Below are answers to common questions about Northeastern University and the Master of Public Administration (MPA). We’re available to expand on these answers or respond to any additional questions you may have. Call us toll-free +1 877.377.2739 or +1 617.655.6736 to talk with an admissions counselor directly, or email your question to them at publicaffairs@northeastern.edu.

MPA Program Experience

Students can finish the degree in as few as four semesters as a full-time student. We recommend a maximum of three courses per semester.
Fall, Spring, and full Summer semester courses run 14 weeks. Summer 1 and 2 courses run 7 weeks.
Yes, our online courses are offered asynchronously, meaning you can view class lectures on your own time. Our on-campus courses start after 5 p.m.

Yes, you can choose to take all of your courses via the online modality. Online students are also able to participate in a co-op or internship and complete the capstone project.

All online classes are asynchronous, which means you can log in and learn at the times that work best for you. However, you will have weekly deadlines for coursework.

Classes are capped at 25. Most electives enroll 15 to 20 students.
Yes. On campus and online versions of a course have the same syllabus, course content, and assignments. The only difference is the modality of presentation and interaction.
Tuition is $985 per semester hour (SH). Total tuition is $39,400, based on 40 SH (10 courses). The university also charges some additional fees per semester and/or for specific on-campus amenities. See our tuition and financial aid page for more details.

A general difference is that public policy is more involved in the design and impact of policy, while public administration is more concerned with implementing and managing policies.

Here is a comparison of sample MPP courses and sample MPA courses:

MPP MPA
  • Economic Analysis for Policy and Planning
  • Research Methods in Social Sciences
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Strategizing Public Policy
  • Techniques of Policy Analysis
  • Techniques of Program Evaluation
  • Economic Analysis for Policy and Planning
  • Institutional Leadership
  • Principles of Public Administration
  • Public Budgeting and Financial Management
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Techniques of Policy Analysis

For a more detailed explanation, read our article “MPP vs. MPA: What’s the Difference?

Applying to the Program

The next start date is May 6, 2024. The application deadline is April 15, 2024.
Yes, you must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
No, you do not need to provide GRE or GMAT scores in order to apply.
No, your undergraduate degree does not need to be related; we welcome applicants from all fields. The only degree requirement is that it is from an accredited institution.
Students from abroad who apply to the Master of Public Administration must provide TOEFL scores, unless English is the primary language in their country of origin and/or they received a degree from an English-speaking institution. Please visit our international students page for more information on TOEFL scores, details about campuses, and additional application guidelines.
We have a rolling admissions process and you will hear back quickly, within as little as one to two weeks.
Transcripts can be mailed to

Graduate Office
College of Social Sciences and Humanities
Northeastern University
180 Renaissance Park
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

The Graduate Office also accepts official electronic transcripts, and they can be sent to gradcssh@northeastern.edu.

If admitted, students must provide an official copy of all degree-bearing transcripts within 30 days after classes start.

The code is 002199. You can find more information about starting your FAFSA and other education financing options at the student financial services page.

Experiential Learning and Career Support

A co-op allows students to experience what it is like to be employed at a public affairs-related organization. Co-ops are full-time work placements that require a commitment of two to eight months. They have a standard work week of at least 32 hours. Students can start their co-op twice a year, in January or in July. By participating in co-op, MPA students add one or two semester hours to their degree total.

An internship allows students to apply the tools they’ve developed in their classes to a practical setting. Internships usually require less of a time commitment than the co-op, though all students must complete at least 300 hours of work. The internship placements are often part-time or may take place over the summer. Students do not earn credit for internships, but they still benefit from the real-world experience.

An internship is required to complete the MPA, while the co-op is optional. However, students can choose to fulfill that requirement by completing a co-op in place of an internship.

For additional information, visit our experiential learning page.

We will help students find the co-op or internship placements that work best for them. This includes placements in Boston and in other regions of the country. We carefully screen all potential organizational partners to ensure that, no matter whether the opportunity is full-time or part-time, our students are getting engaging, hands-on experience.

For co-ops, we have dedicated staff who help students secure a placement. Co-op partners are carefully vetted and must meet a strict list of criteria in terms of commitment to students, onboarding, ongoing training, and payment.

For internships, we maintain an internship board that we regularly update with new openings. Alumni also reach out to us with internship opportunities. Faculty and staff are happy to talk with students about any potential internship placements.

While many working students choose to complete an internship in order to add to their experience and expand their network, students with at least one year of full-time, post-baccalaureate work can submit an internship waiver.

These waivers are approved on a case-by-case basis. Students must fill out a waiver request and submit a current resumé. Please see the Master of Public Administration program internship waiver page for more information or call an admissions counselor at toll-free +1 877.377.2739 or +1 617.655.6736.

No, you must work with an organization that is not your current employer.
No, the co-op experience is the equivalent of full-time work, with a standard 40-hour work week. For most students who already have a full-time job, it is not possible to maintain roles at both their current organization and the co-op organization at the same time.
Yes, we provide resources from both the College of Social Sciences and Humanities (CSSH) and from Northeastern overall:

  • CSSH faculty and staff are deeply invested in their students’ career success. They have long-standing connections with a wide variety of organizations and are happy to introduce students to contacts in their areas of interest.
  • Our alumni are here to help as well — many CSSH graduates share job positions at their organizations and are happy to chat with current students.
  • The School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs hosts a regularly updated jobs board.
  • The Northeastern Association for Public Policy Students (NAPPS) hosts an annual two-part career workshop in the spring for graduate students: a career networking event and a first-hand testimonial panel featuring alumni.
  • Northeastern’s University Career Center also provides a range of services to graduate students, including resumé writing and interviewing techniques. Their Career Design program provides personalized coaching in five aspects of career design and features interactive career labs on topics such as:
    • Leading Your Job Search
    • Crafting Your Cover letter
    • Revising Your Resumé
    • Promoting Your Brand on LinkedIn
    • Networking Through LinkedIn
    • Interviewing With Confidence
    • Negotiating Job Offers and Salaries
    • Staying Positive During Your Search

Campus Information

Yes, many students complete their MPA through a hybrid format. For example, some take the majority of their courses on their home campus but choose to take a few online courses to match their schedules. International students interested in online coursework should follow the guidelines required by their student visa.

The Master of Public Administration program is currently available on the Boston campus. Beginning in the Fall 2024 term, it will be available on the Arlington campus and the Oakland campus.

You can learn more about our campuses on our location page or call an admissions counselor at toll-free +1 877.377.2739 to find out how your MPA goals best align with the three campus options.

You can contact an admissions counselor by phone at +1 617.655.6736 or toll-free +1 877.377.2739. Or you can email publicaffairs@northeastern.edu.

Master of Public Administration

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You can also email publicaffairs@northeastern.edu 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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