Explore our Online Master of Public Administration.
Whether it is at the local, state, or federal level, providing public service increasingly involves collaboration with multiple government agencies as well as private and nonprofit organizations. When you earn your online master’s in public administration, you can be prepared to meet these challenges.
Walden’s online Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree program is designed to help you develop the advanced competencies that are essential to becoming a successful leader in public administration. Gain the skills that can prepare you for cross-sectoral governance and enable you to deliver services to citizens through plans that are transparent, efficient, and ethical. As a student working toward your online MPA degree, you can learn effective ways to balance budgets, write and negotiate contracts, manage conflict, and build partnerships.
Prepare to advance your career as you gain the knowledge to translate policies into programs that work for the public good. Through in-depth research, practical coursework, and a virtual city that simulates real-life scenarios, you can acquire the organizational capabilities you need to administer and oversee diverse and complex agencies.
Curriculum – General Program Specialization
Foundations of Graduate Study
This course introduces students to graduate-level expectations and protocols for scholarly research and academic writing. Reflecting Walden's mission and vision of promoting positive social change, this course helps students build a foundation for success as scholar-practitioners and social change agents. Course assignments focus upon students' professional goals, strategies for online student success, research skills, and academic integrity. Assignments are designed to build critical thinking skills and provide opportunities to apply academic lessons to real-world practice. Students are encouraged to take advantage of Walden's wealth of student support systems, especially the Walden Library and the Writing Center.
Principles of Public Administration
Public administrators work to increase the efficacy of public organizations on a local, regional, national, and international level. In this course, students actively collaborate on a team final project that facilitates their use of real-world tools, technologies, and communication formats needed in the profession of public administration. They engage in hands-on practice to enhance their aptitude in professional skills (e.g., research, critical reasoning, creative and flexible problem-solving, technology, responsible leadership, intercultural awareness, negotiation/conflict resolution, and collaboration). They explore the diverse political, social, and economic contexts within which public administrators carry out their responsibilities. Spring boarding from the American democratic model, students examine emerging topics and trends in global public administration, including governance, fiscal issues, ethics, and positive social change. They also examine the history, foundations, and theories of public administration as well as public policy and organizational environments.
Ethics and Social Justice
Ethics is a fundamental element of leadership. In this course, students consider some of the leading philosophical bases of ethics as well as foundational social justice themes upon which public service rests. Seminal texts and case studies used to illuminate the tasks leaders face as they seek to serve diverse constituents. Students confront the challenge of ethical decision making and moral action in a world characterized (among other things) by economic disparity, power imbalances, social privilege, and division due to race and/or religion. Applying concepts presented in the course, students engage in an in-depth assessment of emerging or persistent ethical and social justice issues, with the objective of demonstrating an ability to make recommendations which lead to positive social change.
Public Policy Analysis
Government officials, research programs, and NGOs are increasingly expected to make better and more transparent use of evidence in producing viable policy options within highly complex policy environments that are heavily influenced by power and politics. Public policy analysis has been described as the art and craft of speaking truth to power (Wildavsky, 1987) in seeking ways to promote positive social change in these complex environments. Policy analysis within this context requires several distinct skill sets: an understanding of the policy context, technical knowledge and analytical tools to identify and apply evidence ethically and with professional judgment, an appreciation and engagement of the concerns and contributions of diverse stakeholders, and the ability to develop and communicate practical policy advice.This course is framed around Bardach and Patashnik's eightfold path, which lays out a series of iterative, not necessarily sequential, steps to follow when analyzing a policy issue and uses design thinking to guide the process. Students examine key concepts of public policy analysis through evidence-based research to locate issues in relation to theory and current trends. This course provides project-based opportunities to practice and gain the skills and knowledge to use evidence to shape policy more effectively.
Organizational Management and Leadership
Public and nonprofit leaders in all areas of public administration require a thorough understanding of the expectations of their roles as leaders and managers of diverse and complex organizations. Students use theoretical and applied perspectives from which they study the intricacies of these roles, including the distinction between leadership and management, organizational culture, change management, systems theories, and organizational development. Students gain a practical understanding of these topics through the application of principles and concepts to public, private, and nonprofit organizational settings.
