public administration areas, such as practical management applications, organizational theory, and quantitative research methods. Among the core requirements are Environment and Practice of Public Administration, Public Management, and Administration and Public Policy Analysis. Students choose to end their program with a thesis or capstone. Students may be hired as public affairs specialists, development coordinators, and public works managers.
#5 American University
American University (AU) is a private university offering an online Master of Public Administration and Policy requiring 36 credit hours. This two-year program is designed for full-time students. The acceptance rate at AU is 64%, and the graduation rate is 79%.
Students at AU use the Canvas learning management system to access their core online courses, which are entirely online. Most classes are delivered asynchronously. The curriculum explores foundational management and project leadership areas, along with legal and ethical issues related to policy development and implementation. There are required courses, such as Leadership in a Changing Workplace, Quantitative Methods, and Managing Human Capital Assets. The remaining credits are earned through a public policy practicum. Graduates of similar programs earn career opportunities as data analysts, public relations managers, and executive directors.
#6 Marist College
Marist College (MC) is a private university offering an online Master of Public Administration that requires between 39 and 42 credit hours. Students can complete this program in approximately two years while studying full time. A 14-month accelerated option is also available. Students can choose from concentrations, such as ethical leadership, public management, and nonprofit management. The acceptance rate at MC is 60%, with 79% of students reaching their degree.
At MC, students use Brightspace for its remote courses, completed entirely online and asynchronously. The core focuses on modern-day issues in public administration alongside theory and practical skills development. Required classes include Administrative Law, Technology Management for Public Managers, and Public Budgeting. Students without professional experience are required to complete internships. Graduates may explore leadership roles in public and nonprofit organizations.
#7 Clemson University
Clemson University (CU) is a public institution with an online Master of Public Administration requiring between 39 and 42 credit hours. Students studying full time will likely complete the degree in approximately two years. Specializations are available in Emergency Management, Nonprofit Management, Homeland Defense and Security, and more. CU accepts 49% of its applicants, while 83% of students graduate with degrees.
CU uses Canvas to deliver its online coursework. This software allows students to finish their degrees completely online and in a live format. The core curriculum develops students' understanding of the processes, research methods, business skills, and leadership techniques needed to work as public administrators. Required classes include Public Policy Process, Public Data Analysis, and Public Financial Management. The program culminates in a comprehensive exam or capstone project. Potential career opportunities include directors of transportation, policy managers, and logistics analysts.
#8 University of Southern California
The University of Southern California (USC) is a private university with an online Master of Public Administration. This online degree requires 40 credit hours, which full-time students can complete in approximately two years. Two USC Price School of Public Policy certificates can be earned during the program: Public Policy or City and County Management. Students are accepted into USC at a rate of 13%, with 93% graduating on average.
USC students use Blackboard as its primary learning management system, where they can complete courses 100% online with face-to-face videoconferencing classes. The curriculum for this online program covers two main areas of study: (1) institutions and organizations as well as (2) analytics. Core courses include Public Policy and Program Evaluation, Urban Planning and Social Policy, and Local Government and Nonprofit Management. The chosen certificate determines electives. Students are also required to complete a capstone and two in-person residencies. Career opportunities may be available as public information officers, strategic project managers, and city managers.
#9 National University
National University (NU) is a private university that hosts an online Master of Public Administration. Graduation requirements state that students must complete 36 quarter units, which can be done in approximately two years on a full-time schedule. There are specializations in organizational leadership and human resource management. Students are accepted into NU at a rate of 55%, with 36% graduating with degrees.
NU students use Blackboard as its learning management system, where they can complete courses 100% online. All live classes are recorded so students can watch them on their schedules. The core curriculum teaches students how to apply business skills to public administration, including evaluating employees, planning projects, and creating proposals. Required courses include Public Personnel Policy, Ethics, and Quantitative Methods. Students are also required to complete a culminating research project. Graduates may work as administrative officers, city managers, and county administrators.
Online MPA Programs Overview
Students who are considering enrolling in an online master's degree program in the field of public administration must first complete a bachelor's program in a similar field. Applicants will need to provide transcripts from their undergraduate degree programs. Some schools may also require personal statements, a resume or CV, letters of recommendation, and standardized test scores. Most programs can be completed online in two years or less, and require between 30 and 40 units.
Online MPA programs typically offer coursework in economics, statistics, public policy, research methods, management, business ethics, organizational behavior, government, and social responsibility. Many schools offer specializations so that students can become experts in specific aspects of public administration. Possible specializations include non-profit management, human resources, organizational leadership, healthcare administration, and criminal justice. Students earning MPA degrees with specializations will take additional classes that focus on their topics of choice.
Students who earn master's degrees in public administration may pursue jobs as development managers, directors of non-profits, government affairs directors, health service managers, policy coordinators, program analysts, and communications directors.
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