Master of Public Administration

The MPA is the management and leadership degree for those seeking to serve the public good. The program equips its students with skills in policy analysis, program evaluation, research methods, and written and verbal communications. Students also develop competencies in budgeting and human resources, organizational management and leadership, and the interplay between ethics and accountability in a diverse society. Throughout the degree program, students gain career-oriented experience through internships, small group projects, and other interactions with professionals in the field. These experiences are designed to enable the Northeastern MPA graduate to move into a wide array of public and nonprofit sector positions at the local, state, national, and international levels.

Mission Statement

The mission of the MPA Program at Northeastern University is to serve the needs of the public affairs community, including students, working professionals, faculty, and researchers, by providing a practice-oriented and research-based graduate educational experience. The faculty pledges the best instruction available in a set of courses designed to integrate theoretical foundations with practical skills. The MPA Program will prepare students to be effective in a dynamic and increasingly diverse professional environment. We also commit ourselves to assisting students in every possible way to secure internships, post-graduate employment, and overall career advancement. Students, in turn, are expected to meet high levels of academic excellence combined with ethical and professional integrity. Committed to the ideals of public service and advancing the public interest, we seek students who share the same enthusiasm.

Degree Requirements

To earn the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree, students must successfully complete 42 semester hours (SH) of credit in a prescribed curriculum. More detailed information on requirements and opportunities for MPA students can be found in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs Graduate Programs booklet.Requirements and policies are subject to change.

MPA Suggested Course Sequence

The MPA Core

Eight core courses are required of all MPA students. These courses serve as a foundation and cover a wide array of public policy and management areas to prepare students for leadership and administrative careers in the public and nonprofit sectors. With the exception of POLS 7306: Capstone in Public Policy and Management, which should be taken in the last spring semester of a student’s academic career, there is no required sequence to these courses. Each core course is offered at least once per year both on campus and online.

Beyond the Core

MPA students can choose from a wide array of electives offered by the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and by other programs in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities and elsewhere in the University. Experiential learning is a key element of the program. Students new to the field of public affairs or changing careers are required to enroll in the internship course and complete a 300-hour placement. Students with relevant professional work experience can request a waiver of this requirement and take an additional elective course in its place.

Certificates and Concentrations

MPA students can add a Graduate Certificate to their degree to demonstrate specialized training in the Nonprofit Sector, Urban Informatics, Urban Studies, or Public Policy Analysis. Courses taken to complete a certificate also count as MPA elective credits. Students with an interest in a specific field may work with their academic adviser to identify elective courses relevant to their area of interest.

The table below lists the courses required for the Master of Public Administration.

MPA Degree Requirements
Semester Hours
Core Courses (Required, 9 courses, 27 Semester Hours)
PPUA 6500 Principles of Public Administration
3 SH
LPSC 7305 Research and Statistical Methods
3 SH
PPUA 6502 Economic Institutions and Analysis
3 SH
PPUA 6503 Public Personnel Administration
3 SH
PPUA 6504 Organizational Theory and Management
3 SH
PPUA 6505 Public Budgeting and Financial Management
3 SH
PPUA 6506 Techniques of Policy Analysis
3 SH
PPUA 6507 Institutional Leadership and the Public Manager
3 SH
PPUA 6508 Capstone Seminar in Public Policy and Public Management
3 SH
Internship (Required unless waived, 3 Semester Hours)—300 hours required
PPUA 6407
3 SH
Open Electives (4 courses, 12 Semester Hours)—Approved by Program Director
View course descriptions through the Course Catalog

In total, the MPA degree requires 42 semester hours.

Degree Outcomes

Graduates of the MPA program enter a wide variety of careers in the public and nonprofit sectors alike. A small percentage also enter the private sector. Graduates of the MPA program go on to careers as Town Administrators, Management Analysts, Research Analysts and Program Directors. A recent survey of MPA alumni concluded that 45% of recent graduates are working the public sector, 29% in the nonprofit sector and 5% in the private sector.

For additional information, contact:

Information accurate as of Fall 2015. Requirements and policies subject to change. For up-to-date information, contact Louis DaRos or view the official graduate catalogue for a full listing of graduate level courses.