As millions of baby boomers retire, the next generation of public and nonprofit leaders take the helm of agencies and organizations nationwide. You can fill one of these critical roles with a master's degree in public administration from some of the best programs in the country.

The BLS reports that candidates with a master's degree stand to earn roughly 18% more than employees with a bachelor's and 68% more than those with an associate degree.

Directors of nonprofit organizations and government agencies earn competitive salaries, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reporting an annual median income of $104,700 in 2017. The BLS also projects about 8% growth in this sector over the next 10 years.

Professionals with MPA degrees influence the lives of people and society in meaningful ways. They plan, implement, and evaluate public policies related to healthcare, education, energy, national defense, transportation, and the environment. MPA graduates advance strategic planning efforts that allow organizations to function at their best.

Learn more about earning an MPA degree and how you can move into a high-growth career field that applies to your passion, skills, and talent.

WILL AN ONLINE MPA PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

MPA students learn how to manage all aspects of an executive organization. Coursework covers key administrative areas such as finance, budgeting, project management, policy, leadership, and ethics. Beyond mastering these concepts, students may choose to specialize in a disciplinary subfield, such as emergency management, health and human services, information technology, or nonprofit management. This well-rounded education provides candidates with a variety of potential job options to pursue upon graduating.

WILL AN ONLINE MPA PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Institutions design their online MPA programs with your convenience and flexibility in mind. Students can download course readings and lectures, submit assignments, take exams, and communicate with their professors from the comfort of their computer. Distance learners study away from home using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or any other device with WiFi accessibility. Students can also schedule virtual consultations with academic advisers about strategies for completing their capstone project or locating internship opportunities close to home.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY MPA?

Many consider the MPA as a terminal degree in the field of public administration, meaning that master's graduates will likely be the most qualified candidates for most public administration jobs. MPA-holders will be eligible for most entry-level positions, as well as managerial titles and other roles typically reserved for candidates with a graduate degree. Students can further boost their career standing by earning a degree specialization or completing an internship related to their desired field.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MPA PROGRAMS?

Only you can properly evaluate whether a target school's strengths match your educational needs and professional goals. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online MPA programs in the United States. If your goals include obtaining an online master of public administration degree, take a look at these top schools in the field.

Rank School Cost Enrolled Online Description Toggle
1 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 20%

Founded in 1795, UNC was the nation’s first public university. The school remains a top public institution, and now offers a variety of its renowned programs online. UNC’s online MPA degree, offered through the School of Government, is ranked 5th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report and provides a broad study of government, public law, public finance, and public administration. This program is designed for working professionals who need a flexible schedule, allowing distance learners to balance school with work responsibilities and family obligations. Several program alumni members have served in federal administrative roles, including for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Government Accountability Office. Qualifying online students may be eligible for one of a few available graduate fellowships. Online students have access to a dedicated student services team upon admission, along with several library and career resources. The program is accredited by the Network Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).

2 Northwestern University Evanston, IL Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 11%

Northwestern’s part-time MPA degree online program encompases both the analytical and administrative aspects of public policy, with an emphasis on global and interconnected policy changes. Graduates are prepared for careers in health and financial organizations, nonprofits, government, foreign affairs, and many other environments. Specializations are available in public administration, public policy, global policy, or global health; the global health concentration is only available to distance learners.The curriculum includes 13 courses divided into core and elective work, along with a final thesis or capstone project. Elective courses allow students to customize their degree, with available choices like the nonprofit/NGO sector and global economic policy.

Northwestern’s esteemed faculty includes William Lester, a Fulbright Scholar, author of dozens of publications, and a 2008 presenter at Minnowbrook -- the elite gathering of public administration scholars held only once every 20 years. “I enjoy working on theories and developing new insights that bring the theories into real world application,” he says. “I want to see meaningful systemic change.”

3 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 25%

USC is home to more than 25,000 graduate and professional students and hosts more Pell-eligible students than any other private university in the nation. USC Price School is ranked #2 by US News and World Report and offers a long-standing online MPA that integrates management with public service leadership, the economy, and political science. Students are prepared to work across industries in public, private, or nonprofit sectors, with an emphasis on governmental organizations. Online learning is delivered through a blended learning experience, with two-day Residencies on campus at the beginning of the program and at graduation with a range of interactive tools, including VoiceThread, a multimedia discussion board; Adobe Connect software and a myriad of digital engagement platforms facilitating learning in between. In the program, distance learners can pursue one of three concentrations: public policy, local government and nonprofit management. The 40-credit program can be completed in 6 semesters; students can take courses in the summer and graduate in two years. Distance learners take classes full-time or part-time.

4 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 47%

Students wanting to pursue their MPA online will find a rigorous program at Johns Hopkins. In the program, JHU’s renowned faculty covers government and nonprofit organizational policy. This 12-course program can be taken part-time or full-time and includes a capstone project that allows students to apply analytical and project-management skills to tackle a specific, real-world issue. Part-time students can complete the degree in two years. A recorded online open-house session for the program is available at any time, and live chat agents are available to answer any technical questions you may have. Courses are taught asynchronously and delivered through a variety of multimedia channels, including text, video, and discussions. Students may schedule live meetings with faculty and interact with peers through Skype and other methods. Johns Hopkins is based in Baltimore and maintains multiple campus locations on every continent, serving students from more than 120 countries. Twenty percent of the student body is from outside of the United States.

5 Touro University Worldwide Los Alamitos, CA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 100%

Touro University Worldwide’s online MPA trains the next generation of government and nonprofit leadership. Full-time students can complete the 36-credit, 12-course master of arts in public administration in just one year. The curriculum covers topics such as government administration, HR in nonprofit organizations, organizational governance, and policy analysis. Students examine real-world case studies to understand how administration theory applies to practice in a professional setting. The program concludes with a three-credit capstone project.

Though the university occupies a main campus in Los Alamitos, California, students earn the degree entirely online and pay the same tuition regardless of their state of residence. Applicants may enroll six times per year. Candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree with an overall GPA of at least 2.5. Transfer applicants must hold a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75. The university does not require GRE or GMAT scores for this program.

