There are five colleges in the state that offer a Master of Public Administration program and are accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).
- Carnegie Mellon University (Public Management)
- Penn State Harrisburg
- University of Pittsburgh
- Villanova University
- West Chester University
Online MPA Programs in Pennsylvania
Of the NASPAA-accredited programs in the state, Penn State offers 100 percent online accessibility.
Penn State Harrisburg
The online Master of Public Administration is organized through Penn State World Campus. Similar to the on-campus curriculum, it requires 36 graduate credits without the internship requirement (18 core, 15 electives, and three for the capstone project). Those that have not completed over two years of relevant work experience must add this to their plan. Electives are geared around Nonprofit Management, Policy Analysis and Evaluation, Public Budgeting and Financial Management, and State-Local Government and Administration.
An alternative to receiving an MPA degree is earning a graduate certificate online in Public Budgeting and Financial Management or Public Sector Human Resources Management. Both certificates require 9 and 12 credits respectively, and these are for established workers that would like to alter their career or advance further.
92 percent of the graduates from the 2017-18 academic year have been employed at various levels of the government, nonprofit, private sector, and the military, with most heading to state and local government. Career opportunities after completing the program include bank officer, college administrator, office manager, and political campaign worker.
Consider Featured Online MPA Programs
One of the largest MPA programs is offered at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova. The 39-credit curriculum consists of required, elective, and contingent (internship and individual research) courses, and it all culminates with a comprehensive exam. The management internship is required for students that have less than three years of relevant work experience. The other 36 credits are divided up between core and elective courses.
Elective options include courses such as Leadership Ethics, Strategic Planning, Urban Politics and Government, Fundraising for Nonprofit Organizations, and Public Policy. In lieu of a three-credit course, students can pick three one-credit special topic courses, such as Land-Use and Zoning, Debt Management, Economic Development Strategy, and Labor Relations. These courses are generally offered on three Friday nights or Saturday mornings.
Students can choose up to two elective courses from other graduate programs outside of the MPA, but they must be approved by the course director. Full-time students should expect to complete the curriculum within two years and part-time students on average between three and four years. They are able to stay in the program for up to six years to complete the degree.
University of Pittsburgh
The Graduate School of Public and International Affairs offers a specialized Master of Public Administration that requires 48 credit hours to complete. Along with the traditional degree courses, students pick one of the five majors to add onto their plan: Energy and Environment, Governance and International Public Management, Policy Research and Analysis, Public and Nonprofit Management, and Urban Affairs and Planning.
Unique aspects of this program are joint degrees and graduate certificates for international studies. Joint degree examples include obtaining an MPA while also receiving a Master of Public Health, Science in Information Science, Social Work, and a Law Degree. Another option is getting a joint degree through Kobe University in Japan. Certificates provide additional study for those looking to specialize in a specific region of the world, such as Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Examples of potential work opportunities after completing the MPA degree are based on the major selected. For example, Energy and Environment would include agencies that protect our health and/or the environment, large energy corporations, and various levels of the government that create energy policies. For Urban Affairs and Planning, career paths have opened up at consulting firms like Booz Allen Hamilton and government agencies like the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.