Public Administration Public Administration

Master of Public Administration

Grow as a leader in public administration

Take your experience as a public administration professional further. The Capella online Master of Public Administration (MPA) uses a practitioner-scholar model that helps you take what you learn in coursework and apply it in the real world. As part of this interdisciplinary curriculum, you’ll develop skills to collaborate with diverse populations and manage people, technology, finances, and other resources that add up to improving well-being on a societal level. This master’s program is designed to help you prepare for one of a number of available public administration careers.

At a Glance

  • Online
  • 7 Core courses
  • 4 Elective courses
  • 2 Concentrations
  • 1 Integrative project
  • 48 Total quarter credits
  • 12 Max transfer credits

Classes Start April 12th

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 WINTER).

MPA program highlights

Real-world skills

Designed to develop your skills, knowledge, and theories, the MPA program can help increase your professional impact.

Built-in master’s-to-doctoral pathway

Designed to meet NASPAA and ASPA standards, the curriculum offers you opportunities to learn valuable industry skills.

No wasted time

The MPA program allows you to apply what you’ve learned in courses and put public administration policies and processes in place.

3 out of 4 current Capella students say they are satisfied or very satisfied with their experience at Capella

Source: Ruffalo Noel Levitz Priorities Survey for Online Learners, 2016.

The MPA for public service professionals

Created to help you lead, communicate, and ethically create change in human, social, and economic challenges.

91% of alumni agree Capella gave them the flexibility to graduate on schedule.

Source: Gallup Research Study, 2016.

Get the support you need for success

You’ll never go it alone at Capella. Our dedicated support teams are waiting to help you through every step of your educational journey.

Enrollment counselors

These folks are superstars. We hear it from our students (and grads). They’re here to help find a program fit and set you up for success.

Financial aid counselors

First they listen. Then they act—for you. Running the numbers, exploring ways to save, and making the financing of your education simpler.


Want to learn more about courses, instructors, or resources? Ask our advisors—they know all about the details of your program.

Career center

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

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. 

A structured learning format with an active peer community and faculty guidance. 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.


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

Ways to save

Affording your education shouldn’t be an obstacle to reaching your goals. We can help you find ways you can save on your degree.

$3K toward your master's

Apply for a $3K Capella Progress Reward, a scholarship to help fund your master’s degree.

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.

MPA 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

What you’ll learn

The right education can change everything. Discover your path to gaining real-world skills that help you build leadership qualities to help move you forward in your career. 

  • Resolve conflict using citizen involvement, informed decision-making, and leadership.
  • Implement fair solutions for diverse populations in the global community.
  • Set up public administration policies and administration processes.
  • Apply professional ethics and integrity.
  • Communicate effectively across the public administration discipline.
  • Manage public administration resources.

Public administration insights

Exploring Five Careers in Public Administration

Discover five exciting careers in government agencies and nonprofit organizations that MPA graduates can pursue.

What is Public Administration?

If you’re considering a career in public administration, learn the five key elements you should know about the field.

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

Read full interview »

Mike Horgen
Master of Public Administration
Actual Capella student who agreed to appear in promotional materials for Capella.

Public administration professional paths

Your education can help you reach your goals, professionally and personally. Here are some of the jobs and employment settings to consider with an MPA.

Related job titles to explore*

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

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.