6 American University Washington, DC Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 20%

Located in the heart of Washington D.C., American University is widely recognized as a top school for public affairs, and the university was ranked fifth in 2015 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of best public administration/management programs. The MPA online is an interdisciplinary degree that combines material from public administration and policy into one NASPAA-accredited program. American’s School of Public Affairs boasts a 94% employment or continuing education rate six months after graduation. Many faculty members are Washington policy experts who have held senior leadership positions at the American Society of Public Administration or National Academy of Public Administration, and all instructors hold advanced degrees in public affairs. Students are not required to hold an undergraduate degree in public policy or administration to apply. American also offers an Online Merit Scholarship for top-performing students.

7 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 40%

A rising national research institution, UCF is one of 25 public universities recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for its community engagement and research; the school has also been recognized as an America’s Partnership University. UCF offers a master's in public administration online, a unique, dual degree program that combines public administration with criminal justice. Students are provided with the background to work in criminal justice or public administration organizations. Core classes include the nature of crime, public organization management, and the administration of justice. Independent learning is a hallmark of UCF’s program, and all distance learners must contribute original research, write papers, and complete a capstone project. High-performing students may be eligible for a UCF Graduate Fellowship. UCF’s online programs have been ranked as best values by Kiplinger's, The Princeton Review, and Forbes.

8 Texas A & M University - College Station College Station, TX Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 15%

Texas A&M University is located 90 miles northwest of Houston and is home to almost 7,000 graduate students, more than 2,000 of whom live outside the United States. The school offers one of the top NASPAA-accredited MPA programs online, an executive-style public policy program that allows students to pick an emphasis in homeland security, nonprofit management, or public management. Students must complete a two-week on-campus residency during July, along with a capstone project with a university industry or governmental partner. Admission is competitive, and applicants must have a minimum of five years professional experience. Online courses are taught asynchronously and may include discussion boards, group assignments, and live online events. Applicants are admitted before all three semesters; distance learners must complete 39 credits to graduate.

9 Florida International University Miami, FL Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 37%

FIU’s master of public administration consistently ranks among the best accredited online MPA programs. The NASPA-accredited curriculum consists of 42 credit hours. Designed for ultimate flexibility, the program allows students to take between one and four classes at a time. The curriculum consists of 24 credit hours of core courses and 18 credit hours of electives. Electives allow for specializations in community development, comparative and international public administration, HR management, public, homeland security, and emergency management, or a field of students’ choice. Students without sufficient field experience complete a 300-hour field internship.

Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Candidates with GPAs below 3.25 for the last 60 credit hours of undergraduate study must submit GRE, GMAT, or LSAT scores. Complete applications also include a resume, three letters of recommendation, and a three-page essay. Florida residents pay discounted tuition.

10 California State University - Long Beach Long Beach, CA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 17%

The online public administration master's degree from CSULB is offered in partnership with the College of Continuing and Professional Education. Courses are delivered in a hybrid format, with core coursework completed online through the Blackboard LMS. Students must also meet in one in-person Saturday class and one weekly synchronous lecture and discussion. Accelerated courses are offered every six weeks in sequential order. The program is designed for professionals in the public sector who are looking to advance into managerial positions or to become public officials. Distance learners are placed into a cohort upon admission. Graduates join a network of more than 1,700 MPA alumni nationwide. CSULB has been recognized as top university in the West by U.S. News & World Report, and as a top 10 degree-bearer to Hispanic students.

11 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 67%

UIS is a leader in online education, offering a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, and providing students with small class sizes and engaging professors. The school’s online public administration master's degree is intended for the nontraditional learner, who will enjoy the curriculum’s flexible schedule and asynchronous classes. Applicants must have at least a 2.5 undergraduate GPA; those short of that threshold are required to submit GMAT scores. Graduates leave school prepared for administrative and executive roles in public and nonprofit sectors, and most are able to complete the program in just over two years. Student service personnel, including librarians, financial aid officers, and other support staff are specifically trained to meet the needs of online learners. Several alumni members from UIS have gone on to work in a variety of organizations in government at the local, state, and national level, as well as for domestic nonprofits.

Tweet this
View School Profile

12 Villanova University Villanova, PA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 45%

Villanova offers an online master's in public administration program with specializations in nonprofit management and city management. Courses, which are taught entirely online, cover the fundamentals of leadership in public administration, including financial management of government and nonprofits, leadership ethics and decision-making techniques, and effective management practices for city and nonprofit leaders. Lectures are streamed online, and students also have access to the material in MP3 and MP4 audio formats for offline study. Peer and instructor interactions take place in online message boards, live chat services, and email. Applicants should have at least three years of relevant professional experience. In addition to an MPA, distance learners can also pursue a variety of online certificates in the field. Villanova has been recognized as one of the nation’s best value schools by The Economist and Kiplinger.

13 Rutgers University - Newark Newark, NJ Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 20%

The master of public administration from Rutgers University—Newark offers a customizable online MPA program. Students complete courses asynchronously, through full-time or part-time study options. The curriculum centers on four areas: finance and budgeting management, healthcare administration, nonprofit management, and public and nonprofit performance management; students may specialize in one of these areas. The research- and analysis-based curriculum culminates in a capstone project, in an area of the student's choice.

Students benefit from an expansive network of renowned faculty and alums, supporting internship and employment opportunities.

Rutgers University—Newark offers enrollment in the fall, spring, or summer semester. The university does not require GRE scores. Applicants must complete an undergraduate degree and submit a personal statement and letters of recommendation for consideration for admission. New Jersey residents pay discounted tuition.

14 Northeastern University Boston, MA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 10%

Headquartered in Boston, Northeastern University also maintains graduate campuses in Charlotte, Seattle, Silicon Valley, and Toronto. Northeastern’s online MPA program emphasizes the importance of serving the public with a curriculum that integrates both research and hands-on practice. The program was designed with working professionals in mind and prepares graduates for leadership and management positions in public and nonprofit organizations. Faculty members come from range of backgrounds, from nonprofit management to state and local government representation, and are focused on helping online students succeed in securing internships, jobs, or to otherwise advance their careers. An internship in regional and urban policy is required for students with no previous public administration experience. Coursework is taught asynchronously, though students can connect with instructors during open virtual office hours.

