What Is an MPA?

The MPA, or master’s in public administration, is a valuable degree choice in today’s job market. Its uses, completion requirements, and locations where professed are all laid out here. Read on and discover more about the masters in public administration.

MPA Program Basics

The MPA is an extensive program designed to educate the student on the totality of public policy. How it is made, changing it, administering it – these are all the concerns of the MPA major and their coursework. As it is a master-level college program, the MPA may take up to an approximate 6 years to complete.

Included course subjects and areas of focus can fluctuate to some degree but often include:

  • Community development
  • Urban Management
  • Cultural Policy
  • Public Health
  • Economic Development
  • Public Relations
  • and a number of others.

Noteworthy MPA Examples

One of the best ways to see the MPA at work in real-life is by looking to some cases of its actual use. Perhaps David Petraeus is a name you may recognize. This important figure in government and military service earned his MPA in 1985 and went on to head the CIA and become a US General, and 10th Commander of the United States Central Command.

Another great story rising from the merits of an MPA is that of television celebrity, news anchor, and author Bill O’Reilly. Having started with Fox over 16 years ago, O’Reilly has gained international notoriety for his views and news presentations as well as other media productions. All of this started with an MPA.

The list goes on of big names and the ways in which their MPAs served them. Felipe Calderon eventually became the President of Mexico. Kathleen Sebelius went on to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Thad Allen became a commandant of the US Coast Guard after earning his MPA. The doors opened by this degree are many.

Where is the MPA Offered?

The MPA is the public version of the private sector’s MBA. Therefore, the appropriate school must be located in order to find the MPA. Fortunately, the list of MPA schools has grown substantially over recent years. Here are just a few of the more commonly recognized MPA schools.

  • Auburn University
  • Arizona State University
  • Fairfield University
  • Indiana University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • University of Kansas
  • Widener University


For anyone interested in offshooting, related areas of study, the MPA does have many side disciplines. Related to this study of public administration are the studies of public relations, public policy, speech-writing, non-profit organizations, and many more. Because of the number of related fields here, accompanying the MPA with a complimentary discipline is not difficult to plan.

The MPA is a fantastic degree geared toward public service positions and those dealing with public policy of any sort. A student here can expect to become an expert in all of these public dealings. Which direction one takes after earning their MPA is only limited by the holder’s preferences and vocational goals. These are the basic ins and outs of this valuable degree – the master’s in public administration.

Bambi Majumdar

Melissa Anderson

Julie McCaulley