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In this article, we profile the 30 most affordable private colleges for online master’s in public administration degrees for 2018.

A master’s degree in public administration is designed to equip individuals for careers as public administrators and leaders in government, nonprofits, and related organizations. The cost of an online MPA depends on various factors such as state residency and institution reputation, but many online programs can be completed at an accelerated rate, which offsets the degree cost.

For the purpose of this list, we looked at 85 private colleges and universities that offered online master’s in public administration degrees or closely related programs, such as the online MBA with specialization in public administration. To be included in this list, schools must be regionally or nationally accredited and offer the online program we were assessing. Also, the graduate tuition and fees, as collected from the National Center for Education Statistics (College Navigator) must cost less than $20,000 per year.

Below is our list of the 30 most affordable public administration master’s online degree programs from private colleges.

#30 – Villanova University

Online Master’s in Public Administration

Villanova, Pennsylvania

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,017

Villanova University’s online master’s in public administration is offered 100% online and with two optional specializations and three graduate certificates. Applicants must possess a bachelor’s from an accredited university and have at least three years of relevant work experience. The program is designed to provide working professionals advanced skills in public administration and management. The two specialization options include city management and nonprofit management. Some of the courses offered, regardless of the specialization selected, include analysis and research, financial management, organization theory, public administration theory, and public personnel management. Villanova is NASPAA-accredited and ranked with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 46th best national university and 48th best value school in the country.

#29 – Gannon University

Online Master of Public Administration

Erie, Pennsylvania

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,920

Gannon University offers a public administration master’s online program that is conveniently designed to fit the needs of working professionals. The MPA curriculum provides an interdisciplinary approach that places a strong emphasis on core business skills and leadership. Two areas of specialization are offered so that students may tailor their degree toward career goals and personal interests. These specializations include administrative and organizational leadership. There is also a customized track that allows students to choose electives from the specializations and create a degree that suits professional goals. Gannon is accredited and ranked with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Colleges ranks the school as the 48th best regional university in the North and 10th best value institution.

#28 – Barry University

Online Master of Public Administration

Miami, Florida

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,820

Barry University’s online public administration programs include the 36-credit hour online MPA. This completely online graduate degree is designed for adult learners with a focus on the administration of public, not-for-profit, and other organizations that serve public purpose. All courses are delivered online and include applied research methodologies, public law and administration, public planning and change management, public program analysis and evaluation, and values and ethics in public administration. Successful applicants for admission hold a bachelor’s from a regionally accredited institution, a current resume, two verifiable letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. Barry is an accredited and ranked university. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as a top national university.

#27 – Franklin University

Online Master of Public Administration

Columbus, Ohio

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,528

Franklin University’s public administration online master’s program is a customizable degree designed to prepare professionals to take on public administration leadership jobs. The online MPA requires no GMAT or GRE for admission and can be completed in just 17 months. All classes are delivered online and include financial management and budgeting, foundations of government and nonprofit administration, leading government and nonprofit organizations, managing personnel and information systems, and methodological reasoning and quantitative analysis. Applicants for admission must have an earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or better. Franklin is accredited and recognized by U.S. News and World Report as an unranked business school.

#26 – Capella University

Online Master of Public Administration

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,003

Capella University’s public administration master’s online degree is a customizable program with two specialized concentrations that allow students to tailor their degree toward areas of interest. The online MPA offers a concentration in human resource management or project management and consists of seven core courses, four electives, and one integrative project. The courses are taught by university professors and include ethics in the public sector, public sector budgeting, public sector policy analysis, and theories and concept in public administration. To be admitted to the program, students must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and have earned an undergraduate GPA of 2.3 or higher. There is no GRE or GMAT required for admission. Capella is recognized by U.S. News and World Report as an unranked national university.

#25 – Strayer University

Online Master of Public Administration

Washington, District of Columbia

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,520

The public administration online master’s from Strayer University is designed with the working professional in mind. Enrolled MPA students take 12 courses, entirely online, and gain skills necessary to work in various fields of public administration. All classes are taught by Strayer instructors and conveniently scheduled to accommodate the needs of working students. Some of the courses include constitutional and administrative law, introduction to public policy analysis, leadership and conflict resolution, policy analysis and program evaluation, and public personnel management. Strayer and its graduate programs are accredited, and the university has received recognition from major publications like U.S. News and World Report as an unranked regional university in the North.

#24 – Marist College

Online Master’s in Public Administration

Poughkeepsie, New York

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,040

The public administration master’s degree online program at Marist College is designed to prepare students to become leaders of public and nonprofit organizations. The program can be completed 100% online or as a hybrid degree. There are also three concentrations designed for students to tailor their degree toward areas of interest or to meet specific career goals. These concentrations include ethical leadership, healthcare administration, and public management. Some of the courses offered include human resource management in public organizations, politics and policy, and statistics for public managers. Admission to the program requires a completed application, official GRE scores taken within five years, and official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate schools attended. Marist is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 9th best regional university in the North and the 32nd best value school.

