This is a ranking of MPA online degrees (Master’s in Public Administration) according to value. Many people in the human services field in recent years have elected to earn their MPA degree online. Most professionals seeking an MPA online program are mid-career in public service or non-profit fields, and many of the programs in this ranking are designed to meet those needs specifically, giving the degree an edge over more general degrees like business administration.

The degrees ranked here were selected from among over 150 such degrees offered online. All of the schools ranked here are non-profit, regionally accredited schools. In addition to regional accreditation, some of the schools on this list boast accreditation by NASPAA (National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration), which is the foremost academic accreditation for public administration programs. Our ranking methodology is simple, relying on the cost of attendance to determine the ranking. The category of Standout Features allows for bonus points to be awarded to schools which distinguish themselves in some way. A more detailed description of the methodology is available at the end of the article.

#30. Franklin University

Master of Public Administration Online

Rating: 4

Franklin University mpa online

Franklin has been an adult education-oriented university for over 100 years.

Website

Franklin University’s online MPA program offers concentrations in criminal justice administration, healthcare administration, human resource management, and public administration. Courses available to students include foundations of government and nonprofit administration, effective administration of justice, healthcare laws and ethics, and employee rights, responsibilities, and discipline.

Tuition: $15,240

#29. San Diego State University

Master of Public Administration Online

Rating: 5

San Diego State University mpa online

Website

San Diego State University requires applicants to this NASPAA-accredited accelerated online MPA program have a 2.85 or higher undergraduate GPA, and to submit GRE scores. Some of the elective courses available to students are urban government administration, employer/employee relations, non-profit relations and government, and administrative behavior and comparative public administration. Because of the unique 16 month format, no units can be transferred into this degree program.

In-State Tuition: $6,738
Out-of-State Tuition: $15,666
Standout Features: NASPAA-Accredited

#28. Centenary University

Online Master of Arts in Leadership and Public Administration

Rating: 5

Centenary University MPA online

Full-time federal, state, and local government employees receive a 30% tuition discount on the online MLPA degree at Centenary University.

Website

Centenary University requires applicants to have a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA and a bachelor’s degree in social sciences (other bachelor’s degrees will be evaluated case by case). Students will take courses like effective management practices, ethical issues in the public sector, employee evaluation and development, and professional leadership development.

Tuition: $15,300
Standout Features: 30% discount for government employees.

#27. Valdosta State University

Online Master of Public Administration

Rating: 6

Valdosta State University mpa online

Students in VSU’s online MPA program can take advantage of great internship opportunities.

Website

Valdosta State University does require applicants to their online MPA program to submit GMAT, MAT, or GRE scores. Students will have the opportunity to intern for 300 hours in a government, non-profit, or NGO. Some of the jobs students have landed after graduation include city manager, court administrator, finance officer, human resources director, public relations consultant, and policy analyst.

In-State Tuition: $4,374
Out-of-State Tuition: $15,750
Standout Features: 300 hour internship

#26. University of North Carolina at Pembroke

Online Master of Public Administration

Rating: 6

University of North Carolina at Pembroke mpa online

UNCP’s online MPA program is designed to facilitate aggressive career development for graduates.

Website

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke requires MPA online applicants to have a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA, or a 3.0 in either their senior year or within their major. Applicants must also submit GRE scores. This online MPA program offers concentrations in public management, emergency management, criminal justice, and health administration.

In-State Tuition: $3,474
Out-of-State Tuition: $13,266

#25. Hodges University

Online Master of Public Administration

Rating: 6

Hodges University mpa online

Students who graduate from the Hodges online MPA program will be qualified for jobs in local, state, and federal government, education, and economic development.

Website

Some of the positions available to graduates of this online MPA program are city manager, community or public health director, fire services, police commissioner, and public administration consultant. Students will take courses like public administration: function and structure, management of federal, state, and local government, professional ethics, social responsibility and diversity, and public policy analysis.

Tuition: $11,880

#24. Stephen F. Austin State University

Master of Public Administration Online

Rating: 6

Stephen F. Austin University mpa online

Stephen F. Austin State University online MPA students gain real world experience through research projects, graduate assistantships, and internships.

Website

Applicants to the Stephen F. Austin MPA online program must submit GRE scores no more than three years old, a professional resume, and two letters of reference. Students in the online MPA program will take courses like applied methods for public administration, public budgeting and financial management, leadership in public administration, and administrative law and procedure.

