50 Best Online MPA Programs No GRE Required [2020 Guide]

Check out top colleges offering Online MPA Programs no GRE required. Don’t waste time on the GRE! MPA careers & salaries reach six figures.

beautiful university campus

There are quite a few colleges offering online Master of Public Administration (MPA) Programs, no GRE required (or waived).

Universities that don’t require GRE test scores will rely on your work experience, undergrad GPA, and essay for admissions consideration.

Online Master of Public Administration Programs

Choose the subject area that interests you most to jump to that section of the guide:

Each of these specialized areas of study will prepare you to engage in public service as part of a very rewarding career.

City and County Management

female government employee preparing for a meeting

Working in city management is very rewarding because you get to be in charge of making the decisions that shape your city’s future.

City and county management is the right match for people who are well-organized, good team players, and stress-resistant.

Having an interest in how cities are planned, organized, and managed is almost a must-have for this job, as it will motivate you to keep learning and exploring new methods, techniques, and strategies on the job.

Coaching and Conflict Resolution

female business coach meeting with company's employees

If you are interested in this concentration, you need to make sure that you have the social and people skills necessary for the job.

It goes without saying that you can learn about the theoretical concepts that help resolve conflicts and improve workplace relationships in class, but applying these concepts to real-life situations can sometimes get pretty challenging.

A successful business coach has to be a good listener, stay impartial and objective, and have the ability to connect to people.

If that sounds like you, you should really consider a career in coaching, as it is very rewarding and currently in high demand.

Crime Analyst

crime analyst inside a lab

Being a crime analyst could be your dream job if you keep noticing patterns in everything that surrounds you.

Do you also enjoy making predictions based on these patterns and finding causal links between different events?

If so, you could be perfect for a career in crime analytics, a dynamic field that involves working with extensive databases to study criminal patterns and predict their further development.

Some crime analysts also design their own databases to better match their needs and expectations and allow them to process the data more efficiently.

Criminal Justice

man studying a case on his tablet

If you choose to focus on criminal justice, you likely aspire to occupy an executive position in a criminal justice agency.

To help you successfully achieve this goal, the courses in the Criminal Justice concentration will expose you to both theoretical and practical aspects of the national criminal justice system.

You’ll also learn about management issues that are specific to the field, find out more about the ethical principles and considerations guiding criminal justice executives, and discover strategies and methods that are widely applicable in criminal justice administration.

Disaster Management

someone checking the community safety during flood

Climate change is widely acknowledged to contribute to the constantly growing number of natural disasters happening all over the world per year.

So, it comes as no surprise that the demand for people who are skilled in disaster management is constantly growing.

Working in this field, you will assess the risk factors for various natural disasters, calculate the risks, and come up with ways of minimizing them. Your responsibilities may also include the management of the resources that are available to help people who have suffered from a natural disaster.

Emergency Management

two women on a boat helping the victims during emergency

Since natural disasters are not the only potential source of danger and destruction in a country, emergency management takes a broader approach, focusing on each and every emergency that can happen.

Working in emergency management, you may have to deal with all kinds of dangerous events and situations, ranging from terrorism to large-scale accidents.

The knowledge and skills you gain in this concentration are quite varied so that you will be ready for the challenges of the workplace once you’re done with your studies.

Environmental Policy

man checking the solar panels

Preserving the environment is one of the most critical issues of the 21st century, and you can play your part in this global endeavor by choosing the Environmental Policy concentration.

Having obtained your degree, you will be able to work in organizations that promote positive change for the sake of the environment and shape the policies that regulate what companies and organizations can and cannot do with regard to the environment.

This is one of the most promising and rewarding specializations if you want to actually make a difference and dedicate your time and skills to a good cause.

Ethical Leadership

male leader in deep thought

Being in a leadership position is not always easy. At times, you may have to make very challenging decisions that will have you question a lot of things.

Students who choose the Ethical Leadership concentration learn the principles and strategies that are widely used to guide executives facing difficult ethical choices.

Since these principles are universal and extremely versatile, you can rely on them in just about any field, so you can be sure that this concentration is going to improve your career prospects and give you a lot of freedom when choosing where you’d like to work.

Finance and Budgeting Management

female employee analyzing company's financial status

The financial performance of a business is one of the most important quantifiers of its success. So, it is crucial to constantly measure and monitor the financial position of an organization to make sure that it is meeting its financial goals and is not exposed to critical financial risks.

Finance management executives also assess current financial risks, develop strategies to minimize those risks, and outline the practical implementations of these strategies. This concentration is a good match for students who find work with numbers exciting and are good at math and statistics.

Fire and Emergency Services

firefighters trying to control the wildfire

Managing fire services is a very important job, as the danger of a fire breaking out in a production facility or community neighborhood is a constant threat.

The specifics of this concentration include subjects that cover fire risk assessment and ways of minimizing the risk of fires.

It goes without saying that fires are not the only emergency that can happen within an area, so you will also learn about different types of emergencies and disasters, as well as the measures that can be taken to prevent them.

Gender-Based Violence

sad woman in a counselor's office

Gender-based violence is a broad term that describes any form of violence that was committed based on gender norms and stereotypes.

Managing gender-based violence means identifying gender-based physical, psychological, emotional, and sexual abuse in relationships with unequal power and taking steps towards minimizing it.

Working in this field can be emotionally challenging, so high emotional intelligence and stress resistance are almost prerequisites when it comes to gender-based violence management. On the other hand, it is also a very rewarding career with a real opportunity to make a difference in the lives of individual people.

Health Policy

female doctor working in her office

Health Policy is quite similar to Healthcare Administration, our next concentration, but a career in the health policy field allows you to actively take part in shaping healthcare-related policies for the next quarter, year, or even decade.

If you feel like doing some scientific work, you can become a researcher and analyze the trends and events that have an impact on public health.

Once you have some solid findings, this information can be used by health policymakers to make better decisions.

Healthcare Administration

doctor an her manager working in the office

This concentration is obviously going to appeal to students who aspire to be healthcare administrators, but you may want to consider it even if you don’t have any particular interest in medicine.

Since healthcare administration implies the management of healthcare facilities on many different levels, your career prospects are not limited to a single level or type of institution.

You could be managing hospitals, hospital networks, or even entire healthcare systems up to the national level, so there are lots of opportunities for professional growth and the advancement of your career.

Homeland Security

homeland security officers in downtown area

Homeland Security aims to identify, detect, and ideally, neutralize natural and human-made threats to national security. Homeland Security executives need to have a good understanding of statistics and risk methodologies, as well as organizational theory and systems thinking.

Equipped with this knowledge, they develop measures and strategies to protect people and critical infrastructures from a wide range of threats.

Students who choose this concentration will learn about emergency management, bioterrorism, and cybersecurity among many other subjects.

Human Resources

company's human resource persons interviewing a job applicant

Buildings, raw materials, and of course, money are all important assets a company may have, but human resources are the crucial factor that can bring success to an organization.

Most CEOs and company leaders realize that, so their organizations are constantly looking for talented HR managers who can hire the right people for any job and make sure that the workplace atmosphere is relaxed and friendly.

HR managers often have to work with employees on an individual basis to identify their strengths and help them develop better skills relevant to their respective positions in the company.

International Public Management

male speaker talking to international audience

With globalization having a growing influence on many aspects of our lives, it is crucial that international relations and trade are overseen by competent executives. This concentration will help you become one of them and pave your way toward an exciting career.

