Masters of Public Affairs Degrees

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Consider a sponsored online MPA program currently accepting applications.

University / School Online Program Admissions
American University
Online MPAP - Master of Public Administration and Policy
Top-ranked school for public affairs. NASPAA-accredited. Online MPA, MPAP, MPP.
NASPAA Accredited
Ohio University
Online Master of Public Administration
MPA equips you for leadership roles in government, nonprofit organizations, the public sector and emergency and crisis management.
No GRE Required
Johns Hopkins University AAP
Master of Arts in Public Management
Areas of focus in Public Administration and Leadership and Public Policy Evaluation.
Johns Hopkins University AAP
Master of Arts in Government
100% online, part time option.
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Click to view all online MPA programs (and related) that are taking applications now for 2024.

MPAff: The Master's in Public Affairs

A Masters in Public Affairs is an interdisciplinary degree program that encompasses issues of interest to the public. The area of interest for this degree program is government, international affairs, communication, ethics, and public policy. If this is a field that you are interested in, it is important to consider the basics of this higher degree program as well as what it can provide after graduation.

Masters in Public Affairs Online

If it is convenience you are after, than online degree programs are a great option. Online Masters in Public Affairs programs are available for students that wish to receive a good quality education at their own pace and through flexible scheduling. Depending on the university that you choose, your experience may be very different than other colleges offering online degree programs.

One thing that is common among all online degree programs is the use of user-friendly web interface that includes discussion boards, classroom e-mail capabilities, and tools that allow students to submit homework via the online system as well as complete timed exams. The Masters in Public Affairs online degree program provide ample support for students that wish to complete their degree program through the most convenient outlet. We have provided some information about online Masters in Public Affairs programs below.

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Consider a sponsored online MPA program currently accepting applications.

University / School Online Program Admissions
American University
Online MPAP - Master of Public Administration and Policy
Top-ranked school for public affairs. NASPAA-accredited. Online MPA, MPAP, MPP.
NASPAA Accredited
University of Texas Permian Basin
Online Master of Public Administration
Complete in as little as 12 months, six start dates a year, cost-effective tuition.
Ohio University
Online Master of Public Administration
MPA equips you for leadership roles in government, nonprofit organizations, the public sector and emergency and crisis management.
No GRE Required
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Click for online MPA programs that are currently taking applications.

Who Should Consider a Masters in Public Affairs?

Pursuing a Masters degree in Public Affairs can potentially prove to be a wise choice for individuals that wish to make a difference in how society interacts with certain businesses and organizations. Through this degree program, you can dive into the deepest aspects of public policy as well as the various topics associated with ethics of public affairs and the application of public policy in different settings.

Consider a Featured Online MPA Program

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University / School Online Program Admissions
Syracuse University
Executive Master of Public Administration (Executive MPA)
Earn an MPA for Executives from the #1-ranked Maxwell School. Complete in as few as 15 months.
No GRE Required
Johns Hopkins University AAP
Master of Arts in Public Management
Areas of focus in Public Administration and Leadership and Public Policy Evaluation.
Johns Hopkins University AAP
Master of Arts in Government
100% online, part time option.
Aurora University
Online MPA (one year)
100% online, affordable tuition.
Drake University
Online MPA
Complete your degree in just 2 years.
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Are there online Master of Public Affairs programs?

Yes, there are plenty of online options for you to consider. Online MPA degree programs can provide students with the flexibility of attending class at any time throughout the week, submitting assignments through an online environment, and connecting with instructors via online discussion boards or email. As more and more students feel compelled to further their degree in order to find more meaningful careers, online degree programs may continue to flourish. The rapid change in technology and students' desire for quick satisfaction plays a role in how popular these types of degree programs have come within the last few years.

Master of Public Administration programs are found at many universities in online format. This program is suitable for online instruction, since a lot of the curriculum is investigation and requires independent research.

USC online MPA

One school that offers this option is the University of Southern California. The online MPA program at this university requires that students enrolled in their program complete 40 credit hours in order to graduate. The curriculum at this university offers students the opportunity to learn more about the administrative components of organization from a theoretical and applied perspective. For students that are enrolled full-time, the entire program can be completed in 5-6 semesters, which includes enrollment during the summer.

University of Missouri online Master of Public Affairs

The University of Missouri offers students the opportunity to enroll in an innovative and effective online Master of Public Affairs program through their university. This program is 100% online and has a 33 credit hour requirement for graduation. Each course taken through this program lasts 9 weeks and the entire program has the potential to be completed within 2 years at full-time enrollment. The online Master of Public Affairs program at this university can help prepare students for leadership positions in non-profit organizations, the government, healthcare, and business.

