The number of accelerated online Master’s in Public Administration degrees that are available today is a reflection of the ever-increasing need for strong, qualified candidates to fill leadership positions in the public sector. Because public administration is the architecture that keeps the American government and its various policies and programs operational, it is important to find professionals who are dedicated to serving the will of the people. Perhaps, the best way to do that is to encourage in-service professionals to earn their master’s in public administration.

But many civil servants do not have the time to attend a traditional school; that’s why it’s important to make them aware of the fact that accelerated online Master’s in Public Administration degree programs that are both flexible and affordable do exist. These programs are generally created to be completed in less than two years and are wholly online or have low-residency requirements. This ranking highlights some of the best schools in America that offer accelerated online graduate degrees in public administration.

Methodology

Methodology

Time to Completion

  • Less Than 2 Years: 1 point
  • Less Than 18 Months: 2 points
  • Less Than 1 Year: 3 points

Graduate Tuition

  • Less Than $20,000: 1 point
  • Less Than $15,000: 2 points
  • Less Than $10,000: 3 points
  • Less Than $5,000: 4 points

Accreditation (School-Wide and Program-Specific) – 1 point per item

Presence of an Online Student Support Network– 1 point

To develop this online accelerated MPA ranking, our editors began by conducting an extensive web search of available programs. An initial pool of 42 schools was created simply by searching for accelerated online master’s degrees in public administration. From there, we gathered information regarding tuition, accreditation, support services, and degree completion times from College Navigator as well as each program’s website. Finally, we applied the ranking methodology above. In cases of a tie, the more affordable program received the higher ranking.

Top 30 Low-Cost Accelerated Master’s in Public Administration

#30—Golden Gate University

San Francisco, California

Online Executive Master of Public Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 4

Golden Gate University - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

The accelerated executive MPA online offering from Golden Gate University features two optional concentrations:

  • Urban Innovations
  • Law Enforcement & Security

A general track is also available for students who desire a broader curriculum. Regardless of concentration, all students will take required core courses such as:

  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Budgeting and Financial Management
  • Public Enterprise Management and Public Sector Business Relations
  • Public Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation

A graduate research project is also required for successful program completion. The WASC Senior College and University Commission has accredited GGU to confer the accelerated master’s degree in public administration online. U.S. News & World Report has recognized the school as one of the best in the nation for public affairs graduate degrees.

Graduate Tuition: $19,620

#29—Fairfield University

Fairfield, Connecticut

Online Master of Public Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 4

Fairfield University - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

The 18-month accelerated online master of public administration program from Fairfield University is a comprehensive 42-credit hour offering. Required courses for the degree include:

  • Introduction to Public Administration
  • Human Resource Management
  • Research Methods
  • Financial Management and Budgeting
  • Leadership

A wide range of elective classes is also offered, enabling students to concentrate their studies in a particular area of public administration. Some sample electives include:

  • Managing People for Competitive Advantage
  • Grant Writing
  • The Dynamics and Challenges of Administrative Corruption
  • Economics of the Nonprofit Sector

Both fully online and hybrid tracks are available. The New England Commission of Higher Education has accredited Fairfield University to confer the online MPA credential. The school has been ranked among the top 5 regional universities in the North by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $18,795

#28—Norwich University

Northfield, Vermont

Master of Public Administration Online

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 4

Norwich University - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

Norwich University offers a highly versatile accelerated online master’s in public administration featuring seven distinct concentration options:

  • Criminal Justice and Public Safety
  • Fiscal Management
  • Municipal Governance
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Policy Analysis and Analytics
  • Public Administration Leadership and Crisis Management
  • Procurement and Government Contract Management

Regardless of concentration, all students will take core courses such as Public Organization Resources and Processes, Foundations of Public Administration and Policy, and Public Administration Research and Analysis. A capstone paper or project is also required as is a week-long on-campus residency. All other program requirements can be completed fully online. Norwich University holds institutional accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education to award the accelerated master’s of public administration online. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the best colleges and universities in the country for graduate public affairs degrees.

Graduate Tuition: $17,904

#27—Northcentral University

La Jolla, California

Online Public Administration Master’s

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 19 Months

Points: 4

Northcentral University - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

As the most versatile accelerated MPA online offering in our ranking, Northcentral University’s online Master of Public Administration program features a dozen different specialty options:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Financial Management
  • Computer and Information Security
  • Human Resource Management
  • Management Information Systems
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Homeland Security
  • Health Care Administration
  • Management of Engineering and Technology
  • Management
  • Project Management
  • Strategic Management

Regardless of concentration, students will take core courses in public management such as:

  • Quality Management in Public Administration
  • Public Budgeting and Finance
  • Government and the Public Interest
  • Organizational Behavior and Theory
  • Public Policy Process

A capstone seminar is also required for program completion. The WASC Senior College and University Commission has accredited Northcentral University to award the online masters public administration degree.

