Legislators conversing in a courtroom

Master of Public Administration

Transfer up to
15 Credits
Receive credit for prior coursework; No GRE required

Expand Your Professional Impact with an Online MPA

The online Master of Public Administration (MPA) program prepares you for career advancement in all levels of government, or local and global service organizations. Our MPA graduates are ready to become skilled public service leaders who work toward improving their communities.

A successful career in public administration hinges on your ability to understand how issues and opportunities affect a diversity of people. Starting with Excelsior’s unique set of core courses, you’ll learn with your fellow students from across our programs and disciplines to begin your graduate education building connections and expanding your worldview in a suite of three courses focusing on ethical leadership, strategic talent management, and data-driven decision making.

The MPA program will help you master both the personal and the business side of public administration with courses and assignments that show you how to harness information technology, respond to ethical issues, foster constructive collaboration, and more. You will also gain practical experience in honing your presentation skills; developing strategic plans and financial reports; and analyzing data to make better decisions. You will leave the program ready to achieve with a complete professional portfolio ready to present to prospective or current employers.

Making your graduate program experience excellent—meet this faculty program director.


Non-Concentration, Cannabis Control

Fast Facts:

Master’s degree holders earn on average $1 million more over a lifetime than those with only a bachelor’s degree (Source: Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce)

The average median political scientist salary is $98,350 (Source: BLS)

MPA holders can work in health policy, urban planning, and government affairs (Source: Indeed.com)


credit hours

Online MPA Program Details

Of the 30 credits required for the Master of Public Administration, students take 18 credits of core courses, complete 9 credits of elective or concentration courses, and take a 3-credit capstone course.

Core Public Administration Courses: 18 Credits

Ethical Leadership

This interdisciplinary course will develop highly effective transformational leaders in their respective professions who formulate sustainable, ethically sound solutions to practical management problems encountered in a complex global environment. You will learn how to set direction and work with multiple constituencies with divergent needs through an ethical lens that includes social responsibility and the intersections of diversity, culture, and environment, and how these differences affect best practices in management in your discipline.

Strategic Talent Management

This interdisciplinary course will enable you to acquire the skills necessary to strategically lead decisively across all functions in organizations, including recruitment and selection of employees, training and development, performance appraisals, health and safety, labor relations, and change management. You will be introduced to leadership and talent management within and across disciplines and apply strategies to the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. This course will integrate legal, management, and social science research with an action learning-based approach to executive-level leadership education. You will have the opportunity to apply these skills through your own disciplinary lens, and will gain an in-depth understanding of how these skills are applied in other disciplines.

Data Driven Decision Making

This course is an interdisciplinary approach to research methods and is designed to provide you with an introduction to statistical theory and practice. Learn how to research a current issue and interpret statistics for the fields of criminal justice, business, health sciences, and public administration, assuming leadership roles in your discipline.

Introduction to Public Administration Theory and Practice

This course is an introduction to the study and practice of public administration. It provides an overview of the field of public administration, focusing on the function roles of public administration in the political process. It introduces students to concepts and practices in public administration, focusing on accountability and performance. Additionally, this course explores practical application of concepts to current issues to the field of public administration.

Public Management in a Political Environment

Develop your public management and leadership skills by studying the concepts, methods, and procedures involved in managing public organizations. Learn how to diagnose organizational problems and recommend feasible solutions, and increase your understanding of individual, group, and agency politics in the public sector. Course assignments cover: strategic planning; teamwork and group management; stakeholder communication; implementation of leadership initiatives; accountability; employee values; ethical practices in diverse organizations; information technology management; and public administration reforms and privatization.

Public Budgeting and Financial Management

Students examine the key aspects of a public sector budget, from identifying and securing key stakeholder support to identifying state and local funding sources to be allocated based on the needs of an organization. Students also study the theory of budgeting from the public sector perspective, with an emphasis on understanding and applying the principles of financial management.

Choose two of the following courses for a total of 9 credits:

  • Conflict Management and Alternative Dispute Resolutions
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Business Communications
  • Change Management
  • Risk Assessment in Homeland Security
  • Contemporary Issues in Nonprofit Management
  • Communication Strategy for the Health Care Leader
  • Contingency Planning
  • Critical Issues in Public Health
  • Grant Writing

Concentration: 9 Credits


9 credits of approved Public Administration or related coursework.

Cannabis Control

The growing cannabis industry is going to impact all aspects of our current societal process. The regulation of cannabis spans from growing, transportation, public health, and city services to new businesses, financing, and supply chains that cross jurisdictional lines. The concentration in Cannabis Control will give you a solid foundation in compliance, risk assessment and cannabis as commerce. Completing all three of these courses will also get you a graduate certificate in Cannabis Control on your way to completing your Master’s Degree.

  • Policy and Compliance
  • Commerce
  • Risk Assessment

Capstone in Public Administration: 3 Credits

In this eight-week master’s culmination course, you integrate your academic knowledge and practical skills by solving real problems for public and nonprofit organizations and developing recommendations for a specific project design, implementation, and evaluation. You will build toward a final project and presentation showcasing your evaluation and decision-making skills applied to a real-world issue, and leave the program with a complete professional portfolio.

Interpret and analyze data to formulate and influence decision-making.

Evaluate financial data and budgets to make sound fiscal decisions for the public sector.

Assess the use of technology to assist in solving complex problems and optimizing resources in the public sector.

Apply interdisciplinary leadership practices based on evidence that promotes ethical, and collaborative sustainable change in the public sector.

Evaluate interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving and opportunities to lead a diverse/global workforce.

Apply effective communication techniques to address issues and multiple paths for solutions.

View additional details about programs and courses:

Download the Graduate Studies Catalog

Common Careers with an
Online MPA

  • Federal, State, or Municipal Positions
  • City Manager
  • Human Resource Manager
  • IT Administrator
  • Legislator
  • Marketing Manager
  • Policy Analyst
  • Program Manager

Craig Breverman
MPA, 2019

“Core subjects like Ethics and Public Administration and Theory have made me a better manager; others like Public Management in a Political Environment and Statistical Analysis for Decision Making have prepared me to participate in senior management teams.”

Recognitions & Accreditations

Middle States Commission on Higher Education logo

Institutional Accreditation

Excelsior College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. (267-284-5000) www.msche.org. The MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Phase: Accredited
Status: Accreditation Reaffirmed
Accreditation Granted: 1977
Last Reaffirmation: 2017
Next Self-Study Evaluation: 2021-2022

All of Excelsior College’s academic programs are registered (i.e., approved) by the New York State Education Department.