What's involved in getting an MPA (Master's in Public Administration)?

We’ve all heard of the MBA degree – Master’s in Business Administration – but I’ve also heard of a degree called the Master’s in Public Administration. Does anybody know more about this? What does one study in an MPA program? How does it differ from an MBA program? And for what jobs does it prepare one?

Nobody knows?

First I’ve heard of it. Where did you hear of it?

A little googling turned up this site, which actually made it look like a pretty interesting program.

Public administration is sort of a first cousin to political science. Both deal with government, but public administration is the study and application of how government works. At my uni, their program teaches things like budgeting, management, and ethics; all from the perspective of the public sector. Political science, on the other hand, is why the government works (or doesn’t work).

My university also offers an MPA program; go here and navigate to the Master’s in Public Administration program information.


MPAs are relatively new (or not, depending on your perspective)–my university was the first public institution to offer one and that was just before 1920.

I know at our particular school, it’s designed to be for people who have already been working in the public sector for five years or so. That may vary.

Thanks, guys! :slight_smile:

I got one from Cal State University at Long Beach. Couldn’t really say how it’s different than an MBA, since I don’t have one of those.

It’s Government Administration. At CSULB, the emphasis is on municipal government, since we have a lot of those around. I was told that the program was pretty good at Cal State, but I’ve got nothing to compare it to. They’ve also got a famous one at USC, costing many $ I believe.

Administrative and management skills. Organizational theory. Statistical analysis for managers. Modern issues in public administration. “Policy Analysis”: kind of interesting, because it really covered the philosophical point that since government doesn’t make a money profit, there can be lots of ways to determine if any given program is “successful.”

I also took an interesting elective in disaster management. Case studies including the first WTC bombing, the LA Riots, and the coal fires in… Pennsylvania, I think.

Each class had a standard requirement of one public presentation project, one five-page paper, one 10-page paper, and a final exam. When I went through, there were also requirements for a 40-page research paper and for “Comprehensive Exams.”

Actually, I can’t say that I’ve made much use of the degree, but I don’t regret getting it.