Finding the top online MPA programs is all about quality. It helps to know what is available, but you’re always going to be on the lookout for top-rated programs that are accredited by all the right organizations or agencies. With so many programs to choose from, it can be hard to narrow your choices. Of course, the worlds of administration and public policy often overlap, so that can increase the options even more. If you do consider schools that aren’t on the list below, make sure that they’re reputable and accredited. Otherwise, you can consider any of the programs listed here to get an accredited MPA program that prepares you for your career. See MPA degree salary outlook.
*MPAs: A profile of a recent MPA graduating class shows that graduates took jobs as a city manager, in NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, Department of Finance and Administration of Australia, the Government Accountability Office (US), Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport/Japan, and at Booz Allen consulting.
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In your Master of Public Policy program, you will learn the skills and knowledge that you need to address the most critical issues in public policy today. You will learn how to formulate, implement and evaluate new public policy initiatives. You will be able to choose from the following specialties: Criminal Justice, Emergency Management, Health Policy, Homeland Security Policy, Law and Public Policy, Local Government, Public Management, Terrorism, NGOs and Interdisciplinary Policy Studies.
The Master of Arts in Public Policy will get you ready for many interesting career fields, such as public administration, government policy making and electoral politics. The coursework will prepare you to serve as a public policy expert, and will stress how to apply ethics to your management practices in your public organization.
#3 Arizona State University
This university’s Master of Public Policy will focus mainly on public policy in a big urban city environment. You will be prepared for a dynamic career as a policy analyst, or as a leader in a public service organization. You will be trained to make strong policy decisions, and address some of the most difficult aspects of public policy today. Also, be aware that a related degree is available: Master in Public Policy in Policy Informatics. Visit
#4 Northwestern University
With a Master of Arts in Public Policy and Administration, you can become a leader in health care, monetary policy or government. This program stresses systemic thinking and practical solutions so that you can shape good public policy with a strong, and positive impact on society. This public policy master’s degree is comprehensive, integrated, focused on leadership building, and is designed to help you practice what you learn in the real world. You can learn about all of the courses in this master’s in public policy by visiting their website. Also note that you can study Health Services Policy, Public Policy, Public Safety and Security, and Urban Policy and Administration.
#5 Ashford University
This university awards a Master of Arts in Education, with a speciality in Education and Public Policy. With this master’s, you will develop the skills and knowledge to both participate in and lead critical public policy efforts. You will be prepared for the most challenging jobs in government, schools and nonprofit organizations. You will learn how to develop policy and how to deal with the politics to make this happen.
#6 Cleveland State University
This online university offers a Master of Urban Planning, Design and Development that will prepare you for leadership positions in many public organizations. You will learn to understand public planning, how to overcome urban challenges, and be provided with analytical skills that will be useful for your public planning. visit
#7 Indiana University
You can earn a Masters of Public Affairs at this university, which is one of the best of its kind in the nation. The core curriculum includes Public Management, Statistical Analysis, Public Management Economics, Law and Public Affairs, Public Finance and Accounting, and a Capstone in Public and Environmental Affairs. Also, another option is a Master of Science in Environmental Science and a Master of Public Affairs.Visit
#8 American Public University
The Master of Public Administration at American Public University covers similar material as a master’s of public policy degree. This program covers the public policy development process, case studies in public policy and public administration theory. You can study concentrations in Environmental Policy, Disaster Management, Human Resources, National Security, Organizational Management, Security Management and Disaster Management.Visit
#9 University of North Carolina
The Master of Public Administration prepares you for a career of work in both public policy and public administration. This program focuses on theory and application, and also stresses the most critical aspects of political institutions and related processes. The entire master’s program is 42 credit hours and should be completed in three years. Visit
#11 Drexel University
This university offers a Master of Science in Public Policy that focuses extensively on case study research. You will learn about the methodology and practice of case study research, and will need to choose a case that you will focus on for the entire two-year program. You can choose a specialization in Environmental Policy, Science and Technology, Urban Systems Management, or Education Policy. Visit
#12 California State University-Dominguez Hills
If you are looking for a highly stimulating and challenging career in government, nonprofits or possibly an international organization, you should think about an MPA from this strong online program at California State. In this fully accredited program, you will have complete interaction with your classmates and faculty online. Some of the classes that you need to take to complete this online MPA include Environment and Practice of Public Administration, Public Management, Administrative Theory and Behavior, Quantitative Methods in Public Administration, Administrative and Public Policy Analysis, and Public Personnel and Labor Relations. Visit
#13 California State University-Long Beach
The online Master of Public Administration is designed with a strong emphasis on teaching you the most important concepts and knowledge of public administration in the 21st century. You also will become highly competent in the administrative processes of government. You will hone your ability to apply acquired knowledge and leadership skills to innovative solutions of difficult public policy problems. As you earn your MPA degree, note that you also can concentrate some of your studies on Urban Affairs, and also in Public Works Administration. Visit
#14 California State University of San Bernandino
The MPA from this online program is designed to prepare you for a rewarding career in administration in the public sector in the US. The main objective is for you to be given a strong, general perspective in public administration. This includes the tools that you need to make good decisions, a strong understanding of the administrative system as a whole, and a good capacity for working in the the public sector. Note that you will need to take your final exams on campus.