Finance and Budgeting for the Public Sector
Sound financial practices are crucial to managing scarce funds in both public and nonprofit operations. In this course, the term "public" is synonymous with government. Nonprofit organizations are included because they rely on special tax-exempt status conferred by the government and often receive government funding. Students in this course examine finance and budgeting concepts, policies, and practices related to organizations as well as the fiscal climate within which they operate. They assess theories for motivating major fiscal-policy debates, and they explore and discuss auditing practices, tax systems, financial management, budgetary reform, financial technology systems, the use of dashboards for financial reporting, and the impact of globalization on finance and budget. Students read and analyze budgets, financial statements, and reports. They contextualize their learning as they apply knowledge gained from their analysis to develop a new budget and financial plan for either a public or nonprofit organization.
Strategic Planning: Collaboration, Cooperation, and Coordination
In an increasingly complex world, leaders and managers in public and nonprofit organizations plan strategies to fulfill the organizational mission and enhance stakeholder satisfaction. Students in this course explore the role and process of strategic planning, including collaboration, cooperation, and coordination. They also examine the benefits, challenges, and pitfalls of strategic planning, in addition to the impact of globalization. Students apply these concepts to real-life scenarios and develop a strategic plan for a nonprofit or public organization.
Applied Research and Evaluation Methods
Organizational credibility, community trust, and fundraising are increasingly dependent upon demonstration of program effectiveness and success. Students in this course are introduced to research and evaluation methods in the public and nonprofit sectors to learn ways to measure and assess a program's effectiveness and potential success as well as to address problems or issues in the field. Students examine the strengths, limitations, and threats to validity; models, quantitative metrics, and tools used to evaluate programs and policies; and legal and ethical issues associated with research and evaluation methods. Using these parameters and other concepts presented in the course, students critically evaluate sample research, consider ways to communicate results to an intended audience, and reflect on trends and challenges that could affect future program evaluation.
Human Resource Management: Building a Capable Workforce
The acquisition, development, and retention of talent are critical elements in the success of any organization. In this course, students examine theories, approaches, and systems related to hiring, managing, training, and retaining employees in government and nonprofit organizations. Through the use of case studies, students explore topics that include legal and ethical considerations, diversity, performance management, the establishment and implementation of policy, technology, and conflict management. Students apply principles and concepts learned in this course to real-world situations encountered in public, private, and nonprofit organizations.
Master of Public Administration Capstone
In this course, students complete a capstone project using action research that fosters social change in public administration or nonprofit management and leadership. In the project they demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and competencies acquired in their master's degree program. The project employs an action research model. Students reflect on how the project and the program have contributed to their personal, scholarly, and professional growth.
|VIEW ALL COURSES Less Courses|
Program Admission Considerations: A bachelor's degree or higher.
General Admission Requirements: Completed online application and transcripts. Please note that the materials you are required to submit may vary depending on the academic program to which you apply. More information for international applicants.
Tuition and Fees
General Program Specialization
|Tuition||48 quarter credit hours||$495 per quarter hour||$23,760|
|Technology Fee||Per quarter||$160||$800|
Effective February 28, 2022
|Tuition||48 quarter credit hours||$507 per quarter hour||$24,336|
|Technology Fee||Per quarter||$165||$825|
*Tuition reflects the minimum time to completion. Time to completion varies by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. Tuition and time to complete may be reduced if transfer credits are accepted, or if you receive grants, scholarships or other tuition reductions. Walden may accept up to 20 transfer credits. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.
Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included and may cost between $1,000 and $1,400.
Many Walden degree-seeking students—67%—receive some form of financial aid.* Create a customized plan that makes sense for you.
*Source: Walden University’s Office of Financial Aid. Data reports as of 2018.Find Ways to Save
In the General Program, you will have the opportunity to gain cross-sectoral management and communication skills that can be applied domestically and globally.
Designed for public safety administrators and emergency responders who want to move forward in their careers, this specialization examines vital emergency management issues and contingency planning.
The Law and Public Policy specialization explores the relationship between statutes and case law and the impact that legislation and court systems can have on public policy.