15 Clemson University Clemson, SC Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 23%

The majority of students in Clemson University’s online MPA program are working public administrators or nonprofit professionals. The online format has given students greater professional and personal flexibility while still allowing students to have a face-to-face learning experience with group activities, discussions and presentations among others. The program of study requires the completion of 39 or 42 total credit hours, depending on the student’s choice of the comprehensive exam or a capstone final research project. This includes seven core Public Administration courses and 18-21 elective hours, including one or more government course. Students may declare a specialization from one of five MPA specializations, including Non-Profit Management, Emergency Management, Homeland Defense and Security, Local and State Government and Regional Sustainability. Students may also create a hybrid specialization based on their academic and professional interests with a mix of courses from MPA elective courses.

Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree and supply unofficial transcripts and GRE scores, though many students may qualify for a GRE waiver. Complete applications also include a personal statement, two letters of recommendation, and a current resume.

16 Golden Gate University - San Francisco San Francisco, CA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 51%

GGU’s executive master of public administration ranks among the best NASPAA-accredited public administration online master's programs. The 36-credit curriculum caters to students with at least five years of professional experience in public service who wish to advance into senior management positions.

Students graduate in just 18 months. The curriculum, completed entirely online, guides students through 24 credits of core courses and 12 credits in one of three concentrations: general public administration, judicial administration, and law enforcement & security. The program concludes with a capstone project. In-state and out-of-state students pay tuition at the same rate.

Applicants must submit official transcripts demonstrating the successful completion of a bachelor’s degree program. After evaluating transcripts, the university may require applicants with insufficient academic credentials to submit GRE or GMAT scores. GGU offers veteran students a range of military benefits, including the Yellow Ribbon Program.

17 University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus Denver, CO Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 25%

Colorado’s online MPA degree is the only accredited program of its kind in the state of Colorado. Students leave school prepared to work in nonprofit organizations or to serve in government at all levels. Online students may pursue a focus in nonprofit management or homeland defense. Distance learners without any previous professional experience are required to complete an internship, in addition to a capstone project or optional thesis. In the capstone, students build on what they learned throughout their time at CU, contributing oral research to the field in a topic of their choosing. Just prior to graduation, all distance learners will be asked to defend their capstone or thesis in front of a committee of faculty members and professionals in the field. Online students may approximately $600 less per term than their counterparts on-campus.

18 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 27%

Students interested in earning their MPA degree online may be interested in the range of opportunities available at IU. The program offers a public affairs focus, which covers public administration and policy as it affects the government, businesses, and nonprofit organizations. Students without prior professional experience must complete an internship experience in addition to the final research project in order to graduate. Distance learners work with the faculty director to choose electives that align with their professional objectives in public management, policy analysis, public financial administration, or nonprofit management. The MPA program has been ranked as the top public affairs graduate program by U.S. News & World Report. Online courses are delivered through the Canvas LMS, and students have access to a variety of online resources, including IUanyWare, a suite of software programs that includes Microsoft Office and Adobe Create Cloud applications.

19 San Diego State University San Diego, CA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 6%

SDSU offers one of the country’s top-ranked MPA online programs. The 16-month program is open to management-level professionals currently working in government and nonprofit agencies, though consideration may be given to others with relevant experience. At SDSU, students complete two accelerated, six-month modules, along with two on-campus experiences at the beginning and end of the program with their assigned peer cohort. To graduate, students must complete a capstone research project that they present during their final on-campus experience. SDSU’s alumni includes a Federal Trade Commission chairperson and a series of San Diego County Supervisors. Courses are taught asynchronously, and online activities may include discussion board conversations, group projects, or reading-based responses. SDSU is the only CSU school to receive the Carnegie Research Intensive University designation.

20 California State University - Northridge Northridge, CA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 14%

CSUN is one of the largest MPA programs in the country with dozens of partnerships with Los Angeles County agencies at the city and county levels, which offers students in the online MPA degree the opportunity to pursue a variety of local internships. The program is designed for both professionals looking to advance their careers in the public, private, or nonprofit sectors, as well as those who want to transition into the field. Students can pursue an emphasis in either health administration, nonprofit sector management, or public sector management and leadership. CSUN assigns a member of its eLearning team to work with each faculty member when they design a course; these offerings are updated regularly to meet new trends and student needs. New students receive a two-week orientation in online learning, and have guaranteed access to required classes.

21 Brandman University Irvine, CA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 72%

Located in Irvine, California, Brandman University ranks among nationally renowned providers of master of public administration online degree programs. Comprised of 36 credits, the master of public administration curriculum splits into two segments, comprising 27 credits of core courses, and nine credits in either electives or an organizational leadership emphasis. Students conclude the core curriculum with an action project.

To apply, prospective students must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. The university exempts applicants with a GPA of 3.0 or higher for the last 30 undergraduate semester hours from providing GRE or GMAT scores. Brandman considers applications from candidates with undergraduate GPAs of 2.5-2.99 for the last 30 semester hours, however they must submit GRE, GMAT, MAT, or CSET scores. California residents and out-of-state students pay the same tuition rate. Military students pay discounted tuition.

22 University of Miami Coral Gables, FL Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 27%

University of Miami’s 36-credit master of public administration ranks among the best online MPA programs for busy professionals. Students take just one course at a time, asynchronously, per seven-week session. The curriculum takes 24 months to complete. In lieu of a final capstone, each course emphasizes practical applications. To encourage frequent communication, faculty hold virtual office hours through the university's online learning platform. For additional support, the university welcomes online students to attend optional on-campus networking events.

Applicants must complete a bachelor's degree and submit official transcripts. Candidates without 18 credits of graduate study or sufficient experience in the field must submit GRE scores. Admission also requires a one-page personal statement, resume, and two professional letters of recommendation. Students may opt for early-decision admission. Florida residents and out-of-state students pay the same tuition rate.

23 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 51%

Nova Southeastern is the largest, non-profit, private research university in Florida. The school’s online public administration master's degree prepares students to serve in governmental organizations or to work in the nonprofit sector. Each student will leave school with excellent analytical skills and a thorough understanding of statistics and American government. Reputable faculty members include Professor Jack Pinkowski, PhD, who was recognized as the 2013 Public Administration Educator of the Year by the American Society for Public Administration. Students can pursue specializations in state and local administration, non-profit/non-governmental organizations, criminal justice, or disaster and emergency management. Full-time students can graduate in less than two years. Based on a 2016 survey, 89% of respondents from the program were employed six months after graduation. Students currently working for a non-profit organization may be eligible for a per credit scholarship stipend.