(This Program is 100% Online. Highly Recommended) The Master of Public Administration at the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy offers you a top notch professional education that will prepare you for the many opportunities and challenges that a career in public management can offer. This MPA program is fully online and is one of the most distinguished in the entire country. GRE requirements may be waived for some students. Currently, this MPA program is ranked #6 in public affairs schools in the US, according to US News and World Report. This program take two years to complete full time, and three years to complete part time. Visit
#16 University of Colorado-Denver
If you are interested in a career in public or nonprofit service, you should consider the online Master of Public at the University of Colorado-Denver. This program is fully online, and has the same course requirements as the on campus MPA program. No GRE is required. You will take courses such as Introduction to Public Administration and Public Service, Organizational Management and Behavior, Research and Analytic Methods, Economics and Public Finance, The Policy Process and Democracy, and Leadership and Ethics. Visit
#17 University of San Francisco
The online Master of Public Administration focuses on providing you with the skills and knowledge that all professional public administrators need to lead effective interactions with the private, public and nonprofit sectors. As students in this leading MPA program, you will learn how to apply effective management theory, develop strong managerial skills, deepen your understanding of ethical practices in the public sector, and build your competencies in working in public agencies. Visit
#18 University of Texas-Arlington
The online MPA degree gives you a very flexible option to earn your master’s degree, and you will not give up anything in the academic quality of this program. The online MPA program, like the on campus program, allows you to select three electives and also an area of emphasis on which you can focus your studies. You will need to take courses including Foundations of Urban Research and Analysis, Intergovernmental Relations, Public Organization Theory, Public Budgeting, Evaluation Research, and Public Human Resources. GREs can be waived for some applicants. Visit
#19 Northeastern University
The online Master of Public Administration at this university is founded upon serving your needs as a future or current public service professional. This excellent online program gives you the same graduate education that you can receive at the Boston, MA campus. This program is designed for professionals who are looking for a leadership or management career in either the nonprofit or public sector. This MPA program is designed to develop the conceptual, analytical and practical competencies that are needed for you to have a successful career in public administration. You do not need to take the GRE for this program. Visit
#20 Central Michigan University Global Campus
If you want to obtain an upper level position in either the public or nonprofit sector, you should consider this accredited program from the Global Campus of Central Michigan University. You can choose to focus your studies on a general MPA, Public Management, or State and Local Government. You will need to take these courses: American Public Policy Making, Foundations of Public Administration, Public Personnel Administration Practice, Public Budgeting and Finance, Program Analysis and Evaluation, and Organization Theory in Public Administration. You also will need to complete an internship and applied research in public administration to graduate. Visit
#21 Florida Gulf Coast University
The MPA from this strong online program will prepare you for upper level administrative positions in the public and nonprofit sectors. The program is designed for students who have significant work experience in public administration. It also is suitable for students who do not have work experience in the field. The curriculum of this online program gives you the background and practical experience in studying public policy, personnel administration, organizational, research methods, budgeting, data analysis and program planning. You can choose to focus your studies in environmental policy and management. Also, you can also conduct a generalist concentration in your MPA program. Visit
#22 Indiana State University
Are you a working professional in public or nonprofit organizations that is seeking a master’s degree for career advancement? You should consider the MPA from Indiana State University. This online program has a focus that includes both public and nonprofit organizations. You can complete this degree in about two years of full time study, and you will need to do an internship with a public agency to get your MPA. Many students complete the online program in three years of part time study. You also need to take a capstone course to complete the degree requirements. Visit
#23 Indiana University
If you are looking for one of the best public administration programs in the US, you should strongly consider the Master of Public Affairs program here. This program is ranked #2 in the country by US News and World Report. After you graduate, you will have the skills that you need to succeed in both the public and nonprofit sectors. Graduates from this online program have the problem solving skills that they need to hit the ground running so that they can earn promotions in the public or nonprofit institution in which they work. This program has a unique applied focus that will teach you how to address the complex problems of society from a fully interdisciplinary perspective. Visit
#24 Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Offered in combination from Indiana University and Purdue University Indianapolis, you can earn your MPA from Indiana University. It is one of the highest ranked online MPA programs in the country. After you have attended this highly rigorous, accredited program, you will be equipped with the skills that you need to thrive in both the public and nonprofit sector. Most of the graduates of this program find that they have earned a promotion within two years of graduation.Visit
#25 John Jay College of Criminal Justice
This online MPA prepares you for a dynamic career in public service in a variety of nonprofit and government agencies across the country. This program is especially well suited to those who are interested in a career in uniformed and protective services, justice organizations, military organizations and inspection and oversight agencies. This online program will offer you the chance to gain the professional skills and knowledge that you will need to be a highly effective public servant. Visit
The University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) is part of the renowned University of Texas system. UTPA in one of the fastest growing areas in the U.S. Located at the southern tip of Texas known as the Rio Grande Valley. UTPA provides affordable education and global opportunities, having conferred over 12,300 master’s degrees. Visit
Why Choose The University of Texas-Pan American?
Ranked by Forbes as one of the Top 5 Best Public Universities in 2011
Named a top university by The Princeton Review
Serves a growing transnational, diverse population of South Texas
Nationally recognized as an Hispanic-serving institution
The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education 2012 ranked UTPA among the top 100 Best U.S. Colleges for Hispanics
#27 Arkansas State University Jonesboro
Work toward your degree with Arkansas State University Jonesboro. We offer a variety of online bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the fields of education, nursing, and public administration. Our programs can be completed 100% online, giving you the flexibility to learn on your own time. Master’s of Science in Education programs include curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, educational theory and practice, and special ed (with concentrations in instructional specialist 4-12, instructional specialist p-4, and gifted, talented, and creative). We also offer a Master of Public Administration program, plus bachelor’s degree programs in interdisciplinary studies and nursing (RN-BSN). Visit