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Information on the Master of Public Administration (MPA) Degree Program

Majors Overview November 17, 2015

This article talks about Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) degree programs and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) Degree Programs

Students who wish to gain a grasp of policy enforcement, political management, and administrative concepts can benefit from enrolling in a Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) program. They can expect to become an expert in analyzing and developing policies in healthcare, education, human rights, and urban planning.

Concentrations such as non-profit management and public policy are available in many Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) programs. Students can typically complete master’s degree programs in public administration within two years. In some programs, enrolled students are allowed to focus on a specific type of policy, such as urban planning, education, human rights, the environment, or health care.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school, in addition to the submission of scores from either the Graduate Record Examination or the Graduate Management Admission Test.


Program coursework involves the exploration of the regulations and laws affecting the issues in political leadership and government relations as well as the financing of public programs. Students develop organizational, decision-making, and communication skills. Program coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Policy and economic analysis
•Policymaking process
•Organizational management
•Government institutions
•Public budgeting and finance

Career Choices

Program graduates can seek career opportunities with non-profit organizations as well as with government at the federal, state or local level. Trained to be policy makers and leaders, program graduates may seek jobs in international relations, non-profit management, public finance, consulting, human resources, arts management, or policy analysis. They may choose from possible job titles such as:

•Research Coordinator
•Economic advisor
•Project Manager
•Policy analyst
•Manager of public safety

Job and Wage Outlook

Both job titles and salaries vary with the degree. In January 2014, individuals holding a Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) in the 10th-90th percentile brought in average annual wages varying by title:

•Executive directors took home $40,276 – $120,572
•Human resources directors took home $45,889 – $169,648
•Non-profit organization program managers took home $36,626 – $65,436

Continuing Education Choices

Program graduates can continue their education by earning an advanced degree in the form of a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Public Administration. Individuals can research the effects of policy on governments and organizations. They may also be involved in the exploration and development of theories, procuring of opportunities as university professors, employment as government consultants or publication of their findings.

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