Graduate Tuition: $16,983

#26—Hilbert College

Hamburg, New York

Master of Public Administration Online

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 16 Months

Points: 5

Hilbert College - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

The online accelerated MPA program from Hilbert College is heavily research-based. Designed for full-time working professionals, the program is delivered via a cohort model and can be completed within just 16 months of study. The curriculum for the program is prescribed and includes course titles such as:

  • Political & Policy Analysis
  • Values and Ethics in Public Administration
  • Finance & Budgeting
  • Program Planning & Evaluation

An internship may also be required prior to graduation. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has accredited Hilbert College to award the online MPA credential.

Graduate Tuition: $19,920

#25—Gannon University

Erie, Pennsylvania

Online Master’s Public Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 1 Year

Points: 5

Gannon University - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

Students enrolled in the accelerated online master’s in public administration program from Gannon University can choose from two different specializations:

  • Organizational Leadership
  • Administrative

A custom track is also available. The program can be completed in just one year of full-time study, and courses are taught by expert practitioners in the field of public administration. Gannon University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education to award the accelerated MPA online. It’s been recognized as a top national university by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $19,170

#24—Franklin University

Columbus, Ohio

Online Master Public Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 17 Months

Points: 5

Franklin University - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

Franklin University’s accelerated MPA online offering features three optional pathways:

  • Criminal Justice Administration
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Human Resources

Despite concentration choice, all students will take 32 credit hours of core MPA classes such as

  • Managing Personnel & Information Systems
  • Strategy, Collaboration & Communication
  • Financial Management & Budgeting
  • Management Decision Making Methods

A public administration capstone course is also required prior to graduation. The Higher Learning Commission has extended institutional accreditation to Franklin University to offer this online accelerated master of public administration. It’s been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top colleges and universities in the nation for a graduate degree in public affairs.

Graduate Tuition: $16,080

#23—University of Colorado-Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs, Colorado

MPA Online

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 5

University of Colorado-Colorado Springs - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

Offered through the School of Public Affairs, the online accelerated MPA from the University of Colorado- Colorado Springs is a multidisciplinary option designed to be completed within just 18 months. Enrolled students have the option to complete their degree entirely online or via a blended learning format. Core courses required for the degree include:

  • Organizational Management and Behavior
  • The Policy Process and Democracy
  • Economics and Public Finance
  • Research and Analytic Methods

In addition to coursework, an internship may also be required. The University of Colorado-Colorado Springs is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the top colleges and universities nationwide for a graduate degree in public affairs.

Graduate Tuition: $13,912

#22—Arizona State University

Phoenix, Arizona

Online Executive Master of Public Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 19 Months

Points: 5

Arizona State University - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

Offered in collaboration with the school’s McCain Institute for International Leadership, the online accelerated MPA from Arizona State University is an executive MPA—or EMPA—program designed to be completed within 19 months. The curriculum for the program consists of ten different courses such as:

  • Microeconomics of Public Policy
  • Strategic Planning for Public Sector Leaders
  • Data Analytics for the Public Good

Although coursework can be completed online, some face-to-face sessions in Phoenix and Washington, D.C. may be required. Applicants must have at least five years of experience in the field to be eligible for admission. ASU holds its institutional accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school’s accelerated online MPA among the 20 best graduate public affairs programs in the nation.

Graduate Tuition: $11,720

#21—Anna Maria College

Paxton, Massachusetts

Online MPA

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: Less Than 2 Years

Points: 5

Anna Maria College - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

The accelerated online MPA program from Anna Maria College is a mid-career track designed for professionals with a minimum of four years of prior experience in the field. Students enrolled in this track can eliminate some of the required courses for the degree and earn their credentials in less than two years. Sample course titles associated with the 36-credit hour MPA curriculum include:

  • Strategic Management of Human Capital
  • Management Statistics for Public Managers
  • Executive Leadership
  • Public Policy

The New England Commission of Higher Education has accredited Anna Maria College to offer the master’s in public administration online. U.S. News & World Report has recognized the school as one of the leading regional universities in the North.