Since working in international public management often involves contact with people from other countries and nations, you need to make sure that good social skills and openness to new experiences are among your strengths before you choose this concentration.

The ability to quickly and efficiently learn foreign languages is a major advantage for students who opt for International Public Management.

Law Enforcement & Public Safety

special police forces preparing to infiltrate enemy's base

Public safety may not be the first field that comes to mind when thinking of management, but just like the criminal justice system, it needs executives to coordinate the efforts of everyone involved in it.

Working in law enforcement will give you a chance to see how the police forces and law enforcement units function so that you’ll be able to make well-informed decisions as to how their efficiency can be improved.

At some point in your career, you will also get to develop the policies guiding the law enforcement units you work with, so your decisions can have a real impact on national safety and security.

Management and Operations

female office workers working in the office

Students who want their decisions as managers to have an actual direct impact on the processes of an organization may want to take a closer look at the Management and Operations concentration.

At its core, it’s all about maximizing efficiency, just like in any other business, but it takes a completely different approach.

Rather than working with human resources or trying to improve the overall efficiency of the management system, you’ll be designing organizational operations and overseeing the measures to improve production.

Metropolitan Planning and Urban Affairs

people discussing a plan in the office

The numerous challenges faced by executives in urban affairs arise from various political, technical, social, and even medical issues. This concentration will prepare you to make the right decisions to minimize the impact of these issues on the lives of people living in big cities.

You can also choose to focus on sustainability, a very important topic in modern metropolitan planning.

A career in the urban affairs field often requires some technical skills and knowledge, so it is a good match for students who not only feel drawn to management but also have a certain interest in engineering and computer programming.

National Security

head of police officers meeting with her team

National security is a much broader field than you may assume based on how “security” is often associated with the military.

Today, national security has numerous other concerns, including attempts to reduce the levels of public crime, promoting economic stability and security, as well as securing food and energy on a national level.

Since there is a lot of variety within the field, you can expect to be confronted with different problems throughout your career and gain a lot of experience along the way.

Non-Profit Management

couple doing some volunteer work

Non-profits have very different goals compared to companies and corporations, so managers have to take different steps toward their completion. The main difference lies in the fact that non-profits focus on making a positive change rather than bringing in more money.

This means that the commonly used organizational management strategies are mostly not applicable for non-profits, so managers working at NPOs need to have the specific knowledge of how this type of organization can be run successfully.

Working at a non-profit may not be the most lucrative career, but it is definitely a very interesting and rewarding one.

Organizational Management

diverse community people having a meeting

This concentration will teach you to manage the resources of an organization. The skills you’ll gain are very versatile and can be applied across a vast range of organizations, regardless of their size, location, and goals.

The principal goal of organizational management is to maximize efficiency using the limited resources available. Another popular strategy involves setting a certain goal and achieving it while using as little resources as possible.

You will learn more about both strategies, as well as ways of implementing them in all kinds of government and community organizations.

Public Health

team of doctors looking at an x-ray result

Public health revolves around the health of the whole nation as opposed to focusing on a single individual.

It is a relatively young and very dynamic field that is rapidly developing at the crossroads of several disciplines and sciences, such as medicine, statistics, and management.

In this concentration, you will learn to work with data to discover trends related to public health in general and individual diseases, as well as apply the knowledge you gained to make effective managerial decisions.

Public Management

female speaker talking to various people

Working in public management can get pretty challenging sometimes, so you have to make sure you can act quickly and calmly even in stressful situations.

Successful managers in this sector also need good leadership skills, as they normally work with numerous teams of different people throughout their careers.

Specializing in public management opens up a lot of opportunities, as there are thousands of organizations looking for talented and dedicated individuals to work in management and administration.

Security Management

insurance agent talking to a couple

The larger an organization, the more assets it owns, and the task of managing them grows more challenging with the number of assets. Security management focuses on assessing risks associated with every single asset and working out ways of minimizing those risks.

This is different from regular asset management, where your main goal is to come up with new and more effective ways of using the current assets.

Depending on the size of the organization, a security manager may be in charge of the whole assessment process and even oversee the implementation of its results, or concentrate his/her efforts on a single aspect, such as documenting the assessment results.

Urban Planning

employees discussing a plan for a city

Does city management seem exciting but a little too dry and theoretical to you? If so, you may want to consider a career in urban planning, a field that brings city management a lot closer to practical problems and challenges.

Planning a city involves doing a lot of research, so it’s a job well-suited for patient and methodical people.

Urban planners also have to be creative and think outside of the box, as the best designs or solutions for different aspects of city planning often result from new ideas and bold experiments.

Online MPA Programs Snapshot

Let’s get an overview before talking about specifics.

Master of Public Administration
Time to Completion Students usually need two years to complete this Master’s degree.
Credit Hours On average, most MPA programs require 36 credit hours to complete.
Specializations There are over 25 specializations available, but these are the most common MPA concentrations:
  • City Management
  • Criminal Justice
  • Disaster Management
  • Emergency Management
  • Finance and Budgeting
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Organizational Management
  • Non-Profit Management
  • Public Management
Accreditation Regional accreditation is the gold standard for academic quality. NASPAA is another good resource.

With the big picture in mind, let’s first look at some of the specializations you could adopt.

Curriculum & Sample Courses

university students in a classroom

Students in this field are likely to take classes such as the following. Each of these courses will help you prepare for your new or advancing career.

Applied Research and Evaluation Methods are used to efficiently find and process the information you need. They are applied to a specific problem and widely used in a number of fields ranging from business to medicine.

Board Governance and Volunteer Management is a collection of techniques and best practices used to manage volunteers at non-profit organizations (NPOs). The Board Governance part covers what you need to know about building a healthy, productive board and getting work done.

Emergency Management aims to equip managers with the knowledge necessary to act quickly and correctly in case of an emergency. The topics covered include a wide range of emergencies and ways of dealing with them.

Disaster Response and Recovery is a follow-up to Emergency Management that focuses on response and recovery as the most important aspects of dealing with natural disasters. Emergency preparedness is only discussed briefly in this course.

Ethics and Social Justice will challenge you with some ethical dilemmas often faced by public administration members. In addition, you will learn about ways of resolving ethically controversial situations and conflicts.

Public Sector Finance and Budgeting is a crucial course that highlights the role the government plays in shaping and directing the economy. Among other topics, you will learn about efficient resource allocation and ways of stabilizing an economy.

Fundamentals of Law and Public Policy aims to provide students with essential knowledge of the legal principles and guidelines they might need in their future careers without going too much into minute details.

Grant Writing will train you in writing well-crafted and persuasive grant proposals. A useful skill for just about any professional, grant writing can also be turned into an interesting and rewarding career.

Human Resource Management teaches students about the challenges of managing people in different organizations. You will learn about resolving conflicts, organizing workspaces, and motivating people to work more productively.

Legal Research for Policy Practitioners is designed to train students in doing legal research correctly and efficiently. Using the methods presented in this course, you will be able to quickly gather background legal knowledge you need to make a well-informed decision.

Non-Profit Management provides students with insights into ways of managing non-profits, organizations that often face more challenges than profit-oriented companies due to limited funds and mostly different goals.

Organizational Management revolves around the different levels of leadership in an organization. Students will learn to coordinate these levels by applying various methods and strategies to achieve better results.

