Master of Public Affairs/Administration (MPA) and Master of Public Policy (MPP) programs emphasize broad-based fundamentals in policy analysis and management, while allowing you to pursue a specialization through courses in an area of focus. These programs generally offer graduates the knowledge of values, roles, skills and practices that will help them become competent professionals capable of ethical, intelligent and creative leadership in the public service.
Most faculty that teach in areas of public affairs, policy and administration have diverse academic backgrounds, offer a variety of philosophical and practical approaches to public service, and boast a wide range of research interests. Many of the courses you will take will reflect similar goals of courses in MBA programs in that they focus on some of the core attributes to management including economic theory, statistical analysis, effective management, and budget/financial management. Additionally, the coursework is intended to endow students with practical abilities in problem-solving, program analysis, evaluation and implementation.
Most MPA/MPP programs also provide options for students to pursue certificate programs and/or dual degrees in areas like public health, urban planning, and international studies to name a few.
These kinds of programs prepare students for career employment as supervisors, managers, and decision makers in the public sector, including local, state, and federal government agencies. Many successful MPA/MPP candidates also go onto employment in similar capacities in the non profit sector.
If you are thinking about taking your interest in public service to the international level, there are certainly a number of ways those interests can manifest into a career serving the international community. Aside from the numerous career options you could pursue following your graduate study, you will also find that there are a number of ways for you to gain first hand international experience while you’re still in school. There are a number of master’s programs that offer you the opportunity to pursue academic courses, language study, and internship opportunities while you are working on your degree. There is also a consortium of institutions that offer students the chance to participate in the Peace Corps program while they study as well (see the Graduate School general page for more information).
Whether you would like work on U.S. foreign policy domestically, manage a nonprofit working on local refugee issues, or become a Foreign Service Officer with the USAID, the career opportunities are limitless.
Skills you’ve gained from study abroad will be useful in this field, regardless of whether you decide to work at home or abroad. This knowledge includes:
You will find that with an MPA/MPP under your belt the kind of career options available to you become much broader. Like an MBA, the MPA’s and MPP ‘s provide you with the fundamental skills you will need to be successful in a management position. Many successful candidates go on to pursue careers in local, state and federal government positions, however, there are also those who find equally gratifying careers in nonprofit management, international development, policy analysis/development, program management, legislation, research, and academia amongst others.
“I wanted to study Arabic in order to connect with my family, history, religion, and culture. I previously lived and worked in an Arabic-speaking country and wanted to learn Arabic more formally in order to maintain personal and professional...”
American Councils for International Education