Graduate Tuition: $10,530

#20—Barry University

Miami, Florida

Master Public Administration Online

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 14 Months

Points: 6

Barry University - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

Barry University offers an accelerated master of public administration online program that is both comprehensive and student-centered. Designed to be completed in just over a year of full-time study, the program features a 36-credit hour curriculum comprised of 10 core courses, two elective classes, and a capstone project. Core course titles include:

  • Public Planning and Growth Management
  • Values and Ethics in Administration
  • Public Law and Administration
  • Public Policy Analysis and Evaluation

Barry University holds institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the MPA credential. It is also a member of the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the best colleges and universities in the country for a graduate degree in public affairs.

Graduate Tuition: $17,820

#19—Lynn University

Boca Raton, Florida

Online MPA

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 1 Year

Points: 6

Lynn University - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

The robust master of public administration offering from Lynn University is an accelerated online MPA program that can be completed in just one year of study. After completing a graduate orientation seminar, students will take foundation courses like:

  • Public Institutions, Public Policy & Democracy
  • Administrative and Regulatory Law
  • Nonprofit Leadership
  • Public Economic Development and Regulations

Another 18 credit hours of advanced coursework is also required, including course titles such as:

  • Persuasion and Social Change
  • Marketing Management in a Global Economy
  • Communication and Media Technologies
  • Seminar in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

An applied research project in public administration is also required as a culminating element of the program. Lynn University is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the accelerated MPA online. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the 65 best regional universities in the South.

Graduate Tuition: $13,320

#18—Colorado Christian University

Lakewood, Colorado

Online Master’s in Public Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 15 Months

Points: 6

Colorado Christian University - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

Offered through the school’s College of Adult and Graduate Studies, Colorado Christian University’s online accelerated master’s in public administration program is designed to be completed in just 15 months. Students are only required to take one course at a time, so even working professionals can juggle the course load and keep their full-time jobs. Required courses for the degree include:

  • Public Information and Civic Engagement
  • Organizational Systems and Change Management
  • Governmental Law
  • Public Personnel Management

Colorado Christian is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission to offer the online MPA. U.S. News & World Report has recognized the school as one of the top regional universities in the West.

Graduate Tuition: $13,045

#17—California Baptist University

Riverside, California

MPA Online

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 1 Year

Points: 6

California Baptists University

The master of public administration online offering from California Baptist University is a highly accelerated, yet comprehensive offering that allows students to earn their MPA degree in just one year. The 36-credit hour curriculum for the program includes core courses such as:

  • Public Finance and Budgeting
  • History and Theory of Public Administration
  • Public Personnel Management
  • Conflict Resolution & Labor Negotiations

As a culminating element of the program, students have the option to either complete a research thesis or a project and comprehensive exam. California Baptist University is fully accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission to award the online MPA credential. U.S. News & World Report has named it one of the best schools in the nation for a graduate degree in the field of public affairs.

Graduate Tuition: $12,830

#16—Aurora University

Aurora, Illinois

Master of Public Administration Online

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 1 Year

Points: 6

Aurora University - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

The accelerated Master of Public Administration online option from Aurora University emphasizes the real-world application of skills. The program is offered on both a part-time and full-time basis, and full-time students can earn their MPA credentials in just one year. Enrolled students will fulfill the required 36 credit hours of coursework by taking core courses such as:

  • Administration of Public Institutions
  • Public Finance and Budgeting Economics
  • Government and Community Relations

Elective offerings include:

  • Public Sector Law and Civil Liability
  • Principles of Community and Economic Development
  • Public Safety Administration

Students also have the option of taking a Leadership Series consisting of course titles like Strategic Management and Leading Organizational Development. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Aurora University to award this online graduate degree in public administration. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the country’s best national universities.

Graduate Tuition: $12,600

#15—Trevecca Nazarene University

Nashville, Tennessee

Master of Public Administration Online

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 6

Trevecca Nazarene University

The accelerated MPA online offering from Trevecca Nazarene University is a versatile 18-month program that features five distinct concentrations:

  • Healthcare
  • Data Analytics
  • Project Management
  • Management of Leadership
  • Human Resources

The curriculum for the program consists of core courses such as:

  • Analytics for Public Administration
  • Change Management and Strategic Planning for Complex Public/Nonprofit Organizations
  • Public Policy
  • Organizational Leadership and Behavior

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited Trevecca Nazarene University to award the MPA credential online. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the best national universities in the country.

