Northeastern University’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) is the management degree for those who serve the public good.

In this MPA program, students participate in interdisciplinary work and applied research with government and community partners, as they learn how to effectively create social change and address the emerging challenges affecting cities. Offered both online and on campus in Boston, this degree allows students to exchange diverse views, consult with faculty, and work collaboratively no matter where they are in the world.

NASPAA Accredited

We have been fostering leaders since 1969, making Northeastern’s the longest-running MPA program in New England. Ours is a NASPAA-accredited degree that meets the rigorous standards of the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration.

“Studying and working in public administration has never been more important than it is now. This past semester, a professor reminded me that it is important to focus on the small wins. The small wins often go unrecognized or are deemed insignificant, but they are necessary for continued progress. I know that if my classmates and I can continue to produce small wins in the public sector, it can amount to big changes for all.”

Monique Gibbs, MPA ’18

Northeastern MPA at a Glance

  • Take MPA courses online or on-campus in Boston
  • The upcoming start date is January 8, 2024.
  • Tuition: $985 per semester hour; $39,400 total plus fees
    • Courses taken at Northeastern University outside of the College of Social Sciences and Humanities are subject to different tuition rates.
  • Complete an optional concentration or certificate of specialization

Master of Public Administration Overview

The Northeastern MPA takes a practice-oriented, research-based approach. Students gain a toolkit of core leadership, budgeting, management, and analysis skills. They also gain advanced technology skills, including Big Data, analytics, data visualization, programming languages such as R and Python, GIS applications, and artificial intelligence. Public administration graduates enter or advance in careers as program directors, management analysts, research analysts, town administrators, and more.

All MPA courses incorporate real-life case studies and we partner with public and private organizations to offer on-the-job training through co-op, capstones, and internships.

Students can choose to take everything online, on-campus in Boston, or move between both modalities.

All online classes are offered asynchronously and all on-campus courses take place after 5 p.m.

Learn more about completing your degree in Boston and online. The Arlington campus option will be available to MPA students beginning with the fall 2024 term.

Program Goals and Learning Outcomes

The goal of the Northeastern MPA program is to equip students with skills in policy analysis, program evaluation, research methods, and written and verbal communications to become change agents in public administration.

Students also develop competencies in budgeting and human resources, organizational management and antiracist leadership, and the interplay between ethics and accountability in a diverse society. The program seeks to place students in management and leadership careers in a broad range of public and nonprofit settings, both domestic and international.

As a professionally oriented graduate program, the MPA develops leaders for a changing world through:

  • Coursework that combines methodological rigor, diverse analytical tools, and real-world relevance through applied management and leadership projects
  • Policy-relevant internships and opportunities to work with faculty on applied research with a social justice lens
  • Team-based capstone projects that deliver actionable advice to a range of local and regional clients

Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Lead and manage in public governance
  • Participate in and contribute to the policy process
  • Analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems, and make decisions
  • Articulate and apply a public service perspective
  • Communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry

Master of Public Administration Graduation and Degree Completion Rates

For MPA students entering in 2017-2022, 47% earned their degrees within two years, 65% within three years, and 65% within four years.

Initially Enrolled Graduated within 2 years Graduated within 3 years Graduated within 4 years Total Students Graduated and Persisting to Graduation
Total Number of Students 34 16 22 22 22
Boston 31 15 21 21 21
Virtual 3 1 1 1 1

Master of Public Administration Admission Requirements

  • Completed online application
  • Application fee ($100)
  • Personal statement
  • Unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Resumé
  • Evidence of English proficiency for international applicants

Applicants to the MPA program are not required to submit GRE scores.

Visit our admissions page for more details about application requirements, tuition, and financial aid.

“Northeastern is an exciting and dynamic place, and we attract students who reflect that.”

Alicia Sasser Modestino, Associate Professor
School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs and the Department of Economics

Program Curriculum

The Master of Public Administration at Northeastern consists of 40 credits and can be completed in as little as 1.5 years (4 semesters as a full-time student). Both our online and on-campus modalities include the same core courses, and are taught by exceptional faculty.

This degree combines MPA fundamentals with a unique focus on public sector and nonprofit needs. Students build core policy and leadership skills that can be applied to any position. The curriculum is centered on rigorous, applied training in organizational management, public and nonprofit finance, policy analysis, and ethics and accountability. MPA courses include:

  • Statistical Analysis
  • Techniques of Policy Analysis
  • Economic Analysis for Policy and Planning
  • Principles of Public Administration
  • Public Budgeting and Financial Management
  • Institutional Leadership
  • Capstone in Public Policy and Urban Affairs

Visit our MPA curriculum page for more information, including a full course list with descriptions.

Choose a Concentration or a Certificate

Students who would like to target specific areas of expertise can add on an optional concentration or earn a specialty certificate alongside their public administration master’s degree.

Concentration Options

  • Healthcare Management and Policy

Certificate Options

  • Computational Social Science
  • Information Ethics
  • Nonprofit Sector, Philanthropy, and Social Change
  • Public Policy Analysis
  • Security and Resilience Studies
  • Sustainability and Climate Change Policy
  • Urban Analytics
  • Urban Studies

Find out more about these customization options.

Experiential Learning: Real-World Experience for Real-World Impact

Our experiential learning opportunities are a hallmark of Northeastern’s graduate programs in public administration. The co-op is our signature program, where students earn graduate credit for full-time work at a partner organization.

The MPA requires a capstone project with a real-world client, and students can also learn experientially through internships and partnerships with research labs and centers. Students also get practical experience throughout their coursework with case studies, small group exercises, applied projects, action research, and more.

Visit our experiential learning page for more information.

“I decided to pursue my MPA degree because I felt that it was a great way for me to advance my leadership and management skills. . . . I became well-versed in policy, management, and the non-profit sector. As a result, I believe that my MPA degree will open up many job opportunities centered around public service and government. It has deepened my understanding of society and has prompted me to think critically about the current problems of today and how to competently address them in the future.”

Joelle Juarez, MPA, ’19

Master of Public Administration Careers

MPA graduates are equipped with essential organizational skills, and they also understand the unique requirements of public-service work, which includes accountability, transparency, and efficiency. They are prepared for leadership roles in government agencies, nonprofits, international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), social enterprises, private businesses, and more.

An important goal of our MPA is to prepare students to be effective in a dynamic and increasingly diverse professional environment. This includes assisting students in every possible way to secure internships, post-graduate employment, and career advancement.

Learn more about salaries and careers with a master of public administration degree.

100% The job placement rate of the 2021–22 graduates of Northeastern’s MPA program

Interested in a role focused on the design and impact of policy? Northeastern also offers a Master of Public Policy (MPP). For more information, view our article “MPP vs. MPA: What’s the Difference?

Master of Public Administration

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You can also email or call us toll-free at +1 877.377.2739 or at +1 617.655.6736 to talk with one of our admissions counselors.

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