Your Online Resource for MPA Degrees
OnlineMPA is stocked full of guides to online Public Administration degrees. If you’re a practicing or aspiring administrator in the public, nonprofit, or private sectors, or organizations that have public-interest linkages, you may want an MPA degree.
The Online MPA, or Master of Public Administration program, is an advanced graduate degree. It educationally prepares students for leadership roles in public organizations. A Master’s in Public Administration or MPA can be a great path to take if you are seeking a public sector job. Governmental planning and organization are essential functions to the government running smoothly.
Explanation of an Online MPA Degree
The MPA emphasizes the critical areas of political institutions and processes, managerial and leadership concepts and skills, and analytical skills and techniques. It focuses both in the theory and application of MPA concepts, and provides an educational foundation for a career in management and leadership. If you’re already an administrator or manager of a public organization then this advanced degree can help refine, update, and improve your career potential. It can also help add value to your current career performance.
MPA degrees are unique in that they have a multidisciplinary focus in addition to a public management base. The core disciplines of most online MPA programs are political science and public administration. Additional disciplines include business administration, criminal justice, computer science, economics, and health administration. Additionally, many programs have concentrations or specializations. These may include criminal justice, emergency management, management, health administration, and more. Some programs even let you create a custom concentration of elective courses of your choosing.
What are the Differences between an Online MPA and MPP Degree?
Those who desire to acquire a leadership role in public organizations and want a master’s degree may become confused between the MPA and MPP degrees. The MPP is a Master of Public Policy, whereas the MPA is a Master of Public Administration. They’re both professional degrees in the public service field and will assist you in working for a nonprofit, at any level of government or in an international organization. Even though the degrees are very similar, there are a few differences:
Who are these degrees for? The MPA is for people who want a public service career in managing, running, or deciding. It will aid in developing skills and techniques used by leaders and managers to implement policies and programs that resolve important societal problems. Those with an MPA will also address organizational, human resource, and budgetary challenges within organizations. The MPP is a degree that emphasizes analyzing and evaluating information to solve policy problems. MPP graduates typically become analysts, thinkers, and researchers. They often work with quantitative and qualitative information and data to develop, assess, and evaluate alternative approaches to current issues.
What are the coursework differences between an MPA and MPP degree? Both MPA and MPP candidates have core courses in addition to a concentration or specialization within the field. Core course for MPA students include consulting, budgeting and financial processes, information systems, policy and program formulation, implementation and evaluation, decision-making and problem solving, political and legal institutions and processes, economic and social institutions and processes, organization and management concepts and behavior, and ethics. MPP core courses differ slightly and include statistics and data analysis, public finance, microeconomics and macroeconomics, research design, program evaluation, public policy, organization and management concepts and behavior, and ethics.
What specializations or concentrations are offered for the MPA and MPP degree? Both MPA and MPP candidates should know what they would like to specialize in before selecting a program of study. If you do not know your concentration beforehand then you may select a program that doesn’t offer the concentration of your interest. Specializations and concentrations offered for MPA candidates include nonprofit management, health care management, environmental management, criminal justice, and urban affairs, as well as such diverse topics as election administration, aviation security, and philanthropic development. MPP candidates on the other hand have specializations and concentrations in policy areas like environment, education, health, transportation, economic development, international development, urban affairs, and criminal justice.
Where do people with these degrees work? Both MPA and MPP graduates work in a wide variety of public service fields. These include all levels of government (local, state, regional, and federal), nonprofits, International organizations, and the private sector. Both programs offer a broad-based training in subjects such as economics, policy analysis, management (including financial management) and professional communications.
How does Coursework Differ for Online MPA Programs?
Online MPA programs offer the same course as on-campus programs. The only difference is that you take your courses entirely online rather than sitting in a classroom. Professional teachers and faculty will help guide you through your online coursework. You’ll still be able to stay in contact with your instructors, participate in classroom activities, and complete the same work as students who study an MPA on campus. You’ll have deadline requirements, but you’ll do all the work at home, including taking tests.
Usually online delivery includes various interactive Internet-based learning applications. Videorecorded lectures are a common way of delivering class material. Additionally, chat rooms and instant video chat may be available for students and professors to communicate. Also, through online chat groups or discussion boards students are forced to answer questions and participate in discussions. In classroom learning, there are often students who do not participate in the discussions.
Online MPA programs are also more flexible than on-campus programs. There aren’t required times that you must access your courses. Instead you can access them whenever and from wherever there is an internet connection. You also aren’t obligated to stay in one location for school. You’re able to travel or go on vacations while still attending class. As long as you have Internet connection you should be able to access your courses and communicate with professors and classmates.
The major components of online MPA programs may include core courses, required concentration or specialization courses, elective courses, the capstone or final professional paper, and MPA fieldwork. The length of a program will depend on the school’s unique program requirements. Typically MPA programs are 40 credit hours of study, in addition to the time spent in fieldwork and a capstone project. The final project is usually a paper that’s guided by an MPA professor. Students must design the paper within their area of concentration. Sometimes papers or projects require an on-campus oral presentation. It’s good to know these details before selecting your online MPA program.
What are Admission Standards for Online MPA Programs?
Typically, to be considered for admission into an online MPA program you must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education. Students with strong verbal, analytical, and quantitative skills are usually desired for these programs. Often there isn’t an undergraduate major required, although sometimes programs prefer students with backgrounds in public administration, political science, economics, business administration, or other social sciences. Core courses should build-upon prior coursework in those subjects, but also provide a “catch-up” for those students who don’t have social science backgrounds.
Other application guidelines may include:
- Online application and non-refundable fee
- Official transcripts from all colleges and universities previously attended
- Satisfactory undergraduate academic record sand meet minimum GPA requirements
- Graduate Record Examination (GRE) report or the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT)
- Recommendations from college/university faculty and from employers or supervisors
- A personal essay describing academics and professional preparation and the reasons why you’re seeking admission to an MPA program