Night view of government building

Master of
Public Administration

Program Summary

Enhance your ability to manage more effectively and to promote positive change in your organization. This NASPAA–accredited online MPA degree program, offered by Penn State Harrisburg’s School of Public Affairs, focuses on real-world skills that you can apply to your career immediately.
How To Apply
Apply by April 1 to start May 15

How To Apply 

Costs and Financial Aid

39 Credits $1,007 per credit

Costs and Financial Aid 

Become an Industry Leader in Public Administration

There is an increasing need for leaders in the public sector as more federal employees prepare for retirement. This transition is energizing the already strong demand for trained public administration professionals in the nonprofit and nongovernmental sectors.

A master’s degree in public administration (MPA) is the accepted professional credential for public service professionals who are looking for marketability and opportunities for advancement. By earning this degree, you can gain the competencies required to become an effective leader who is in high demand and who has the flexibility to move between careers in multiple sectors.

Penn State Harrisburg's School of Public Affairs has partnered with Penn State World Campus to deliver their on-campus master of public administration program to adult learners who need the flexibility and convenience of studying online. Your classes are taught by the same instructors who teach this program on campus, giving you access to the same expertise and high-quality courses but in an engaging environment that promotes success at a distance.

As a student, you will have access to a host of proven student and career support services to help you reach your goals. These services are administered by experienced professionals who understand the public service environment and develop quality assistance programming to benefit and support students' educational progress.

Penn State's Online Master of Public Administration Degree Program

The MPA program is designed to help you enhance your ability to understand, analyze, and control your organizational environment to manage more effectively and to promote positive change in the public and nonprofit sectors.

Mission: The Penn State Harrisburg Master of Public Administration program seeks to advance the knowledge and skills necessary to manage and lead organizations engaged in public service in democratic and diverse societies.

Goal: The MPA develops ethical and skilled leaders and professionals able to work effectively in an increasingly globalized and diverse world, who are competent as managers and analysts skilled in oral and written communications, and who share a commitment to public service values and democratic processes.

In addition to blending theoretical and applied concepts, the curriculum covers organizational governance, finance, and administration while providing "real-world" experiences for the novice administrator. The MPA program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA), and offers elective courses from many areas including:

NASPAA Accredited seal
  • nonprofit management
  • policy analysis and evaluation
  • public budgeting and financial management
  • state/local government and administration
  • homeland security

Collaborative Experience, Practical Applications 

The master's degree curriculum uses a blend of web technology, print, and other media to maximize flexibility without sacrificing professor and student interaction. Communication tools including bulletin boards and email are used to foster a collaborative environment, providing you with the opportunity to learn from one another. The curriculum and course format can help you develop practical applications of the topics you study. Learn online when it is convenient for you, and immediately apply to your job what you've learned.

Online Graduate Certificate Programs

You may also apply for one of the graduate certificates in public administration offered online. Courses in the certificates are also part of the master's program, allowing you the flexibility to earn both at the same time — if you apply and are granted admission.

Students may earn the Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security, embedded in the public administration program, by choosing the 12 homeland security elective credits associated with the certificate. 

Master of Public Administration Video

Learn more about the World Campus public administration program in this video:

Who Should Apply?

If you are interested in a career in government, public management, health and human services, or other public or nonprofit organizations and want to make an impact on the issues and problems that affect the general public, this could be the program for you.

Career Opportunities for Graduates

Successful MPA graduates may use their skills and knowledge to advance to middle- or upper-level management positions. Many MPA graduates work as administrators for government agencies, larger corporations in the public and private sectors, and community organizations or in a number of other areas such as tribal politics, charities, criminal justice, and academia.

MPA graduates also thrive in careers as grant writers, transportation managers, personnel administrators, policy analysts, and managers of various departments within cities and counties.

Typical jobs for the MPA graduate include:

  • accountant/auditor 
  • attorney  
  • bank officer  
  • benefits administrator 
  • college administrator 
  • consultant  
  • criminal justice administrator
  • financial aid officer 
  • health care administrator
  • hospital administrator
  • office manager 
  • political campaign worker
  • public health administrator
Penn State World Campus Student

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