24 Marist College Poughkeepsie, NY Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 76%

Marist College’s online public administration master's degree offers students the opportunity to pursue concentrations in ethical leadership, healthcare administration, or public management. The core curriculum covers a variety of competencies in the field, including research-based decision making, technology in leadership, managing public organizations, and more. Students can sign up for a virtual information session about the program and sample an online class at anytime. The program is designed to accommodate students from a variety of undergraduate degree backgrounds. Courses are taught asynchronously, though all students are expected to participate in class discussions online. Marist was founded in 1929 along the Hudson River, midway between New York City and Albany, and was recently recognized by Forbes as one of the 25 Most Connected Campuses in America. Online students are invited to all school networking events for MPA students throughout the year.

25 The University of West Florida Pensacola, FL Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 82%

From its Pensacola flagship, UWF offers its MPA degree online. Designed for mid-career and entry-level professionals, the master of science in administration with a specialization in public administration offers distinctive features for both types of students. Mid-career students develop advanced skills to move into positions of advanced responsibly, while entry-level students learn foundational skills and gain networking opportunities with mid-level professionals, built in to the coursework. All students learn from professors with terminal degrees and years of field experience in public administration.

Prospective students must submit official transcripts. The university emphasizes academic achievement in its admissions decisions by requiring GMAT, MAT, or GRE scores, though some students may waive out of this requirement under special circumstances. Complete applications also include a statement of intent and three letters of recommendation. Florida residents pay discounted tuition. The university receives regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

26 University of Oklahoma - Norman Norman, OK Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 36%

OU’s master of public administration consistently ranks among the best public administration master’s programs in the country. Its distinctive curriculum emphasizes hands-on learning. Taught by professors and practitioners with years of field experience, courses teach students the problem-solving methods that propel government and nonprofit administration. Students also gain an in-depth understanding of the role public administration plays in politics and society.

Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. While the university does not set a strict GPA requirement, the majority of admitted students maintain undergraduate GPAs of at least 3.0. Applicants must submit official transcripts, a personal statement that addresses the candidate’s preparation for graduate study, a resume, and 2-3 letters of recommendation. The admissions committee stresses a well-crafted personal statement as an essential portion of the application. The program does not require GRE scores.

27 The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 38%

Designed for entry-level and mid-career professionals, The University of Alabama’s master of public administration helps each group advance to more challenging positions. While entry-level candidates prepare to start their careers in public administration, mid-career professionals can advance to leadership roles in government and service organizations. All students complete 39 semester hours of coursework, divided into 21 hours of core courses, six hours of electives in public policy and administration, and 9-12 hours of free electives. Entry-level students must complete a three-semester-hour internship, with only nine hours of free electives. All students conclude the program with a comprehensive examination.

Online MPA candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, with a minimum 3.2 GPA for their last 60 semester hours. At the university's discretion, it grants conditional admission to applicants with a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Applicants must submit official transcripts, GRE scores, and three letters of recommendation.

28 The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Edinburg, TX Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 29%

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley ranks among the best providers of public administration master's programs online for the comprehensiveness and short duration of its master of public affairs. In just 12 months of hands-on coursework, students complete 33 credits in topics including public budgeting and finance, decision-making in political and public organizations, intergovernmental relations, and grant writing. The program concludes with a capstone course. All students pay the same tuition rate irrespective of state residency.

Applicants must complete a bachelor’s degree at a regionally accredited institution with a GPA of at least 3.0. The university admits candidates with GPAs of 2.75 or higher on a case-by-case basis. Candidates must submit official transcripts, a personal statement, and three letters of reference, but do not require pre-graduate test scores for admission.

29 Excelsior College Albany, NY Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 100%

Among the nation's best online MPA rankings, Excelsior College’s master of public administration prepares its graduates with the analytical and executive tools necessary to lead top government and service organizations. The 36-credit program encompasses core coursework and electives in the mediation and arbitration concentration. Courses explore conflict management, contemporary issues in nonprofit administration, and crisis management. Students conclude the program with a three-credit capstone course.

Applicants must submit their official transcripts and a personal essay for admission. The university allows up to 33 transfer credits from other regionally accredited colleges or universities, provided that the credits fit the requirements of Excelsior’s MPA program. Candidates do not need to submit GRE scores. Students pay the same per-credit tuition rate whether they reside in the school's home state of New York, or elsewhere in the U.S.

30 National University La Jolla, CA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 82%

National University’s master of public administration stands out among online MPA programs for its specializations in organizational leadership and human resource management, each customizable to allow students to tailor their academic pursuits to their professional goals. Students who do not wish to select a specialization simply take four additional electives after completing the core curriculum. Unique core courses such as public personnel policy and urban planning & redevelopment further distinguish the degree. The 54-quarter-unit program concludes with a capstone course.

National University offers all non-military students the same tuition rate. Military students pay discounted tuition. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5, or a GPA of at least 2.75 for the last 90 quarter units of undergraduate study. Candidates with GPAs between 2.0 and 2.49 must submit GRE, GMAT, or MAT scores.

31 Clark University Worcester, MA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 10%

Located in Worcester, Massachusetts, Clark University’s master of public administration provides a unique online MPA program tailored to the individual. Students may complete a test-course prior to enrolling in the full program in its entirety. The curriculum itself also provides a distinctly individualized approach, allowing students to petition to replace core courses with electives, if they so choose.

Core courses cover topics such as policy analysis, public budgeting and accounting, culminating in a capstone practicum. Students can pursue an optional specialization in educational leadership, healthcare administration, nonprofit management, or public administration leadership.

All students pay the same tuition rate, irrespective of state residency. Classes begin in January, June, and September. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree and provide both unofficial transcripts for the application review, and official transcripts, once admitted. Complete applications also include a personal statement, resume, and letter of recommendation.

