Gain a comprehensive understanding of how leadership, management, policy, and politics intersect with a Master's in Public Administration (MPA) degree.
Sound leadership and management are vital to organizational and governmental effectiveness. The Master of Public Administration (MPA) at George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government puts you on a path toward senior-level positions in organizations that implement and manage public policies. You will gain a comprehensive understanding of how leadership, management, policy, and politics intersect, along with the tools to enhance your communication, budgeting, and analytic skills. As a graduate of one of the largest MPA programs in the country, you will join thousands of Schar School alumni working in various roles in local, state, and national government, nonprofit management, and many other careers.
A Top-Ranked MPA Program
According to the Academic Ranking of World Universities, also known as the ShanghaiRanking, the Schar School's Master of Public Administration program is No. 16 among U.S. public colleges, and No. 1 in the Washington D.C. region. Some 200 programs around the globe were studied for the ranking. The MPA program is additionally ranked No. 39 for best public affairs programs and No. 24 for public policy analysis, according to the most recent U.S. News & World Ranking.
The MPA program is also accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA), recognizing the quality and rigor of the degree.
A Degree That Works With Your Schedule
You can earn this degree:
- Entirely online in a synchronous format
- Through a combination of on-campus and online classes
- Part-time or full-time
Classes are offered in the evening to accommodate working students.
What You'll Study
The curriculum requirements of the MPA program include eight required courses and four elective courses. As a student in the MPA program, you can tailor your degree to your interests with one of the following concentrations (or you may design your own concentration, with approval from your Schar School advisor):
- Administration of Justice
- Emergency Management and Homeland Security
- Environmental Science and Public Policy
- Human Resource Management
- International Management
- Nonprofit Management
- Public Management
- Public and Nonprofit Finance
- Policy Studies
- State and Local Government
- Managing Across Sectors
“I decided to get my master’s degree to show that I was dedicated to a career change. The teaching staff at the Schar School has real-world experience, and they provided me with a solid understanding of how the nonprofit sector works.”
—Stella Hanly, Master’s in Public Administration '13
“Without my degree I would not have been able to get into the [Presidential Management Fellowship] program…I knew I had an interest in management and I knew I had an interest in policy, but for me it was more about making organizations work more effectively.”
—John Salamone, Master’s in Public Administration '98
Meet Our Faculty
With George Mason University's prime location in the Washington, D.C. area, Schar School students gain access to leading scholars and practitioners closely connected to the epicenter of policymaking and public service, and the hub of the nonprofit sector.
Where You'll Work
The Master of Public Administration program prepares students for a range of industries and roles in the public and private sectors. In a recent graduating class career outcomes survey, the following were the top employers of MPA program graduates:
- Arlington County Government
- Booz Allen Hamilton
- Deloitte Consulting
- Fairfax County Government
- ICF International
- Lockheed Martin
- Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
- Pan American Development Foundation
- Peace Corps
- Social Security Administration
- SRA International
- Vanguard Communications
- World Bank
Career Development Services
At the Schar School, we develop a career success plan for students from the moment they step foot on campus until graduation and continue to provide coaching and career services to students as alumni. In addition to university-wide resources, Schar School's career advisors will help you explore career and internship opportunities, define your goals, and develop the skills needed for a successful job search, including crafting a resume and cover letter that stand out.
Our graduates continue to have access to these services after they graduate —whenever they need them.
Contact Career Development Services
Current students and alumni can reach out to our career team at any time.
Director of Career Development
Associate Director for Career Development and Alumni Relations
What does it mean to be a public servant during the COVID-19 pandemic? Master's in Public Administration student Darcy Kim discusses her line of work at a crucial time when individuals may need support the most.
The classroom for the day was the Gold Room of the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill, across the white marble hall from the Committee on Foreign Affairs. The five “professors” were not academics but active practitioners in legislative affairs, representing federal agencies, congressional offices, and lobbying firms.
The Northern Virginia Public Service Fellows Program is a competitive cohort-based program in which local government students take classes together, study in groups, and finish the program with hands-on capstone projects.
The share of private giving and philanthropy is continuously on the decline. Have nonprofits and social enterprises gained a foothold in the crowdfunding market, or are they lacking behind in exploring a potentially exciting new form of revenue generation?