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How Long Does a Master’s in Public Administration Take?

Written by CB Community

A master’s in public administration is a master’s level degree in public affairs for folks interested in a management and leadership degree. The MPA is considered similar in nature to the Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, but with a focus on public service.

The business fundamentals, interdisciplinary coursework, and analysis skills that come with an MPA make it a versatile degree.

The majority of graduates who hold an MPA work in the public sector, with the rest split between different nonprofit and private organizations.

Different Programs Require Different Lengths

Some universities require a minimum amount of years to complete a program, while others have a minimum amount of classes required.

Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs typically take 2-3 years to complete. But this is a very broad range.

To answer your question a little better you may need to ask yourself some of the following questions:

Does your program require an internship in your second or third year?

MPA programs generally have a first-year curriculum that is focused on developing a basic level of understanding of topics such as economics, politics, and policy.

In the second or third year, you may continue classes or, depending on the university, you may be required to complete an internship. This will affect the amount of time it takes to complete the program.

Do you want to study full-time or part-time?

Most full-time students earn their MPA in about two years. Part-time programs are a different story though because you have so much flexibility.

This can provide an enormous benefit if you have other obligations to tend to while you continue your education.

Is your program online or in-person?

Many universities offer online MPA degree programs. Depending on whether your program is online or not, you may go at a much quicker or slower pace than the traditional track.

This is something to keep in mind when trying to figure out how long it will take you to complete the program. Here are a few reasons people choose online schools.

Other Information About MPA Programs

Here are some other fast facts you may want to know about MPA programs.

  • This master’s degree prepares you to serve in executive positions in municipal government, state government, and federal government.
  • You may graduate and have a career as a director of business strategies, fund developer, grants administrator, or one of many other public service leadership roles.
  • Public administration focuses on learning how to effectively create social change and address emerging challenges that are affecting communities every day.
  • While you are in the program, you will participate in research and on-the-ground work with community partners and government partners, while taking your classes.
  • Throughout its history, the MPA degree has become more interdisciplinary by drawing from several different fields.
  • MPA students need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or school 

This versatile degree is normally accomplished in two to three years, though that can vary based on a number of factors. It is designed for professionals who want to lead in the public or nonprofit sectors.

If this sounds like something you may be interested in, research local universities to evaluate which MPA program is right for you.

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CB Community

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