Public Administration, MPA

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Become an effective leader

Gain a comprehensive understanding of how leadership, management, policy, and politics intersect with a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree.

Sound leadership and management are vital to organizational and governmental effectiveness. The MPA at George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government puts you on a path toward senior-level positions in organizations that implement and manage public policies. You will gain a comprehensive understanding of how leadership, management, policy, and politics intersect, along with the tools to enhance your communication, budgeting, and analytic skills.

As a graduate of one of the largest MPA programs in the country, you will join thousands of Schar School alumni working in various roles in local, state, and national government, nonprofit management, and many other careers.

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Upcoming Events for Prospective MPA Students

Considering an MPP or an MPA? Come learn about both!

After registering for each of these events, you will receive an email with a zoom link 24 hours in advance of the session.

Application Drop-In Hours:

"Drop-In" during our virtual application drop-in hours to ask the admissions team any questions you may have about your master’s application.

   Friday, December 9, at 12 to 1 p.m. ET (Virtual).  Register.

   Friday, December 16, at 12 to 1 p.m. ET (Virtual). Register

MPP and MPA Information Session, Join us virtually on your lunch break to hear more about the master’s in public administration and master’s in public policy programs, including the application process, student experience and graduate outcomes.

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MPA Graduate Dustin Sternbeck

“I owe a lot to [the Schar School MPA] program and I always encourage people who are interested in public administration to check that one. It’s hard to imagine that there are other better programs in the country.”

Dustin Sternbeck
Director of Communications, Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia
Master of Public Administration '10

Skills You'll Gain


  • Different leadership techniques
  • Effective project management
  • Fundamentals of budgeting
  • How to critically analyze policies and projects

A Degree That Works With Your Schedule


You can earn this degree:

  • On-campus
  • Entirely online in a synchronous format
  • Through a combination of on-campus and online classes
  • Part-time or full-time

Classes are offered in the evening to accommodate working students.

Highly Ranked MPA Program

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According to the Academic Ranking of World Universities, also known as the ShanghaiRanking, the Schar School's Master of Public Administration program is No. 16 among U.S. public colleges, and No. 1 in the Washington, D.C. region. Some 200 programs around the globe were studied for the ranking.

According to the most recent U.S. News & World Ranking, the Schar School's MPA program is ranked No. 39 for best public affairs programs and No. 24 for public policy analysis out of 270 schools ranked.

The MPA program is also accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA), recognizing the quality and rigor of the degree.

Application Requirements in Brief

  • 750-1,000 word written goal statement
  • Current resume
  • Unofficial transcripts 
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Graduate application and fee
  • No GRE required

Program Deadlines

  • Priority Application Deadline for Spring: November 1
  • Final Application Deadline for Spring: December 1
  • Priority Application Deadline for Fall: February 1
  • Final Application Deadline for Fall: May 1

Where Our Recent Graduates Work


Data gathered from recent graduates from 2017-21

Top Employers of Recent Graduates


  • Arlington County Government
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Deloitte Consulting
  • Fairfax County Government
  • FBI
  • IBM
  • ICF International
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
  • Pan American Development Foundation
  • Peace Corps
  • Social Security Administration
  • SRA International
  • Vanguard Communications
  • World Bank

The average salary of 2020-21 program graduates surveyed after graduation was $83,500.

 

MPA graduate Meron Aboye, young black woman stands in front of the U.S. capitol building, smiling at the camera.

 

“When you’re studying something you are passionate about, it’s not about the grades anymore, it’s about what you’re actually learning.”

Meron Aboye
Master of Public Administration ‘ 22

 

The Master of Public Administration program offers two paths to degree completion:

  • 36 total credits (12 courses) - advanced seminar/practicum waiver
  • 39 total credits (13 courses) - advanced seminar/practicum course

Available Program Concentrations

Students can tailor their studies to align with their interests by pursuing one of the following optional program concentrations.

  • Administration of Justice
  • Emergency Management and Homeland Security
  • Environmental Science and Public Policy
  • Human Resource Management
  • International Management
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Public Management
  • Public and Nonprofit Finance
  • Policy Studies
  • State and Local Government
  • Managing Across Sectors

Career Development Services

At the Schar School, we develop a career success plan for students from the moment they step foot on campus until graduation and continue to provide coaching and career services to students as alumni. In addition to university-wide resources, Schar School's career advisors will help you explore career and internship opportunities, define your goals, and develop the skills needed for a successful job search, including crafting a resume and cover letter that stand out.

Our graduates continue to have access to these services after they graduate —whenever they need them. 

Contact Career Development Services

Current students and alumni can reach out to our career team at any time.

Duane Bradshaw
Director of Career Development
Email: dbradsha@gmu.edu
Phone: 703-993-3188
Fax: 703-993-4876

Brian Bar 
Associate Director for Career Development and Alumni Relations
Email: bbar@gmu.edu
Phone: 703-993-8559 

Practitioner Faculty

With George Mason University's prime location in the Washington, D.C. area, Schar School students gain access to leading scholars and practitioners closely connected to the epicenter of policymaking and public service, and the hub of the nonprofit sector.

The MPA program faculty includes renowned scholars and practitioners who focus their teaching and research on a diverse range of public administration topics in both domestic and international contexts. Public administration courses address key issues in administrative law, organization theory, emergency management, homeland security, global civic society, privacy policy, public policy, program evaluation, urban politics, race and gender politics, Virginia politics and government, technology leadership, and more. The Schar School as a whole has 80+ faculty members, as well as hundreds of adjunct faculty, allowing students to gain access to a variety of perspectives and subjects through elective courses.

MPA Program Director Mirae Kim
Associate Professor Mirae Kim
Director of the Master's of Public Administration Program

Not ready to commit to a full master's degree program?

Our graduate certificates require just five courses (15 credits) that can be applied to a master's if you choose to continue on.