#23 – South University

Online Master of Public Administration

Savannah, Georgia

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,707

South University’s online public administration programs include the online MPA, which is designed to prepare students for leadership roles within organizational and government entities. Courses are delivered online and taught by South University professors. The program consists of 48 credits and includes classes like foundations of public administration, grant writing and contract administration, management of non-profit organizations, program evaluation of public and non-profit organizations, and strategic human resources management. South is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top regional university in the South, according to the latest edition of Best Colleges. South University is accredited and listed among the most affordable schools for an online MPA.

#22 – Walden University

Online Master of Public Administration

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,555

Walden University’s public administration master’s degree online program is designed to help students develop the advanced competencies that are needed to become a successful public administration leader. Classes are delivered entirely online and taught by university professors. A general program track provides students with a broad-based knowledge of public administration, while several specializations are also available so that the degree can be tailored to fit career goals. Some of the specializations include criminal justice, emergency management, global leadership, health policy, law and public policy, and policy analysis. Walden is recognized by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as an unranked national university, and several of its graduate programs, including public affairs and administration, have earned rankings.

#21 – Sullivan University

Online Master of Public Management

Louisville, Kentucky

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,440

Sullivan University offers a type of online master’s in public administration that emphasizes management. In just 18 months, students may earn a master’s in public management degree that is designed to provide practical skills necessary for effective leadership in the public sector. Courses are delivered online and include advanced quantitative methods, managerial communication skills, negotiation in conflict management, operations strategy, public policy economic analysis, public sector financial management, and strategic human resource management. Three concentration options are also available so that students may tailor their degree toward areas of interest, such as conflict management, healthcare management, and strategic human capital management. Sullivan is accredited and recognized by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as an unranked regional university in the South.

#20 – Regent University

Online Master of Public Administration

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Website

Regent University - 30 Most Affordable Private Colleges For Online Master’s in Public Administration

Regent University’s online MPA is top ranked.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,226

Regent University’s public administration online master’s program is designed for students wanting to pursue careers in public service and nonprofit organizations. The degree may be completed entirely online and mirrors the on-campus program offered through the Robertson School of Government. A total of 37 credits must be completed, including classes like Christian foundations of government, information research and resources, organizational theory, principles of economics, public budgeting and taxation policy, and research methods. The program takes approximately two years to complete when enrolled full-time or three to four years to complete when enrolled on a part-time basis. Regent is an accredited institution that has also received recognition from U.S. News and World Report as a top national university.

#19 – Lynn University

Online Master of Public Administration

Boca Raton, Florida

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,250

One of the more affordable public administration master’s online programs on our list is the Master of Public Administration from Lynn University. This fast-paced online MPA is conveniently structured for working students and designed to complete in a little over one year. The program can be completed entirely online by taking flexible classes taught by experienced Lynn professors. These classes include administrative and regulatory law, applied research methods, and management and administration. Students also take a series of courses that focus on economics development, human resources management, public budgeting and finance, and public personnel. To be admitted to the program, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank Lynn as the 95th best regional university in the South.

#18 – Hodges University

Online Master of Public Administration

Naples, Florida

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,380

Hodges University’s online public administration programs in the online MPA, a general public-sector degree intended to prepare students for roles in government and nonprofit agencies. Successful program applicants hold a bachelor’s from an accredited college or university and have completed all components of the online application. All courses are delivered online to provide convenience to working students. These courses are taught by Hodges University professors who offer experience in the industry. Courses include economic development, executive leadership and decision making, labor relations and negotiations, management of American and state government, and professional ethics – social responsibility and diversity. Hodges is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report among some of the best regional universities in the South.

#17 – Wayland Baptist University

Online Master of Public Administration

Plainview, Texas

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,800

The accredited public administration master’s degree online program at Wayland Baptist University emphasizes practical expertise regarding issues common to government agencies and community nonprofits. The flexibility of online classes taught by university professors makes it an ideal program for working students. Also, the program allows military personnel who want to learn advanced public administration skills to advance in rank or transfer seamlessly to civilian life. The school and program are accredited, and Wayland is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Colleges ranks Wayland Baptist among the top 126 best regional universities in the West.

#16 – Brandman University

Online Master’s in Public Administration

Irvine, California

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,460

The public administration master’s degree online program at Brandman University is designed to prepare students for careers in public policy, and government and nonprofit organizations. The program may be completed entirely online or follow a hybrid format, which includes online classes that are mixed with on-campus visitation requirements. Successful applicants must have completed the online application, hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and meet GPA requirements. The program offers an organizational leadership emphasis that allows students to hone their degree toward this specialized area of interest. Some of the online classes seen in this program include data analysis for decision making, labor relations and collective bargaining, and public finance. Brandman is an accredited institution that has also been recognized by U.S. News and World Report among the best regional universities in the West.

