Because of the field's broad nature, graduates can pursue numerous roles. They work as policy analysts, lobbyists, researchers, consultants, and managers of nonprofit organizations. According to PayScale, individuals with a master's in public policy reported earning an average annual salary of $72,000, as of October 2021.
Though careers in public administration and policy are on the rise, other careers that graduates should consider include, but are not limited to, strategic communications, congressional affairs, and public policy think tanks.
UMass Dartmouth's online master of public policy (MPP) program focuses on policy analysis, applied research, and public management skills. Applicants will need to choose one of the following concentrations:
A career in public policy requires strong critical analysis, negotiation, and communication skills. Because research plays a significant role, students also should excel at data analytics and statistics or prepare to learn these sometimes-complex fields.
Most online master's in public policy and public affairs programs require 30-36 credits and take about two years of full-time study to complete. Some accelerated programs can lead to a degree in one year.
Students learn effective strategies, including litigation and legislative tools, used to advance changes in government public policy. This class focuses on how the different government branches make policy jointly and independently.
Most on-campus and online master's in public policy and public affairs programs have similar admission requirements. The more competitive programs expect candidates to demonstrate experience and a commitment to public service. This can be through employment, volunteer experiences, or internships.
A statement of purpose or essay allows students to display their writing abilities, state their academic and professional goals, and describe how the school's program fits into their aspirations. Some programs also require a writing sample, such as an academic paper or an essay on an important public policy issue.
Because of its multidisciplinary nature, an online master's in public policy and public affairs can lead to careers in numerous fields, including nonprofit, public, and private sectors. For example, graduates may work for nonprofit organizations overseeing programs or corporations, acting as a liaison between the company and the government.
Many graduates pursue government roles, working as policy analysts and shaping future regulations and laws. Others work for specific political parties in campaign operations, public relations, or legislative analysis.
Yes. For students interested in affecting public policy, a master's in public policy and public affairs is worth it. It is also good for students who want to pursue roles in government and management-level positions in the private and nonprofit sectors. A master's degree enables students to hone their area of interest, increasing skills specific to their career goals.
An online master's in public policy and public affairs can lead to numerous career paths in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors. Graduates work for government agencies, community social service organizations, and corporations.
Others go on to careers as community and social service managers, political scientists, and government affairs directors. Some master's in public policy degree-holders work as political lobbyists or campaign operators for a specific party.
Master's in public policy and public affairs degree-holders can find in-demand and varied positions. A NASPAA survey found that the government employs 45% of those alumni, and nonprofits employ about 26%. Additionally, almost every industry turns to these professionals, including private companies, international organizations, healthcare, education, and security and intelligence.
Salaries vary dramatically based on position, location, experience level, and employer. PayScale reports that those with a master's in public policy typically earn an annual salary ranging from $40,000-$138,000. Policy analysts, a common career path for these graduates, report earning annual salaries ranging from $44,000-$84,000.
Graduates with a master's in public policy and public affairs can aspire to several high-paying jobs. Two top-paying positions include political scientist and government affairs director. The BLS reports that political scientists earn a median annual salary of $125,350, as of April 2020. The top 10% make more than $170,800.
Professional opportunities for graduates of Northwestern's MPPA program are as broad and varied as the field of public policy and administration itself. With five concentrations to choose from, MPPA graduates set their sights on leadership roles in government at the local, regional and federal levels, in nonprofit organizations or in private enterprise. For details visit the Public Policy and Administration Career Options page.
Liberty University's online master's in public policy program is the best choice for students interested in pursuing a career in public administration, government, and politics. Throughout the course, students will strengthen their critical thinking skills and gain a deeper understanding of modern society's critical issues. The program is 100% online and consists of 36 credit hours, and Liberty University ranks among Niche.com's top 3 online schools in America. Students can choose from several specializations, including Chinese affairs, international affairs, leadership, and policy studies. A general track also gives students the freedom to select a large number of electives and create a personalized degree program.
Oregon State University's College of Liberal Arts offers a fully online master of public policy program designed specifically for early and mid-career professionals in the public and nonprofit sectors who want to advance their careers. The program is also suitable for professionals interested in transitioning from the private sector to a public service career. Oregon State's public policy degree program offers several concentrations that reflect its focus on nonprofit and public sector work, including energy, environmental, rural, and social policy. Students can also work with their advisers to create personalized degree programs tailored to their interests and career goals. Oregon State University offers several graduate certificate programs that students can use to expand their concentration options, including certificates in business analytics, urban forestry, public health, and wildlife management.
The University of Missouri, Columbia's Harry S. Truman School of Government and Public Affairs offers an online master of public affairs program that serves as a career stepping stone for individuals interested in ethical leadership. The program takes about two years to complete and teaches students important topics and skills, including policy processes, management principles, critical thinking, and data analytics. The program consists of 36 credits for students with fewer than three to five years of relevant work experience and 30 credits for students with a minimum of three years of relevant experience. The University of Missouri stands out as an excellent option for students interested in earning a dual master's degree. Students can take the master of public affairs program alongside the master of library and information science program or the master of public health program.
The University of Nebraska, Omaha, is the only option on our rankings to offer an optional specialization in criminology and criminal justice, making it the best choice for students interested in entering this field. Students can also choose from several concentrations, including emergency management, local government, nonprofit management, and public policy. According to U.S. News and World Report, UNO's master of public administration degree is ranked in the top 15% in the United States, and 33% of the program's faculty are fellows in the prestigious National Academy of Public Administration. Students have the opportunity to earn a dual master's degree by completing the master of social work or master of managing information systems programs alongside the public administration program.
Students interested in pursuing public policy with an emphasis in government law should have Regent University at the top of their list. The master of arts in government - law and public policy program is designed to help students expand their knowledge of policy, competitive politics, and law to make lasting, impactful changes in their communities. The program can be completed online or on campus and requires 33 total credit hours. The core curriculum features courses like Issues in Media, Law and Ethics, Constitutional Law and Policy, Healthcare Law, and U.S. Foreign Policy. Students may choose from two concentrations: American government or international relations.
Johns Hopkins University's master of arts in public management is the best choice for students that want to enhance their education by earning complementary credentials. While completing the master's program, students may also earn certificates in data analytics and policy, intelligence, and nonprofit management, allowing them to tailor their educational focus to their career goals and interests. By combining a certificate with a master's degree, students can earn these credentials more quickly than if they pursued them separately. This program also offers three concentrations: public administration and leadership, public financial management and budgeting, and public policy evaluation. Students will learn from instructors with extensive experience as government officials, policy analysts, and attorneys, and the program director served under two presidential administrations.
Individuals that want the flexibility of an online program and the structure of a traditional program will benefit from the University of Northern Iowa's