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Public Administration

Master of Public Administration (MPA)

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) offers you the knowledge required to handle the difficult administrative environment that is government service today. This online degree program is ideal if you are currently in public management or public service, or are looking to enter this field from a different discipline. Your classmates will bring their own wealth of knowledge from many fields, and through the use of case studies, facilitated discussion, and other exercises, we build on this shared experience to produce a new generation of administrators ready to serve the public. This MPA degree promotes the core values of service, ethics, knowledge, competence, and diversity. Working across silos, networking among and between agencies and stakeholders, and strategically addressing the issues at hand is a fundamental theme of this online master’s program. The culminating goal is to teach you how to competently tackle hard questions, creatively solve them, and communicate your solutions through diverse public, private, and nonprofit networks.

Program Courses

The curriculum for this program follows industry trends to help ensure relevancy to today's marketplace. View all courses.

The MPA capstone seminar will be your culminating requirement to earn this degree. The capstone seminar can be either a graduate-level thesis or creative project. Each must show your proficiency in the subject matter and mastery of program objectives.

Program Objectives

In addition to the institutional and degree level learning objectives, graduates of this program are expected to achieve program specific learning outcomes and be able to:

  • Assess the leading approaches to managing public organizations.
  • Evaluate the moral, legal, and ethical aspects of decision-making in the public sector.
  • Evaluate the government budgeting process and funding of government programs and organizations.
  • Appraise the role of government organizations in public policy development and implementation.
  • Develop solutions to a public issue that take into account multiple stakeholders and decision-makers.
  • Implement the core concept of public service by providing evidence of service to the public or nonprofit sector.
  • Critique a difficult political situation and offer creative and innovative solutions that take into account multiple stakeholders and decision-makers.
  • Assess the part diversity, or lack thereof, plays in public administration.

View learning outcomes assessment results.

Degree at a Glance


Concentrations are designed to help you group courses together so you can further specialize in your field and pursue a more focused path to degree completion. You will be asked to select a concentration when you enroll in this program.

Explore the concentrations available for this program.


Disaster Management

Introduces the concepts of emergency management. Topics covered include the history of the field, hazard analysis, mitigation, planning, communication, and terrorism. Looks at the interaction, coordination, and facilitation between federal, state, and local agencies during preparation, response, and recovery operations. An historical viewpoint of emergency response organizational development is also covered.


Economics of Disaster


Emergency and Disaster Planning and Management


Interagency Disaster Management


Emergency and Disaster Theory


Environmental Policy

Evaluates the major legal, regulatory, and policy framework that encompasses environmental programs and projects in the U.S. and with international political, commercial, and non-governmental institutions. Examines global environmental change, potential impacts on environmental policy and society, and the public and private economic costs and effects of environmental programs.


Environmental Management


Environmental Economics


Environmental Policy, Regulation, and Law


Global Environmental Change


Health Policy

Introduces the role of public health systems in America, including federal, state, and local public health agencies, as well as current political, environmental, epidemiologic, legal, and ethical issues impacting the public health field. Covers the skills necessary to be an effective health care administrator.


Public Health in America


Health Policy


Health Care Administration


Human Resources

Offers an advanced study of human resource management with particular emphasis on the strategic planning process. Explores current practices in the workplace, including policy development with an emphasis on the interdependence of human resource and organizational operating functions. Additional topics include employment law, discrimination in the workplace, and practices used by companies to leverage their human capital.


Human Resource Management


Employment Law and Labor Relations


Human Resource Policy


Strategic Human Resource Management Practices


National Security

Assesses the major concepts of strategic thinking that underpin the national security decision-making process in the U.S, including current challenges to national security interests, especially terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Also examines contemporary globalization, its links to emergent threats, and potential U.S. responses, as well as the implications of rising worldwide economic interdependence upon national security policy.


Institutions of National Security


U.S. National Security


National Security and Globalization


National Security and Diplomacy


Current and Emerging Threats to U.S. National Security


Organizational Management

Focuses on the concepts and methods of managing an organization, including techniques for structuring and resolving managerial problems in public and private organizations. Topics include human behavior principles in individual, group/team, and organizational settings; interpersonal relations, motivation, and decision-making in organizations; and the variables involved in crisis planning, communication, and management.


Organizational Management


Organizational Behavior


Organizational Development


Organizational Crisis Management


Security Management

Probes contemporary issues in security management, such as background checks, budgeting, security liability, human resources issues, and equal opportunity rights. Topics include: the 9/11 Commission Report on terrorist attacks upon the U.S.; relevant security programs in the public and private sectors; and the tools necessary to effectively plan for, implement, monitor, and administer a security organization.


Assets Protection & Loss Prevention Management


Evaluation of Security Programs


Contemporary Issues in Security Management


Security Program Administration


Coaching and Conflict Resolution

Introduces the concepts and methods of coaching and conflict resolution necessary to successfully manage a diverse, global workforce. Topics include conflict analysis, negotiation (individual, across sectors and internationally) and mediation along with skills, methods and strategies required to be an effective coach. This concentration requires a high degree of interaction and role play. 


Conflict Analysis and Resolution: Theory and Practice


International Negotiation


Emotional Intelligence and Coaching Assessments


Foundations of Coaching


Coaching Groups and Teams


Negotiation and Conflict Resolution


Public Policy

Upon successful completion of this concentration, the student will be able to:

  • Evaluate the multi-disciplinary nature of the major theories underlying the discipline of public policy.
  • Extrapolate the processes by which public policies are designed, implemented, and evaluated.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of existing (or the impact of proposed) public policies.
  • Demonstrate appropriate analytical skills to analyze contemporary policy issues.
  • Design public policies to solve strategic or social problems.
  • Deconstruct contemporary policy case studies using an ethical framework.
  • Communicate policy recommendations to diverse audiences.


Judicial Politics, Process, and Policy Making


Foundations of Governance and Policy


Digital Government


Economics and Public Policy


Law and Public Policy

Admission Requirements

Please be prepared to submit a legible copy of your valid government-issued photo ID (civilian students) or government issued JST or CCAF transcript (military students) upon request.

An APU admissions representative will contact you with further details about how to submit the required documentation after you complete the enrollment application.

Need help?

Selecting the right program to meet your educational goals is a key step in ensuring a successful outcome. If you are unsure of which program to choose, or need more information, please contact an APU admissions representative at 877-755-2787 or

Master's Degree/Graduate Certificate Tuition 

Per credit hour: $370 | $250 with military grant*

View Tuition and Fees Details  

*To minimize out-of-pocket costs, active-duty servicemembers, their spouse/dependents, National Guard members, and Reservists receive a tuition grant that caps undergraduate, master's degree, and graduate certificate tuition at $250/credit hour. In addition, a master's-level book grant provides no-cost textbooks and ebooks for master's-level courses to active-duty servicemembers, their spouse/dependents, National Guard members, and Reservists.

Paying for School

Because our university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), (the same as the Ohio State University, Univ. of Chicago, and U.S. Air Force Academy, to name a few), we can accept the following forms of financial aid and payments:

Ways to Save

Transfer Credits 

Accelerate your degree completion by taking full advantage of our transfer credit options, including credit for your previous college courses, military service schools, American Council on Education (ACE) and College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests, and prior learning experiences.  

Employer Contributions

APU has educational partnerships with many employers and associations. Be sure to accurately enter your employer information when you complete our admissions application. Your employer might also offer a tuition reimbursement plan as one of your benefits.