Program Description

Sound leadership and management are vital to organizational and governmental effectiveness. The Master of Public Administration (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. In this program, 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.

What it costs

The total cost for this program is $893.25 per credit hour for VA state residents or $1,681.25 per credit hour for Non-VA residents. See the Cost tab below for a breakdown of tuition and fees. All of Mason’s tuition rates and fees can be found on our Student Accounts site.

Application Deadline

For admission in the fall Semester, the priority deadline is February 1, and the standard deadline is May 1. For admission in the spring Semester, the priority deadline is November 1, and the standard deadline is December 1. For more application information on how to apply, see the Admissions site.

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Program Summary

Hybrid OR 100 Percent Online

Program: Public Administration

Degree: MPA

College/School: Schar School of Policy and Government

Credits: 36-39 total

Who should apply?

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) is designed for people who hold or aspire to hold leadership positions in organizations that participate in the development and implementation of public policy. The mission of the MPA program is to give graduate students the opportunity to build their knowledge of politics, public policy, and management and to enhance their analytic, problem solving, and communication skills.
MPA students at Mason have the research and cultural resources of the Washington, D.C. area at their disposal. Government agencies representing all levels in the U.S. federal system are located close to the campus, as are the National Archives, the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian Institution. Another benefit is the wide range of internship opportunities available in governmental and nonprofit organizations. The MPA Program regularly has internship invitations from national, state, and local government organizations, as well as from nonprofit organizations whose principal work is at the local, state, national, or international levels. Many of these internships are paid positions.

Why choose George Mason?

With George Mason University’s prime location in the Washington, D.C. area, Schar School students gain access to leading scholars and practitioners who bring real-world experience to the classroom, providing you with the mentorship and skillsets needed to advance in your career.

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. Full-time GCPO professors have held positions at the World Bank, the US International Trade Commission, the United Nations Development Program, the US Treasury, the European Commission, the US Office of Technology Assessment, and the US Environmental Protection Agency. Beyond this, they have even more extensive consulting experience around the world.

Program requirements may change; please refer to the Public Administration, MPA program page in the Mason Course Catalog for the most up-to-date requirements. This program can be completed completely online or in a hybrid format.

The required courses emphasize the development of knowledge about public policy and management, as well as analytical problem-solving and communication skills, and third-party governance. Through these courses, students develop a shared knowledge base and skill set. The elective courses can be used by students to focus their knowledge and skill development within one concentration. Alternatively, the electives can be used to extend the breadth of study with courses drawn from a variety of concentrations or from other departments and schools across the university.

Requirements: 36-39 credits total

  • 24 credits core courses
  • 12 credits Electives or Concentration Courses
  • 3 credits Professional Experience

Core Courses (24 credits)

  • PUAD 502 Administration in Public and Nonprofit Organizations | 3 credits
  • POGO 511 Introductory Data Analysis for Policy and Government | 3 credits
  • PUAD 520 Organization Theory and Management Behavior | 3 credits
  • PUAD 540 Public Policy Process | 3 credits
  • PUAD 700 Ethics and Public Administration | 3 credits
  • PUAD 703 Collaborative Public Management | 3 credits
  • Select one course from the following:
    • PUAD 613 Economic Analysis in Public Administration | 3 credits
    • PUAD 645 Policy Analysis | 3 credits
    • POGO 611 Advanced Data Analysis for Policy and Government | 3 credits
    • POGO 646 Policy and Program Evaluation | 3 credits
  • Select one course from the following:
    • PUAD 660 Public and Nonprofit Accounting and Finance | 3 credits
    • PUAD 662 National Budgeting | 3 credits
    • PUAD 663 State and Local Budgeting | 3 credits
    • PUAD 664 Nonprofit Financial Management | 3 credits

Electives or Concentration Courses (12 credits)

Students may take their electives within one of the concentrations which follow. As an alternative, with the approval of their advisor, students may select their electives from several concentrations or fields. Students not pursuing a concentration may select electives from Schar course offerings.

Students may declare only one concentration. PUAD 794 Internship and POGO 796 Directed Readings and Research may be applied to a concentration where content is appropriate and with prior written approval of the student’s advisor. Other courses may also be applied to a concentration with prior written approval of the advisor.