32 DePaul University Chicago, IL Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 25%

Located in Chicago, Illinois, DePaul University’s master of public administration program consists of 54 credits—40 in core courses and 12 in a specialization. While on-campus and online students receive the same degree upon graduation, specializations differ between the two delivery methods. Online MPA students can specialize in metropolitan planning and urban affairs, international public management, or public management. The academic program concludes with a three-credit seminar that functions as a capstone; students who maintain a 3.5 cumulative GPA may write a thesis in lieu of the capstone seminar. Students must also complete a four-credit field internship, unless already professionally experienced or claiming financial hardship.

Prospective students must complete a bachelor’s degree program at a regionally accredited institution. Complete applications also include a two-page personal statement and professional resume.

33 East Carolina University Greenville, NC Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 66%

The delivery of ECU’s public administration master’s program fuses online courses with evening visits to the university’s Greenville, North Carolina campus. The master of public administration consists of 45 semester hours and emphasizes the study of local government in North Carolina, though graduates qualify for positions in government and public service in any jurisdiction.

Students complete a combination of core courses including human resource management and applied policy analysis, electives, and dedicated research toward a professional paper that they defend before a panel of three ECU professors. Students must also complete a three-credit hour internship.

Applicants must submit official transcripts from all prior institutions and GRE scores. The university favors applicants with cumulative GPAs of at least 3.0. Complete applications also include a statement of purpose, three recommendation letters, and a personal data sheet from the MPA program. State residents pay discounted tuition.

34 California State University - San Bernardino San Bernardino, CA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 34%

CSUSB’s master of public administration is accredited by NASPAA-the Global Standard in Public Service Eduation. Students can complete the degree entirely online, except for the final comprehensive examination, which all students must take on campus. The curriculum consists of nine core courses and either three open electives or a three-course concentration in Leadership or Public Financial Management. Altogether, the program comprises 12 classes, or 48 quarter units. An optional 14 course concentration in Cybersecurity is also available.

CSUSB welcomes applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree, regardless of major. Candidates with no professional experience in public administration must complete an internship. Applicants must submit official transcripts and have achieved a 3.0 GPA in their last 90 quarter or 60 semester units. Applicants with GPAs between 2.75 and 2.99 may be admitted with submission of satisfactory GRE scores. California residents pay discounted tuition.

35 University of Missouri-Columbia Columbia, MO Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 29%

MU was founded in 1839, and was the first public university located west of the Mississippi River. Missouri offers an MPA online, and the program is designed for professionals with three to five years of experience in public affairs. The curriculum prepares distance learners to work in collaborative governance, social entrepreneurship, public policy strategy, and more. Courses are taught by the same faculty members who teach on campus, and online students pay in-state tuition regardless of their location. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard LMS and students have access to a range of services and products, including Software Anywhere, which features the Adobe Creative Suite. This program — technically called a master of public affairs — requires distance learners to complete 33 credits to graduate. Students may also pursue a variety of related professional certificates, including offerings in nonprofit management, public management, organizational change, and grantsmanship.

36 University of San Francisco San Francisco, CA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 15%

USF was founded in 1855 as a Jesuit institution and the school is now home to nearly 11,000 students. The school’s interdisciplinary MPA degree online provides distance learners with the skills and knowledge necessary for a career in public administration. Students learn the fundamentals of leadership and management, as well as how to advocate and articulate the needs of diverse populations, assess public service based on citizen feedback, effectively communicate with elected officials, and much more. Full-time students can graduate in two years. Coursework is taught asynchronously; students take one course at a time to help them dedicate full attention to particular topics while balancing school with work, family, and other commitments.

37 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 96%

Liberty University stands out among providers of master in public administration online programs, offering a specialization: master of science in criminal justice – public administration. The curriculum consists of 36 credits, divided between 18 credits of criminal justice core courses, a 12-credit public administration cognate, and a six-credit thesis. Based in Lynchburg, Virginia, the university’s distinctive program prepares graduates for senior positions in homeland security, police administration, and social services.

Prospective students must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally or nationally accredited institution with an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. Applicants with GPAs under this threshold may receive condition admission. Candidates must supply both unofficial and official transcripts. Students do not need to submit supplementary application materials such as GRE scores, personal statements, resumes, or letters of reference. The university allows the transfer of up to 18 credits from another institution, if related to the public administration program.

38 University of Delaware Newark, DE Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 13%

The University of Delaware draws candidates for its MPA online program from all over the country. Students can complete the 36-credit online MPA curriculum asynchronously in 30 months. Led by faculty with interdisciplinary expertise, courses explore topics such as economics, financial management, leading organizations, and information technology. Although not required to visit the Newark campus, students may attend university events and networking workshops in person. Resident and nonresident students pay the same tuition rate.

Applicants must submit unofficial transcripts from all prior undergraduate and graduate programs, with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. Students with less than three years of professional experience in the field must submit GRE scores. Applicants must also submit a resume, personal statement, and three letters of recommendation. If the applicant has less than three years professional experience in the field, one of the recommendation letters must come from an academic reference.

39 Georgia College and State University Milledgeville, GA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 76%

Georgia College and State is a liberal arts school in Milledgeville, a two-hour drive from Atlanta. Offering one of the best online MPA programs in the nation, Georgia College has educated many students who have gone to work at the federal, state, and municipal levels of government, as well as in nonprofits and the private sector. The curriculum is designed for working professionals and full-time students can graduate after just four semesters. The program includes a final capstone project that allows students to apply their skills in solving and existing management or policy issues. Students access content through the GeorgiaVIEW LMS, with WebEx video conferencing technology available for real-time interaction. Distance learners will enjoy small class sizes of between 10 and 15 students. Internship opportunities are available as well.

40 Arkansas State University Jonesboro, AR Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 76%

Designed to advance the career of law enforcement and nonprofit professionals, Arkansas State University’s online master of public administration (MPA) public management track takes as few as 18 months to complete. Moreover, this accredited online MPA program offers one of the country's lowest tuition rates to both in-state and out-of-state students.

The program's public management track explores behavior patterns in nonprofit organizations and trains students in the complex financial issues involved in running nonprofit and governmental organizations.

Applicants must submit official transcripts from all prior post-secondary institutions. They must possess a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 or a minimum GPA of 3.2 for the last 60 credit hours. Candidates must also submit a personal statement and three letters of recommendation. They do not need to submit GRE scores.