In-State Tuition: $4,779
Out-of-State Tuition: $11,799

#23. California Baptist University

Master of Public Administration Online

Rating: 6

California Baptist University mpa online

California Baptist University takes an interdisciplinary approach in their online MPA degree program.

Website

CBU only requires applicants to submit their undergraduate transcripts, three recommendations, resume, and 500 word essay during the application process. Courses in this program include history and theory of public administration, leadership and management, information management and decision support in public organizations, and statistical analysis for public administrators.

Tuition: $11,232

#22. University of South Dakota

Online Executive Master of Public Administration

Rating: 6

University of South Dakota mpa online

The online MPA program at the University of South Dakota was created for seasoned public service professionals.

Website

Applicants to the USD online MPA program must have a minimum of five years of cumulative professional experience, three of which are at middle or upper levels of their organizations. Courses available to students in this program include budgetary and fiscal management, public personnel management, organization and management, research in administrative practice, and administration thought and ethics.

In-State Tuition: $5,264
Out-of-State Tuition: $11,142

#21. Washington Adventist University

MA in Public Administration Online

Rating: 6

Washington Adventist University mpa online

The online MPA program at WAU is primarily focused on public service.

Website

Washington Adventist University’s online MPA program utilizes a condensed format to help students complete it fast while still affording them flexibility. The program is focused on public service and features classes like public service ethics, public sector research, policy analysis and decision making, public service information technology project management, and sustainability & environmental resource management.

Tuition: $11,070

#20. Brandman University

Master of Public Administration Online

Rating: 6

Brandman University mpa online

Brandman’s online MPA program offers students the chance to create an individualized concentration.

Website

Brandman University offers concentrations in individualized electives or organizational leadership for the online MPA program. Some of the courses students will take include leading organizational change, frontiers of public and nonprofit leadership, dynamics of public and nonprofit leadership, labor relations and collective bargaining, local government, and data analysis for decision making.

Tuition: $10,980

#19. National University

Master of Public Administration Online

Rating: 6

National University mpa online

This online MPA program finishes everything off with a capstone research project designed to bridge theory and practice.

Website

The online MPA program offered by National University features specializations in human resource management and organizational leadership. Some of the core courses required for the program are foundations of public administration, urban planning and redevelopment, finance management and grant administration, and workforce planning, development, and outsourcing.

Tuition: $10,962

#18. Northern Michigan University

Online Master of Public Administration

Rating: 6

Northern Michigan University mpa online

Northern Michigan University’s online MPA program provides internship opportunities to pre-service students.

Website

Northern Michigan University’s MPA online program allows students to choose between concentrations in criminal justice administration, human resource administration, state and local government, and public management. A healthcare administration concentration was available online but has been put on hold. Students will take classes like compensation design and administration, planning organizational change in criminal justice agencies, and municipal management.

In-State Tuition: $7,984
Out-of-State Tuition: $10,912

#17. Anna Maria College

Online Master of Public Administration

Rating: 6

Anna Maria College mpa online

The online MPA program from Anna Maria College is a mid-career track program that seeks to capitalize on students’ work experience.

Website

Your work experience can reduce the number of credits required to graduate from Anna Maria’s online MPA program from 36 to 30. Anna Maria offers specializations in criminal justice, emergency management, fire and emergency services, and homeland security. Depending on their area of service, graduates of the program are prepared to assume positions like chief development officer, human resources manager, emergency services director, fire chief, and public works director.

Tuition: $10,530
Standout Features: Work experience can shave up to 6 credits off your degree.

#16. Indiana State University

Online Master of Public Administration

Rating: 7

Indiana State University mpa online

Most of the students in the online MPA program at Indiana State are mid-career public service professionals.

Website

Indiana State University’s MPA online program offers concentrations in nonprofit management, criminology/criminal justice, human resources development, and public health. Some of the courses offered in this program are legal environment of public administration, ethical concerns in current American public administration, public personnel administration, and budgeting in governmental agencies.

In-State Tuition: $6,984
Out-of-State Tuition: $13,716
Standout Features: NASPAA-Accredited

#15. Marist College

Master of Public Administration Online

Rating: 7

Marist College mpa online

Marist is one of the few colleges ranked here to offer the Healthcare Administration concentration.

