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Master of Public Administration Degree Program

Program OverviewProgram DetailsWhy Choose Franklin

What can you do with a Master of Public Administration degree?

Government and nonprofit sector jobs account for an astonishing 25% of total U.S. employment. What attracts such large numbers to these organizations is the positive impact that their services can have on the public. At the center of these mission-oriented institutions are leaders driving change and empowering teams and volunteers to transform their communities.

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) is the graduate degree program of choice for government and nonprofit organizations seeking leadership talent. Franklin's online MPA program equips you to tackle the specific leadership challenges faced by public administration professionals -- similar to the way an MBA prepares you for an executive position in business. You'll learn to create administrative plans, make management decisions, and achieve organizational goals for the advancement of community interest.

Prepare for a career as a government or nonprofit manager

Because Franklin offers a current, applied curriculum focused on preparing you to be a real-world practitioner, upon graduation you’ll be ready to enter the workforce and immediately take on the top issues facing government and nonprofit organizations. You’ll gain the skills employers look for in the areas of public and nonprofit leadership, organizational analysis, policy-making, budgeting and financial management, and personnel administration.

Our balanced curriculum teaches you both government and nonprofit skills and competencies, including navigating the political system from an organizational and professional perspective; real-world ethics and professionalism; critical thinking and process improvement; fundamental budgeting and financial analysis; and practical leadership skills. We also emphasize critical skills that are not addressed in most other programs, including methodological reasoning, strategic organizational communication, and applied analytical techniques for decision making and problem solving.

At Franklin, you’ll also be engaged in case studies and simulations, giving you incredibly valuable experience in management decision-making, financial analysis, and management.

Customize your MPA to align with your desired functional area

In addition to a curriculum overseen by an expert Advisory Board comprised of nonprofit CEOs, governmental officials, and community leaders, such as former Columbus mayor Greg Lashutka, you can enrich your Master's in Public Administration degree by choosing a to take three elective courses to develop expertise in any of Franklin's graduate programs including Criminal Justice Administration, Healthcare Administration, or Human Resource Management.

Franklin is a member of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA), a mark of our commitment to provide you with a public administration education of excellence and quality.

Earn your MPA online from a university built for busy adults

Regionally accredited and nonprofit, Franklin was built from the ground-up to satisfy the needs of adult learners. Faculty with industry expertise means you gain relevant knowledge to apply directly to your current or future career, while our flexible course schedules help to balance your education with work, family, and life. Get started on your future today!

Gain The Skills Employers Desire

  • Political Advocacy & Legislative Analysis
    • Be a critical consumer of reports, studies, and research proposals
    • Develop and support research and policy agendas, which are foundational to legislative goals
    • Conduct legislative and policy research in support of developing policy positions on important issues affecting organizations and their goals
    • Work with public policy stakeholders to assess government and industry actions, anticipating the impact of policy trends and issues
    • Engage government agencies, elected officials, and other key stakeholders in advancing organizational goals and public interests
    • Lead and support organizational efforts to monitor and influence legislators, and the legislative process by identifying and securing persuasive speakers, briefing legislators and offering recommendations
    • Plan and participate in policy-focused meetings with government officials, advocates, and experts
    • Collaborate with public and private sector organizations to advance policy goals and missions
    • Advocate for policies that advance public interests and address important community and client needs
  • Management
    • Manage day-to-day operations and ensure organizational success by creating and implementing strategic plans, developing and overseeing budgets, and pursuing funding opportunities and/or partnerships
    • Lead strategic planning and change efforts
    • Provide administrative oversight and management of programs, ensuring compliance with applicable federal and state laws while achieving performance outcomes
    • Lead and manage strategic and operational projects and personnel
    • Coordinate external and internal services and intergovernmental affairs
    • Lead implementation of improvements to work methodologies, operating policies, administrative procedures, programs, and services
  • Budgeting & Financial Management
    • Lead and support efforts for obtaining sufficient revenues to effectively implement programs and advance organizational goals
    • Provide financial oversight, accountability, and management analysis through reviews of key budget and financial reports and audits
    • Direct efforts to initiate and foster public and private partnerships in order to effectively leverage organizational and community resources and advance the public interest
    • Lead organizational financial planning and management efforts
    • Ensure organizational activities and spending are conducted in accordance with legal requirements and ethical principles
    • Identify grant opportunities, new revenue streams, and sources of funding
    • Apply budget and financial skills to ensure sound financial decision making
    • Create management systems and foster organizational cultures that ensure financial transparency, accountability, and clear communication about organizational finances
  • Personnel Administration
    • Drive best-in-class talent management and succession planning processes
    • Foster success-oriented, accountable organizational environments
    • Collaborate in the development of work plans and performance reviews
    • Motivate and lead high-performance management teams
    • Manage and evaluate team performance, ensuring adherence to organizational standards
    • Collaborate with human resources in promoting positive, productive employee relations and professional development
    • Lead and support efforts to attract, recruit, manage, and inspire highly qualified and ethical employees
    • Foster an organizational culture that promotes, supports, and effectively uses workforce diversity
    • Manage routine personnel issues and engage in employee coaching
    • Model ethical and professional leadership with a focus on public and community service
    • Advocate for organizational and public policies that enhance the ability to attract, retain, and support high-quality employees and promote equitable treatment
  • Government & Nonprofit Leadership
    • Cultivate a high-performing and ethical organizational culture
    • Create and implement effective organizational policies and management systems
    • Lead strategic planning efforts and evaluation of short- and long-range strategic goals
    • Direct efforts to effectively raise and allocate organizational resources
    • Oversee and support efforts to initiate and foster public and private partnerships to advance organizational goals and serve the public interest
    • Spearhead and support government relations, community outreach, and other advocacy efforts in support of legislative and public policy priorities and organizational initiatives
    • Develop and coach employees with diverse backgrounds, facilitating their professional growth
    • Serve the public interest and organizational clients
    • Generate and lead proactive, strategic approaches to organizational communication with the public, media, clients, and other key stakeholders

