Expert leadership in the public sector begins with the right education and training. If you want to become a public sector executive and oversee groups or organizations committed to serving the public interest, discover how Anna Maria College can help you achieve your dream career from anywhere. Learn to lead, manage and create long-lasting societal changes with our online Master of Public Administration (MPA). As the accepted professional credential for public service professionals, the MPA is also essential for many elected and appointed officials at all levels of government. Anna Maria College is located in Paxton, Massachusetts, yet you can complete the MPA online, regardless of where you live.

Our online MPA program does not require a GRE (or other entrance exam); it offers five specializations and a mid-career track.

What is a Master in Public Administration?

A Master of Public Administration (MPA) prepares you with the leadership skills required to run a company or organization within the public sector. MPA programs teach students executive leadership and management skills with a focus on government and nonprofit organizations, as well as contemporary public policy issues. Graduates of such programs will be able to apply these skills in areas specific to the field of public administration, such as policy making and analysis, government finance management and public sector labor relations.

Anna Maria College's online MPA program prepares individuals to serve as managers in the executive arm of local, state/provincial, and federal/national government, and in the nonprofit sectors. The rigorous curriculum lays the groundwork for fundamental public administration skills such as executive organization, budget planning, strategic management of human capital and public policy. This, alongside our experienced faculty of thought leaders and industry experts, will prepare you to successfully lead.

Get an inside look at what past and current students are experiencing in the Capstone, the final course in the online MPA program.

View Transcript


The CAPSTONE course is the last course in your MPA degree progression.
The course is designed to demonstrate your ability to take a project from

where you can make a difference
You will:

  • Submit a topic proposal
  • Complete a report
  • Present in a 3 to 5 minute video

Pieces of the final project are completed over a total of 8 weeks.
Additional assignments and discussions help you think about approaching your topic with different perspectives.

Topics our alumni have presented include...

The Path from Public Assistance to Self-Sufficiency
Police Response to Active Shooters: A Change in Tactics Cost Effective and Efficient
Communicating During Disasters: A Look into Information & Communication Technologies
Curbing Carcinogens: A Needed Change in Firefighter Cancer

Define yourself as a LEADER.
And make a DIFFERENCE.



MPA vs. MBA: What's the Difference?

Although both degrees focus on leadership and management development, MPA programs typically attract students who have a strong interest in politics and public service. Because the topics covered in MPA and MBA degree programs are so similar, many people think of an MPA as an MBA for nonprofit and government workers. The difference between MPA and MBA coursework is that MPA curriculum focuses on the application of business administration skills to the public service sector.

Impactful MPA Specializations

Professions within the public sector reach far and wide, across many industries. Anna Maria's online master's in public administration offers the choice of diverse specializations that give you critical knowledge in your specific area of interest:

  • General Track – The General Track includes a broad study of public sector management topics and is designed to offer maximum career flexibility for students who could see themselves entering multiple fields after graduation. Find out more about General Track Courses and Career Outlook.
  • Criminal Justice – Current law enforcement officers seeking career advancement or professionals looking to enter the field will gain valuable criminal justice leadership skills that the top agencies and law enforcement departments are looking for. Find out more about Criminal Justice Courses and Career Outlook.
  • Emergency Management – The Emergency Management concentration integrates the study of emergency management skills and techniques to produce graduates who are capable of leading during times of crisis. Find out more about Emergency Management Courses and Career Outlook.
  • Fire and Emergency Services – Combining foundational management development with an in-depth study of fire and emergency services administration, this specialized degree is a highly valuable credential for aspiring fire and EMS leaders. Find out more about Fire & Emergency Services Courses and Career Outlook.
  • Homeland Security – Students in the Homeland Security online MPA program will learn how to anticipate, prevent and react to situations that threaten the safety and security of the nation, including attacks by foreign and domestic terrorists. Find out more about Homeland Security Courses and Career Outlook.

A Wide Variety of MPA Career Opportunities

Anna Maria's online MPA offers specializations to prepare you for a variety of career paths in whatever field you choose. Graduates of the online MPA program can pursue a number of roles within government agencies, nonprofit organizations or private corporations, such as:

  • Chief development officer
  • Human resource manager
  • Emergency services director
  • Emergency management specialist
  • Public works director
  • Fire chief
  • Police chief 
  • Police detective
  • City planner/manager
  • Economic development
  • Nonprofit management
  • Financial management

Continue reading about the career opportunities a Master of Public Administration may help you achieve.

Obtain Vital Leadership Practices

With Anna Maria College's online MPA program, you'll obtain key knowledge in high-level areas such as executive leadership, ethics, public policy and strategic planning. Courses are delivered by professors with decades of combined experience in multiple levels of public sector organizations. Pursuing Anna Maria's MPA program online allows you to:

  • Gain an advantage with a curriculum built on the latest trends, public sector leadership and policy
  • Learn from an experienced team of professors sourced from within the industry
  • Study when you want, where you want with a convenient all-online format – perfect for working adults

The Direct Track for Anna Maria College's MPA online is a total of 36 credit hours. For those who qualify, a Mid-Career Track is available in which only 30 credit hours are required.

Mid-Career Track: Your Work Experience Counts

If you’ve graduated from a qualified police or fire academy and work in a relevant field, you may be eligible to waive up to two courses from the online MPA program requirements. That means you could earn your online Master of Public Administration degree with as few as 30 credits instead of 36. General Track MPA applicants may qualify for the Mid-Career Track if they have 4+ years of applicable field experience.

Completion of the U.S. Fire Administration's Executive Fire Officer program may qualify you for admission to the online master's in public administration and earn you up to 6 credit hours toward an MPA with a Fire and Emergency Services specialization.

Transfer Credits

Accepted and matriculated students may be able to transfer up to six credits from a regionally accredited institution towards the required credits for a master's program based on certain conditions. Alumni of Anna Maria College may be able to transfer up to nine credits towards their Anna Maria College master's degree. To learn more about this option please reach out to a Program Manager.

Program Requirements

  • Hold a bachelor's degree (in any academic discipline) from a regionally accredited college or university
  • A GPA of 2.7
  • Current resume
  • Two references
  • Personal statement

Learning Outcomes

Anna Maria College aims to provide an exceptional academic experience for current and future public service leaders. By focusing on leadership and management practices that are most relevant (and most effective) in public sector organizations, Anna Maria College's online master's in public administration will develop graduates who are capable of meeting the challenges faced by today's public sector leaders.

Learn more about the MPA's mission, goals and educational objectives as outlined by Anna Maria College.

Start Now!

Gain the academic knowledge and practical skills you need to succeed at the highest levels of leadership with the MPA program online from Anna Maria College. Click here or call 877-265-3201 to speak with a Program Manager.

Anna Maria College was approved by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to participate in SARA, and became a SARA institution in 2021. At this time, only California is not a member state. If you reside in California and are interested in taking an online class at Anna Maria College, or for more information about our participation in SARA, click here.