#15 – Ashford University

Online Master of Public Administration

San Diego, California

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,289

The online master’s in public administration degree from Ashford University is an IACBE-accredited MPA program designed for working and busy students. Courses run six weeks in length, and students take one class at a time that focuses on areas of business, organizational management, and public administration. Courses are taught by university professors and include studies in foundations of public administration, government budgeting, public financial management, public policy development, and urban planning and redevelopment. A total of 36 credits are required to satisfy course requirements. Admission requirements include an accredited bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.0 undergraduate GPA. No test scores are needed to apply to the program. Ashford is accredited and recognized by U.S. News and World Report among the unranked regional universities in the West.

#14 – National University

Online Master of Public Administration

La Jolla, California

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,232

National University offers an accredited public administration online master’s program designed for students who want to pursue a career in government management at the federal, local, or state level. The online MPA is open to students with a bachelor’s in public administration, criminal justice, political science, or closely related area of study. All classes are delivered online and include ethics, finance management and grant administration, foundations of public administration, public personnel policy, and urban planning and redevelopment. There are two specializations offered so that students may tailor their degree toward an area of interest. These specializations include human resource management and organizational leadership. National University is recognized with U.S. News and World Report among the top regional universities in the West.

#13 – Grand Canyon University

Online Master of Public Administration

Phoenix, Arizona

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,612

Grand Canyon University’s online public administration programs include the master’s in public administration with an emphasis in government and policy. The program consists of 38 credits with classes that run eight weeks long and can be completed entirely online and in just 20 months. Courses include economics for public administrators, intergovernmental relations, law and administrative process, leadership and organizations, policy studies, public budgeting and financial management, and public governance. Grand Canyon requires applicants hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a satisfactory undergraduate GPA. GCU is ranked with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as among the top 300 national universities in the country.

#12 – Anna Maria College

Online Master of Public Administration

Paxton, Massachusetts

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,530

Anna Maria College offers an accredited public administration master’s online degree designed for professionals who want to earn credentials for public service positions. The program does not require the GRE for admission and can be completed entirely online. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, an undergraduate GPA of 2.7 or better, two references, and a personal statement. The program has five specialization options that are offered for students who want to tailor their degree toward an area of interest, such as criminal justice, emergency management, fire and emergency services, homeland security, and a general track. Anna Maria College is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top regional university in the North. The program and school are accredited through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE).

#11 – Bellevue University

Online Master of Public Administration

Bellevue, Nebraska

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,335

Bellevue University’s public administration master’s degree online is an accelerated MPA program designed for working professionals. The program can be completed entirely online and consists of 36 credits of classes that serve as preparation for becoming leaders in the public sector. Some of the required courses include communications in the public sector, contemporary issues in public administration, finance for the public administrator, foundation in the public administration, organizational modeling and decision theories, public administration leadership, and strategic planning and policy development. Bellevue is an accredited institution that is also ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News recognizes Bellevue as among the top regional universities in the Midwest.

#10 – Concordia University

Online MBA in Public Administration

Mequon, Wisconsin

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,290

Concordia University offers an accredited online master’s in public administration degree designed to prepare individuals for careers in government service and nonprofit community agencies. Admission to the program does not require the GMAT or GRE scores, nor does the degree require a completed thesis. All classes are delivered online and are taught by Concordia professors. These classes include administrative law and process, budgeting in public agencies, intergovernmental relations, project management, and public human resource administration. There are also a series of MBA core courses that must be taken to earn the MBA with a public administration concentration. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank Concordia as the 51st best regional university in the Midwest and the 59th best value school. Also, the online MBA (including public administration) ranks #184 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#9 – Purdue Global University (formerly Kaplan University)

Online Master of Public Administration

Hagerstown, Maryland

Website

Purdue Global’s online master’s in public administration is 100% online.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,110

Purdue Global’s online public administration programs include the online master’s in public administration. This program is designed to provide students with the skills needed to evaluate, implement, and manage policy in public administration. All courses are delivered online and taught by Purdue Global’s experienced instructors. Some of the courses include finance and the administration of public funds, human resource management in the public sector, leadership in the public sector, and public administration and management. Multiple start dates provide flexibility, especially for working students and individuals with outside obligations that might interfere with schooling.