Graduate Tuition: $9,917

#14—Liberty University

Lynchburg, Virginia

Online Master of Public Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 6

Liberty University - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

The accelerated MPA online program from Liberty University is one of the most versatile offerings in our ranking, featuring six different specialization options. These tracks include:

  • Business and Government
  • Disaster Management
  • Healthcare
  • Law and Public Policy
  • Fire Administration
  • Public and Nonprofit Management

Regardless of concentration, all enrolled students will take core courses in public administration. A thesis is optional, but not required. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited the school to offer this online master of public administration. U.S. News & World Report has recognized Liberty as one of the top national universities in the United States.

Graduate Tuition: $7,980

#13—Corban University

Salem, Oregon

Online Master of Public Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 1 Year

Points: 7

Corban University - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

Students enrolled in the accelerated online Master of Public Administration degree program from Corban University can finish their degree in just one year taking just one course at a time. The 30-credit hour curriculum for the program consists of course titles like:

  • Public Sector Human Resource Management
  • Business Strategy and Entrepreneurship
  • Finance Reporting and Control
  • Managing Public Sector Institutions

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities has accredited Corban University to offer the accelerated MPA online. It’s been ranked among the top 10 regional universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $9,730

#12—Touro University- Worldwide

Los Alamitos, California

Online Master of Arts in Public Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 1 Year

Points: 7

Touro University Worldwide - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

Touro University-Worldwide offers a convenient and affordable online MPA program designed to be completed in just one year of full-time study. No GRE or GMAT is required for admission to the program, and students can take advantage of six convenient start dates per year. Once enrolled, students will take required courses such as:

  • Public Administration in a Multicultural Society
  • Ethics in Public Administration
  • Law and Public Policy
  • Introduction to Public Policy Analysis
  • Contemporary Issues in Public Administration

Touro University-Worldwide is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission to award the Master of Public Administration online.

Graduate Tuition: $9,000

#11—Murray State University

Murray, Kentucky

MPA Online

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 1 Year

Points: 7

Murray State University - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

Murray State University offers its versatile, accelerated online MPA program through its College of Humanities and Fine Arts and the Department of Political Science and Sociology. The 12-month program features five concentration options:

  • Non-Profit Leadership Studies
  • Health Administration
  • Public & Community Health
  • Economic Development
  • Public Management

Regardless of concentration, the core curriculum for the program will consist of required course titles such as:

  • Public Budgeting and Finance
  • Foundations of Public Administration
  • Public Policy Analysis
  • Human Resource Administration

A capstone course is also required for successful program completion. Murray State is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the accelerated master of public administration online. U.S. News & World Report has named it one of the best graduate schools in the nation for a public affairs degree.

Graduate Tuition: $8,214

#10—Troy University

Troy, Alabama

MPA Online

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 15 Months

Points: 7

Troy University - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

The accelerated online MPA from Troy University is a versatile program that enables students to complete their coursework fully online or via a blended learning model. The curriculum for the program demands a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework, including core classes such as:

  • Public Human Resource Management
  • Ethics in Public Administration
  • Governmental Budgeting and Financial Management
  • Research Methods in Public Administration

The remaining credit hours will be comprised of elective classes. Troy University is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to confer the graduate credential in public administration. The school has been ranked among the top 75 regional universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $7,650

#9—San Diego State University

San Diego, California

Online Master of Public Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 16 Months

Points: 7

San Diego State University - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

Designed for professionals already working in the field of public affairs, the accelerated master of public administration online from San Diego State University can be completed within just 16 months. Courses comprising the 36-credit hour curriculum for the program include:

  • Administration and Public Policy Development
  • Public Financial Management
  • Administrative Theory
  • Public Personnel Administration

San Diego State is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission to award the online MPA credential. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the 75 best colleges and universities for a graduate degree in public affairs.

Graduate Tuition: $7,176

#8—University of Louisiana-Monroe

Monroe, Louisiana

Master of Public Administration Online

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 1 Year

Points: 7

University of Louisiana  Monroe - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

The online master’s in public administration program from the University of Louisiana- Monroe features a fast-track option that allows students to earn their degree in just one year. The program’s curriculum is comprised of 36 credit hours of coursework and includes concentrations in:

  • Administration of Health
  • Public Management
  • Administration of Education
  • Management
  • Administration of Justice

Regardless of concentration, students will take core courses such as:

  • Ethics and Public Administration
  • Intergovernmental Relations
  • Public Budgeting and Finance
  • Analysis of Political and Administrative Data

ULM holds its institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. U.S. News & World Report has ranked it among the top national universities in the country.