Policy and Economic Analysis will equip you with practical knowledge to efficiently analyze the information you collect during your research phase. The methods covered in this course are particularly relevant to the public policy and public finance sectors.

Policymaking will teach you all you need to know about the policy-making process, ranging from the five stages it normally encompasses to the legal and ethical guidelines one has to follow when directing governments and large organizations.

Principles of Public Administration discusses the most important rules and guidelines that have to be followed when managing companies and organizations. In addition to the main principle of economy and efficiency, the course covers a number of other principles that may not be that obvious but are crucial to responsible public administration.

Public Finance focuses on what governments can do to influence their respective economies. Students learn about incorporating this factor in their administrative decisions and shaping public finance as public administration representatives.

Public Policy Analysis helps students develop the critical thinking they need to quickly capture the essence of legal documents associated with public policymaking. The acquired skills are applicable in a number of fields and careers in public administration.

Resource Development revolves around managing your resources efficiently and focuses on human resources as one of the most important assets an organization can have. This course teaches students to build on the already available resources to multiply them or acquire new ones.

Risk Assessment and Disaster Mitigation discusses the techniques used to assess and manage risks. You will also learn about possible ways of minimizing the damage dealt by natural disasters and other emergencies.

Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation provides the basic knowledge needed to manage a modern company that aims to give back to the community instead of just making a profit. You’ll also learn about incorporating innovations in all aspects of an organization, ranging from management and administration to PR.

Strategic Planning is crucial to the successful functioning of any organization. You’ll learn to set measurable and achievable company goals, as well as find out more about the practical ways of meeting them.

Master of Public Administration Capstone is a practical project that allows you to apply all the theoretical knowledge you’ve gained to a real-world case study. You will also have an opportunity to work together with your peers in a team and develop your social skills.

Career Outlook for MPA Graduates

professional walking into a government building

There are many more career opportunities in public administration for those with a master’s as opposed to a bachelor’s degree. Your future salary may vary greatly depending on the path you pursue. Here’s a snapshot of some popular MPA careers and salaries.

Job Title Salary
President $122,445
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) $114,953
Chief Operating Officer (COO) $113,909
Government Affairs Director $93,085
Chief of Staff $90,984
Government Program Manager $90,483
Human Resources (HR) Director $85,438
Management Consultant $83,282
Director of Operations $81,912
Executive Director $76,350

Salary data provided by PayScale.

As you can see, there is a wide variety of well-paying opportunities for MPA graduates.

What Career Fields are Open to Public Administration Graduates?

persons working in a non-profit organization and government respectively

While the above salary information gives you an idea of what you might make according to your job title, here’s who your employer might be.

  • Federal Government. Public Administration graduates who work at the level of the federal government often have jobs that provide government services. Job titles include policy advisor and budget analyst. Higher-level jobs almost always require both an MPA and several years of experience in the field of public administration.
  • State and Local Government. Public administration graduates who work at the state or local level of government generally help to improve government services and city or state functions for citizens. Job titles include city manager and city planner. The main work of someone at this level is to find out problems and then suggest paths to improvement.
  • Non-Profits. Not every Public Administration graduate works in the government directly. In the non-profit sector, graduates may choose to work in a number of different interest areas. This allows people to have an impact on their society, as they work in health care, environmental policy, or even international aid.

Depending on personal goals, a Master’s in Public Administration can open up new career pathways.

Certifications and Licenses for MPAs

people sitting for a test

Although certifications and licenses are not required to work in the public sector, it may help you open a few doors and generate more career opportunities. Here are a few that you might want to apply for.

Look into the certification that best fits your career path.

Professional Organizations

people at a professional conference

The following three associations are prominent public administration organizations.

Not only do they host networking events, but they are a great resource for training and even job boards.

Typical Online MPA Admissions Requirements

people at an admissions interview

The typical application for an MPA program looks something like this:

  • Bachelor’s degree. Before applying to an MPA program, you should have already obtained a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field.
  • Application. Once you have picked an institution, you should be able to find an application on the program’s main webpage. Both paper and electronic forms are provided usually.
  • Official transcripts. MPA programs want to see all the coursework you have completed prior to applying. You should prepare to upload official copies of all of your postsecondary transcripts before the deadline.
  • Personal statement. A personal statement is the centerpiece of your entire application. This essay allows you to describe who you are, where you came from, and where you want to go with the help of an MPA program. Occasionally, the personal statement may be more than one essay, but all are organized around the same theme. Common topics are your experiences that helped prepare for the MPA program and your future plans after earning a degree in the MPA program.
  • Resume. A recent copy of either your resume or curriculum vitae is required in most graduate school applications.
  • Professional experience. In any application to an MPA program, be prepared to detail relevant work experience in public administration.
  • Recommendation letters. These references are an opportunity for someone else to talk up your achievements and potential. Most master’s programs vary in the amount required, and you should ask recommenders well before the deadline!
  • Exam scores. Requirements vary by school. There are a number of schools that do not require GRE scores, while others will have GRE waivers for some students.

MPA Accreditation

a professional group touring a university campus

Possibly even more important than the exact curriculum a school offers is its accreditation status. This is especially important when considering earning a degree online. When a school is fully accredited by a reputable body, you can rest assured that the level of education it provides will be well-respected by other educational institutions and potential employers.

Before applying to a university, check that it maintains one of these accreditations:

NASPAA Accreditation

Regional Accreditation

If you can’t verify that a school is accredited, pass it by. The quality of your degree will be doubtful at best if you enroll in such an institution.

Financial Aid and MPA Scholarships

female student writing a letter

You’re continuing your education so that you can serve the public, right? So, let the public help you with financial assistance. Look first to the federal government, then your state.

You might also qualify for these scholarships:

Scholarship Amount
SHRM Foundation Graduate Scholarship $5,000
Government Finance Officers Association – George A. Nielsen Public Investor Scholarship $5,000
The American Association of American Women – Selected Professions Fellowship $5,000-18,000
Judith McManus Price Scholarship $2,000-4,000
Charles Abrams Scholarship $2,000
NACCED Annual John C. Murphy Scholarship Grant Award Program $1,500
EDSA Minority Scholarship $5,000

Your school should offer you any scholarships available, but don’t forget to do your research in case they miss something. Also, talk to your employer about any tuition assistance programs they might offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Public Administration FAQs

Besides the above information, these are some other questions you might be interested in.

What is the GRE?

The GRE, or Graduate Record Exam, is a standardized test meant to ascertain a person’s potential for graduate studies. Many university graduate programs require applicants to achieve a high score on the GRE to be a competitive applicant. Many Master’s of Public Administration programs require GRE scores as part of the application process.

GRE Sections:

  • Analytical Writing. The Analytical Writing section of the GRE takes an hour to complete. Students are tasked with reading about a specific topic and then writing an analytical essay. There are two separate sections.
  • Verbal Reasoning. The Verbal section of the GRE takes an hour to complete. Questions in this section deal with basic vocabulary, drawing conclusions, and sentence completion. There are two separate sections.
  • Quantitative Reasoning. The Quantitative section of the GRE takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes to complete. Questions in this section ask about basic mathematics, including algebra, geometry, and statistical analysis. There are two separate sections.

You can take the GRE multiple times, but you have to pay for each instance.