41 Norwich University Northfield, VT Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 99%

Located in Northfield, Vermont, Norwich University offers an online MPA that takes just 18 months to complete. Students concentrate in one of a variety of focus areas including criminal justice and public safety, fiscal management, municipal governance, or public works and sustainability. The curriculum helps students develop an exit portfolio for future job prospects. Students also complete a capstone project and accompanying paper, incorporating their professional experience and aspirations. While students complete almost all coursework online, the program concludes with a one-week on-campus residency.

Prospective students must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally or nationally accredited university with a GPA of 2.75 or higher. Candidates must submit official transcripts. Norwich does not require pre-graduate examination scores. Complete applications include a one-page letter of intent, a resume, and a professional or academic letter of recommendation.

42 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 93%

From its namesake city in Nebraska, Bellevue offers a unique online master of public administration degree program. Students can complete the 36-credit curriculum in just four terms, comprising two four-credit courses and one single-credit project per term. Exclusive to Bellevue’s innovative curriculum, the hands-on project challenges students to apply the theory and skills they learned that semester.

Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. Prospective students must submit official transcripts demonstrating a GPA of at least 2.5 for the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate study, or a GPA of at least 3.0 in previous graduate work. Applicants with a graduate degree do not need to provide undergraduate transcripts. Application does not generally require supplemental materials. In-state and out-of-state students pay tuition at the same rate.

43 The University of Texas at Tyler Tyler, TX Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 78%

UT Tyler’s master of public administration online degree program consists of 36 credits, including core courses and one of five required concentrations in general administration, criminal justice, urban and regional planning, research, or healthcare administration. Students also complete six elective credits. Graduates gain advanced skills in their chosen concentration as well as within the realm of public administration as a whole.

Prospective students must hold an undergraduate degree with a GPA of at least 3.0 for the last 60 semester hours. Applicants must submit GRE scores or three years of professional nonprofit experience, a letter of intent, and a resume. The university reserves the right to interview candidates in person.

44 Seton Hall University South Orange, NJ Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 22%

Located in South Orange, New Jersey, Seton Hall University offers an online master of public administration in nonprofit management. Accredited by NASPAA, the online MPA curriculum follows standards set by the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council. Students may complete the 42-credit program in two to three years. Students take 15 credits of core courses in public administration and spend 21 credits on coursework in the nonprofit concentration, which explores nonprofit foundations, financial management, and nonprofit leadership and management. Students also complete a three-credit elective and a three-credit capstone in one of three options: an internship, project, or research paper.

All students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of their state of residence. Applicants must hold an accredited bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, as well as submit transcripts, a statement of purpose, a resume, and three letters of recommendation—one of which must come from an academic referral.

45 California Baptist University Riverside, CA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 30%

CBU’s master of public administration ranks among the best online MPA programs for students aspiring to advance their career in a short amount of time. The average student completes the 36-unit program in just 16 months. The curriculum features 33 units of core courses such as public personnel management, conflict resolution & labor negotiation, political economy, and legal and ethical issues, culminating in a three-credit research project, thesis, or comprehensive examination seminar.

Prospective students must possess a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. At the university's discretion, it admits students with GPAs between 2.75 and 2.99 on a conditional basis. Complete applications include official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a resume, and a 500-word personal statement that addresses the student’s interest in the program and their professional goals. All students pay the same tuition, irrespective of state residency.

46 University of Baltimore Baltimore, MD Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 33%

UB’s MPA claims a place on the short list of NASPAA-accredited online MPA programs. The 42-credit curriculum consists of core courses in subjects such as public policy, problem-solving seminar in public administration, and public program evaluation. Students choose electives from one of six specializations: budgeting and fiscal administration, global affairs and human society, healthcare policy and administration, negotiations and conflict management, public policy and administration, and public and nonprofit management. UB requires students without sufficient work experience in the field to complete a three-credit internship, bringing their total number of credits to 45.

Students may enroll in the fall, spring, or summer semester. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Complete applications include official transcripts and two academic or professional letters of recommendation, mailed directly to the university from each reference person. Maryland residents pay discounted tuition.

47 Texas A & M International University Laredo, TX Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 41%

Located in the city of Laredo, Texas A & M International University sits on the state’s southern border with Mexico. Fittingly, the university’s 42-credit online MPA features an international emphasis that prepares students for leadership positions in culturally diverse environments. Students complete 33 credits of core courses and nine elective credits, determined with the help of program advisors to fit each student's professional goals. The program receives accreditation from NASPAA and the university receives regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Prospective students must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Applicants must also submit a 300-word essay that explains the applicant’s interest in earning an MPA, and participate in on-campus interviews with at least two faculty members. The program does not require additional supplemental application materials.

48 Wilmington University New Castle, DE Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 83%

Newcastle, Delaware’s Wilmington University offers an online MPA degree awarded as a master of science in management with a concentration in public administration. The 36-credit hour program consists of 18 hours in business management, 12 hours in the public administration concentration, and two three-credit electives. Students must take some courses in their recommended sequence, but with ample room for flexibility to self-pace the remainder of the curriculum.

Prospective students must submit an application and official transcripts. Additionally, they must schedule a program planning conference with an advisor. After the conference, students must register for a prescribed foundation course, advancing to degree candidacy status only after completing the first four core courses with an overall GPA of at least 3.0. The university charges tuition at the same rate irrespective of state residency. Military students pay discounted tuition.

49 Lindenwood University Saint Charles, MO Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 24%

Lindenwood University, a private Christian institution located in St. Charles, has a history dating back to 1827, making it the oldest college west of the Missouri River. Lindenwood’s online program offers 31 degrees and more than 100 online courses each semester, including an master of public administration degree. The online MPA prepares graduates for careers as managers in the executive branch of federal, state, and local government, as well as employment with international organizations and agencies.

Students must earn 36 credits of coursework, including 21 credits in required core courses such as governmental budgeting, business-government environment, and public finance. Students then customize the degree by selecting 15 credits of electives in public administration, business administration, and nonprofit administration. The school's public administration program blends business administration, human services, and other core skills through a flexible, online format that includes five terms each year.

