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MPA Curriculum

Home Message from the Director MPA at a Glance Program Faculty

To earn the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree, students must successfully complete 42 semester hours (SH) of credit in a prescribed curriculum, which may be accomplished in two calendar years. 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

Nine 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 PPUA 6500: Principles of Public Administration and PPUA 7673 Capstone in Public Policy and Urban Affairs, which should be taken in the first and last semesters respectively, 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.

The table below lists the courses required for the Master of Public Administration. Note: All traditional 3 semester hour courses will be converted from 3 semester hours per course to 4 semester hours per course as of Fall 2018.

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 7673 Capstone in Public Policy and Urban Affairs
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.


Internships offer students the opportunity to gain work and/or research experience that is relevant to their chosen fields.

During the 2016-17 academic year, students interned at the following institutions:


  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • Emerge Massachusetts
  • Subscript.org
  • Thomas Davis Defending Dreams Foundation
  • State Legislative Leaders Foundation
  • Sport Bureau of Hebei Province
  • China Soong Ching Ling Foundation
  • Massachusetts House of Representatives
  • Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law
  • V2A LLC
  • Metropolitan Area Planning Council
  • Boston Educational Development Fund
  • Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
  • Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center
  • CMST Development Co. Ltd


For more information, visit our Internship Experiences page.

Cooperative Education (Co-op)

Beginning in Fall 2018, all Graduate CSSH Masters programs will offer an optional Cooperative Education Experience (“Co-op”) to eligible students.

Northeastern’s signature co-op ecosystem provides qualified masters students with six-month research and work experiences in businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies in Boston and across the United States. Graduate students take their work from campus learning spaces, apply it outside of the classroom in a variety of environments, and then bring that knowledge and those skills back to our campus learning spaces during the one-credit Experiential Integration course.

To learn more, interested masters students should first meet with their Graduate Program Director to determine eligibility and where co-op will fit within the student’s curriculum.

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.

Degree Outcomes and Tuition

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 go on to careers as Town Administrators, Management Analysts, Research Analysts, and Program Directors.

A recent survey of MPA alumni concluded that 29 percent of 2015-2016 graduates are employed in the nonprofit sector; 18 percent in the public sector; and 24 percent in the private sector.

Data from the 2011-2012 cohort shows that of the 47 students initially enrolled in the MPA Program, 20 graduated within 2 years, 33 graduated within 3 years, and 34 graduated within 4 years.

As of Fall 2017, the tuition rate for the MPA Program is $1,295 per credit hour for a total of approximately $54,390. Additional fees may apply.

Semester Summer Session
International Student Fee (one-time) $250
Student Center Fee (full-time students, per-term, Boston campus only) $70 $35
Student Center Fee (part-time students, per-term, Boston campus only) $10 $5
Student Recreation Fee (full-time students, per-term) $56 $33
Student Recreation Fee (part-time students, per-term) $25
Student Activities Fee (per-term) $14 $7
Resident Activity Fee (per-term) $33 $16.50

For a list of fee descriptions click here.

Additional Information

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