Masters of Public Affairs vs. a Masters of Public Administration

When searching for the right major for your master’s degree program, you may find that there are multiple options related to public affairs. One of the most common competing major programs is that of public administration. It is difficult to identify the potential differences in these majors, since their curriculum is nearly identical. There are some differences in the methods of each major as well as the future application of each one.

Public administration degrees cater more to individuals that are interested in management positions or positions of power in the public sector. Some have called public administration the “applied” form of this degree program, since it clearly focuses on the administrative side of public affairs – hence the name. Public affairs provide a more generalized focus that includes all aspects of public policy, including management as well as its theoretical application in the field.

With that being said, if you have experience working in the public sector, public administration may be a more beneficial choice for you. New applicants are more likely to be accepted in public affairs, since it can provide a better foundation for entry level positions.

What Can You Do With a Masters in Public Affairs?

If you obtain a Master’s degree in Public Affairs, you could potentially unlock careers paths in numerous fields. The knowledge gained throughout this program can provide students with the skills needed to be a meaningful part of local and government entities, as well as non-profit organizations and businesses. The responsibilities in each field are unique to each one, but work with the public in mind.

With expertise in the laws governing public relations as well as public interaction with industries, you could find careers in nearly any field dealing with the public interest. In the government sector, public affairs specialists can potentially find work in law enforcement, health and human services, or even political careers. Businesses also have relevant applications for graduates in this degree program, with public affairs specialists being highly sought after for positions such as marketing management, communications, and public relations. A Masters in Public Affairs can be applicable in many different fields, which is what makes it worth the time and effort to enroll.

What are the Main Differences between Public Administration and Public Affairs?

When you are seeking degree programs in the public domain, the different degree majors and specializations can sometimes run together in terms of what each provides to their discipline.

Master of Public Administration

The Master of Public Administration program is an excellent choice for individuals that are interested in providing leadership to organizations that provide needed services to the public. Public administration is a field that is focused on the administrative components of different agencies, such as staffing, budgeting, and ethical cooperation. This field is especially inviting for students that wish to pursue management positions in different offices of the government at the local, state, and national level.

The Master of Public Affairs

The Master of Public Affairs is similar to the MPA in that it also focuses on the need for knowledgeable leadership within public service organizations. However, public affairs as a discipline is more focused on the need for effective partnerships, communication, and connection to consumers. Public affairs is an important part of the field of public service, in that it investigates all parts of a properly running organization as a method for increasing success for the organization as a whole.

While both degree programs offer benefits to learners that seek careers in public service, the focus of each program is in 2 different areas completely. If you are interested in providing leadership in government offices or non-profit organizations, the Master of Public Administration can be a great option for you. If you desires cater more to the relationships and connections between an organization and its stakeholders, the Master of Public Affairs is the right path for you. Regardless of which degree program is more fitting for you, each can provide a needed service for the organization in which it serves.

What can you do with the MPA?

When you have completed the Master of Public Administration program, you can find careers in a diverse set of fields. The most prominent component of the MPA program is leadership, which is the position that most graduates seek after their degree program has concluded. In terms of what fields they work in, there are numerous options. Organizations that focus on business, healthcare, government, finance, and public service are popular fields that call upon public administration specialists to help run their facilities – but your options are not limited to these fields. Our team of education experts looked at some of the most popular career positions available to public administration graduates and provided a list of potential careers below.

  • Emergency Management Director
  • Regional Planner
  • Community Development Specialist
  • Fundraising Manager
  • Non-Profit Fiscal Management

What can you do with the Master of Public Affairs?

With a Master in Public Affairs, graduates can seek out careers working for high-end organizations at many different levels of service. Since public affairs professionals are concerned with their relationship with partners, providers, and consumers, their expertise is not limited to any certain discipline or field. Public affairs graduates can be found working in political settings, for the government, in non-profit organizations, private businesses, and even individual consulting firms. The expertise of the public affairs specialist includes a long list of skills, including leadership and organizational intelligence. With these skills, you could potentially find careers working for many diverse organizations. Check out our list of popular career titles below.

  • Program Coordinator
  • Research Analyst
  • Development Manager
  • Policy Analyst
  • Consultant

Related Public Administration Programs

What is the MPA?

Public administration is a career field that involves a greater understanding of how businesses and other public services agencies operate from an inside perspective. This may include the management of large numbers of employees, financial budgeting and tax analysis, and quality improvement.

Public administration takes into consideration the need for problem-free business operation and fair treatment of employees and consumers. At the government level, public administration can consist of providing public services to the general population while operating under federal regulations and ethical guidelines. If you are considering the MPA for your degree program, you might want to know the specific requirements of professionals in this field prior to enrolling in a program.

