Master of Public Administration - MPA

DEFINITION of 'Master of Public Administration - MPA'

A master's level degree in public affairs that prepares recipients of the degree to serve in executive positions in municipal, state and federal levels of government, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The focus of the program centers on principles of public administration, policy development and management, and implementation of policies. It also prepares the candidate to deal with specific challenges faced in public administration.

As a professional level degree, the Master of Public Administration (MPA) requires students first have an undergraduate level degree from eligible universities. Students enrolled in an MPA program are expected to possess above-average leadership skills and competence in economic and quantitative analysis, among other skill requirements.

BREAKING DOWN 'Master of Public Administration - MPA'

The MPA is considered the public sector equivalent of the Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in the private sector. It is also closely related to the more theoretical Master in Public Policy (MPP) degree. The MPP focuses on policy analysis and design, while the MPA focuses on program implementation. Many graduate schools offer a combined J.D. (law degree) and MPA; a few offer combined MBA/MPA programs.

Background

The first master's degree program in public administration was established at the University of Michigan in 1914 as part of the Department of Political Science. The goal was to improve efficiency in municipal government and eliminate corruption. The program was developed by department chairman Jesse S. Reeves, who later served as a technical adviser to the League of Nations Hague Conference in 1930. The program has since expanded to a full graduate school, which is known as the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

The Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Woodrow Wilson School of Government at Princeton University were both founded in the middle of the Great Depression as part of a broader move to give government and social services a scientific and professional grounding. The New Deal programs of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt greatly increased the scope of the U.S. government and its programs, creating a need for skilled, professional managers.

Course Requirements

MPA students are required to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university; many graduate schools also require applicants to take the Graduate Records Exam (GRE) before they apply. Programs are interdisciplinary, and include classes in economics, sociology, law, anthropology and political science. Most programs take two years to complete. Some executive MPA programs designed for experienced, mid-career professionals can be finished in one year. There are also a limited number of programs that grant a Doctor of Public Administration (D.P.A.), which is a terminal degree usually intended for research. The D.P.A. is considered on par with a Ph.D.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Boston University School Of Management

    The school of management at Boston University. The Boston University ...
  2. Juris Doctor - JD

    A law degree in the United States that was originally designed ...
  3. Haas School of Business

    The business school at the University of Berkeley. It offers ...
  4. B-School

    Abbreviation of business school, an educational institution that ...
  5. Master Of Business Administration ...

    A graduate degree achieved at a university or college that provides ...
  6. MIT Sloan School Of Management

    One of the top business schools in America, located at the Massachusetts ...
Related Articles
  1. Professionals

    Masters Degree Vs. Work Experience: Which One Is More Valuable?

    Some argue that a master's degree only worsens student's financial situations, but future earnings data shows there can be a real financial benefit.
  2. Personal Finance

    The Benefits Of An Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's Degree

    Accelerating your post-secondary education can save you major time and money.
  3. Markets

    Master's Degrees: The US vs. The UK

    When deciding whether to pursue a master's degree in the US or UK, consider degree structure, cost, and quality of education.
  4. Retirement

    Attend Grad School For Free

    Securing funding for your education isn't always the easiest thing to do, but there are some ways to get assistance.
  5. Financial Advisor

    Which Degree Is Better For A Business Career?

    Business administration and finance degrees can both lead to good jobs. Finance builds more quantitative skills, administration gives broader training.
  6. Financial Advisor

    Is An MBA The Best Bet For Finance, Econ Students?

    An MBA offers a fairly comprehensive business education, while a master's program in finance or economics focuses on a more narrow set of skills.
  7. Personal Finance

    Traditional MBA Or Business Graduate Degree?

    Though an MBA is the most popular business graduate degree, there may be other options more suited to your goals.
  8. Personal Finance

    Should You Get A CFA, MBA Or Both?

    These certifications require time and money, but combined programs are making obtaining both designations more realistic.
  9. Financial Advisor

    Want To Be A Financial Planner? Eye These Schools

    If you're interested in becoming a financial planner here's a quick look at what to expect and short list of the top schools.
  10. Professionals

    The 4 Best Online Entrepreneurship Programs

    Learn about some of the pre-eminent graduate-level entrepreneurship programs available online, and decide which program best fits your needs.
RELATED FAQS
  1. I did not receive my Bachelor's degree in the United States. How can I determine ...

    CFA institute indicates that a Bachelor's degree is a level of study that would qualify an individual for a graduate program ... Read Answer >>
  2. Do real estate agents need a degree?

    Earning a degree is required by many real estate brokerages, as well as by some state's real estate boards. Getting a degree ... Read Answer >>
  3. What are the best MBA programs for corporate finance?

    Read about the best MBA programs for students who want to pursue a career in corporate finance, including those at Harvard, ... Read Answer >>
  4. I am interested in pursing the CFA charter, but I do not have a degree in business ...

    The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program is by no means an introduction to the world of investment. CFA Institute (formerly ... Read Answer >>
  5. Does a financial advisor need an MBA?

    Learn how a master's in business administration (MBA) is not needed for a licensed financial advisor as only specific coursework ... Read Answer >>
  6. Does the federal government fund any NGOs? Which ones?

    A non-governmental organization (NGO) is a non-profit, citizen-based group that functions independently of government. NGOs ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Bond Ladder

    A portfolio of fixed-income securities in which each security has a significantly different maturity date. The purpose of ...
  2. Duration

    A measure of the sensitivity of the price (the value of principal) of a fixed-income investment to a change in interest rates. ...
  3. Dove

    An economic policy advisor who promotes monetary policies that involve the maintenance of low interest rates, believing that ...
  4. Cyclical Stock

    An equity security whose price is affected by ups and downs in the overall economy. Cyclical stocks typically relate to companies ...
  5. Front Running

    The unethical practice of a broker trading an equity based on information from the analyst department before his or her clients ...
  6. After-Hours Trading - AHT

    Trading after regular trading hours on the major exchanges. The increasing popularity of electronic communication networks ...
Trading Center