are the MPA & MPP degrees?
The Masters of Public Administration (MPA) degree is the professional
degree for students seeking a career in public service or nonprofit
management. MPA programs develop the skills
and techniques used by managers to implement policies, projects, and
programs that resolve important problems within their organization and
Specializations offered by NASPAA programs include areas
as public management, nonprofit management, health care
management, international development, urban affairs,
human-resource management, state/local government administration, and financial
Masters of Public Policy (MPP) degree is the professional degree for analyzing,
evaluating, and solving all aspects of policy. As analysts and
managers, MPP graduates work with quantitative and qualitative data to develop, assess, and
evaluate alternative approaches to current and emerging issues.
Specializations offered by NASPAA programs include analysis
in a myriad of public policy areas, including: environmental, education, health,
social, economic development,
international, and urban policy.
What kinds of classes
will I take?
- MPA: Coursework for MPA
candidates typically includes required core courses and
a concentration or specialization. Core courses often include introduction
to public administration, budgeting/finance, managerial economics, political and legal processes,
quantitative methods, and ethics. -
MPP: Coursework for MPP
candidates typically includes required core courses and a concentration or
specialization. Core courses often include introduction to public policy,
statistics and data analysis, public finance, micro/macro economics,
policy analysis methods, quantitative methods, and ethics.
What's the difference
between the two?
MPA and MPP programs have blended and converged as complements to one
another, with courses and specializations often overlapping. Some
schools combine the degrees and name them differently. For example,
schools may offer a master's degree in public management and policy.
Others may offer a master's degree in public affairs (MPAff). Check
individual programs as they are all different.
In general, MPA programs place more emphasis on management and
implementation techniques, while MPP programs emphasize policy research
and evaluation. For example, a course on analyzing policy methods would
be more popular among MPP students, while a course in managerial
economics may pertain more to MPA students. Be sure to check each school
to find the program fit for you.
Both programs usually take two years to complete full time, and
many schools offer a part-time option. In addition, many
provide evening classes for students who already have a job or may be
pursuing one. Also, it is important to note that every school is
different in what it provides and specializes in. One school may focus
on nonprofit management, another may be well-known for its program in
state/local administration, and others may be famous for specific policy
topics. Other commonly asked questions are addressed in our
Several NASPAA member schools offer both degrees. See how they are
Washington University, American University,
Arizona State University, and the
University of Southern California.
Make it your own!
Most programs allow enough flexibility so that you can tailor your MPA or MPP
coursework to your interests. Unlike most graduate
degrees, the wide array of
schools with MPA and MPP programs feature
almost two-dozen specializations and a wide array of course options. Use it to your advantage!
updated October 2013