Concentration in Administration of Justice (ADJ)

Select four courses from the following:

  • PUAD 730 Professional Development Workshop | 3 credits
  • PUAD 781 Information Management: Technology and Policy | 3 credits
  • CONF 501 Introduction to Conflict Analysis and Resolution | 3 credits
  • CRIM 509 Justice Organizations and Processes | 3 credits
  • CRIM 510 Policing in a Democratic Society | 3 credits
  • CRIM 740 Justice Organizations | 3 credits
  • CRIM 741 Street Level Criminal Justice | 3 credits
  • CRIM 742 Leadership in Justice and Security Organizations | 3 credits
  • CRIM 781 Justice Program Evaluation | 3 credits
  • ITRN 702 Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy: Study Abroad | 3 credits
  • PUBP 710 Topics in Public Policy | 3 credits
  • POGO 750 Topics in Policy and Government | 3 credits
  • POGO 794 Internship | 3 credits
  • POGO 796 Directed Readings and Research | 3 credits

Concentration in Emergency Management and Homeland Security (EMHS)

  • PUAD 630 Emergency Planning and Preparedness | 3 credits
  • PUAD 631 Disaster Response Operations and Recovery | 3 credits
  • PUAD 632 Terrorism: Theory and Practice | 3 credits
  • PUAD 633 Hazard Mitigation Policy | 3 credits
  • PUAD 634 Management of International Security | 3 credits
  • PUAD 635 Emergency Preparedness: Interagency Communication and Coordination | 3 credits
  • PUAD 637 Managing Homeland Security | 3 credits
  • PUAD 727 Seminar in Risk Assessment and Decision Making | 3 credits
  • PUAD 731 Homeland/Transportation Security Administration | 3 credits
  • PUAD 738 Issues in International Security | 3 credits
  • BIOD 723 Legal Dimensions of Homeland Security | 3 credits
  • PUBP 710 Topics in Public Policy | 3 credits
  • PUBP 742 Transportation Safety and Security | 3 credits
  • PUBP 754 Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis for Public Policy | 3 credits
  • PUBP 758 Global Threats and Medical Policies | 3 credits
  • ITRN 702 Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy: Study Abroad | 3 credits
  • POGO 750 Topics in Policy and Government | 3 credits
  • POGO 794 Internship | 3 credits
  • POGO 796 Directed Readings and Research | 3 credits
  • COMM 637 Risk Communication | 3 credits

Concentration in Environmental Science and Public Policy (EVPP)

CONF 695 Selected Topics and COMM 590 Seminar in Communication when topic is the environment, may be used to fulfill this requirement with the prior written approval of the student’s advisor.

Select three courses from the following:

  • PUAD 645 Policy Analysis | 3 credits
  • POGO 646 Policy and Program Evaluation 1 | 3 credits  
  • PUAD 649 Advocacy and Lobbying | 3 credits
  • EVPP 524 Introduction to Environmental and Resource Economics | 3 credits
  • EVPP 607 Fundamentals of Ecology | 3 credits
  • EVPP 638 Corporate Environmental Management and Policy | 3 credits
  • EVPP 641 Environmental Science and Public Policy | 3 credits
  • EVPP 670 Environmental Law | 3 credits
  • CONF 695 Selected Topics | 3 credits
  • COMM 590 Seminar in Communication | 3 credits
  • PUBP 710 Topics in Public Policy | 3 credits
  • POGO 750 Topics in Policy and Government | 3 credits
  • POGO 794 Internship | 3 credits
  • POGO 796 Directed Readings and Research | 3 credits
  • ITRN 701 Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy | 3 credits
  • ITRN 702 Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy: Study Abroad | 3 credits

1 If not already taken to meet core requirements.

Concentration in Human Resources Management (HRM)

  • PUAD 670 Human Resources Management in the Public Sector | 3 credits

Select three courses from the following:

