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Promoting your degree to the master's level can be a great way to showcase your expertise and learn more about the fascinating field of Public Affairs. The Master's in Public Affairs is not only a great option for current public service professionals, though. People from other degree programs that may be seeking a transition into the field of Public Affairs may also find this degree program to be beneficial for what they desire.
Bachelors vs. Masters in Public Affairs
One of the primary differences between Bachelor's and Master's programs in Public Affairs is the subject matter within the curriculum. At the master's level, students can dive into course work that looks deeper into the political and governmental aspects that can affect the field of public service, as well as the research and evaluation techniques that may be involved in promoting program improvement. Public Affairs degree programs can also help students gain better skills for communicating and networking with the public and other nonprofit organizations.
Students that are seeking higher level degrees to help move forward in their current positions are encouraged to review what the Master's in Public Affairs can assist with throughout a career. In this guide, you can learn more about the types of courses that are included within this program, current schools that are offering the program, and the resulting careers for graduates at this degree level. As you read through the guide below, consider whether or not this program aligns with what you expect from your master's program.
Master’s in Public Affairs Programs to Consider
The Master’s in Public Affairs can be a great degree program for people that are interested in making a different in public service organizations. Students that might be interested in this type of career can seek out degree programs that can help them learn skills relevant to making necessary changes within public service organizations for better results.
This degree program can also be a great addition to bachelor’s programs with focus on social or public service fields, since they can be great partnered degree programs for community improvement. If you are seeking degree programs that can help you achieve your goals, you should be aware of what is available to you in the educational realm.
Throughout our research, we found MPAff programs that could help you rise above others in the career field. In the list below, you can read about some currently provided programs available at reputable universities all over the country. The college you choose for your program may be the deciding factor in how reliable your degree will be after graduation.
The University of Missouri
The goal of most online master’s programs may be to train students to both become more knowledgeable about their field but also great leaders. The University of Missouri may have a program that can help students reach both of these goals. The online Master’s of Public Affairs at this school may require students to engage in 2-3 years of coursework and study in order to be the best they can be after graduation. This degree program can help students gain a respect for diverse cultures in society as they create beneficial programs to help them succeed.
If you have reviewed available master’s programs in the past, you may be aware that most can take anywhere from 1-3 years to complete depending on where you enroll. Indiana University could be a great option for students that desire a quick entry program that can be completed in around 2 years at full-time enrollment. This 48 hour program can be a great resource for students interested in pursuing management positions in the public domain after graduation.
The University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley
In the great state of Texas, students interested in learning the ins and out of public services can benefit from engaging in the online Master’s in Public Affairs. This degree program can be a great way for students to become more involved in learning about nonprofit organizations, public relations and communications, and the financial aspects that can make or break public agencies. This program is completely online and may require students to commit to 2-3 years of additional coursework prior to graduation.
Common Master’s in Public Affairs Coursework to Expect
Some students have noted that there may be several similarities between the Master’s in Public Affairs and programs focusing on public policy or public administration. Each of these programs can be found under the same public service blanket and can be helpful when seeking careers in the public domain.
However, Public Affairs has many specialty topics that can set it apart from others in the same field. Degree programs in Public Affairs may contain elements that can help students learn tactics for publicizing service programs, communicating with stakeholders or the public, and even to the media. Check out some of the common courses found within this degree program below.
Public Service Ethics
While working in public service agencies, professionals may be tasked with observing the ethical practice of services on a daily basis. Within this course, students can learn more about evaluating public policies and public service organizations for ethical accuracy. This course may also allow students to explore their own understanding of ethical behavior in the public domain, as well as implement debates and conversations into chosen topics throughout the course.
Public Budgeting and Finance
One of the fundamental elements of public service organizations is the type of financing it receives and how well it can sustain itself as the years progress. Knowledgeable professionals working in this field should have a diverse knowledge of the various financial techniques available to public agencies, as well as methods for improvement that can arise along the way. This course can also teach students more about budgeting for financial success, recordkeeping, and yearly taxation.
Public Personnel Administration
Starting at employee recruitment, this course can help students learn more about the processes that public agencies must go through when expanding their employee base. This course can also review what is required during initial training phases, employee advancement, and yearly evaluations. As part of this course’s requirements, students may be expected to perform mock evaluations based on scenarios provided by their instructors.
Salaries and Growth of Public Affair Related Careers
- Social and Community Service Managers: $64,100 on average per year (BLS).
- Economist: $102,490 on average per year (BLS).
Have you considered what you would like to do after graduating from your degree program? A lot of students entering into master’s level programs may be interested in pursuing higher tier positions with their current employer, or even possibly seeking a transition into the public service field from other degree areas.
Having a Master’s in Public Affairs can be helpful in guiding you into management positions in the public domain or even pursuing careers in research or public policy. If you might be interested in learning more about careers in this field, take a look at a few example career options below.
- Policy Consultant
- Healthcare Director
- Lobbyist-Public Policy
- Community Service Director
- Political Representative
- Local Government
Master’s in Public Affairs Versus Public Policy Degree Comparison
Over the years, the distinction between degree programs in public administration has varied depending on where you search. Different degree programs may provide different explanations to the differences between degree programs, making it a difficult task to lock down which program would be the best option for students with different needs. If you are torn between programs such as the Master’s in Public Affairs and the Master’s in Public Policy, read more below to learn about each program.
The Master’s in Public Affairs is a degree program for students interested in working for public or nonprofit organizations. The key focus of these programs is the adherence to policies, the relationships between different agencies, and the connection with the intended focus group.
With that being said, students in this program may take courses that can teach them more about public policies and how they are improved, as well as courses that can focus on employee maintenance and management. Public Affairs degree programs can be great for students that are interested in seeking management positions or those in program evaluation.
The Master’s in Public Policy can also be used by students that might be intrigued by management positions in the public domain. However, this degree program can provide students with a slightly more intense focus on the creation, review, and change of public policies within public and nonprofit organizations.
Other factors that can be included in this degree program may be economics, finance, and even stakeholder support. If you are the type of person that may be focused on improving public service organizations, this type of degree program may be a better option for you.