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Masters in Public Administration

Students who take an interest in taking part in their communities and strengthening policies to make it a better place may be interested in pursuing a Masters in Public Administration. This is a field of study that covers subjects ranging from ethics, public policy, and community organization that can lead to a diverse range of positions after graduation. This could include a political career or placement in any number of non-profit organizations or government agencies. As a result, in addition to the coursework, most students will wish to also think about gaining internship experience as part of their degree program, for the relevant real world look at what this field entails.

There are a number of reasons why more and more current students are choosing to go back to school through the online faculties of an internet degree. Many of these Public Administration Master's Programs are available as distance learning courses through established institutions. Others may be offered through strictly online universities, which can be just as valid. It's always a good idea, however, to conduct some research into a school's reputation and academic record before signing up for any degree program. That holds true whether the degree is offered online or in person.

Some students will go on to pursue a Doctorate degree in this field, but those who graduate with a Master's should experience bright job prospects in their chosen field of study, and the salary range can be correspondingly high. Some of the fields that could be entered with this type of degree include public relations, non-profit organizations, or as administrators in government agencies. The average salary, as reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, for example, was $89,924 for a public relations manager in the public sphere. This was in 2008.

Featured Public Administration Schools

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Additional Public Administration Grad Schools

  • University of Southern California is ranked seventh in the nation in this field, with the School of Policy, Planning & Development offering five master's degrees related to public policy and urban development. USC is ranked fifth in the category of public management and administration One of the interesting aspects to this program is the fact that USC operates the USC State Capital Center in Sacramento which provides the opportunity to combine graduate level study with on-site exposure and internship in state-level public administration.
  • George Washington University offers public policy and public administration programs . The Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration offers the MPA with eight distinct areas of focus as options. Students may choose to concentrate on one of these fields: Budget & Public Finance, Federal Policy, Politics & Management, International Development Management, Nonprofit Management, Policy Analysis, Public-Private Policy & Management, Government Contracting, and Managing State & Local Governments.
  • Indiana University/Bloomington has the third ranked school of public affairs in the nation. The School of Public and Environmental Affairs weds two important areas of graduate study for in the public service sector. The MPA program is ranked third for public management and interestingly, second for non-profit management. There is also a joint MPA/Master of Environmental Science degree option. The primary masters' degrees offered at Indiana are two year programs designed for professionals with some background in their respective fields.
  • Northwestern University is one of the doctoral and research universities in the nation. Its reputation for graduate level work in public policy is based on the Master of Public Policy & Administration is offered through the School of Continuing Studies as an online program. The curriculum draws from several academic departments: political science, sociology, public health, and economics. There are four areas of specialization from which to choose: Health Services Policy, Public Safety & Security, Public Policy, and Urban Policy & Administration.
  • University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill has public university programs in public administration. The School of Government at UNC claims to the "largest university-based local government training, advisory, and research organization in the United States." The orientation to local government is reflected by the fact that the Master of Public Administration program is ranked fifth nationally in the city management category. There is also an online MPA program out of this university system, offered by the campus at Pembroke.

Professional Public Administration Associations

  • American Society for Public Administration was established in 1939 as a professional organization for public sector managers. The mission of this organization is advocacy for more effective government at every level by pursuing progressive theory and practice in the field, at every level. ASPA has in recent years taken on a global perspective that emphasizes both public and non-profit administrative excellence.
  • National Academy of Public Administration is an institution established by the Congress of the United States in 1967. The Academy fellows research and report on diverse public management issues including Change Management, Organizational Process & Design, Program Evaluation & Performance Measurement, and Business Process Transformation. Fellows affiliated with the Academy serve on standing panels, guiding research projects that are funded by federal agencies, Congressional committees, or private sector organizations.
  • Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management was founded in 1978 as a spinoff of a Sloan Foundation conference concept, which was originally designed to be an organization of graduate institutions focused on the public sector. Today it is a unique organization of individuals and institutions that publishes a scholarly journal, holds an annual conference, and honors scholarly achievement with a number of awards.
  • Alliance for Nonprofit Management is relevant to this selection of organizations because of the enormous role that nonprofits play in providing social services in the United States and on a global basis. It's an active professional organization that offers networking capacity for people seeking career opportunities or information on nonprofit activities in various corners of the country and the world. There are a series of affinity groups organized within the Alliance for professionals with like minded interests.
  • American Association for Budget & Program Analysis is an organization founded in 1975 that provides a platform for professionals from both the public and the private sector who have professional challenges relating to public budget or program issues to network and to keep up with the latest developments in their fields. It's an organization for students emerging from MPA programs or graduating with a degree in a related field.

Public Administration Accreditation

  • National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration has a Commission on Peer Review & Accreditation that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as the official accrediting body for graduate level public administration programs.
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