Master of Public Administration

Master of Public Administration

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

An Admissions Counselor
Can Help You:

Finish your degree sooner | Make college affordable | Create a plan to achieve goals
Fill out our 3-Step form to get started

Apply Now

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.


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:


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.

Concentration: 9 Credits

General Concentration

Students must complete 9 credits from among the following courses:

  • Mediation
  • Business Communications
  • Labor Relations and Conflict Resolution
  • Communication Strategy For The Health Care Leader
  • Leadership
  • Change Management
  • Grant Writing
  • Overview Of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • Contemporary Issues in Nonprofit Management
  • Critical Issues in Public Health

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.

View additional details about programs and courses:

Download the Liberal Arts and Sciences 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

Explore Common Careers

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.

Craig Breverman
MPA, 2019

Recognitions & Accreditations

Middle States Commission on Higher Education logo

Institutional Accreditation

Excelsior University is an accredited institution and a member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE or the Commission) Excelsior University’s accreditation status is accreditation reaffirmed. The Commission’s most recent action on the institution’s accreditation status on June 23, 2022 was to reaffirm accreditation. MSCHE is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education to conduct accreditation and pre-accreditation (candidate status) activities for institutions of higher education including distance, correspondence education, and direct assessment programs offered at those institutions. The Commission’s geographic area of accrediting activities is throughout the United States.

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