Why Do Some Universities Require the GRE?

a female professor grading an exam

In many cases, universities that require GRE scores do so to help differentiate applicants in high-demand programs. There are generally a limited number of spaces in any given program. To help fill those spaces with the best candidates, it is sometimes necessary to have applicants all take the same test.

Why Do Some Schools Not Require the GRE?

The GRE is similar to many other standardized tests. This is especially true regarding the idea that a high score can automatically guarantee a smart, high-performing applicant and future student.

It is important to consider the bigger picture, which is that the GRE is only one part of a detailed application package. A GRE score is only one aspect that a university program will consider when reviewing applications, too.

How Long Does It Take to Get an MPA Online?

people running on treadmill

An online MPA is about half the length of a online DPA and it depends on the university. But on average, it takes about 2 years to finish an MPA. But that’s just the average. There are a few universities that offer 1-year online MPA programs and quite a few that offer 18-month programs. And, if you don’t want to stop there, you can always get your PhD with no GRE, too!

Are There Any Cheap Online Master of Public Administration Programs?

While online programs are usually more affordable than traditional on-campus classes, we wouldn’t call any university track “cheap.” Expect to invest a sizable amount toward your education.

That being said, there is a range of tuition prices, so once you find a few schools that you’re interested in, be sure to compare their overall costs and what kind of financial aid they can offer you.

Do I Have to Take the GRE to Apply to an Online MPA Program?

female mailing a large envelope

No, you do not have to take the GRE to apply to an online Master’s program in Public Administration. In fact, nearly half of the universities offering an MPA online do not require the GRE for admission. You’ll see many of them listed below.

What Types of Jobs Can I Get with an MPA?

You’ll most likely work for the federal, state, or local government, or a non-profit agency that works closely with government agencies. All organizations need management, but your specific department and job title could depend heavily on your MPA concentration and professional certifications.

What’s the Difference between an Executive MPA and a Regular MPA?

Here’s an overview of the two programs.

Executive MPA vs. MPA
Executive MPA Average Program Requirements:
  • 30 credit hours
  • Up to 24 months to complete

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Generally 5+ years of professional experience and public administration leadership experience
  • GRE scores are usually not required
MPA Average Program Requirements:
  • 36 credit hours
  • 12 to 24 months to complete

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Professional experience not required
  • GRE requirements vary, but many schools don’t require scores

As you can see, the largest difference is that the Executive MPA is generally designed for students with considerable work experience in public administration.

List of 50 Best Online MPA Programs – No GRE Required

  1. American University
  2. Arizona State University
  3. Arkansas State University
  4. Baruch College
  5. Brandman University
  6. California State University – Northridge
  7. California State University – San Bernardino
  8. Columbia Southern University
  9. DePaul University
  10. East Carolina University
  11. Eastern Kentucky University
  12. Florida Gulf Coast University
  13. Florida International University
  14. Indiana State University
  15. Indiana University
  16. Indiana University – Bloomington
  17. John Jay College
  18. Johns Hopkins University
  19. Kent State University
  20. Lindenwood University
  21. Marist College
  22. National University
  23. Northeastern University
  24. Northern Michigan University
  25. Norwich University
  26. Nova Southeastern University
  27. Park University
  28. Penn State World Campus
  29. Post University
  30. Regent University
  31. Sam Houston State University
  32. Texas A&M International University
  33. Texas State University
  34. University of Baltimore
  35. University of Central Florida
  36. University of Colorado – Colorado Springs
  37. University of Colorado – Denver
  38. University of Illinois – Springfield
  39. University of Louisiana – Monroe
  40. University of Missouri
  41. University of North Carolina
  42. University of San Francisco
  43. University of Southern California
  44. University of South Dakota
  45. University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley
  46. Villanova University
  47. Virginia International University
  48. Wayland Baptist University
  49. West Chester University
  50. Wichita State University

Rankings Methodology

To be included in our list, each school had to meet certain criteria including the quality of program offerings, accreditation, and admission criteria.

#1  American University

American University campus

For students who want to seek a professional degree from an accredited MPA program, American University is a top pick. Founded over 80 years ago, American University has a successful career placement rating of 96%, and their coursework includes any class specialization you’d like to further your career. You can take courses in their traditional MPA or you can check out coursework for human resource management or nonprofit management.

Located in Washington, D.C., this is one of the more comprehensive programs on our list. You can apply with your undergraduate transcript, work experience or resume, letters of recommendation, GRE or GMAT scores, and personal statement.

  • Master of Public Administration and Policy

American University is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools and recognized by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church.

#2  Arizona State University

Arizona State University campus

Named as one of the top online MPA programs in the country, Arizona State University has a great reputation for online classes, and their campus is beautiful. Founded in 1885, Arizona State University is an accredited institution with award-winning courses and professors.

Their MPA program allows you to go into one of several specializations, such as global resource management, federal budgeting and tax policy, leadership in public management, ethical issues, strategic planning, statistics, and non-profit management.

You’ll be required to complete a capstone project and have 5-7 years of work experience in the field. However, you may still be eligible if you can show a high GPA at undergraduate levels, and you take an internship before graduating.

  • Executive Master of Public Administration

Arizona State University has maintained continuous accreditation by the Higher Learning Committee (HLC) of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges since 1931.

#3  Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University campus

Originally, Arkansas State University was founded as an agricultural school, but it has become a leading institution in the South for its research programs and online degrees, including a Master of Public Administration and another MPA that focuses on non-profit management.

You can take either program online. Both require 36 credits and take only 18 months to complete. These programs have become popular choices for city planners and law enforcement officers to move into executive-level positions within public administration.

The traditional MPA courses cover the management of people, resources, money, and programs as related to public administration. The non-profit program focuses on grants, fundraising, and overcoming challenges facing non-profit organizations.

  • Master of Public Administration in Public Management

Arkansas State University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA) of Colleges and Schools.

#4  Baruch College

baruch college campus

One of the 10 senior colleges a part of the City University of New York, Baruch College offers a number of online MPA programs that are affordable for working professionals. It’s also one of the best programs to go into if you want to move up at a government agency or non-profit organization.

There are several core courses for public administration, as well as human resources, non-profit organization, ethical leadership, law and policy, and financial management.

Students are required to submit their undergraduate transcripts with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, but you can also provide GRE or GMAT scores if you have a lower GPA to be eligible.

  • Master of Public Administration in Health Care Policy
  • Master of Public Administration in Nonprofit Administration
  • Master of Public Administration in Policy Analysis and Evaluation
  • Master of Public Administration in Public Management
  • Master of Public Administration in Urban Development and Sustainability

Baruch College is currently accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

#5  Brandman University

Brandman University campus

In 1958, Brandman University was founded with the idea of providing education to those who didn’t want a traditional learning experience. These students were interested in distance learning programs or were deployed in the military. They were given the opportunity to earn a degree even if they didn’t live near campus.

Today, this school has 50 online degree programs, including an aggressive MPA program that was created by city planners, nonprofit leaders, and government officials to offer the best coursework and challenges for up-and-coming public administration workers.

Consisting of 36 credit hours, students are able to take nine core subjects, three electives, and a capstone project to finish. You’ll also be able to select different concentrations, including marketing, leadership, or computer science. The programs are all tailored for the student and what they want to do after graduation with their capstone project.

  • Master of Public Administration

Recognized by WASC, Brandman University allows students to earn a reputable degree or credential.