#8 – Belhaven University

Online Master of Public Administration

Jackson, Mississippi

Website

Belhaven University - 30 Most Affordable Private Colleges For Online Master’s in Public Administration

Belhaven University’s online MPA consists of 12 courses.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,080

One of the most affordable public administration online master’s degree programs on our list is the online MPA from Belhaven University. The graduate program consists of 12 courses, each offered in a manageable eight-week format, that are delivered entirely online. There is also an option to earn a concentration in human resources for those interested. Classes are taught by Belhaven professors and include administration of financial resources, economics and public policy, ethics and society, principles of executive leadership, public and administrative law, public policy analysis, and research methods in public administration. Admission to the program requires an earned bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better. Belhaven is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 78th best regional university in the South.

#7 – Virginia International University

Online Master of Public Administration

Fairfax, Virginia

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,344

Virginia International University’s public administration master’s degree online program is designed to prepare students for careers in public management or related industries. Graduates of the program often seek employment as leaders in finance, human resources, or project management. Three concentration areas are offered so that MPA students may tailor their degree toward interest or to meet career goals. These concentrations include health care administration and public health, information systems, and public management. Some of the required courses you can expect to take include administration in public and non-profit organizations, financial reporting and decision making, legal and ethical environment of business, organizational theory and HR management, and public policy analysis and implementation. This is one of the more affordable online MPA programs on our list.

#6 – Liberty University

Online Master of Public Administration

Lynchburg, Virginia

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,430

Liberty University’s public administration master’s online program is designed to provide students with the tools needed to implement policy as a civil servant in the global community. The program consists of 36 total credit hours with an optional thesis requirement. All classes are delivered online and include community economic development, fundamentals of public administration, management of public sector organizations, public policy analysis, and strategic leadership and management. Taking classes in areas of specialty like business and government policy, disaster management, healthcare, law and public policy, and public and nonprofit management can help customize the degree. Liberty is ranked with U.S. News and World Report as a top national university, and many of the school’s online graduate programs have earned top 150 rankings.

#5 – Western International University

Online Master’s in Public Administration

Tempe, Arizona

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,352

Western International University offers public administration online master’s degree programs that can be completed entirely online and in just 1.2 years. Courses are delivered online and start each month, so the completion time is more accelerated than most online MPA programs. Some of the courses you will take include ethical leadership and corporate responsibility, foundations in public administration, global communication for professionals, human behavior and resource administration, public and nonprofit financial management, and strategic management in the public sector. The institution is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association. U.S. News and World Report recognizes Western International as an unranked institution.

#4 – Park University

Online Master of Public Administration

Parkville, Missouri

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,025

Park University’s online master’s in public administration program is offered through the Hauptmann School of Public Affairs and is designed to equip graduate students with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in public administration. Admission to the program requires a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university with at least a 2.75 GPA. All classes are delivered online and taught by Park instructors. Some of the classes include ethical foundations of authority and responsibility, leadership development and organizations, and public affairs concepts and theory. The program also offers access to three concentration areas so that students may tailor their degree toward areas of interest. These concentrations include disaster and emergency management, nonprofit and community services management, and public management. U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as a top regional university in the Midwest.

#3 – Post University

Online Master of Public Administration

Waterbury, Connecticut

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,500

Post University offers accredited online public administration programs, including the master’s in public administration. The degree may be earned completely online and in as few as 18-24 months. There is also an emergency management and homeland security concentration designed to prepare students on how to lead in times of emergency. Classes are taught by Post professors and include ethics in public administration, labor law and labor relations, public finance policy and application, public policy, research methods for public and nonprofit administrators, and risk management for public administrators. To be admitted to the graduate MPA program, students must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Post is an accredited school that is also ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top regional university in the North.

#2 – American Public University

Online Master of Public Administration

Charles Town, West Virginia

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,600

The public administration master’s online degree program at American Public University is ideally designed for working students. Classes are delivered entirely online and taught by university professors. The program takes two years to complete and culminates with a capstone seminar and your choice of either a creative project or graduate-level thesis. Some of the required courses include administrative theory, applied research methods in public administration, ethics in government, law and public policy, local political administration, public administration in society, and public management. For those interested in tailoring their degree toward a specialized area of interest, several concentrations are offered, including disaster management, environmental policy, and health policy. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report recognized APU as among the top regional universities in the South.

#1 – Columbia Southern University

Online Master of Public Administration

Orange Beach, Alabama

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,085

Columbia Southern University’s online master’s in public administration program is designed to provide students with skills and knowledge needed in public, nonprofit, and governmental public administration careers. Three concentration options are offered so that students may tailor their program to meet career goals or personal interests. All courses are delivered online and include classes like administration of public institutions, organizational theory, public administration ethics, public finance and budgeting, public policy, and strategic planning. A total of 36 credits are required to satisfy degree requirements. Columbia Southern is an accredited member of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) and is an institutional member of the American Council on Education (ACE). The school offers the most affordable online master’s in public administration degree program on our list.

GSH Staff
February 2018

This concludes our list of the 30 most affordable private colleges for online master’s in public administration degree programs for 2018.