Graduate Tuition: $6,490

#7—Lamar University

Beaumont, Texas

MPA Online

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 16 Months

Points: 7

Lamar University - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

Lamar University’s accelerated online master’s in public administration offering is a comprehensive program that can be completed within just 16 months of fully online study. The 36-credit hour curriculum for the program is prescriptive and includes 12 core courses. Some of these classes include:

  • Disaster Policy
  • Ethics and Morality in Public Administration
  • Public Organization
  • Constitutional Law for Public Administration

A comprehensive exam is also required for successful program completion. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited Lamar to confer the graduate MPA credential. The school has also been ranked among the top national universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $6,324

#6—University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley

Edinburg, Texas

Online MPA

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 1 Year

Points: 7

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley offers an accelerated online MPA from its College of Liberal Arts and the Department of Public Affairs & Security Studies. Coursework for the program is delivered via 7-week modules, and students taking two courses per module can finish their degree in just one year. The 36-credit hour curriculum for the program features core courses such as:

  • Policy Implementation/Program Evaluation
  • Budgeting and Finance
  • Political Leadership: Decision Making/Management
  • Students can also choose from elective offerings like:
  • Formulation of Public Policy
  • Public Service Ethics
  • Management of Governmental Information System

UT-Rio Grande Valley is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. U.S. News & World Report has recognized the school as one of the nation’s best for graduate degrees in public affairs.

Graduate Tuition: $5,959

#5—Clayton State University

Morrow, Georgia

Online Masters in Public Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 1 Year

Points: 7

Clayton State University - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

The accelerated online masters in public administration from Clayton State University features concentrations in both General Administration and Policy and Criminal Justice. The program’s fast-track option enables students to complete all degree requirements within just 12 months of study. Once enrolled, students will take core courses such as Local Government Administration and Finance, Human Resource Management for Administrators, and Ethical and Legal Issues in Public Administration, for example. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has fully accredited Clayton State to confer the online MPA. U.S. News & World Report has ranked it among the best regional universities in the South.

Graduate Tuition: $5,760

#4—University of Colorado-Denver

Denver, Colorado

Online MPA

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 1 Year

Points: 8

University of Colorado Denver - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

The University of Colorado-Denver offers a highly accelerated online master of public administration program through its renowned School of Public Affairs. The curriculum for the program is designed to be completed within one year of full-time study and includes core courses such as The Policy Process and Democracy, Economics and Public Finance, Evidence-Based Decision Making, and Public Service Leadership and Ethics. Students will also take four elective classes prior to graduation. These electives may be selected strategically to fulfill the requirements for one of eight available concentrations:

  • Gender-Based Violence
  • Local Government
  • Environmental Policy and Management
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Public Policy Analysis
  • Education Policy
  • Disasters, Hazards, and Emergency Management
  • Emergency Management and Homeland Security

UC-Denver holds institutional accreditation by The Higher Learning Commission. Its online MPA is separately accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the 25 best colleges and universities for graduate degrees in public affairs.

Graduate Tuition: $6,786

#3—Texas Southern University

Houston, Texas

Online EMPA

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 16 Months

Points: 8

Texas Southern University - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

The accelerated online masters in public administration from Texas Southern University is an executive MPA program designed to be completed within 16 months. Offered through the school’s Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs, the program is ideal for mid-career professionals. Though coursework can be completed online, students can expect brief face-to-face meetings once or twice per semester. TSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to confer the online MPA via an accelerated format. The program itself also holds special accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). U.S. News & World Report has recognized it as one of the best graduate programs in public affairs nationwide.

Graduate Tuition: $5,487

#2—Arkansas State University

Jonesboro, Arkansas

Online Master of Public Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 8

Arkansas State University - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

The accelerated online MPA offering from Arkansas State University features tracks in both Public Management and Non-Profit Management. The 36-credit hour curriculum for the program features core courses such as Techniques of Political and Public Administration Research, Grant Writing and Administration, and Public Budgeting and Finance, for instance. Depending on the concentration they choose, students will also take specialization classes like Administrative Behavior, Public Policy Analysis and Evaluation, Nonprofit Planning and Marketing, and Nonprofit Fundraising and Financial Management. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Arkansas State to award the accelerated MPA online degree. The program itself also holds accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).

