Your browser does not support JavaScript! or JavaScript is currently disabled.

Public Administration Master of Public Administration

School of Public Service Leadership

Learn to Lead Change in the Public Sector

Lead in your communities and organizations. With Capella’s online Master of Public Administration degree, you’ll learn how to develop policies and programs while effectively managing public administration resources. Customize your program with a concentration such as human resource management or project management. Grounded in leadership, ethics, and cultural awareness, our program lets you apply theory to develop the critical-thinking and communication skills needed to address human, social, and economic challenges. Prepare to serve public interest while building and maintaining trust.

At a Glance

  • Online
  • 7 Core Courses
  • 4 Elective Courses
  • 1 Integrative Project

Classes Start June 3rd

Ready to get started? We’re ready for you. Chat with an enrollment counselor or apply now to take the first step on the journey toward your future.

$50 application fee (waived w/promo SPRING)

What you’ll learn

Learn to Manage Resources

Manage public administration resources effectively.

Solve Problems Effectively

Develop solutions based on citizen involvement, informed decision-making, and leadership.

Implement New Policies

Develop and put public administration policies and administrative processes in place.

Lead Ethically

Apply professional ethics with integrity.

Work for Diverse Populations

Implement fair solutions for diverse populations in the global community.

Communicate Clearly

Communicate effectively across the public administration discipline.

Program features

Our program offers additional benefits you might be interested in.

Scholar-Practitioner Faculty

Learn the latest in theory and practice from a doctoral faculty who are actively engaged in the public administration field.

Relevant, Real-World Learning

Engaging media simulations help you develop and practice skills in on-the-job, risk-free scenarios.

Professionally Aligned

Gain relevant skills and knowledge from a competency-based curriculum designed around NASPAA standards.

Learning Online Doesn’t Mean You’ll Learn Alone.
From day one, you’ll interact in a multidisciplinary courseroom that mimics the real world. You’ll be paired with an expert instructor and writing coach, who’ll help you develop the skills needed for success. 

Cost & learning format

Online education isn’t one-size-fits-all. We know you’re busy—you need a learning experience tailored to your life, not the other way around. Capella has learning and tuition formats to suit you, however you learn. 

Our original learning format offers extra structure for those who want it. We'll set the schedule, you meet the deadlines. 

  • Based on the quarter system; 1-3 courses per 10-week quarter
  • 1 semester credit = 1.5 quarter credits
  • Weekly assignments and courseroom discussions
  • Pay for what you take, price varies by courseload or term
$540 per credit, 48 total quarter credits, 12 max transfer credits

*This is only an estimate, using general program pricing, and it does not include fees (including application and resource kit fees).  Your price may be higher or lower depending on your specialization, transfer credits, and tuition discounts. If transfer credits are allowed in this offering, the prices above show what you would pay if you brought in the average number of transfer credits and the price if you brought in the maximum allowed transfer credits.  

Get the details

Speak with an enrollment counselor to get a personalized cost estimate for what you can expect to pay.

Ways to save

At Capella, we believe your education is an investment in your future. It’s also an investment within your grasp. Your goals are achievable—there are more ways to save than you might think. 

Reduce your tuition by $3K

Enroll in your master's degree, apply for the scholarship, meet eligibility requirements, and receive up to $3K.

10% military discount

If you're an active-duty military service member, spouse, or veteran, discounts may be available.

Transfer credits

We can accept many transfer credits from regionally accredited schools.

Student Success Story

"The MPA was a great experience and equipped me with critical-thinking methods.”

Mike Horgen*
Master of Public Administration

*Actual Capella students who agreed to appear in Capella promotional materials.

Practical Research Application
You’ll gain advanced knowledge to make effective, evidence-based decisions that are based on research, not popular opinion.

Accredited & recognized

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Accreditation and recognitions provide the assurance we meet standards for quality of faculty, curriculum, learner services, and fiscal stability. See all of our accreditations and recognitions

Sample courses

Our online MPA curriculum focuses on managing public administration resources effectively while developing solutions based on citizen involvement, informed decision-making, and leadership.