  • PUAD 623 Managing Government Contracting | 3 credits
  • PUAD 652 Leading in the Nonprofit Sector | 3 credits
  • PUAD 671 Public Employee Labor Relations | 3 credits
  • PUAD 672 Human Resources Reforms for Public Administration | 3 credits
  • PUAD 729 Issues in Public Management | 3 credits
  • PUAD 730 Professional Development Workshop | 3 credits
  • PSYC 631 Industrial and Personnel Testing and Evaluation | 3 credits
  • PSYC 636 Survey of Industrial-Organizational Psychology | 3 credits
  • PSYC 638 Training: Psychological Contributions to Theory, Design, and Evaluation | 3 credits
  • PSYC 639 Survey of Organizational Processes | 3 credits
  • PSYC 667 Behavior in Small Groups and Teams | 3 credits
  • PSYC 739 Seminar in Industrial/Organizational Psychology | 3 credits
  • ODKM 705 Group Dynamics and Team Learning | 3 credits
  • ODKM 715 Creating Learning Organizations | 3 credits
  • ODKM 731 Consulting Skills for Organizational Change | 3 credits
  • ODKM 735 Organizational Development Practices | 3 credits
  • PUBP 710 Topics in Public Policy | 3 credits
  • ITRN 702 Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy: Study Abroad | 3 credits
  • POGO 750 Topics in Policy and Government | 3 credits
  • POGO 794 Internship | 3 credits
  • POGO 796 Directed Readings and Research | 3 credits
  • MBA 713 Managing Human Capital | 3 credits

Concentration in International Management (IM)

  • PUAD 504 Managing in the International Arena: Theory and Practice | 3 credits

Select three courses from the following:

  • CONF courses1 | 3 credits 
  • ITRN courses1 | 3 credits
  • PUAD 634 Management of International Security | 3 credits
  • PUAD 636 The NGO: Policy and Management | 3 credits
  • PUAD 730 Professional Development Workshop | 3 credits
  • PUAD 738 Issues in International Security | 3 credits
  • PUAD 739 Issues in International Management | 3 credits
  • GOVT 540 International Relations | 3 credits
  • GOVT 631 Seminar in Comparative Politics and Institutions | 3 credits
  • PUBP 710 Topics in Public Policy | 3 credits
  • ITRN 701 Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy | 3 credits
  • POGO 750 Topics in Policy and Government | 3 credits
  • POGO 794 Internship | 3 credits
  • POGO 796 Directed Readings and Research | 3 credits
  • ITRN 702 Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy: Study Abroad | 3 credits

1 With written prior approval of the director.

Concentration in Nonprofit Management (NPMG)

Students in the nonprofit concentration may take PUAD 505 Introduction to Management of Nonprofits as one of their first four courses and may take PUAD 505 Introduction to Management of Nonprofits simultaneously with PUAD 502 Administration in Public and Nonprofit Organizations. Likewise, students in the international concentration may take PUAD 504 Managing in the International Arena: Theory and Practice as one of their first four courses.

  • PUAD 505 Introduction to Management of Nonprofits | 3 credits
  • PUAD 659 Nonprofit Law, Governance, and Ethics | 3 credits

Select two courses from the following:

  • PUAD 636 The NGO: Policy and Management | 3 credits
  • PUAD 649 Advocacy and Lobbying | 3 credits
  • PUAD 652 Leading in the Nonprofit Sector | 3 credits
  • PUAD 654 The Community, Marketing, and Public Relations | 3 credits
  • PUAD 655 Nonprofit Fund Raising and Resource Development | 3 credits
  • PUAD 657 Association Management | 3 credits
  • PUAD 658 Social Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise | 3 credits
  • PUAD 660 Public and Nonprofit Accounting and Finance | 3 credits
  • PUAD 664 Nonprofit Financial Management | 3 credits
  • PUAD 680 Public Technology Management | 3 credits
  • PUAD 720 Performance Measurement | 3 credits
  • PUAD 730 Professional Development Workshop | 3 credits
  • PUBP 710 Topics in Public Policy | 3 credits
  • POGO 750 Topics in Policy and Government | 3 credits
  • POGO 794 Internship | 3 credits
  • POGO 796 Directed Readings and Research | 3 credits
  • ITRN 702 Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy: Study Abroad | 3 credits

Concentration in Policy Studies (PS)

Select four courses from the following:

  • PUAD 615 Administrative Law | 3 credits
  • PUAD 622 Program Planning and Implementation | 3 credits
  • PUAD 645 Policy Analysis | 3 credits
  • PUAD 649 Advocacy and Lobbying | 3 credits
  • PUAD 658 Social Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise | 3 credits
  • PUAD 661 Public Budgeting Systems | 3 credits
  • PUAD 662 National Budgeting | 3 credits
  • PUAD 663 State and Local Budgeting | 3 credits
  • PUAD 680 Public Technology Management | 3 credits
  • PUAD 727 Seminar in Risk Assessment and Decision Making | 3 credits
  • PUAD 730 Professional Development Workshop | 3 credits
  • PUAD 749 Issues in Public Policy | 3 credits
  • PUAD 750 Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations | 3 credits
  • PUAD 781 Information Management: Technology and Policy | 3 credits
  • GOVT 520 Political Theory | 3 credits
  • GOVT 605 Seminar on the Presidency | 3 credits
  • PUBP 710 Topics in Public Policy | 3 credits
  • POGO 646 Policy and Program Evaluation | 3 credits
  • POGO 750 Topics in Policy and Government | 3 credits
  • POGO 794 Internship | 3 credits
  • POGO 796 Directed Readings and Research | 3 credits
  • ITRN 702 Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy: Study Abroad | 3 credits

Concentration in Public Management (PMG)

Select four courses from the following:

  • PUAD 615 Administrative Law | 3 credits
  • PUAD 622 Program Planning and Implementation | 3 credits
  • PUAD 623 Managing Government Contracting | 3 credits
  • PUAD 658 Social Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise | 3 credits
  • PUAD 660 Public and Nonprofit Accounting and Finance | 3 credits
  • PUAD 661 Public Budgeting Systems | 3 credits
  • PUAD 662 National Budgeting | 3 credits
  • PUAD 663 State and Local Budgeting | 3 credits
  • PUAD 664 Nonprofit Financial Management | 3 credits
  • PUAD 670 Human Resources Management in the Public Sector | 3 credits
  • PUAD 672 Human Resources Reforms for Public Administration | 3 credits
  • PUAD 679 Leadership Skills for the 21st Century | 3 credits
  • PUAD 680 Public Technology Management | 3 credits
  • PUAD 720 Performance Measurement | 3 credits
  • PUAD 729 Issues in Public Management | 3 credits
  • PUAD 730 Professional Development Workshop | 3 credits
  • PUAD 731 Homeland/Transportation Security Administration | 3 credits
  • PUAD 750 Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations | 3 credits
  • PUAD 781 Information Management: Technology and Policy | 3 credits
  • PUBP 710 Topics in Public Policy | 3 credits
  • ITRN 702 Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy: Study Abroad | 3 credits
  • POGO 646 Policy and Program Evaluation | 3 credits
  • POGO 750 Topics in Policy and Government | 3 credits
  • POGO 794 Internship | 3 credits
  • POGO 796 Directed Readings and Research | 3 credits

Concentration in Public and Nonprofit Finance (PNF)

Select four courses from the following:

  • PUAD 658 Social Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise | 3 credits
  • PUAD 660 Public and Nonprofit Accounting and Finance | 3 credits
  • PUAD 661 Public Budgeting Systems | 3 credits
  • PUAD 662 National Budgeting | 3 credits
  • PUAD 663 State and Local Budgeting | 3 credits
  • PUAD 664 Nonprofit Financial Management | 3 credits
  • PUAD 729 Issues in Public Management | 3 credits
  • PUAD 730 Professional Development Workshop | 3 credits
  • PUAD 769 Issues in Public Financial Management | 3 credits
  • PUBP 710 Topics in Public Policy | 3 credits
  • POGO 750 Topics in Policy and Government | 3 credits
  • POGO 794 Internship | 3 credits
  • POGO 796 Directed Readings and Research | 3 credits
  • ITRN 702 Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy: Study Abroad | 3 credits

Concentration in State and Local Government (SLG)

Select four courses from the following:

