Masters of Public Affairs Degrees

Last Reviewed: March 12, 2021

Consider an online MPA program currently accepting applications.

University / School Online Program Admissions
American University
Master of Public Administration and Policy (Online) Website
Norwich University
Online Master of Public Administration Website
Johns Hopkins University AAP
Master of Arts in Government Website

Click for online MPA programs that are currently taking applications.

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.

Consider a Featured Online MPA Program

University / School Online Program Admissions
George Washington University
MSHS in Regulatory Affairs Website

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.

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.


Consider an online MPA program currently accepting applications.

Tuition, Length, and Accreditation

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

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.

Related Public Administration Programs

Masters in Public Affairs Salary

The career potential for this field is quite vast. Earnings can vary depending on the field in which you plan to work and the size and influence of the company that hires you. We have listed a few of the common positions for this degree program below.

Public Relations Specialist

– $56,770 on average per year (BLS; 2015).

Public Relations and Fundraising Managers

– $104,140 on average per year (BLS; 2015).

Market Research Analysts

– $62,150 on average per year (BLS; 2015).

Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

– $124,850 on average per year (BLS; 2015).

Human Resources Managers

– $104,440 on average per year (BLS; 2015).