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Information on Master’s Degree Programs in Government Finance

Majors Overview June 6, 2015

This article talks about master’s degree programs in government finance and their educational requirements, coursework, job outlook, and continuing education choices.

Information on Government Finance Programs

Individuals seeking education in government finance can choose to enroll in either the Master of Public Affairs (M.P.A.) or the Master of Governmental Administration (M.G.A.) degree programs. Multiple concentrations are offered in both programs, each of which requires incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree and spans two years.

The primary focus of the Master of Governmental Administration (M.G.A.) program is on management, public leadership, and public services teachings. Coursework in the Master of Public Affairs (M.P.A.) program explores the financial aspects of public affairs. Program graduates who seek careers in research or academia may opt for doctoral degrees.

Master of Governmental Administration (M.G.A.) Programs

A specialization in finance is offered in this program wherein students gain a broad background for numerous government fields. Aspects of politics, management, finance, and analysis are touched upon to benefit students keen on different areas of government and public service.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold bachelor’s degrees and submit LSAT, GRE, or GMAT scores. Schools don’t insist that the bachelor’s degrees be in any specific major, but students who majored in a public policy or government area in their undergraduate studies are likely to benefit.


A number of core courses categorized under subfields of government administration such as management and finance are available in an MGA degree program. Incoming students are also typically required to earn 10-15 credits in elective areas. They can either choose a single specialization or opt for cross-training in many areas. Core and elective coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Public service
•Public communication
•Public finance and budgeting
•Public leadership statistics
•Media management
•Nonprofit fundraising and marketing

Job Outlook

Program graduates have many potential career choices in the field of government finance. Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a job growth rate of 6% has been predicted for budget analysts (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In that same period, financial analyst and financial management positions are expected to see respective job growth rates of 16% and 9%.

Continuing Education Choices

Earning a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Public Administration could lead to a career in academia or research. MGA graduates could also pursue a career in law by earning a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree.

Masters of Public Affairs (M.P.A.) Programs in Public Financial Administration

Students enrolled in this program are given a strong grasp of government finance; they learn how to manage nonprofit, public, and private organizations. Students typically take two years to complete the program, and students who seek a more diverse background may get the option of pursuing multiple concentrations. As in most graduate programs, admission criteria require incoming students to hold bachelor’s degrees.


Students enrolled in the programs are required to complete around 35-40 credit hours of coursework. Students are trained on the financial ends of public affairs as well as on concepts such as policy analysis, personnel management, and labor relations. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Law and ethics
•Economics of public managing
•Budgeting and finance for public, nonprofit, or private organizations
•Effective decision-making skills


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