There are seven colleges in Illinois that offer a Master of Public Administration program and are accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). DePaul University provides multiple programs, adding in Master's degrees toward Public Policy and Public Service Management.
Chicago does provide a number of MPA opportunities, but there are also degrees available in Springfield and Dekalb.
Online MPA Programs in Illinois
A number of the NASPAA-accredited schools offer selected courses or the entire Master of Public Administration online. DePaul University provides an option of completing the MPA curriculum either on-campus or in an entirely virtual format. The same is true at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, with the online version being accelerated and having the potential to be completed within a year. There is also an online program at the University of Illinois at Springfield.
Consider Featured Online MPA Programs
The College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences offers a Master of Public Administration, helping students develop skills in ethical leadership and human resource management. There are four specializations to choose from when entering the program: Emergency Management, Public Management, Metropolitan and Urban Affairs, and International Public Management. The program can either be completed at the Loop Campus in Chicago or 100 percent online. There are also two related graduate certifications: Community Development, and Metropolitan Planning and Development.
By taking two classes each quarter, students are typically able to complete the program in just over two years. An example of some required courses in the curriculum include Government Financial Administration, Applied Statistics for Public Service, and Policy Design and Analysis. There is an ability to opt into a thesis study to replace the integrative seminar, and there is an additional internship or professional development that must be completed in a government setting. After the 2017 academic year, 93 percent of students that graduated from the program found work within six months.
The School of Public Service also provides a Master of Public Policy and a Master of Science in Public Service Management, and the latter can also be completed fully online. All courses in any Master's degree are offered in the evening. Admission into any program generally requires a Bachelor's degree and the submission of an online application, official transcripts, current resume, and a two-page personal statement that details relevant work experience and professional goals.
University of Illinois-Springfield
The Department of Public Administration has an online program that requires no campus visits and requires 36 credit hours to complete. There are also graduate certificate options in Management of Nonprofit Organizations and Community Planning. Course topics include Public Service Management, Nonprofit Sector and Society, and Contemporary Issues in Nonprofit Management. Typical requirements are needed to be admitted into the program, but prospective online students must include why they have a preference for the online option.
Northern Illinois University
The School of Public and Global Affairs provides a Master of Public Administration that has high rankings when compared to other schools across the country, and accounts for a third of all city and county government management in the state of Illinois. The entire program is offered in two different formats. In the traditional version, students take eight-week courses in the evening at three different locations. Working professionals can keep working full-time and still complete two courses each semester. The other option is a 100 percent online opportunity with a specialization in Local Government Management.
Specific courses through the local government concentration are Local and Metropolitan Government, Local Government Administration, Local Economic Development Policy, and Leadership in Public Sector Organizations. Other specializations students can choose from are Strategic Public Management and Leadership, Fiscal Administration, Nonprofit Management, Comparative Public Service, and Public Service Law. Regardless of specialization, the curriculum consists of 40 total credits. Pre-career students will need to enter a paid internship while completing the program.
Governors State University
The College of Business and Public Administration offers the Master of Public Administration with a hybrid of online and evening classes at University Park campus, a suburb of Chicago. There are several off-campus locations where classes are available as well. A full-time student should be able to complete the program within seven semesters, and there is a way for students to have a fast track to a degree if approved by the program director. 39 credit hours are needed to satisfy the program, separated into the core curriculum, an elective, and a final project.
Examples of required courses include Data Analysis for Public and Nonprofit Administration, Economic Analysis, Public Organization Theory and Behavior, and seminars in Research Methods and Public Budgeting. The elective can be in Labor Management Relations, Intergovernmental Relations, various advanced topics in Public Administration, or an internship – those that do not have prior work experience are expected to take this option. The culminating project is either a research paper or completing the Problems in Applied Public Management Course, with both requiring a B or higher.