#6  California State University – Northridge

california state university northridge campus

The Cal State campus at Northridge actually has more MPA degrees than any other college in the USA except for Columbia and Harvard. If you live in the Los Angeles area, then Northridge is the perfect school to attend for an online MPA.

It’s a great program for working individuals, but it’s also known for its specialized courses that span non-profit management, emergency response, health administration, and the public sector. There are 33 credits in total for this program, and classes can be taken at your convenience to complete.

Most students complete this program within 2-3 years, but you can also choose the accelerated program. To graduate, you’ll need to compose an article for a journal about your study.

  • Master of Public Administration in Health Administration
  • Master of Public Administration in Nonprofit Sector Management
  • Master of Public Administration in Public Management and Leadership

CSU Northridge is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

#7  California State University – San Bernardino

california state university san bernardino campus

With new record highs in student enrollment, new online programs, and lots of fundraising, Cal State has become the public university to attend in California.

You’ll find a myriad of online programs for public administration here that are all taught online, and you can choose to specialize in areas like public finance, cybersecurity, and leadership. There is also a dual degree that allows you to study social welfare and public administration.

One thing to note about this program is that students must go to the campus to present their thesis, which is the only way you can graduate. Internships are required for all students who have no experience in public administration.

  • Master of Public Administration in Cyber Security
  • Master of Public Administration in Leadership
  • Master of Public Administration in Public Financial Management

California State University, San Bernardino is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

#8  Columbia Southern University

columbia southern university campus

Located in Orange Beach, Alabama, this university has the lowest tuition rate for an online MPA that we’ve seen, and it is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. It’s also part of the American Council on Education, or ACE.

Students take 36 credit hours to earn their Master of Public Administration, and you can take core coursework in public finance, policy, strategic planning, public administration, ethics, financial management, and disaster response.

To get into this program, you’ll need to provide your undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and maintain a GPA of 2.7 or higher. Work experience can help you skip the internship requirement.

  • Master of Public Administration

Columbia Southern University is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).

#9  DePaul University

DePaul University campus

DePaul University offers a top-notch online MPA program out of Chicago. Students here are business-minded, but you’ll be able to head into a number of different concentrations within a 2-year program. These concentrations include non-profit management, healthcare policy, criminal justice, IT management, and financial management.

Coursework includes 37 credits, and you’ll need to complete a capstone project to graduate. For eligibility, you’ll need to have a 3.0 GPA or submit GRE scores if you don’t meet this requirement.

  • Master of Public Administration in International Public Management
  • Master of Public Administration in Metropolitan Planning and Urban Affairs
  • Master of Public Administration in Public Management

DePaul University is accredited by Higher Learning Commission. It has 9 programmatic accredited programs.

#10  East Carolina University

East Carolina University campus

For those who want to be leaders in government agencies and healthcare administration, the online MPA programs at East Carolina offer a lot of benefits. With low-cost tuition rates and accreditation by NASPAA, East Carolina offers a 39-credit program with 27 hours to be completed in traditional core classes and 12 hours to be completed in your specialization.

Students may have to take an internship if they don’t have the work experience. To graduate, you’ll need to finish a capstone project within your concentration.

  • Master of Public Administration

East Carolina University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#11  Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University campus

Located in Richmond, Kentucky, the online Master of Public Administration at EKU is well-known for its excellence and career placement. Students take courses through the Blackboard virtual classroom, which offers a variety of ways to collaborate and live-stream lectures.

You’ll be able to attend all of your courses online and take specializations in healthcare policy, non-profit management, emergency response, criminal justice, and more.

  • Master of Public Administration in Community Development
  • Master of Public Administration in Emergency Management and Disaster Resilience
  • Master of Public Administration in Interdisciplinary Studies

Eastern Kentucky University is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

#12  Florida Gulf Coast University

florida gulf coast university campus

After its founding in 1991, Florida Gulf Coast University rapidly began to grow and become one of 12 schools in the Sunshine State. While it is based in Fort Myers, which is on the west coast of Florida, you never have to visit the campus to take the MPA degree program. It’s also accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Affairs & Administration.

The program features 2 different routes to success, including public leadership and management or environmental policy and planning. You’ll need to take 36-39 credits to finish.

You’ll take 12 credits in a concentration, which depends on what you want to use the degree to achieve. The program is available entirely online, but if you don’t have any experience, then you’ll need to attend 6 networking workshops and an internship to complete. All students also have to go to the Fort Myers campus to present their final capstone project before graduation.

  • Master of Public Administration in Environmental Policy and Planning
  • Master of Public Administration in Public Leadership and Management

FGCU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

#13  Florida International University

Florida International University campus

Florida International University is located in Miami, Florida and has an above-average successful graduation rating. Students who attend this program attest that you can take it entirely online, and you won’t need an internship unless you don’t have any work experience in the field.

This is a longer program, with 42 credit hours needed to complete it. However, you can take a number of different approaches to this degree, so if you want to go into human resources, local government, non-profit, or emergency response, there are a variety of courses to take.

You’ll need a bachelor’s degree and a GPA of 3.25 or higher. If you have a lower score, you must submit a GRE, GMAT, or LSAT score from the past 5 years, and you’ll also need 3 letters of recommendation and a 3-page essay about your career goals.

  • Master of Public Administration

Florida International University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

#14  Indiana State University

Indiana State University campus

Indiana State has been called one of the top schools in the Midwest because of its courses in public service. In the past few years, they have extended their programs into virtual courses, allowing for more than 60 degrees at their virtual school.

The MPA was created for those who already work in the field and want to get ahead, allowing them to take a 36-credit program that can be completed in 2 years. Students are able to specialize in public health, human resource development, criminal justice, non-profit management, and public personnel administration.

If you don’t have any work experience, you can still apply to this program if you complete an internship during your coursework. Courses require a weekly web conference with the class, and you’ll need to complete a capstone project to graduate.

  • Master of Public Administration

Indiana State University has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1915.

#15  Indiana University

Indiana University Bloomington campus

Through the O’Neill campus, students can take online courses from Indiana University. Their program has been award-winning from the start due to their highly innovative and intuitive online classroom, allowing you to complete one course each month.

Most students are able to complete coursework within 2 years, and there are several specializations to choose from. For those with work experience, you can expect to complete your coursework even faster.

  • Master of Public Affairs

Indiana University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#16  Indiana University – Bloomington

Indiana University Bloomington campus

If you want to go to a public school with an accredited and award-winning program, Indiana University-Bloomington is a top campus to choose for its online MPA. I

t’s considered to be one of the best programs for a Master’s in Public Affairs, and the curriculum allows you to specialize in 4 different types of management, including policy budgeting, financial management, non-profit management, and policy analysis.

You can opt to go to the welcome orientation. There are 6 courses included with 10 electives, and there is also an experience component required. However, teachers can waive this requirement for other experiences and good grades.

  • Master of Public Affairs

Indiana University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#17  John Jay College

john jay college campus

For those who want a criminal justice focus, John Jay College is the premiere school for these Master of Public Administration students. There are two tracks available, and each requires 42 credits to complete.

The school is accredited by NASPAA and prepares all students for executive-level positions in public administration. You’ll need a 3.0 GPA or a GRE score within the past 5 years to be eligible for this program.

  • Master of Public Administration in Criminal Justice Policy and Administration
  • Master of Public Administration in Emergency Management
  • Master of Public Administration in Human Resources Management
  • Master of Public Administration in Management and Operations

John Jay College is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools and is a member of the Council of Graduate Schools in the United States.

