Top 30 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Public Administration Degree Programs

| Staff

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In this article, we highlight the top 30 most affordable online master’s in public administration degree programs.

A master’s in public administration (MPA) is a professional degree for those wanting to work in leadership and management roles within the public service sector. Earning an online MPA means you won’t have to give up your day job while working toward your graduate degree. Many online MPA programs are specifically designed for busy and working professionals who require the flexibility that distance learning provides.

Top 10 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Public Administration Degree Programs

Rank School Location
1 Texas A&M International University Laredo, TX
2 Arkansas State University Jonesboro, AR
3 Stephen F. Austin State University Nacogdoches, TX
4 Valdosta State University Valdosta, GA
5 Georgia College and State University Milledgeville, GA
6 Southern Utah University Cedar City, UT
7 Troy University Troy, AL
8 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
9 University of Louisiana Monroe, LA
10 San Diego State University San Diego, CA
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Accredited Online College Programs

Methodology

We examined 84 schools that offer online master’s degrees in public administration and/or public affairs. We selected institutions with Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA)-accredited programs. From this pool of schools, we selected those that had earned rankings from major publications like Forbes magazine, The Princeton Review, and U.S. News and World Report. We chose the 30 most affordable schools based on the most current tuition and fees published by NCES College Navigator. The school in our #1 spot offers the most affordable tuition.

  1. Texas A&M International University
    Location

    Laredo, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Texas A&M International University offers an affordable online master's in public administration degree program that is designed for individuals preparing for employment in public and non-profit sectors. The program incorporates culturally diverse community engagement and research opportunities that focus on diversity. The program is NASPAA accredited and requires a final research project or internship for successful completion. Major course requirements include advanced methods of social research, communication for public administrators, principles and politics of public budgeting, and public policy development and implementation. The institution is ranked as the 70th best regional university in the West according to U.S. News and World Report.

  2. Arkansas State University
    Location

    Jonesboro, AR

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    In as little as 18 months, students at Arkansas State University may complete an accredited online master's in public administration degree. The MPA program is fully accredited by the NASPAA and designed to enhance the careers of working professionals in the public sector and non-profit agencies. ASU faculty teaches all classes associated with the online program. Required courses include administration ethics, administrative leadership, public budgeting and finance, public policy analysis, and techniques of public administration research. The university is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the 2016 edition of Best Colleges lists the school as the 53rd best regional universities in the West and the 21st top public school.

  3. Stephen F. Austin State University
    Location

    Nacogdoches, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Stephen F. Austin State University offers an affordable online master's in public administration that is designed to prepare graduate for leadership and management roles in the public sector. Classes are taught by instructors certified to teach online. Required courses include applied methods for public administration, ethics in public administration, policy systems and evaluation, public administration models, and public organizations and management. A limited number of graduate assistantships are offered, allowing students to work on assigned research projects with faculty members in the Department of Government. The institution is ranked with U.S. News and World Report as the 87th best regional university in the West and the 35th top public school.

  4. Valdosta State University
    Location

    Valdosta, GA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Valdosta State University offers an online master's in public administration degree program that is designed to prepare students for public service careers. The program consists of 36 hours of coursework, which includes 24 hours of required core classes and 12 hours in a concentration area. With input from a program coordinator or advisor, the student decides on a specific area of concentration. Required courses include governmental budgeting and finance, information management, organizational theory and behavior, and quantitative methods for public administration. Valdosta is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 76th best regional university in the South.

  5. Georgia College and State University
    Location

    Milledgeville, GA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Georgia College and State University offers a NASPAA-accredited online master's in public administration that is designed for professional students seeking career advancement in public service. Required core courses include administrative ethics, leadership and organizational behavior, public administration and the public service, public finance and budgeting, public personnel management, and quantitative techniques in public administration. A capstone project or thesis option is required. Students choosing the thesis option must complete 3 credit hours of thesis research design, thesis writing and development, and thesis defense. U.S. News and World Report ranks Georgia College as the 28th best regional university in the South and the 9th top public school.

  6. Southern Utah University
    Location

    Cedar City, UT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Southern Utah University offers a 36-semester-hour online MPA that is NASPAA accredited and designed for students pursuing a career in management within non-profit or public sectors. The program can be customized to suit personal interests and particular career trajectories. Degree requirements include administrative law, critical thinking and ethics in the public sector, public human resource management, public sector economics, and research methods for public administration. All MPA students must complete a professional project or thesis, as well as an MPA internship. According to U.S. News and World Report, Southern Utah University is ranked 70th for best regional universities in the West and the 24th top public school.

  7. Troy University
    Location

    Troy, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The NASPAA-accredited online master's in public administration degree offered by Troy University is designed to prepare students for leadership roles in government or non-profit agencies. Students are required to select one concentration that will include three specific courses that complement the area of focus. Concentrations include government contracting, justice administration, national security affairs, non-profit management, public health administration, public human resource management, and public management. Troy is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 65th best regional university in the South and the 27th top public school. In recent years, the graduate public affairs school has been recognized by Best Colleges as among the top public affairs graduate schools in the country.

  8. Liberty University
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Liberty University's online MBA degree program offers a specialization in public administration that is designed to prepare students for positions of leadership in various fields of business. The program comprises 45 total credit hours, of which 12 credit hours may be transferred from an accredited institution. Core courses include accounting for decision-making, legal issues in business, organizational design and structure, and policy and strategy in global competition. The public administration specialization requires courses in the fundamentals of public administration, politics and strategies, and public policy analysis. U.S. News and World Report ranks Liberty as the 80th best regional institution in the South. The online MBA program is ranked #110 out of 1,200.

  9. University of Louisiana
    Location

    Monroe, LA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Louisiana offers an online MPA degree program designed for students living anywhere in the world. The program may be completed in as little as 12 months through the institution's fast-track option. Program requirements include analysis of political and administrative data, ethics and public administration, foundations of public administration, public budgeting and finance, and program evaluation and policy analysis. The university is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the 2016 edition of Best Colleges lists the school as the 93rd best regional universities in the South and the 47th top public school.

  10. San Diego State University
    Location

    San Diego, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    San Diego State University offers an online master's in public administration (MPA) degree program that is designed for experienced professionals who work in government and non-profit agencies. Students may complete the program is as little as 16 months, working at an accelerated rate. The program models the on-campus MPA program but is faster-paced and offered entirely online. Required courses include administrative theory, methods and analysis of public administration, quantitative approaches, and scope of public administration. San Diego State is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the 2016 edition of Best Colleges ranks the institution as the 149th best national university and the 79th top public school. The MPA program has earned top-10 rankings from U.S. News for consecutive years.

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