Website

Marist College’s NASPAA-accredited online Master’s in Public Administration program offers concentrations in public management, healthcare administration, ethical leadership, and emergency services. MPA online students will take courses like organizational theory and change, US healthcare policies and systems, and leadership, power, and influence.

Tuition: $13,500
Standout Features: NASPAA-Accredited

#14. Sul Ross State University

Master of Arts in Public Administration Online

Rating: 7

Sul Ross State University mpa online

Sul Ross’ online MPA program offers students two dual degree programs.

Website

The only stated admissions requirement for applicants to Sul Ross’ online MA in Public Administration program is 12 undergraduate semester hours in history or political science. Sul Ross allows students to pair the MPA online program with a master of science in either criminal justice or homeland security. Some of the courses students will take are scope and methods in social science, local government administration, and public policy analysis.

In-State Tuition: $3,366
Out-of-State Tuition: $10,386
Standout Features: Two dual degree programs

#13. Texas A&M International University

Online Master of Public Administration

Rating: 7

Texas A&M International University mpa online

Texas A&M International University offers a NASPAA-accredited MPA online program.

Website

Applicants to the TAMIU NASPAA-accredited online MPA program must satisfy three of the following criteria; minimum 3.0 GPA, 3 years management experience, performance on purpose essay, performance on personal interview. Some of the courses offered in TAMIU’s MPA online program are survey of public administration and public affairs, communication for public administrators, and public policy development and implementation.

In-State Tuition: $3,226
Out-of-State Tuition: $10,386
Standout Features: NASPAA-Accredited

#12. Troy University

Online Master of Public Administration

Rating: 8

Troy University mpa online

The 36-credit online MPA program at Troy can be completed in as few as 15 months.

Website

Troy’s NASPAA-accredited MPA online program does require applicants to submit GRE, MAT, or GMAT scores. Troy’s online MPA program offers concentrations in public management, government contracting, justice administration, public health administration, non-profit management, public human resource management, and national security affairs.

In-State Tuition: $7,146
Out-of-State Tuition: $14,292
Standout Features: NASPAA-Accredited, Seven Concentrations

#11. Belhaven University

Online Master of Public Administration

Rating: 8

Belhaven University mpa online

Belhaven University is a Christian institution with a major focus on wedding spiritual, academic, and professional growth in all its programs, including the MPA online.

Website

Belhaven requires applicants to the MPA online program to have a minimum GPA of 2.5, or 9 hours of graduate work with a B or better. Students can choose to take a concentration in human resources. Some of the courses offered in this program are public and administrative law, human resources development and administration, research methods in public administration, and principles of executive leadership.

Tuition: $9,990

#10. Wayland Baptist University

Online Master of Public Administration

Rating: 8

Wayland Baptist University mpa online

Half of the credits in the online MPA program at WBU are devoted to one of three specializations.

Website

Wayland Baptist University requires applicants to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher during the last 60 credits of their undergraduate degree. The online MPA program at Wayland offers specializations in government administration, homeland security/emergency management, and justice administration. Some of the courses students will take in these specializations are applied alternative dispute resolution, negotiations in management, international legal systems, and law enforcement administration.

Tuition: $9,720

#9. Bellevue University

Online Master of Public Administration

Rating: 8

Bellevue University mpa online

Bellevue University has been rated the #5 “Best for Vets” college by Military Times.

Website

Bellevue University requires applicants to the online MPA program to have maintained a GPA of 2.5 or better in their 60 most recent undergraduate credits. Students will take classes like communications in the public sector, human resources and organizational effectiveness, strategic planning and policy development, and contemporary issues in public administration.

Tuition: $9,450

#8. Indiana Wesleyan University

Master of Public Administration Online

Rating: 8

Indiana Wesleyan University mpa online

Indiana Wesleyan University’s online MPA program covers topics like terrorism, urban redevelopment, and veteran care.

Website

Some of the jobs available to graduates of Indiana Wesleyan’s online MPA program are municipal chief administrative officer, economic development officer, lobbyist, consultant, and budget analyst. This program offers specializations in criminal justice, non-profit leadership, and public management. Students in those specializations will take courses like criminal justice policy, non-profit strategic planning, and quality and productivity improvement in government.

Tuition: $9,265

#7. Liberty University

Master of Arts in Public Policy Online

Rating: 8

Liberty University mpa online

Liberty University’s online MA in Public Policy offers an international policy perspective on public administration.

