Study Public Administration Major in the USA


Analysis of Public Administration Majors Studying in the United States

So far, more than 260 schools in the United States have opened MPA/MPP programs, and more than half of the top 100 universities in the United States have opened MPA programs. MPA has been called the three pillars of the development of American liberal arts graduate education along with MBA and JD. At the beginning, it only cultivated talents for the government. Now it has gradually become popular, and it also cultivates public relations talents for large and medium-sized private enterprises.


Table of Content


1. Introduction to the Master of Public Administration in the United States


2. Employment prospects for a master's degree in public administration in the United States


3. U.S. public administration master application requirements and suggestions


4. Analysis of key universities for master's degree in public administration in the United States




Introduction to the Master of Public Administration in the United States

MPA is short for Master of Public Administration (Master of Public Administration) or Master of Public Affairs (Master of Public Affairs). In countries with developed market economies in foreign countries, Master of Public Administration, Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Laws are called liberal arts The three pillars of high-level vocational graduate education.


Public affairs in the United States can be subdivided into: Master of Public Administration\MPA, Master of Public Affairs\MPA, Master of Public Policy MPP And Master of Public Management (MPM). Specific to each school, each school adopts a different naming method because of the different focus of teaching and research.


Since each school has a different emphasis on the same major, the employment of graduates is also diverse. MPA generally engages in some administrative work, MPP generally engages in policy research and analysis, one in front of the stage and one behind the stage, while MPM is generally engaged in more comprehensive management work.


Main course

Administrative law, management psychology, administrative management, civil service system, finance, administrative professional ability assessment, human resource development and management, introduction to social work, labor and social security, introduction to business management, introduction to sociology, etc.


3 characteristics of curriculum

1. For the training of both theory and practice required by senior management, change the curriculum of general research-oriented graduate courses to theory, description and introductory courses, and provide students with space to develop leadership skills.


2. For policy analysis methods and skills for solving complex social problems, provide qualitative, quantitative and other professional analysis tools that can only be obtained through college education, so that students can have more advanced professional qualities, have a higher level of competence, and be able to master this major Of qualitative and quantitative analysis tools.


3. Specialized knowledge and skills for professional fields, each student has his own choice of specialized fields to make it related to public management and public policy.


Employment prospects for a master's degree in public administration in the United States

The Master of Public Administration in the United States has been developed abroad for half a century. The foreign job market has been relatively mature, and the domestic demand for such majors is also beginning to increase. At present, the employment prospects for a master's degree in public administration in China are very broad.


Career Development

Municipal management officials, finance and budget officials, policy analysts, personnel management, project evaluators, volunteer coordinators, community planners, and economic development coordinators.

Employment prospects

Local, state, and federal government agencies, non-profit joint organizations (various associations, foundations, trade unions, etc.), think tanks or consulting companies, corporate personnel, and administrative departments are the four main institutions for MPA employment.


U.S. Public Administration Master Application Requirements and Suggestions

Hardware condition

TOEFL: At least 80 points, but the language proficiency requirements of the MPA major are relatively high, so if you want to apply to TOP colleges, it is best to have a TOEFL of 100.

GRE and GMAT: Students applying for the MPA major should note that many schools can use GRE or GMAT to apply, but most schools recognize the GRE test more. As for GMAT scores, more are recognized by the MPA major, but not all schools. Acknowledged, MPP majors almost always use GRE scores.


GPA: General schools require a minimum of 3.0. Of course, some schools have relatively low requirements, and even individual schools do not require a minimum GPA, but it is best to guarantee a minimum of 3.0, so that you can be more competitive.


Professional background

The American MPA major is a comprehensive major based on multidisciplinary theory and does not require too many applicants' professional background. On the contrary, American schools prefer or encourage students to have a variety of background experiences. 

However, if you have taken management, economics, and statistics related courses before enrolling, you will have a comparative advantage when applying.

Image for Public Administrator doing public administration

Work or internship experience

Some schools offer MPA programs that require relatively high work experience. Such as Syracuse, Princeton, Harvard, CMU, etc.


For fresh undergraduates, long-term government or NGO-related internship experience is particularly important. 

In addition, according to the requirements of the school, it is a better choice to avoid projects with higher work experience requirements. Some MPP projects basically do not require work experience, and applicants can consider applying for these projects.


Analysis of key universities for master's degree in public administration in the United States

1.Harvard University

Harvard University (Harvard University), located in Cambridge, Boston, Massachusetts, is a world-renowned private research university and a member of the famous Ivy League. 

There are 8 presidents of the United States of America, 157 Nobel Prize winners, 18 Fields Medal winners, and 14 Turing Prize winners. 

They have worked or studied here and have a high academic status and a wide range of Its influence is recognized as one of the top higher education institutions in the world today.


Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government is the cradle of cultivating elites in the public domain, and its MPA major is ranked second in the United States.

 There are three types of MPA courses, namely MPP, MPA/ID and MPA2. To apply for MPA2, you must have three years of full-time work experience. 

All three types of courses require two years of full-time study. Its teaching characteristic is to focus on the combination of basic methodology and policy research, focusing on solving practical problems, and adopting a large number of case studies.


2. Columbia University

Columbia University (Columbia University in the City of New York) is a world-renowned research university located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York City, USA. 

It is one of the eight private Ivy League schools. A total of 82 people in the school have won the Nobel Prize. Three American presidents, including Obama, came from the school.


The school’s MPA major provides students with 6 professional directions: economic and political development, energy and environment, human rights, international financial and economic policy, international security policy, urban and social policy. 

Students need to take 54 credits, which usually takes 4 semesters to complete.


3. University of California, Berkeley

The University of California-Berkeley (University of California-Berkeley) is the top public research university in the United States and the most prestigious and top public university in the world. 

The University of California, Berkeley is the oldest university of California and one of the founding members of the Association of American Universities.


The length of schooling for the MPP program is 2 years. Research directions include economics, political science, law, sociology, social psychology, demography and public policy.



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