Master of Public Administration

The master of public administration (MPA) is the degree of choice for individuals with an interest in public affairs and professional management in the public and nonprofit sectors. Whether you’re seeking a first job in government or with a nonprofit organization, or are interested in advancing in an existing career, Georgia State University’s MPA program provides skills and knowledge that government and nonprofit agencies are looking for. Join us as we explore new ideas and perspectives on public and nonprofit administration, policy and governance in the 21st Century.

Our MPA program is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).  Read the NASPAA Code of Good Practice. AYSPS is also a member of APPAM. Recent national studies have ranked our overall public affairs curriculum in the top 27 programs nationwide, and in the top 15 for public finance, urban policy, and nonprofit management. The Department of Public Management and Policy, located in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, provides access to a community of research and teaching scholars with national and international reputations for their expertise and contributions to knowledge and practice across a broad range of administrative processes and policy concerns.

The mission of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program is to prepare students to become leaders in public service careers as executives, managers, analysts, and policy specialists in government and nonprofit organizations.

MPA Degree Requirements

The MPA has concentrations in Criminal Justice, Management and Finance, Nonprofit Management, Planning and Economic Development, Policy Analysis and Evaluation, and Public Health. The MPA degree requires 39 hours of graduate coursework, which must include 24 credit hours of required courses, a minimum of 12 credit hours in a concentration, and 3 credit hours of internship or practicum.

1. Required Core Courses (27 hours)

PMAP 8111 Public Service and Democracy*
PMAP 8121 Applied Research Methods and Statistics I
PMAP 8131 Applied Research Methods and Statistics II
PMAP 8141 Microeconomics for Public Policy
PMAP 8161 Public Budgeting and Finance**
PMAP 8171 Public Management Systems and Strategies
PMAP 8411 Law for Public and Nonprofit Managers***
PMAP 8431 Leadership and Organizational Behavior
PMAP 8941 Internship

*Nonprofit management concentration students must take PMAP 8210 Introduction to the Nonprofit Sector
**Nonprofit management concentration students must take PMAP 8261, Nonprofit Financial Management.
***Nonprofit management concentration students must take PMAP 8203, Nonprofit Advocacy, Law, and Policy.

2. Concentrations (12 hours)

Each student must develop special competence in a particular area of public administration by completing 12 hours in one of six concentrations. Students must formally declare the concentration they wish to complete prior to registering for their first elective course. The MPA program includes concentrations in:

Students also have the option of graduating without a concentration by developing an individualized set of courses that must be approved by the Department of Public Management and Policy.  

Program Characteristics

The MPA program is a late-afternoon/evening program with courses offered Monday-Thursday.  All courses are one-night-a-week classes, either in the 4:30-7:15 p.m. or 7:30-9:45 time slot.  Classes are all taught on the GSU downtown campus.  Students are welcome to enroll on a part-time or full-time basis based on their personal schedules and work demands.  The purpose for offering the program during evening hours is to not only accomodate those students who are already working professionals, but we also want to ensure students have the ability to complete necessary internship requirements during regular business operating hours at local public agencies.  

Our MPA Students at a Glance:

  • 42% are part-time students, 57% are full-time students
  • 42% of our students work part-time, 48% work 30+ hours per week, and only 10% are solely working on their internships and attending school
  • Of the 65 students who started the program five years ago, 42% graduated in two years, 72% graduated within three years, and 91% graduated within four years

Employment Outcomes

Of the 111 graduates of the MPA program in 2011-12, we know the employment status of 94. Nearly half (43) work for nonprofit organizations, and 28 work for governments (15 for local governments, 6 each for the federal and state government, and 1 for another country). In addition, 17 work for the private sector, 3 are pursuing doctoral degrees, and 3 are unemployed.

How Do the MPA and MPP Degrees Differ?

If you are looking for a professional degree that includes public policy but also focuses on managing and leading a public or nonprofit organization, the MPA degree offers courses in organizational behavior, human resources management, public budgeting, and management systems. These foundational courses are part of the core of the MPA. Common career paths from this degree include Directors, Program Managers, City Managers, Executive Directors, Chief Financial Officers, Volunteer Management, Human Resources, Development Directors, etc.

In contrast, but still comparable, is the MPP degree which is focused more on policy analysis, advocacy and evaluation, and the core for this program includes courses in statistics, evaluation research, politics and policy, and policy analysis. Common career paths from this degree include policy analysts, consultants, advocacy and researchers. Some students use the MPP as preparation for entering a doctoral program in public policy.


Contact Graduate Admissions

For more information about the school and its programs, please contact:

AYS Office of Academic Assistance:


Phone: 404-413-0021

Physical Address:

AYSPS Office of Academic Assistance
14 Marietta St. NW, Suite G-52
Atlanta, GA 30303
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Mailing Address:
AYSPS Office of Academic Assistance
P.O. Box 3992
Atlanta, GA 30302-3992