#18  Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University campus

This notable university located in Baltimore, Maryland has one of the most popular MPA programs in New England. Taught by renowned and award-winning professors, working individuals can easily earn their degrees within 2 years at this accredited school.

Their program is designed for the modern public administrator with coursework in traditional public administration as well as specializations in unique courses for global terrorism, diplomatic relations, and other international electives.

You’ll need a 3.0 GPA to be eligible for admission, and you’ll need to submit a writing sample for policies, a statement of purpose, resume, and 3 letters of recommendation. In addition, Johns Hopkins can be pretty selective, so it’s best to have GRE or GMAT scores available.

  • Master of Arts in Public Management

The Johns Hopkins University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#19  Kent State University

Kent State University campus

One of the larger historical universities, Kent State has 44,000 students that take online and on-campus courses. Their MPA program is fully accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration, and they have one of the best completion rates of all programs in the USA.

Their program requires 36 credit hours that are taken one at a time, allowing those who work full-time to complete the degree in a little under 2 years.

There are 8 core courses and 3 electives with a final session devoted to your capstone project. Students may also earn credits through attending fundraisers and offering interviews as part of an internship program. If you have no work experience, you’ll find it necessary to complete an internship before graduation.

  • Master of Public Administration

Kent State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.

#20  Lindenwood University

lindenwood university campus

For those who want an accelerated and accredited program, Lindenwood University is a top choice because of its 15-month completion promise. You can take several core courses in public administration, and all of your courses are available online.

This is the perfect program for those who want a part-time program that can boost their degree in a short amount of time. Lindenwood University doesn’t require a GRE score, but you will need to provide undergraduate transcripts and a personal statement.

  • Master of Public Administration

LU has full accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

#21  Marist College

Marist College campus

Located in the town of Poughkeepsie, New York, Marist College has been recognized for its comprehensive online programs.

Each of their degrees can be taken online completely, including a two-year MPA program that allows students to choose their own concentrations to meet career challenges and get a leg up professionally. Some of these specializations include healthcare administration, non-profit management, ethical leadership, public organization, and statistics.

While admissions requires you to take the GRE, you don’t need to score highly to get into this program. You’ll need transcripts from your undergraduate coursework and show that you have at least a 2.7 GPA.

  • Master of Public Administration in Analytics
  • Master of Public Administration in Ethical Leadership
  • Master of Public Administration in Healthcare Administration
  • Master of Public Administration in Nonprofit Management
  • Master of Public Administration in Public Management

Marist College is accredited by The Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#22  National University

National University campus

In La Jolla, California, you’ll find one of the top online universities in the nation, known for its modern approach and technology for virtual campuses. The school also has 8 core courses and 4 electives for their MPA program, which are all online.

You can also specialize in human resources and public leadership courses. These courses teach valuable skills and have one of the highest rates of completion.

If you want to accelerate your time at the university, you can sign up for their monthly program, which lets you complete one course each month. Requirements are light, but you should expect to have a 2.75 GPA, an undergraduate degree, and work experience, or you may have to go into an internship to complete the degree.

  • Master of Public Administration

Since 1977, National University has been accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

#23  Northeastern University

Northeastern University campus

With the ability to complete this degree in one year, many working professionals are choosing to go with the accelerated online MPA program at Northeastern University. As a historical university in Illinois, Northeastern has some of the top professors at this NASPAA-accredited school.

You’ll be able to take courses online in every core subject and specialization, and there are multiple concentrations to choose from.

Applicants must provide a personal statement with GRE or GMAT scores if they don’t have a high GPA for their undergraduate coursework. A capstone project is required before completion and should show off the student’s expertise in the specific concentration.

  • Master of Public Administration

Northeastern University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC).

#24  Northern Michigan University

northern michigan university campus

Students love the MPA programs offered at this Lake Superior campus for Northern Michigan. This public university has a number of online programs, but their public administration curriculum is the most popular.

Students are able to attend all of their courses online, and they can specialize in state and local government, human resources, criminal justice, emergency management, non-profit management, and more. There are a ton of electives (such as an experiential applications seminar)to choose from taught by award-winning professors.

You can apply with a baccalaureate degree, GPA of 2.75 or better, GRE scores, and student personal statement. You’ll be required to submit a capstone project based on your research, and if you don’t have work experience, you’ll need to complete a short internship to graduate.

  • Master of Public Administration

Northern Michigan University is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

#25  Norwich University

Norwich University campus

Known for its online programs, Norwich University offers a comprehensive public administration degree that can be taken in 11 weeks.

There are 9 concentrations to choose from, including crisis management, criminal justice, public safety, international development, fiscal management, municipal governance, and non-profit management. Norwich takes pride in the fact that students can tailor their own program, and the school has an easy admissions process that starts online.

  • Master of Public Administration in Criminal Justice and Public Safety
  • Master of Public Administration in Fiscal Management
  • Master of Public Administration in International Development and Influence
  • Master of Public Administration in Municipal Governance
  • Master of Public Administration in Nonprofit Management
  • Master of Public Administration in Policy Analysis and Analytics
  • Master of Public Administration in Public Administration Leadership and Crisis Management
  • Master of Public Administration in Public Works and Sustainability
  • Master of Public Administration in Procurement and Government Contract Management

Norwich University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

#26  Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University campus

Want to customize your MPA online? Nova Southeastern University offers a variety of courses with all kinds of specializations.

You can concentrate in public sector statistical analysis, administrative law, IT management, financial management, non-profit resources, and emergency response, just to name a few. Students must complete a capstone project to graduate, and you’ll need to attend an internship if you don’t have the work experience already.

Applicants who don’t meet the 3.0 GPA requirement will need to submit GRE or GMAT scores, and you’ll also need to submit a resume with 2 letters of recommendation and a personal statement.

  • Master of Public Administration in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Public Administration in Generalist
  • Master of Public Administration in Non-Profit/Non-Governmental Organizations
  • Master of Public Administration in State and Local Administration

NSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

#27  Park University

Park University campus

Are you looking for an online university close to Missouri? For public administration online programs, Park University offers a variety of specializations and electives for its MPA degrees.

This school is known for its online courses, and their programs don’t require you to take the GRE. All you need is a GPA of 2.75, 2 letters of recommendation, a resume, and a statement of intent. Their degrees are well-known for customization, which means you can go into emergency response management, non-profit, public management, and other business electives.

This program requires that you complete an internship if you don’t already have work experience. While you don’t need to take the GRE, you will need to present a capstone project and pass a comprehensive exam to graduate.

  • Master of Public Administration in Criminal Justice Administration
  • Master of Public Administration in Disaster and Emergency Management
  • Master of Public Administration in Global Governance
  • Master of Public Administration in Management Information Systems
  • Master of Public Administration in Nonprofit and Community Services Management
  • Master of Public Administration in Project Management
  • Master of Public Administration in Public Management

Park University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#28  Penn State World Campus

Pennsylvania State University campus

Penn State opened up an all-new virtual campus with its Penn State World campus, and it has become an industry-leading college to attend if you are looking for an MPA.

While admissions are pretty stringent, you can get into this school with a high GPA or GRE score. There are 36 credits required to graduate, and there are four specializations to choose from, including non-profit management, policy analysis, state-local government, and public budgeting.