Graduate Tuition: $4,986

#1—University of Texas at the Permian Basin

Odessa, Texas

Online Master of Public Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 1 Year

Points: 8

University of Texas at the Permian Basin - Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Administration Online

The accelerated online master’s in public administration from the University of Texas at the Permian Basin is a comprehensive 36-credit hour offering designed for working professionals. Convenient scheduling options enable students to complete their degree requirements within just 12 months, and there are six flexible start dates per year. Core courses required for the program include Public Personnel Administration, Leadership and Public Policy, Public Budgeting, and Public Leadership and Ethics, for example. Elective offerings include Marketing Management, Financial Management for Public and Nonprofit Organizations, and Organizational Behavior. UTPB is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award this affordable online master of public administration via an accelerated format. The school has been ranked among the top 100 regional universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $4,594

About the Field of Public Administration

Public administration is a necessary but often overlooked field in America today. From city managers to mayors to federal justices and even the White House, public administration professionals can be found at every level of the American government system. These public sector professionals work together to provide Americans with a working government prepared to help them in their time of need. Professionals who are interested in advancing their careers in this field are encouraged to take a look at this ranking of accelerated online Master’s in Public Administration degrees and choose the one that will help them reach their goals.

If you want to make a meaningful impact on your community, state, or even country, then the field of public administration may be the ideal field for you. With an advanced degree in this field, you’ll hone your leadership skills and learn the essential principles of policy development and analysis needed to make a real difference. An MPA can open doors to top positions in government, public service, and nonprofit organizations.

About Master of Public Administration (MPA) Programs

Often compared to master’s degrees in business administration, or MBAs, Master of Public Administration (MPA) degrees focus more on the leadership skills required for positions in government and other public sector organizations as opposed to executive positions in the private sector. As a result, these graduate degree programs address topics like policy analysis, program development and evaluation, nonprofit management, and policymaking.

About Accelerated Online Master of Public Administration (MPA) Degrees

Master of Public Administration, or MPA, degree programs are high-level academic pursuits that require a great deal of time and effort. Thanks to advancements in distance learning technology, they’re no longer out of reach for busy or working adults who desire a leadership position in public administration. Online accelerated MPA programs enable students to earn their credentials quickly and without the hassle of attending classes on campus. These flexible programs are often available from top colleges and universities around the country, and many of them are taught by the same faculty members who teach on-campus classes.

For the purposes of this ranking, an accelerated program refers to any MPA option that can be completed in less than two years, which is the standard completion time for a traditional master’s degree program. Accelerated programs can vary in terms of completion time, though. The minimum completion time for the programs featured in our ranking ranges from 12 to 22 months, for example.

Types of Accelerated Online MPA Programs

The completion time isn’t the only thing that can vary from one online accelerated MPA program to the next. Other factors may distinguish these graduate degrees in public affairs from one another. These include content format and delivery.

Fully Online Versus Hybrid Accelerated MPA Options

While some accelerated Master of Public Administration programs are offered completely online, some require infrequent visits to campus. These face-to-face meetings may be required for the purpose of orientation, networking, workshops, or practicums, for example. If you’re concerned about the flexibility of the program, be sure to speak with an admissions counselor about any on-campus requirements.

Synchronous Versus Asynchronous Accelerated Online MPAs

Whether or not your accelerated online MPA program is offered entirely online or via a hybrid format, the course delivery method for the program can also vary. Generally speaking, this method will be either synchronous, asynchronous, or a combination of the two. Synchronous programs are more structured and require students to be online at specific times of the day or week. Once logged in to their learning platforms, students enrolled in a synchronous MPA online program will view live lectures and participate in real-time discussions with classmates. In this way, synchronous online programs tend to be more interactive and are also more engaging for some students. Asynchronous online Master of Public Administration programs are less structured and provide students with greater flexibility in terms of when they access course content. Students enrolled in these types of programs can log into their virtual classrooms at their convenience to view prerecorded lectures and post comments to discussion forums.

Accelerated Online MPA Admissions

Before seriously entertaining the idea of earning your accelerated MPA online, you’ll need to consider whether or not you have what it takes to gain entry into such a program. While requirements for admission will vary from one program to another, there are some overlaps. For instance, nearly all Master of Public Administration programs will require that applicant’s hold a bachelor’s degree of some sort, but some programs are more particular about specific undergraduate coursework, requiring that students have an academic background in fields like economics, sociology, or government, for example.

Another common component of admissions criteria for accelerated online MPA programs is GPA. Most schools require a minimum grade point average, but this exact GPA specification can vary. The majority of schools like to see GPA numbers around 3.0 or higher.

When applying to any master’s degree program, there is a possibility that you’ll need to take and pass a graduate entrance examination such as the GRE or GMAT. An online accelerated Master of Public Administration program is no exception. Some colleges and universities will waive this requirement, though, especially for students experienced in the field of public affairs.

