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MPA/MPP Degrees

The MPA Degree

The Masters of Public Administration (MPA) degree is the professional degree for students seeking a career in public service or nonprofit management. MPA programs develop the skills and techniques used by managers to implement policies, projects, and programs that resolve important problems within their organization and in society.

The MPP Degree

The Masters of Public Policy (MPP) degree is the professional degree for analyzing, evaluating, and solving all aspects of policy. As analysts and managers, MPP graduates work with quantitative and qualitative data to develop, assess, and evaluate alternative approaches to current and emerging issues.


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How are they Different?


"The MPA is for people who want to run things and change things for the public good. The MPP is for students who want to analyze public problems and recommend improvements."

In general, MPA programs place more emphasis on management and implementation techniques, while MPP programs emphasize policy research and evaluation (ie more statistical analysis). For example, a course on analyzing policy methods would be more popular among MPP students, while a course in managerial economics may pertain more to MPA students. Be sure to check each school to find the program fit for you.

The MPP degree focuses upon formulating and evaluating public policy while the MPA degree focuses upon the implementation of public policy

Both programs usually take two years to complete full time, and many schools offer a part-time option. In addition, many provide evening classes for students who already have a job or may be pursuing one. Also, it is important to note that every school is different in what it provides and specializes in. One school may focus on nonprofit management, another may be well-known for its program in state/local administration, and others may be famous for specific policy topics.


The MPP degree is a rigorous, focused, skills-oriented program geared toward students who want to pursue a career in policy analysis; in contrast, the MPA degree is broader in focus, building on students’ prior professional experience and preparing them to lead and manage public service organizations.

NASPAA Spotlight Award Winners

MPA and MPP Alumni do a lot of amazing things with their degrees! Here are just a few award winning alumni who make NASPAA proud!

Award winner

2018 Spotlight Award Winner

Mandy Elder, Mark O. Hatfield School of Government, Portland State University

Check out Mandy Elder's video about her work with the Organization she co-founded Women's International Leadership and Learning


Award winner 2

2018 Spotlight Award Winner

David Toland, University of Kansas

Check out David Toland's video about his work with Thrive Kansas as the first CEO of Thrive Allen County, a nonprofit coalition that works to improve quality of life and economic conditions in Allen County, Kansas.

Find a School Now!

The authoritative search tool for programs in public affairs, public administration, and public policy - the only online directory that includes data from schools themselves. You can search and filter by a wide range of criteria.

Are there other graduate degree options besides the MPA or MPP?

The public affairs education sector has a number of degree programs in addition to the more traditional MPA and MPP degrees.  These can include degree titles such as:

  • Master in Public Affairs
  • Master in Public Management
  • Master in Nonprofit Administration

NASPAA's School search will contain information about any degree program in our field for which our members have provided data and can provide you a quick overlook of the degrees available.