  • Master of Public Administration in Homeland Security
  • Master of Public Administration in Nonprofit Management
  • Master of Public Administration in Policy Analysis and Evaluation
  • Master of Public Administration in Public Budgeting and Financial Management
  • Master of Public Administration in State/Local Government and Administration

The Penn State World Campus is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#29  Post University

Post University campus

Ready to get your online MPA in Waterbury, Connecticut? For those New England students who want to earn their way to the top in public administration, Post University has a myriad of online MPA programs to enroll in.

There are several ways to complete this degree, including a totally online virtual curriculum or a hybrid curriculum. Their online courses are easy to complete within 18 months as part of their accelerated degree for working professionals.

Students need to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university to be accepted into this program, and you’ll need to complete an internship if you don’t have the work experience already.

  • Master of Public Administration in Emergency Management and Homeland Security

Post University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

#30  Regent University

Regent University campus

Ready to head to Virginia Beach? If you live in this area, Regent University is the perfect option for an online MPA program. They have thousands of students enrolled in their online programs, and their online course is offered through their award-winning Robertson School of Government.

There are only 37 credit hours required, including faith-based courses, as this school is a Christian university. Some of the courses include organizational theory, public budgeting, taxation policies, research, human resources, foundations of government, and emergency response.

Most students complete this program in 2 years, but there are longer courses available for those who are working full-time or simply want to take a slower approach. You will be required to take an internship if you haven’t completed at least 3 years of work experience in the field.

  • Master of Public Administration in General Public Administration

Regent University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#31  Sam Houston State University

Sam Houston State University campus

For those who work in Texas and want a traditional MPA, Sam Houston State University is a great choice. With more than 20,000 students enrolled, this large university has an online MPA program that has earned nationally recognized awards for its excellence.

The courses are taught by amazing professors, and classes are capped at 20 students. You can also specialize in emergency and disaster management, or you can tailor your MPA to match any specialization within public administration.

The program requires 36 credits, and collaboration with your classmates is encouraged. You can qualify for this program with a GRE or GMAT score and a baccalaureate degree, and you’ll need to complete a 3-hour internship to graduate.

  • Master of Public Administration

Sam Houston State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#32  Texas A&M International University

Texas A and M University campus

While a part of the Texas A & M University program, TAMIU’s MPA program is aimed at those who work full-time and still want to earn a degree in public administration. It’s also one of the oldest online MPA programs, dating back to 2001.

Their MPA looks at international challenges in addition to traditional MPA courses. Public policy and community development are key issues that this program digs into, as well as multicultural challenges.

You’ll need to take 42 credits with 33 credits as core courses and 9 credits in electives. Capstone or internship participation is required before graduation, and you’ll need a baccalaureate degree with 3 or more years of experience in public administration-related management preferred to get into the MPA program.

  • Master of Public Administration

Texas A&M International University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#33  Texas State University

texas state university campus

With flexible course schedules and accreditation by NASPAA, the Master of Public Administration online courses at Texas State are beneficial to anyone who is ready to move up in local and state government agencies.

Students must take background courses if they don’t have work experience, but there are 30 credit hours needed for the core courses and 9 hours needed of electives for your concentration. You’ll also need to complete an applied research project to graduate.

  • Master of Public Administration

Texas State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges (COC) of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS),

#34  University of Baltimore

university of baltimore campus

For those who want to be successful leaders in public administration, the University of Baltimore invites you to apply to their rigorous MPA program. With completely online coursework, you’ll complete 42-45 credits depending on your specialization and if you have work experience.

Their program is fully accredited, and students are required to apply on a rolling basis.

  • Master of Public Administration

The University of Baltimore is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

#35  University of Central Florida

University of Central Florida campus

Want to go to the Sunshine State for school? Central Florida has been one of the top pioneers in online learning since the very beginning. UCF has over 60 online degree programs, including a virtual MPA program that doesn’t require a GRE. You can also specialize in different areas, such as criminal justice, civic governance, or non-profit management.

The program is for working professionals or those who want to move up in public management. The MPA requires 42 credits to be completed for graduation, and you’ll need to maintain a 3.0 GPA and complete a capstone to finish. The program takes about 2 years to complete for those who are also working full-time.

  • Master of Public Administration

The University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

#36  University of Colorado – Colorado Springs

University of Colorado - Colorado Springs campus

The public affairs and management online program at the University of Colorado has been ranked among the top. You can complete an online MPA here in just 2 years. It’s designed specifically for working professionals who want to earn a traditional MPA, and there are concentrations in non-profit management and healthcare policy.

You can also take courses for certificates and get into leadership training programs abroad.

  • Master of Public Administration

UCCS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

#37  University of Colorado – Denver

University of Colorado Denver campus

While this is one of the newer universities on our list, the University of Colorado at Denver’s online program was actually one of the first United States programs to be fully accredited. The latest programs include over 450 classes and 20 degrees that can be taken online, including a traditional MPA and specialized MPAs.

Students can choose to specialize in homeland security or non-profit management at this campus.

There are 6 core courses, 5 electives, and a 2-semester thesis project or capstone required to complete the program.

While you don’t have to attend any classes at Denver, you can specialize in other areas by doing so, including local government, emergency response management, environmental policy, or domestic violence. Students must provide undergraduate transcripts, GRE scores, and have 3 years of professional experience or take an internship to complete.

  • Master of Public Administration in Disasters, Hazards, and Emergency Management
  • Master of Public Administration in Emergency Management and Homeland Security
  • Master of Public Administration in Environmental Policy, Management, and Law
  • Master of Public Administration in Nonprofit Organizations
  • Master of Public Administration in State and Local Government

University of Colorado – Denver is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#38  University of Illinois – Springfield

University of Illinois Springfield campus

The University of Illinois at Springfield is a well-known public administration school with numerous specializations and online degrees in public management, non-profit management, and beyond. You can specialize in private or public sector courses, and you can take the courses completely online with no visits to campus required.

While there are 40 credits to complete, about half of the MPA courses are necessary core courses, while the other electives can focus on specializations needed to complete the degree. Courses are available in community planning, child advocacy, emergency response, and criminal justice.

You can also get a dual degree with an MPA and a Master of Public Health. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree, work experience, a letter of recommendation, GRE or GMAT score, and a personal statement to be considered for admission.

  • Master of Public Administration in Community Planning
  • Master of Public Administration in Management of Nonprofit Organizations

UIS was recently reaccredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). UIS participates in the Open Pathway, a ten-year cycle that focuses on assurance of quality and continuous improvement.

#39  University of Louisiana – Monroe

University of Louisiana Monroe campus

In the southern states, the University of Louisiana, or ULM, is known for its virtual courses. In fact, the school offers 30 award-winning master’s degrees at their virtual campus, including an MPA program.

Their courses use an interdisciplinary style to teach public service professionals who already have some experience. There are 6 courses included in the program that last for about 8-16 weeks depending on the format you select.

There are also 5 different tracks to choose from, including the traditional public management coursework, general administration, education, and health administration.

If you don’t have 2 years of experience, you will need to complete an internship. Applicants must have acceptable GRE scores and a 2.75 GPA. While you won’t have to attend any classes in person, courses can take up to 2 years to complete, though you can opt for a fast-track if needed.

  • Master of Public Administration

The University of Louisiana at Monroe is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#40  University of Missouri

University of Missouri campus

Better known as Mizzou, the University of Missouri offers a variety of online degree programs in numerous fields of study. Their MPA program has been given praise due to the number of specializations that you can study while in the program, including graduate certificate courses in organizational change, non-profit management, public management, and grantsmanship.