  • PUAD 505 Introduction to Management of Nonprofits | 3 credits
  • PUAD 615 Administrative Law | 3 credits
  • PUAD 623 Managing Government Contracting | 3 credits
  • PUAD 630 Emergency Planning and Preparedness | 3 credits
  • PUAD 651 Virginia Politics, Policy, and Administration | 3 credits
  • PUAD 660 Public and Nonprofit Accounting and Finance | 3 credits
  • PUAD 661 Public Budgeting Systems | 3 credits
  • PUAD 662 National Budgeting | 3 credits
  • PUAD 663 State and Local Budgeting | 3 credits
  • PUAD 680 Public Technology Management | 3 credits
  • PUAD 729 Issues in Public Management | 3 credits
  • PUAD 730 Professional Development Workshop | 3 credits
  • PUAD 750 Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations | 3 credits
  • PUAD 759 Issues in Local Government Administration | 3 credits
  • PUAD 781 Information Management: Technology and Policy | 3 credits
  • PUAD 679 Leadership Skills for the 21st Century | 3 credits
  • PUBP 710 Topics in Public Policy | 3 credits
  • POGO 750 Topics in Policy and Government | 3 credits
  • POGO 794 Internship | 3 credits
  • POGO 796 Directed Readings and Research | 3 credits
  • ITRN 702 Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy: Study Abroad | 3 credits

Concentration in Managing Across Sectors (MAS)

Select four courses from the following:

  • PUAD 613 Economic Analysis in Public Administration | 3 credits
  • PUAD 622 Program Planning and Implementation | 3 credits
  • PUAD 623 Managing Government Contracting | 3 credits
  • PUAD 635 Emergency Preparedness: Interagency Communication and Coordination | 3 credits
  • PUAD 636 The NGO: Policy and Management | 3 credits
  • PUAD 658 Social Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise | 3 credits
  • PUAD 659 Nonprofit Law, Governance, and Ethics | 3 credits
  • PUAD 750 Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations | 3 credits
  • PUBP 710 Topics in Public Policy | 3 credits
  • POGO 750 Topics in Policy and Government | 3 credits
  • POGO 794 Internship | 3 credits
  • POGO 796 Directed Readings and Research | 3 credits
  • ITRN 702 Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy: Study Abroad | 3 credits

Professional Experience (3 Credits)

Certification that the student has experience in public administration outside the classroom and is ready to take leadership responsibilities must be exhibited by one of two ways:

  • relevant professional experience, approved by the program director
  • PUAD 792 Advanced Seminar in Applied Public Administration Research | 3 credits

Tuition (2021-2022)

TUITION CLASSIFICATIONCOST PER CREDIT HOUR
Virginia Resident$743.00
Non-Virginia Resident$1,531.00
Mandatory Student fee$150.25
Total Cost per Credit for Virginia Residents $893.25
Total Cost per Credit for Non-Virginia Residents$1,681.25
Graduate New Student Fee$60 (non-refundable, one-time fee)

Please Note: In addition to the tuition and fees described above, various course and lab fees may be assessed depending on the course(s) in which the student is enrolled. Please refer to the Students Accounts Office website for more information on tuition and fees.

Financial Aid

For information on loans and scholarships, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid.

The Master of Public Administration program prepares students for a range of industries and roles in the public and private sectors. In a recent graduating class career outcomes survey, the following were the top employers of MPA program 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

Career Outcomes Link: https://schar.gmu.edu/why-study-here/career-services/career-outcomes

USEFUL RESOURCES 
Program ContactBonnie Stabile
Email: bstabile@gmu.edu
Program Website https://schar.gmu.edu/programs/masters-programs/masters-public-administration-mpa
School Contact Schar School Graduate Admissions
Phone: (703) 993-8099
Email: schar@gmu.edu
Schar School of Policy and Government Websitehttps://schar.gmu.edu/

Application Requirements

  • Graduate application and fee
  • 750-1,000 word written statement of your goals and interest in the program
  • Current resume
  • Unofficial transcripts from all previous institutions attended in the U.S. For international institutions, transcripts may be unofficial but should include cumulative transcripts, degree certificate, individual semester marksheets (if applicable), and diploma (if applicable)
  • Two letters of recommendation. At least one recommendation should be from an individual who is qualified to attest to the candidate’s academic potential
  • Additional requirements for applicants with international credentials

If you have any questions during the application process, please contact schar@gmu.edu or (703) 993-2280.

Scholarship Requirements

The Schar School of Policy and Government awards merit-based scholarships based on an applicant’s academic achievements.