The Master of Public Administration degree is the recognized professional degree in public administration, public management, and public service. It is designed principally, but not exclusively, for those who are pursuing careers in public service. Graduates are employed in government agencies at all levels, national associations, public interest groups, research and consulting firms, and in the private sector.

The MPA program provides an opportunity to study management and policy issues in an intergovernmental and intersectoral context. The program focuses on developing critical intellectual capacities, sound analytical skills, and a sensitivity to the ethical and value concerns that are central to the traditions of the field of public administration.

The MPA program is available at the George Washington University's main campus in downtown Washington, DC. It is not available as a distance-learning program.

Master of Public Administration Curriculum

The MPA program consists of 40 credit hours. Students complete a common core and select specialized elective fields to tailor their coursework to their unique interests and career objectives.

Master of Public Administration Fields of Study

Each student selects a field of study consisting of at least three courses (9 credits). Many MPA students select one of the eight fields listed below. Others design their own individualized field with consultation and approval of a substantively appropriate faculty advisor; in addition, any of the MPP fields are possible in the MPA.

The eight primary fields are:

  • Budget and Public Finance
  • Federal Policy, Politics, and Management
  • Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • International Development Management
  • Managing State and Local Governments
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Policy Analysis and Evaluation
  • Public-Private Policy and Management

MPA students may also pursue the Certificate in Organizational Performance Improvement in the College of Professional Studies. Please see Kathy Newcomer for more details.


If you believe that public service research and theories should be applied to the challenges facing governments, nonprofits, and the private sector today and into tomorrow, then come join us and learn how to do good and do it well.

The Trachtenberg School prepares graduate students for careers in public service, including government, the nonprofit sector, and private business. Our degree programs are overseen by the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, including the admissions process.

If you want to be in the heart of Washington, D.C. while you gain knowledge and skills you can use to tackle big challenges all around the world, The Trachtenberg School, located on the George Washington University’s Foggy Bottom campus, is waiting for you. Most classes within the Trachtenberg School take place on campus with a limited number being offered online.

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This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sep 2019
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