Accelerated Online Master of Public Administration (MPA): Curriculum

Public administration is an interdisciplinary field that is both an academic discipline and a practice-based discipline concerned with the professional preparation of public servants. The field is focused on diplomacy, government, public policy, the law, politics, economics, logistics, administration, and leadership. Students will also learn about human resources, organizational theory, policy analysis, statistics, budgeting, and ethics.

However, public administration is a broad term that also makes an appearance as a position in the nonprofit sector. This means that professionals in the field may be required to understand international affairs and diplomacy, international law, nonprofit management, fundraising, networking, and more. Professionals in this field may also need to understand culture and linguistics if working abroad.

Requiring approximately 40 credit hours of coursework on average, the curriculum for an accelerated online MPA program can vary depending on the school you attend. Generally speaking, though, coursework for these degree plans will be characterized by core MPA courses and concentration-specific classes.

Core MPA Classes

As an accelerated MPA online student, much of your coursework will be comprised of core MPA classes. These courses address advanced topics in public administration and management that can be applied to various sub-fields and occupations. Example course titles include:

  • Public Policy and Analysis
  • Urban Planning and Social Policy
  • Scope of Public Administration
  • Public Financial Management
  • Management of Public Sector Organizations
  • Community Economic Development

Online MPA Capstones

Many accelerated online master of public administration programs also require a capstone as a culminating element of the degree program. These projects or experiences enable students to demonstrate what they’ve learned over the duration of the MPA program. Often, capstones will encourage students to apply their learning to a real-world scenario. Capstone requirements vary by program but may include scholarly research projects, practicum experiences, and even internships.

Accelerated MPA Online: Concentrations

Since the field of public administration is so broad, it’s not uncommon for colleges and universities to offer their accelerated online MPA students several different concentration options. Below, we list some of the popular concentrations associated with Master of Public Administration Degree programs:

Urban Planning/Management

An accelerated online MPA with a concentration in Urban Planning/Management prepares students to take on leadership roles in local management positions, including city and regional managers. Courses associated with the concentration may include:

  • Planning Law and Legal Frameworks of Planning
  • Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility
  • Management of Urban Government

Law Enforcement/Criminal Justice

Another popular concentration for online Master of Public Administration programs is the emphasis in Law Enforcement/Criminal Justice. These programs are specifically designed for professionals in the criminal justice and law enforcement fields who want to advance in their careers and take on greater responsibilities within their occupation. Same course titles required for such a concentration may include:

  • Advanced Administration of Criminal Justice
  • Law Enforcement Ethics, Training, and Accountability
  • Adult and Juvenile Correction Systems

Fiscal Management/Public Finance

Accelerated online MPA programs with a concentration in Fiscal Management/Public Finance prepares graduates to handle large-scale budgets for government agencies and nonprofits. These specialized programs may feature course titles like the ones listed below:

  • Fiscal Management Accounting and Contracting
  • Microeconomics of the Public Sector
  • Management of Local Economic Development

Nonprofit Management

The accelerated online master’s in public administration offering with a concentration in Nonprofit Management prepares graduates with the specific skills they’ll need to successfully navigate leadership positions within a nonprofit agency. Classes comprising the curriculum for this concentration may include:

  • Resource Development, Management & Efficiency by Nonprofit Organizations
  • Ethics and Social Change
  • Public, Private and Nonprofit Collaboration

Policy Analysis and Analytics

Specifically tailored for those professionals in the field of public administration who deal directly with policymaking, the concentration in Policy Analysis and Analytics addresses the critical skills needed to thrive in a policy-related role, including the software applications used in policy and data analysis. Course titles comprising the curriculum for such a specialty may include:

  • Politics, Policy, and Planning
  • Tools for Policy Analysis
  • Data Analysis and Modeling for Public Affairs

Human Resource Management

One of the most common concentrations for accelerated online MPA students, the human resource management specialization trains graduates to become human resource managers for government and public service organizations. Course titles associated with this type of MPA program include:

  • Organizational Training and Development
  • Compensation Analysis and Benefits Planning
  • Labor Relations

Healthcare Administration

An accelerated online MPA program with a specialization in Healthcare Administration prepares graduated to take on high-level leadership positions in the healthcare sector. Some of these roles include hospital operations managers, provider relations managers, hospital directors, healthcare program directors, and more. Courses one may take in an online MPA program with a concentration in Healthcare Administration may include:

  • Legal and Ethical Principles in Health Care
  • Strategic Planning and Program Evaluation in Health Care
  • Managing Change in Health Care Organizations

Other Accelerated Online MPA Concentrations

There are plenty of other concentrations available for online MPA students. Some of these include:

  • Management of Engineering and Technology
  • Computer and Information Security
  • Strategic Management
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Public Administration Leadership and Crisis Management
  • Procurement and Government Contract Management
  • Emergency Management
  • Homeland Defense and Security
  • Public Sector Management

In some cases, an online MPA program may include options for students to create their own custom concentration by strategically selecting elective classes aligned with their academic interests and career goals.

