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Online Master of Public Administration & Policy

Build your foundational competencies in policy analysis and management and gain a prestigious and marketable credential.
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A Prestigious & Marketable Credential

American University's School of Public Affairs (SPA) is among the nation's top-ranked schools for public affairs. For more than 80 years, we have transformed our students into public management leaders.

Our MPAP degree arms you with high-demand analytical skills for careers across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors and at all levels of government. Our graduates have the expertise to analyze problems and craft solutions by applying knowledge of organizational management and leadership, organizational structure and culture, and human resource systems, as well as broad knowledge of the political and legal context of modern public service organizations. You'll bring a deep understanding of how to formulate, evaluate, and communicate public policies and programs using acquired analytic frameworks and methodological skills, including statistics, economics, and politics.

Fits Your Schedule

Our online Master of Public Administration & Policy (MPAP) is a two-year program that enables you to earn a graduate degree on your schedule. Regardless of where you live and work, you can study at an institution with a longstanding reputation for excellence and deep connections in public affairs. Upon completion, you'll be able to immediately apply your expertise to real-world policy and organization problems. The program also gives you immediate access to American University's vast network of policy experts, world-class faculty, and well-connected alumni.

Our location in the midst of the nation's political, cultural, and media capital enriches the opportunities and resources available to you. If you're looking for a program that will strengthen your competencies and expand your knowledge base to take your career to a new level, you'll find what you're seeking in our online Master of Public Administration & Policy.

Degree Requirements
Financial Info

The online Master of Public Administration & Policy (MPAP) requires 36 credit hours of approved graduate work for students entering the program with a bachelor's degree. Required core courses add up to 33 credit hours, including classes in the foundations of public administration and policy analysis, project management, economics, legal, budgeting and financial management, leadership and managing human capital, quantitative methods, and organizational analysis. The Public Policy Practicum makes up the remaining 3 credit hours. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 in all coursework is required to remain in good standing and to earn the degree.

Public Policy Practicum

The Public Policy Practicum (PUAD-688) gives students exposure to the institutional, legal, and ethical dimensions of policy analysis in organizational settings. It demonstrates critical thinking, research, and writing skills through a policy analysis project for a client. The Practicum is taken in the final semester of study, and is offered to online students in the fall, spring, and summer.

For more information, please contact the SPA Graduate Admissions Office at 855-725-7614 or

The School of Public Affairs operates on a rolling admissions basis for our graduate programs. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis until programs reach capacity.

While previous academic or professional work in public administration or policy is not required, SPA values applicants who have acquired practical experience before beginning their degree program. Your personal statement about your background, career interests, and reasons for pursuing graduate study in the program will be essential, along with the other required application materials.

You may substitute test scores from the GMAT or LSAT, for the GRE. If you received your undergraduate degree more than five years before applying to the program, you may be able to waive the requirement for test scores altogether.

For more information, please contact the SPA Graduate Admissions Office at 855-725-7614 or

The online Master of Public Administration & Policy (MPAP) is a 36-credit-hour program. To estimate the cost of tuition, please see the current cost per credit hour for graduate students.

The School of Public Affairs offers graduate students both merit-based and need-based financial aid. The Online Merit Scholarship is offered to students who demonstrate undergraduate excellence and continue on to graduate studies. Scholarships are available to students who meet the eligibility requirements. Graduate students enrolled at least part time in a Master's program may be eligible for federal loans. To apply, students must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Need-based awards are administered by the American University Office of Financial Aid. Additional financial support is available for veterans.

All merit awards are based on your academic merit and professional experience, specifically your undergraduate grades and leadership activities as well as career-related accomplishments. Merit awards are valid for one year-they vary in amount, are typically divided evenly between the fall and spring semesters, and are not typically renewable.

At the helm of the online Master of Public Administration & Policy is our School of Public Affair’s renowned faculty, whose Washington expertise exposes students to the practical application of policy analysis and provides unique insight into public administration challenges currently facing policy experts and administrators. Our faculty’s academic credentials, real-world experience, and political and policy expertise provide you with a world-class education that prepares you for immediate success in your career.

Our faculty spearhead critical government-funded public policy research, advise NGOs and donor agencies, and work with leading Washington, DC think tanks. They have personally led state legislation implementation and have held senior leadership positions at the American Society of Public Administration and the National Academy of Public Administration. They are frequently published in leading public affairs journals, have won prestigious awards in the field, and regularly appear as expert speakers at conferences and in the media.

These highly motivated and skilled educators develop all courses for this MPAP degree, and work in close cooperation with course instructors who mentor and guide students through the day-to-day learning process. Together, they deliver a comprehensive understanding of core administrative and policy analytic skills in an effective and engaging manner.

We Know Success

% of Graduates are now Working, Grad School, or Both
Nicole Laible

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Meet Nicole Laible, 100th Graduate of SPA's MPAP Program

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