Explore best practices for navigating through budgeting and finance issues, cultivating stakeholder relationships, and developing strategic plans that foster collaboration across sectors.
Having completed my master’s and doctoral degrees with Walden University, I have a scholarly foundation on which to build.
Rachel Ivory Master of Public Administration (MPA) Graduate
I wanted to enhance my education, and Walden was my key.
Jose Alicea Master of Public Administration (MPA) Graduate
My passion for public service initially motivated me to enroll at Walden.
Alexander Boamah Master of Public Administration (MPA) Graduate
FAQ About Walden’s Online Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program
An online master’s in public administration program is a great choice for working professionals who want to develop the advanced competencies required for a range of career options, including those at federal, state, and local agencies as well as in the private and nonprofit sectors. When you enroll in an online master’s program, you can study from home using a flexible learning platform that allows you to continue working full time as you earn your degree. Online degree programs, like the ones at Walden University, offer a schedule that combines the structure of weekly assignments and due dates with the flexibility of choosing times to participate that are most convenient for you. Online degree programs also attract a diverse student body, allowing you to gain different perspectives and collaborate with classmates who offer insights into other business cultures and problem-solving techniques that can inform your own approaches to problems and opportunities. If you have good time management skills and would like to better balance work and family with the demands of going back to school, consider the many benefits of Walden’s online Master of Public Administration program.
Today’s urban communities face a plethora of increasingly complex challenges, including crime and public safety, poverty, homelessness, pollution, and healthcare access. If you plan to pursue a leadership job in public administration, you’ll need to gain the skills and knowledge required to tackle tough problems surrounding these pressing issues. To help aspiring public administration leaders develop good problem-solving skills, many colleges and universities have integrated hands-on learning experiences into their public administration degree programs.
The virtual city used as an interactive teaching tool in the Master of Public Administration (MPA) online degree program at Walden University is a great example of how public administration students learn to solve problems through practice. The fictional city offers scenarios of real-life challenges in public administration faced by local leaders. Community issues involving a high school, businesses, city hall, and a hospital are explored throughout the MPA degree program.
Those with a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree earn an average of $68,408 a year, though there are ranges depending on the position.1 For example, the average annual salary for a government program manager is $90,985, though it ranges from $51,000 to $145,000 and, depending on the company, may or may not include bonuses and profit sharing.2
1Source: www.payscale.com/research/US/Degree=Master_of_Public_Administration_(MPA)/Salary?signedUp (viewed March 3, 2021). National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, do not guarantee actual job growth, and are subject to change.
2 Source: www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Government_Program_Manager/Salary (viewed March 3, 2021). National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, do not guarantee actual job growth, and are subject to change.
- Job stability: Unlike private-sector positions, which may be among the first eliminated in an economic downturn, government jobs are generally more stable and many are predicted to be in a strong growth mode over the coming years.
- Making a difference in people’s lives: Some professionals actively seek the opportunity to serve their country as a public employee. Whether you seek a degree that can lead to a public administration career working in homeland security, providing vital services to at-risk populations at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or helping retired or disabled military service personnel at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, a public administration degree can prepare you for a position and professional path that align with this mission.
- Career advancement: There is ample room for advancement in careers in government and public administration. A Master of Public Administration (MPA) is beneficial, if not required, for many leadership roles in federal, state, and local governments. With the critical thinking and decision-making skills and knowledge you’ll acquire in your degree program, coupled with the right use of resources and networking, you can position yourself for success.
Earning a Master of Public Administration (MPA) can prepare you with the critical problem-solving skills needed for leadership positions such as:
- Deputy city manager
- U.S. Foreign Service officer
- Policy researcher
- Senior strategic policy advisor
- Emergency management director
- Budget analyst
- Human resources director
- Public health administrator
- Economic development planner
Should you continue your education and earn a PhD in Public Policy and Administration, you can gain the knowledge and skills to prepare you to pursue a wide spectrum of leadership positions such as:
- Legislative aide
- Policy analyst
- Research director
- Senior-level public executive
- Government affairs officer
- Private consultant
- Senior-level nonprofit manager
Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this degree program.
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