Show course with description
PUAD7015 *
Theories and Concepts in Public Administration

Learners in this course investigate the structures, practices, and theoretical underpinnings of public administration. Learners acquire and demonstrate public administration knowledge and skills to provide high-quality professional services to the communities they serve. Prerequisite(s): PSL7020, completion of or concurrent registration in PSL7030. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer. 

4 quarter credits
PUAD7025 *
Ethics in the Public Sector

In this course, learners examine and apply the theoretical and conceptual foundations of various ethical models and use them to analyze and evaluate practices in public administration. Learners also identify ways to ensure public sector agencies act in an ethical and legal manner, while ensuring the integrity of all public sector practices. Prerequisite(s): PSL7030, completion of or concurrent registration in PUAD7015. 

4 quarter credits
PUAD7035 *
Public Sector Policy Analysis

Learners in this course gain knowledge of differing theories associated with organizational structure, organizational environments, and organizational leadership in public sector settings. Learners also determine ways to effectively apply theories and skills needed to collaborate with diverse populations; manage human, technological, information, financial, political, and networking resources; analyze and formulate appropriate responses to public administration, public health, and public safety issues; communicate clearly and effectively; and maintain professional ethics and integrity. Prerequisite(s): PSL7030 and PUAD7015; or PSY8002. 

4 quarter credits
PUAD7045 *
Public Sector Budgeting

In this course, learners gain and implement skills needed to be sound stewards of public resources. Learners examine revenue streams used to fund government agencies. Learners also apply practices used to develop budgets that mirror public priorities and processes used to ensure funds are appropriately allocated. Prerequisite(s): PSL7030, PUAD7015.

4 quarter credits


Concentrations let you hone in on your specific area of interest that can get you even closer to your exact career goals. The concentrations you earn will be included on your transcript.

Continuity Management

Apply research and theory to inform policy and practice to design and manage resilient systems.

Higher Education

Prepare to teach using your personal teaching philosophy and applying ethical decision-making, multicultural competence, and more.

Human Resource Management

Analyze the key issues related to administering the human elements such as motivation, compensation, appraisal, career planning, diversity, ethics, and training.

Project Management

Implement project management practices through innovative technology related to communication, collaboration, information management, and decision support.

Faculty & support

You’re never going it alone at Capella. Our dedicated faculty and support teams are waiting to guide, help, and advise you through every step of your educational journey.

Enrollment counselors

These experts will set you up for success. They’ll help you find the right degree and program, and answer all your questions about Capella.


Advisors know the details of your program. Got questions about courses? Instructors? Resources? Advisors have answers.


Our courses are taught by distinguished faculty members who hold top credentials and have hands-on expertise in their fields. They know what you need to know today.

Career center

For this team, it's more than resumes and interview tips. It's about thoughtful and strategic career planning—beyond graduation.

Relevant blog posts

Exploring 3 Public Administration Career Areas

Career paths in governance, nonprofit leadership, and community management are all related to an MPA.

Impact Public Policy with an MPH, MPA, or MHA

Interested in public policy? See how you can make change happen with an MPH, MPA, or MHA.

Move forward in your career

Here are just some of the career options you could explore with our Master of Public Administration degree.

Related Job Titles to Explore*

  • Management analyst
  • Executive director
  • Director of human resources
  • Budget analyst
  • Director of finance
  • Human resources specialist
  • Chief executive officer
  • Policy Analyst
  • City manager
  • Adjunct or part-time public administration faculty

Related Employment Settings to Explore

  • College or university
  • Community or technical college
  • Nonprofit organization
  • Government—local, state, federal
  • Hospital
  • Insurance carrier

*These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Some positions may prefer or even require previous experience, licensure, certifications, and/or other designations along with a degree. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title, a promotion, salary increase, or other career outcome. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals.

Other programs to explore

Is this program close to what you need, but maybe not a perfect fit? The programs below might be interesting. Check them out to find one that suits your academic and professional goals.

Ready for the Next Step?

Learning online doesn't mean going it alone. Help is here. From faculty, coaches, advisors, and more. Plus a supportive community of students who are as passionate about their careers as you are about yours.