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).
Quick List of NASPAA Accredited MPA Degrees in Virginia
- George Mason University
- James Madison University
- Old Dominion University
- Virginia Commonwealth University
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Online MPA Programs in Virginia
Of the NASPAA-accredited programs in the state, Old Dominion University and Virginia Commonwealth University offers 100 percent online accessibility.
Old Dominion University MPA
The Master of Public Administration can be obtained on-campus or through the Strome College of Business online after completing 39 credit hours, or 13 courses at three credits each. There are seven required courses in the core curriculum, and six electives from the following areas of study: Public Procurement and Contract Management, Nonprofit Management, Human Resource Administration, Port and Maritime Management, Urban Research and Planning.
For those not wanting to take the entire Master program, there is a graduate certificate offered for Public Procurement and Contract Management through the Department of Urban Studies and Public Administration. This five-course plan is ideal for a specialization in administering contracts between companies and vendors.
Assignments and tests are completed and submitted through Blackboard. Some exams will require a proctor, which are completed at local higher education centers approved by the school. Students are able to meet with their professors and other classmates with virtual web conferencing, along with e-mail and discussion boards. Classes can either be live and require real-time discussion or more self-driven where students can learn at their own pace while still completing assignments on time.
Consider Featured Online MPA Programs
Virginia Commonwealth University
The L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs offers a flexible curriculum at VCU featuring evening courses, both online and off-campus. 36 credit hours are needed to complete the degree, with an additional three credits toward an internship for those that have less than one year of related professional experience - a minimum of 300 hours is needed.
After the 2016-17 academic year, 72 percent of graduates found full-time employment within six months of graduation. The majority of them have entered into the state government and nonprofit sectors. Some of these organizations include the Virginia Department of Corrections, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Richmond, and the Department of Public Work in the City of Richmond.
George Mason University: MPA with Elective Choices
The Schar School of Policy and Government offers one of the top-ranked MPA programs in the world. Along with eight required courses, students pick four electives that are based around the following concentrations: Administration of Justice, Emergency Management and Homeland Security, Environmental Science and Public Policy, Human Resource Management, International Management, Nonprofit Management, Public Management, Public and Nonprofit Finance, Policy Studies, State and Local Government, and Third-Party Governance. There is an additional course required for the practicum if that is not waived.
All courses are held on-campus in Arlington and the curriculum can be completed as a part-time or full-time student, with the latter being able to graduate within two years. Classes are held in the evening and on weekends for the convenience to part-time students. In order to be admitted into the school, students must have obtained a 3.0 cumulative GPA and submit a resume, two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. Professional work in nonprofit or the government sector will also be evaluated. Graduates have found employment at Booz Allen Hamilton, the FBI, Lockheed Martin, and IBM after completing the MPA degree at George Mason University.
James Madison University: Master of Public Administration
Through the Department of Political Science, JMU’s Master of Public Administration is obtained after completing 42 credit hours of work (or 36 for those that get the internship waived) divided up into core courses, electives, and a capstone project. Concentrations that can be selected for electives are under Nonprofit Management, Management in International Nongovernmental Organizations, Strategic Planning for International Stabilization and Recovery, and Public Management.
An additional internship will be needed for those who do not meet the waiver requirement of working at a related organization for more than two years. The capstone project, which will be a portfolio that showcases the student’s skills learned throughout the curriculum, is completed in the final semester. There is an option for an accelerated five-year plan for JMU undergrads, but students must maintain a 3.0 GPA and will need to complete nine credit hours of graduate coursework while still being an undergrad.