Website

The online MA in Public Policy offered by Liberty University offers concentrations in campaigns and elections, international affairs, Middle East affairs, and public administration. Students will take classes like political philosophy, introduction to geopolitics and international diplomacy, public policy analysis, economics and public policy, and leadership, statesmanship, and governance.

Tuition: $7,781

#6. Park University

Master of Public Affairs Online

Rating: 8

Park University mpa online

Park University’s online Master of Public Affairs program offers a more policy-oriented perspective on public administration.

Website

Park University’s online MPA requires a 2.75 GPA for admittance to the program. Students can choose between concentrations in public management, nonprofit and community services management, disaster and emergency management, and business, government and global society. Students with no public service work experience are required to undertake a 225-hour internship.

Tuition: $7,575

#5. University of Texas at Arlington

Master of Public Administration Online

Rating: 9

University of Texas at Arlington mpa online

UTA requires students with less than one year of professional experience to take a semester-long internship.

Website

This NASPAA-accredited online MPA program requires applicants to have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 based on the last 60 hours of coursework, and to submit a GRE score unless qualified for the waiver. Courses offered in this program include public and non-profit human resources, foundations of urban research and analysis, public budgeting, and intergovernmental relations.

In-State Tuition: $6,959
Out-of-State Tuition: $14,713
Standout Features: NASPAA-Accredited. Same price for in-state/out of state students.

#4. Hamline University

Master of Public Administration Online

Rating: 9

Hamline University mpa online

Hamline’s online MPA program is 48 credits and takes 2-4 years to complete.

Website

Hamline University’s online MPA program offers the option to pair the MPA with an MBA or Master’s in Nonprofit Management program through their dual degree programs. Students will take courses like human resource management for government, administrative law, research methods, public fiscal management, and organizational theory and behavior.

Tuition: $8,496
Standout Features: Two Dual Degree Programs

#3. University of Nebraska at Omaha

Online Master of Public Administration

Rating: 9

University of Nebraska at Omaha mpa online

The online MPA at the University of Nebraska at Omaha offers seven specializations, two concentrations, and is NASPAA-accredited.

Website

The NASPAA-accredited MPA online program at the University of Nebraska is ranked in the top 15% of public administration programs according to U.S. News and World Report. Students can choose between specializations and concentrations in aviation, emergency management, healthcare administration, local government, nonprofit management, public management, public policy, criminology and criminal justice, and information and technology management.

In-State Tuition: $4,505
Out-of-State Tuition: $12,644
Standout Features: NASPAA-Accredited. Ranked in top 15% of MPA programs. Nine areas of emphasis.

#2. Southern University and A&M College

Online Executive Master of Public Administration

Rating: 9

Southern University and A&M College mpa online

Southern University’s EMPA online program targets mid-career professionals in public service.

Website

Southern University and A&M College requires applicants to their NASPAA-accredited MPA online program to submit GRE scores and have five years of experience, three of which are in middle or upper management. Students can choose from concentrations in healthcare administration, public policy, general public administration, and non-profit management.

Tuition: $5,336
Standout Features: NASPAA-Accredited

#1. Arkansas State University

Online Master of Public Administration

Rating: 10

Arkansas State University mpa online

The online MPA program offered by Arkansas State can be completed in as few as 18 months.

Website

Our number one spot in online MPA programs goes to the NASPAA-accredited MPA online at Arkansas State University, which features a 15-credit area of focus in public management. The courses offered in this area of focus are public financial management, public policy analysis and evaluation, administrative behavior, internship in public administration, public information management, and a capstone experience.

Tuition: $5,184
Standout Features: Students pay one price regardless of residency. NASPAA-Accredited.

Sources

Tuition information was retrieved from College Navigator.

Methodology

The methodology for awarding points for online MPA programs is as follows. The schools were awarded points on a scale for every $5,000 below $25,000 per year tuition. Low out of state tuition was awarded twice as many points as low in-state tuition. Schools with in and out of state tuitions were awarded points only for their highest scoring category. Points were awarded based on the system below.

Ranking System

In-State Tuition
Under $25k=1
Under $20k=2
Under $15k=3
Under $10k=4
Under $5k=5

Out of State Tuition
Under $25k=2
Under $20k=4
Under $15k=6
Under $10k=8
Under $5k=10

This concludes our ranking of the top value MPA online degrees (Master’s in Public Administration) for 2016-2017.

CVO Staff
November 2016