Master of Public Administration (MPA)

Top-ranked, 1-year program for bright futures in public service

A recognized leader in the field for more than 90 years, the Maxwell School's Master of Public Administration (MPA) is an intensive, 12-month professional graduate degree program that provides students with the skills, knowledge, and network they will need to be successful professionals and engaged citizens serving the public good across national and international government, nonprofit, and private sectors.

Our MPA program meets the growing need to advance public policy, enhance public management, and bridge the private and public sectors.  Its curricular focus is grounded in a comprehensive view of public service education that equips our students with the skills needed to implement effective policy; manage organizations with diverse stakeholders; and apply rigorous, evidence-based analysis to inform decision-making. Our students move on to successful careers, making an impact by serving the public good, finding jobs in national, state, local, and international government, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit companies throughout the US and around the world.

Our efficiently-paced, highly regarded MPA is consistently top-ranked in reputational surveys of our peers:

  • #1 in public management and leadership,
  • #2 in nonprofit management,
  • #2 in public finance and budgeting, and
  • #5 in international and global policy. (US News & World Report, 2018)

"Coursework in tax policy, primarily Len Burman's tax policy class, and state and local finance, taught by John Yinger, really impressed upon me the importance of tax and budget decisions in shaping the rest of the public policy landscape. From tuition costs at public colleges to the sustainability of roads and bridges to affordable childcare for working parents, budgets and taxes play a critical role in determining the quality of life for all of us."

Michael Mitchell

~ Michael Mitchell '11 MPA

Senior Policy Analyst, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities


Skill-based curriculum

The core requirements of the MPA degree are balanced along three lines: policy analysis, public management, and public context. The nine core courses include a concerted focus on public affairs, public budgeting, public administration and democracy, public organizations and management, economics for public decisions, and executive leadership and policy politics.

In addition to the core courses, students choose one of seven specialized Areas of Study, providing in-depth coursework in following areas:

Expert faculty

Our renowned faculty conduct groundbreaking research and shape policy debates at local, national, and international levels. Nearly all Maxwell professors are full-time tenure-track appointees who are regularly on campus and easily accessible. Visit our PAIA faculty page to learn more about these prominent educators and researchers.

Making an impact after graduation

Ninety-five percent of our most recent graduates had secured their post Maxwell positions within 6 months of graduation. They are employed across sectors and around the world:  in federal, state and local government (33%); private sector (27%); domestic nonprofit (25%); international government and NGOs (15%); or choosing to continue their studies toward the PhD.

Our Areas of Study pages highlight the important integrated approach that the Maxwell School takes in integrating a students studies and activities in the program with their career goals. This well-rounded approach to the program, leads to strong employment outcomes, and a world-wide network of alumni forever dedicated to upholding the Athenian Oath to leave the world a better place.

Flexible study options that fit your career goals

Our Executive MPA provides a flexible program for midcareer public service professionals looking to advance or change their careers.

We also offer a range of dual degree programs, such as MPA/MAIR, MPA/Economics, MPA/JD, that allow students to customize their educational experience to meet their future goals.

Our elite Atlantis Program involves post-graduate work at two universities, the Maxwell School in the United States and the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, Germany.

How to apply

Visit our Admissions section for information about application requirements and deadlines, cost to attend, and financial aid.