Their MPA program requires 33 credits and can be taken entirely online, requiring no on-campus study at all.

There is a ton of variety in this program with courses that touch on leadership, finance, organizational dynamics, governance, public policy, and emergency response.

Classes can be taken one at a time if necessary, but you can easily complete this coursework sooner. It’s also accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs & Administration. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree and experience in the public sector to be considered for this degree program.

  • Master of Public Affairs

The University of Missouri is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Various schools, colleges and departments are also accredited by their respective professional associations and accrediting agencies.

#41  University of North Carolina

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill campus

The University of North Carolina is a liberal arts university with historic roots dating back to the 1800s. Though there are only a few online master’s programs available here, there are 3 MPA programs to choose from. You can focus your degree around different specializations as well, including emergency response, public management, health administration, or criminal justice.

These programs are a tad longer than others, with 42-45 credits required to graduate. The core curriculum is comprised of half the credits, with other classes designated for the particular specialization and others completed for electives.

You may not have to do an internship if you already work in the public service field. UNC’s program requires you to submit GRE scores and undergraduate transcripts along with a resume and personal statement to be considered. GRE waivers are available to qualified applicants.

  • Master of Public Administration

University of North Carolina accreditation is governed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

#42  University of San Francisco

university of san francisco campus

Considered to be the top MPA program in the US for a Masters in Public Administration, the University of San Francisco offers all of its courses in a synchronized format, allowing you to learn at your own pace. For part-time students who are working professionals, you can take 39 credit hours in about 2 years.

Coursework follows a traditional curriculum, but there are specialized courses that allow for certain MPA concentrations in public healthcare, digital trends, information technology, strategic planning, local, state, and government management, financial management, and non-profit management.

While you need a bachelor’s degree here, there are no GRE scores required. However, if you don’t have a high GPA, you probably will have to submit GRE or GMAT test scores to be eligible.

The University of San Francisco is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

  • Master of Public Administration

The University of San Francisco is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

#43  University of Southern California

University of Southern California campus

Southern California residents can earn their online MPA quickly through the University of Southern California’s program. This is the perfect coursework for those who want to work in government agencies, non-profits, public policy positions, and university administration.

The coursework requires 37 credits to graduate with a capstone project to be completed before you graduate.

You’ll need a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 to be accepted. You can submit GRE and GMAT scores if you don’t meet this requirement.

  • Master of Public Administration

USC has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) since March 6, 1949.

#44  University of South Dakota

University of South Dakota campus

This university was the first to be founded in the Mount Rushmore state. Now, this school offers a ton of online programs at its virtual campus, allowing you to take a 30-credit online MPA program as well.

This program is for those who are already working professionals and want to work up to an executive-level position at a government agency or non-profit organization. The program includes 10 courses that go over community building, resource management, conflict resolution, ethics, and other public management concepts.

Admission is available to those who have 5 years of experience, with 3 years being in middle to executive positions, as well as an undergraduate transcript, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. You don’t need to submit GRE or GMAT scores to get into this program.

  • Executive Master of Public Administration

University of South Dakota accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) provides assurance to prospective students, parents, and others that USD meets the agency’s clearly stated requirements and criteria.

#45  University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley campus

Even though it’s one of the country’s newest universities, the Rio Grande Valley campus offers a variety of online programs. There are 29,000 students who attend this school, and many of them are enrolled in virtual classes.

The Master of Public Affairs course offers a 36-credit degree that teaches students about public policy, research, grant writing, non-profit management, and other public management studies.

The course is best for those who want to work in public service or who already do so, allowing them to use their experiences to opt out of certain courses and internships. However, if you don’t have any experience, you’ll need to take an internship during your coursework.

Students can complete this degree in under a year, but if you have no experience, you may be required to take a foundational course first.

  • Master of Public Administration

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#46  Villanova University

Villanova University campus

Villanova’s Master of Public Administration program will help you get a firm foundation in the core competencies of strategic management and planning, preparing you to lead in both the non-profit or federal, state, or local government arenas.

NASPAA-accredited, the MPA program also allows you to simultaneously work on a graduate certificate as a specialization in either Non-profit Management or City Management.

The GRE can be waived if you have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or greater, or if you have prior graduate-level studies or relevant certifications.

  • Master of Public Administration

Villanova University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, as well as NASPAA.

#47  Virginia International University

virginia international university campus

With extremely low tuition rates, many students prefer this online MPA program to its on-campus counterpart. Graduates can seek employment in upper levels of government and non-profit executive positions.

There are several concentrations to choose at Virginia International University, including non-profit, health resources, information systems, and finance management.

You can apply online, but you’ll need to provide a letter of intent, resume, bachelor’s degree transcripts, GRE scores, and work experience if available. If you don’t have work experience, you may be required to complete an internship before graduation.

  • Master of Public Administration in Health Care Administration and Public Health
  • Master of Public Administration in Information Systems
  • Master of Public Administration in Public Management

VIU is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).

#48  Wayland Baptist University

wayland baptist university campus

For students of the High Plains area in Texas, Wayland Baptist is one of the oldest liberal arts schools in the Lone Star State. As a Christian school, it’s well-known for its main campus and other colleges across the country as well as in other parts of the world.

Their MPA program is mainly based on the traditional public administration track, but it has a faith-based style that incorporates Christian leadership methods.

The curriculum includes 36 credits that split between core courses and specialized electives. You can choose to study homeland security, emergency response, justice administration, and government administration. You can take all of the coursework online through Wayland, but you’ll need to complete an internship if you don’t have adequate work experience.

  • Master of Public Administration

Wayland Baptist University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#49  West Chester University

West Chester University campus

Founded in West Chester, Pennsylvania, the online MPA program from this school offers a high-quality curriculum with several tracks. These programs delve into all kinds of concentrations for those who want to go into government agencies, non-profit management, sports management, psychology, and criminal justice.

As an AACSB-accredited school, it has achieved the gold standard for MPAs according to NASPAA. This program is completely flexible, allowing you to take online courses or hybrid courses.

To be eligible, you’ll need a GPA of 3.0 or higher in undergraduate coursework as well as a personal statement, letters of recommendation, a resume, and work experience. For those who don’t meet these requirements, you may be able to prove eligibility with GRE or GMAT scores and take an internship.

  • Master of Public Administration

West Chester University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

#50  Wichita State University

wichita state university campus

The Master of Public Administration program at Wichita State University is rigorous but low-cost, typically allowing working professionals to complete the coursework in 2 years. There are 24 core courses necessary and 15 electives for your concentration.

Students have a number of options for their concentrations, whether you want to go into city or county management, economic development, public finance, healthcare policy, non-profit management, or the criminal justice field.

Students are typically accepted into this program if they have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution that meets Wichita State’s standards, and they have maintained a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher. If you don’t have any working experience, you may be required to complete an internship program. A capstone project is required for graduation.

  • Master of Public Administration

Wichita State is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC-NCA).


female student walking into a college building

Getting an online master’s with no GRE can help you cross the finish line faster! If you meet the minimum GPA requirements, many of these schools will waive the GRE requirement. If you completed your bachelor’s under the minimum, however, studying for and scoring on the GRE can be your ticket in.

Isaac Collins
Isaac Collins