Frequently-Searched Accelerated Online MPA Programs

Our editors researched the most frequently-searched online accelerated Master of Public Administration degree programs. Below are the results:

Arizona State University-Online Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA): Applicants to the accelerated online MPA program from Arizona State University must have a minimum of 5 years of experience in a leadership role to secure admission. Some face-to-face components are required for this primarily online program.

Arkansas State University-Master of Public Administration Online: The 36-credit hour online MPA offering from Arkansas State University features tracks in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management. This NASPAA-accredited program can be completed in just 18 months.

Johns Hopkins University-Online MA in Public Management- The accelerated online master of public administration option from Johns Hopkins University can be completed within 16-24 months, depending on course load. Concentrations include Public Administration and Leadership, Public Policy Evaluation, and Public Financial Management and Budgeting.

Liberty University-Offered through the Helms School of Government, Liberty University’s accelerated online MPA is a versatile program featuring six different options for specialization. Full-time students can complete degree requirements within just 18 months.

Frequently Asked Questions About Accelerated MPA Online Programs

It’s normal to have concerns before embarking on a serious academic endeavor like a master’s degree in public administration. When evaluating online accelerated MPA programs, you may feel like you have more questions than answers. We’re here to help you with that. Below you will find some of the most commonly asked questions about these convenient master’s degrees. As you’re considering this information, keep in mind that it is general in nature and not meant to replace advisement from a particular school’s admissions counselor or other representative.

Q: How quickly can I earn my MPA online?

A: Completion time for accelerated online Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs vary. The shortest degree plans in our ranking are the one-year MPA options.

Q: What does an online accelerated MPA cost?

A: Tuition costs vary widely from one program to the next. While some of the programs in our ranking cost less than $5,000 a year, there are other MPAs associated with tuition expenses of $30,000 or more annually. Whatever the cost, keep in mind that financial aid is often available in the form of loans, scholarships, and grants.

Q: Can I pursue an online MPA part-time?

A: Yes. Many online master of public administration programs feature part-time tracks, but these are not often accelerated in nature. In fact, they may take more than two years to complete. To finish your degree quickly, you’ll likely have to study full-time.

Q: How do I choose the best accelerated online master’s in public administration program?

A: The best MPA program is the one that best suits your needs and career goals. Some factors to consider include scheduling options, curriculum, tuition, and accreditation, for example.

Career Questions for an Accelerated Online Master of Public Administration Degree

Choosing the right online accelerated MPA program is just the first step. After graduation, you’ll find yourself with many career-related decisions to make as well. Here are some of the questions we often receive about MPA careers:

Q: What career options will I have with an online MPA credential?

A: There are many possible career choices for online MPA graduates, but it will depend on your prior experience and any concentrations or specializations you elect to pursue while enrolled in your specific master of public administration program. Below, you will find some job titles commonly associated with MPA graduates:

  • City Manager
  • Public Administration Consultant
  • Budget Director
  • Nonprofit Organization Director
  • Nonprofit Executive
  • Business Development Director
  • Public Affairs Director
  • Policy Analyst
  • Speechwriter
  • Administration Consultant
  • Director of Development
  • Mayor
  • Foreign Service Officer
  • Budget Analyst
  • Urban Planner

Q: How much will I make with an online MPA degree?

A: The current average salary for public administrators is nearly $68,00, according to PayScale. Your exact pay will depend on a number of different factors like experience in the field and geographical location, for instance. Also, professionals should note that some positions may require additional educational training beyond the master’s level as well as certifications or endorsements.

Q: What professional organizations should I join with an online Master’s of Public Administration?

A: As an MPA holder, you’ll have many choices regarding professional association membership. Here are some organizations to consider:

  • American Public Works Association
  • International City/Council Management Association
  • Alliance for Nonprofit Management
  • American Society for Public Administration
  • American Planning Association
  • Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management
  • International Public Management Association for Human Resources
  • International Economic Development Council
  • American Evaluation Association

This concludes our ranking of the Top 30 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Public Administration Online.

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