Career Opportunities

  • City Manager

    City Managers are appointed officials who oversee executive administration of operations, including city budgets, policies, and services.

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  • Executive Director

    Executive Directors develop and implement an organization’s vision and mission, and oversee all primary functions, including fiscal management, staffing, and programming.

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  • Chief Executive Officer

    Chief Executive Officers create vision, set strategies, and influence organizational cultures, ensuring successful execution of missions.

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  • Government Relations Director

    Government Relations Directors develop, implement, and manage legislative agendas, track legislation, and develop and communicate organizational points of view to state and federal legislators and constituencies.

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  • Cabinet Secretary

    Cabinet Secretaries provide counsel in their respective areas of expertise, supporting leadership in setting policy agendas and priorities and in coordinating policy implementation.

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  • Agency Director

    Agency Directors oversee nonprofit and government agencies, directing staff activities to ensure successful completion of organizational goals.

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  • Business Services Director

    Business Services Directors plan, organize, and direct all aspects of operational services, including budgeting, finance, accounting and legal issues.

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  • Finance Director

    Finance Directors oversee organizational compliance with finance and accounting activities, ensuring proper disclosures, policy adherence, and reporting.

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  • Chief Operating Officer

    Chief Operating Officers oversee day-to-day business operations, including participating in strategic planning and ensuring profitability.

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Employment Outlook

In 2015 there were 145,532 job openings related to Public Administration. The previous year, 17,665 students completed programs in Public Administration.

Occupations Job Openings (2015) Expected Growth
Chief Executives 7,915 9.2%
General and Operations Managers 70,259 15.1%
Administrative Services Managers 7,822 14.1%
Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers 3,290 10.8%
Social and Community Service Managers 8,203 23.9%
Managers, All Other 8,801 7.8%
Emergency Management Directors 151 8.6%
Legislators 1,258 4.7%

Source information provided by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) - June 2016

Our Recipe For Your Success

Academic & Industry Experts

Classes are taught and designed by credentialed professionals with real-world experience.

  • Programs are designed by combining the insight of industry leaders with the academic expertise of our faculty, ensuring what you learn translates into on-the-job success.

  • Academic concepts and theories are brought to life through our teaching faculty’s professional expertise, and can be immediately applied in your career.

  • Faculty with industry experience teach our courses, not graduate students or life-time academics, so you learn not only the theories behind the practice but also how to apply them in real-world situations.

Relevant & Consistent Curriculum

What you learn is a reflection of the program you choose, not the format in which it’s applied.

  • All programs are designed for learning outcomes to flow from the program level into actual coursework.

  • This top-down approach allows credentialed professionals to customize assignments based on trending industry topics without deviating from a program’s core outcomes.

  • Regardless of your professor or the format of your class, you receive the same quality education.

Hands-On Learning Experience

Franklin's coursework teaches not only theories and concepts, but also how they apply to practical situations.


  • Professional course designers ensure that class activities such as learning simulations, case studies, interactive videos, and group exercises are relevant and appropriate.

  • A curriculum development team is dedicated to making sure all courses are intuitively designed so content is taught in a logical manner that facilitates your success in the classroom and beyond.

Continuously Evolving Programs

Consistent program reviews ensure our programs stay at the forefront of industry trends.

  • Survey results and feedback from student and faculty assessments are reviewed regularly so that our programs are always improving and up-to-date.

  • A structured review process helps identify industry gaps that guide curriculum enhancements allowing our academic and industry experts to regularly implement new industry trends.

  • Regular assessment provides hard data that is used to improve student learning and teaching methods.

Get the details

View curriculum, read course descriptions,
and meet program faculty.

View Program Details