50 Fairfield University Fairfield, CT Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 21%

Fairfield University offers a liberal arts education in the Jesuit tradition on a 200-acre campus on Connecticut's coastline. The online master of public administration emphasizes theory, application, and research in environments such as health care, governmental, and nonprofit organizations. The 42-credit curriculum includes subjects such as employee performance, organizational leadership, financial management and budgeting, and negotiation and conflict management.

Students in the online MPA work with faculty to tailor the degree to meet their academic and career goals. Learners supplement classroom learning with extracurricular activities such as the school's Annual MPA Summit, which examines public administration challenges in a global business environment. The capstone experience involves a master's thesis or an independent study project. Full-time students can complete the degree in 18 months; part-time learners usually take three or four years. The program has rolling admissions. Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree, school transcripts, and a prerequisite course in statistics.

Depending on your program and the concentrations available, you may take many different courses as part of your master's degree in public administration. While many programs feature similar core courses, you will find the electives and concentration-focused courses vary widely from one MPA degree to the next. The list below features five of the most common concentrations.

Concentrations Offered for an Online MPA

Public Management

Public management students learn how successful organizations function from a leadership perspective. The concentration focuses on strategic planning, day-to-day management, technology, and other skills and resources nonprofit, public, and private sector leaders need to move their organizations forward.


Careers This Concentration Prepares For: Students go on to become managers or directors within public agencies and nonprofit organizations. Others serve as consultants, helping their clients develop sound management processes.

International Public Management

Students learn about bureaucratic structures within public agencies in the United States and around the world. This typically involves courses in human resource management, strategic management, information systems, intergovernmental systems and management, and budgeting and planning.


Careers This Concentration Prepares For: Typical career paths include serving with international nonprofit organizations and government agencies on a global scale.

Health Administration

Health administration students explore the policies that affect access to and delivery of healthcare across the country. They learn about health insurance regulations, people's reliance on employers for insurance, and how political decisions at various levels of government influence healthcare.


Careers This Concentration Prepares For: Graduates may work for state and federal legislators, state departments of health, nonprofit advocacy groups, and healthcare organizations.

Environmental Policy

Students who choose this concentration examine how to best manage the earth's limited resources through watershed management, energy efficiency, forest conservation, and the handling of hazardous materials. They take classes in environmental policy, the natural or physical sciences, and environmental risk analysis.


Careers This Concentration Prepares For: Graduates may serve with state or federal environmental protection agencies, nonprofit advocacy organizations, and businesses that provide environmental consulting services.

Human Resources

This concentration explores vital concepts such as workforce management, employee relations, and compensation and benefits, primarily related to nonprofit and public sector organizations. Students may take courses in leadership, organizational behavior, economics, and financial management.


Careers This Concentration Prepares For: Students leave prepared for careers as human resource professionals or leaders in public agencies and nonprofit organizations.

Curriculum for an Online MPA

  • Public Policy Analysis: Students learn how data and political considerations influence policy decisions at the local, state, and federal levels. The introductory course also focuses on ethics and the social impact of various public policy approaches. Students explore how to analyze, implement, and evaluate policy, often through a social equity lens. This establishes a foundation for more advanced coursework within the MPA degree.
  • Budgeting and Planning: This course focuses on effective financial management for public sector and nonprofit entities, particularly those facing tight budgets and uncertain funding situations. Students explore tax systems, auditing processes, budgeting methods, and the use of technology to maximize an organization's financial resources. The course prepares future finance directors, budget analysts, and chief financial officers.
  • Organizational Leadership: Designed for those who aim to become executive directors or managers, this course covers both theoretical and practical applications of various leadership concepts. Students learn about systems thinking, strategic planning, change management, and human resources. They also observe examples of effective leadership across many different types of organizations.
  • Strategic Planning: Students examine critical concepts on how organizations grow and thrive. They look at the coordination, implementation, and evaluation of strategic planning, along with the challenges professionals face when engaged in these efforts. The course prepares individuals for leadership roles within both nonprofit and public sector organizations.
  • Fundamentals of Nonprofit Management: This course covers the work of nonprofit organizations across numerous sectors and how they work with communities to enact positive change. Students explore the legal, ethical, and financial factors that affect the nonprofit world, as well as the role proper management and governance plays in the success of these organizations. It prepares those who wish to enter the nonprofit management field.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online MPA

While students can complete most MPA degrees in two years, many factors may affect the length of your program, including the availability of classes and whether you attend full or part time. If your program involves individually paced learning, you may move through more quickly on your own schedule. Conversely, cohort learning requires you to take classes with the same group of fellow students each term, which often slows your progress through earning an MPA degree.

Internship and practicum requirements also affect program length. If you experience trouble finding an internship, for example, you may need an additional term to finish out your program. However, your adviser may allow you to count professional experience toward this requirement, leaving you with one less hurdle on your way to graduation.

Most master's degrees in public administration involve 36-48 credit hours.

As you browse various MPA degrees, only consider regionally or nationally accredited colleges and universities. While regional accreditation is the most prestigious, you may find that nationally accredited institutions offer quality online classes and lower tuition. Most U.S. colleges and universities receive regional accreditation, while national accreditation usually applies to for-profit, religious, and vocational schools.

Some of the best MPA programs receive accreditation through the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration, which maintains stringent standards for quality in the education, training, and opportunities offered to students.

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and U.S. Department of Education (ED) both oversee all accrediting agencies. CHEA recognizes a total of 60 bodies and ensures these agencies uphold the highest standards. A 20-member board guides the organization in this mission. The ED provides clear criteria for accrediting agencies as they evaluate colleges and universities. The federal agency conducts compliance checks with these bodies on a regular basis.

You will find a full list of all accredited schools through CHEA's online directory.

Master of Public Administration Salary

Equipped with your advanced degree, you may enter a career with considerable potential for salary growth. While those entering the field may not receive lucrative salaries at first, these jobs tend to pay more as you gain more experience and continue to expand your knowledge, education, and connections.

Salaries also vary depending on location, your leadership abilities, and experience. The table below features data from PayScale on some of the most common career paths, along with what you can expect to make at various stages in your career.