The MPA program includes topics that surround the need for more educated and seasoned leaders in government positions, local businesses, larger chain businesses, and even non-profit agencies. Positions within these different settings are related in terms of the requirements of each. One thing that each of these areas has in common is their need for knowledgeable, fair, and concise leaders.

The way that you can become a chosen leader within each of these fields is to learn more about how each organization operates and attain the skills needed to be an influential management professional. In order for these organizations to operate efficiently, it is important for the business to hire knowledgeable professionals that can handle large numbers of employees, financial management, ethical considerations, human resources, and interpersonal communication.

All of these skills are outlined within MPA programs throughout the country. Public administration has grown into one of the more popular degree options for students that want to have options with their careers, while still having a thorough set of skills that are appropriate for management professionals and leaders. Public administration within a degree program is also a great addition to a professional resume. If you want to pursue a career in leadership, public service, or business, the MPA program is definitely a great choice for you.

What topics are covered in the MPA program?

While in MPA programs, students might find that the curriculum is more definitive of what the degree program provides as a whole. In some programs, students might be expected to take courses such as Financial Accounting, the Legal Environment of Business, and Assurance Services. These courses in particular can help prepare learners for the financial aspects of running a business as well as the legal aspects of financial and personnel management.

On the other side of the spectrum, the MPA program can also consist of courses such as Leadership Practices, Policy Analysis, and Human Resources. These courses are more focused on the personnel side of leadership positions, which is an important part of public administration from within the business perspective. Public administration programs typically focus on the need for providing a smooth running organization that’s effectiveness begins from the inside.

Depending on where you have enrolled, you may see a variance in the topics and courses you take – especially if you have chosen a specialty for your degree program. In general, most public administration programs focus on the monetary components of running a business, the ethics involved in providing public services, and the hiring/training process of new employees.

What is the Master of Public Affairs?

The field of public affairs is concerned with the relationship between an organization and entities that play a role in its functioning. The specific entities that are of interest to an organization can vary depending on the company and its purpose, but in most instances the relationship of concern is focused on stakeholders, customers, partners, communities, or even the media.

The Master of Public Affairs program is focused on providing students with the opportunity to learn more about these relationships and how they should be maintained. As with most organizations, the relationships formed and maintained can determine how successful is in the long run. During the MPA program, students can learn how to break down organizations into finer pieces, so that they can better understand the functions, ethics, and views from an inside perspective.

Communication techniques and critical analysis are other terms that may be frequented during these programs, since public affairs professionals are sometimes tasked with communicating new policies to stakeholders, providing insight into the correction of organizational issues to partners, or developing customer support programs for consumers. This degree program is cumulative of many different parts of organizational activity.

What topics are covered in the Master of Public Affairs program?

While enrolled in a Master of Public Affairs program, you might find that there are various topics to be covered depending on your chosen specialty. In the generalist track, students may focus on various components of public affairs needed to be a well-rounded professional. Some topics may include effective communication and critical thinking, while others are more focused on the specific roles that public affairs specialists play within an organization.

In MPA degree programs, students are likely to take courses that shine their skills in ethics and leadership. Organizations that provide services to the public are required to follow ethical guidelines and regulations in order to operate lawfully, so leaders within these organizations must have a solid understanding of ethics prior to managing a staff. Public Policy and Budgeting are 2 other common courses in this program, which can contribute to a professional’s deeper understanding of their organization’s inner functioning.

Most of the coursework for this degree program focuses on the inner structure of professional working environments and the policy development and implementation that is involved in public service agencies. Having a diversified knowledge of these topics can assist students with becoming more efficient public affairs specialists in a variety of settings. While communication and leadership are the keys to success in this field, a valid understanding of the organization’s functioning contributes to a more knowledgeable standing in management positions.

Common Master of Public Affairs Coursework

Online master’s degree programs are available by the dozens. Choosing the right one is not always easy, but there are different factors to consider that can potentially ease the decision-making process. Accreditation should always be the first thing you check for in online degree programs. This can assure you that the education you are receiving is relevant and reliable, so that you can get the most out of your degree after graduation. Degree programs without accreditation can hinder your ability to find meaningful employment as well as the acquisition of licensure for some majors.

Tuition is definitely another very important thing to consider when choosing an online degree program. Depending on where you live and the college you choose for your education, you may see noticeable differences in tuition and fees between universities. One university that offers an online Masters in Public Affairs estimates the program to cost $13,430 totally, not including books and fees. Most online Public Affairs programs require 30-35 credit hours for graduation, which can be completed in about 2 years. Students that are highly motivated and take the maximum number of courses can potentially complete these programs in 1 1/2 years.

Sample Masters of Public Affairs Courses

– Organizational Dynamics and Leadership
– Public Policy Strategies
– Economic Analysis
– Ethics and Public Service
– Nonprofit and Voluntary Services