Job Title Overall Median Salary Median Salary for Entry-Level Median Salary for Mid-Career Median Salary for Late-Career
Government Affairs Director $97,068 $64,065 $95,127 $119,393
Executive Director $76,267 $54,912 $67,878 $98,384
Training and Development Manager $73,783 $61,239 $83,375 $85,588
Healthcare Administrator $64,332 $54,682 $68,192 $94,568
Nonprofit Program Director $53,387 $45,379 $52,853 $65,665

Master of Public Administration Careers

When you earn an MPA degree, you can explore a variety of career paths in the public and nonprofit sectors. These positions require strong leaders with good communication skills and the ability to analyze data to improve the efficiency of programs and organizations. A commitment to the public good and maximizing the impact of government and nonprofit programs makes you an ideal candidate in virtually all of the careers below.

Urban or Regional Planner: Responsible for creating land use plans that affect community development throughout a city or region, urban planners analyze data, conduct research, review site plans, and make recommendations on the approval or denial of land development requests. They must understand complex building codes, ordinances, and environmental regulations, and often play a key role in city and neighborhood revitalization efforts. Most urban planners work for a municipal or state government agency.

Social and Community Service Managers: These professionals supervise those who provide services to the community, while also planning programs that deliver the greatest possible impact. They analyze data to monitor programs' effectiveness and make changes as needed. They may also seek funding through grants and plan outreach strategies to increase the public's awareness of the services their organizations provide.

Management Analysts: Also known as management consultants, these professionals find various ways a business or organization can maximize its efficiency. They use research, data, and best practices to address organizational challenges and make recommendations to directors and board members through comprehensive reports. Management analysts may work for an organization or run their own consulting firm.

Position Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate 2016-2026
Urban or Regional Planner $71,490 13%
Social and Community Service Manager $82,450 14%
Management Analysts $64,100 18%

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning more about the field is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you'll find three of the country's most prominent public administration organizations. These organizations host networking events, provide online training, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

  • American Planning Association: With the motto "Making Great Communities Happen," the APA is a global organization representing more than 38,000 members in over 100 countries and 47 U.S. chapters. Members can choose to earn the American Institute of Certified Planners credential. Other member perks include access to a vast online resource library and links to job openings.
  • National Emergency Management Association: Founded in 1972, NEMA oversees emergency plan development and implementation across the United States. The association currently represents emergency directors from all 50 states, eight territories, and the District of Columbia.
  • Society for Human Resource Management: Considered the world's largest HR-oriented professional organization, the SHRM boasts 285,000 members in 165 different countries. Their website features a vast online resource library, along with links to continuing education opportunities and an events calendar.

Despite the relative affordability of online MPA programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered by the U.S. government. Nonprofit organizations and independent companies provide private grants and scholarships, as well. Explore our collection of resources below to learn more about your financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education. Check out our guide to discover ways for students reduce their costs through a variety of available financing options that often remain overlooked.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the FAFSA is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process of filling out the FAFSA, along with answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you will find for campus-based learning, but that has not always been the case. Learn about changes in aid, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women balancing the demands of work, family, and school. Explore our curated list of valuable scholarships made specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We have compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

SCHOLARSHIPS AND FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS

Students who pursue online degrees will be eligible for scholarships, grants, and other financial aid unavailable to their brick-and-mortar counterparts. You can learn more about these financial opportunities here.

Rankings Archive

Best Online MPA Degrees of 2017
Rank School Location
1 Northwestern University Evanston, IL
2 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
3 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
4 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
5 Texas A & M University-College Station College Station, TX
6 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
7 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL
8 California State University-Long Beach Long Beach, CA
9 Villanova University Villanova, PA
10 Northeastern University Boston, MA
11 San Diego State University San Diego, CA
12 Indiana University-Bloomington Bloomington, IN
13 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL
14 University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus Denver, CO
15 Marist College Poughkeepsie, NY
16 American University Washington, DC
17 California State University-Northridge Northridge, CA
18 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus University Park, PA
19 University of San Francisco San Francisco, CA
20 Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA
21 Georgia College and State University Milledgeville, GA
22 University of Missouri-Columbia Columbia, MO
23 Troy University Troy, AL
24 CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice New York, NY
25 Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI
Best Online MPA Degrees of 2016
Rank School Location
1 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
2 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
3 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL
4 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN
5 Northeastern University Boston, MA
6 California State University - Long Beach Long Beach, CA
7 Villanova University Villanova, PA
8 University of Colorado - Denver Denver, CO
9 Marist College Poughkeepsie, NY
10 DePaul University Chicago, IL
11 California State University - Northridge Northridge, CA
12 University of San Francisco San Francisco, CA
13 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL
14 California State University - San Bernardino San Bernardino, CA
15 University of Missouri - Columbia Columbia, MO
16 CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice New York, NY
17 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
18 University of Nebraska at Omaha Omaha, NE
19 Concordia University - Wisconsin Mequon, WI
20 Belhaven University Jackson, MS
21 Troy University Troy, AL
22 University of Baltimore Baltimore, MD
23 Sam Houston State University Huntsville, TX
24 Barry University Miami, FL
25 University of Texas - Pan American Edinburg, TX
Best Online MPA Degrees of 2015
Rank Name Location
1 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
2 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
3 Marist College Poughkeepsie, NY
4 Clemson University Clemson, SC
5 Northeastern University Boston, MA
6 Villanova University Villanova, PA
7 University of South Florida Tampa, FL
8 California State University – Long Beach Long Beach, CA
9 Indiana University – Bloomington Bloomington, IN
10 CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice New York, NY
11 California State University – San Bernardino San Bernardino, CA
12 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
13 University of Missouri – Columbia Columbia, MO
14 California State University – Northridge Northridge, CA
15 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL
16 University of Texas – Pan American Edinburg, TX
17 DePaul University Chicago, IL
18 Lindenwood University Saint Charles, MO
19 Valdosta State University Valdosta, GA
20 University of Nebraska at Omaha Omaha, NE
21 Florida Gulf Coast University Fort Myers, FL
22 University of San Francisco San Francisco, CA
23 California Baptist University Riverside, CA
24 Pennsylvania State University – Harrisburg Middletown, PA
25 Murray State University Murray, KY