Arkansas State University offers two fully online master’s degree programs for professionals interested in public administration:
- The Master of Public Administration Public Management Track is designed to help students advance in law enforcement and the public sector.
- The MPA Non-Profit Management track prepares students for high-level positions in nonprofit organizations.
Both programs are intended to help graduates make a positive statement in their communities and in society.
What Areas Do These Programs Share?
Thirty-six credit hours of coursework are required to complete A-State’s online MPA — 21 hours of core courses and 15 hours of track-specific courses. This may include two co-requisite courses on U.S. government and economic concepts and systems, but only for students who have not already completed equivalent courses.
Core coursework for both MPA programs covers an array of topics on public administration, leadership, ethical decision-making, and research in the political and public realms. Essential public administrative functions, such as grant writing, finance and the nuances of human resource management, are examined in depth.
These core courses are designed to help students develop the skills needed to be effective leaders in public, nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations. The program emphasizes decision-making traits based on problem analysis and problem solving as well as best practices in ethical management and communication. Both MPA programs include a capstone course, which helps students develop a professional portfolio for use after graduation.
What Areas of Study are Specific to the Public Management Track?
Effective public management builds on general managerial methods and leadership. Working in the public sector requires a comprehensive understanding of public policy, public revenue streams, regulations and even politics. Public management professionals need to navigate extremely complex bureaucratic and administrative structures to execute operations efficiently.
Students enrolled in A-State’s MPA in public management program study the intricacies of policy analysis, administrative structures and behavior, financial management and strategic planning as applied to public sector administration. A-State’s program offers students the option of completing an internship — especially useful for pre-service students, letting them apply what they learn to real-life scenarios.
How Does Nonprofit Management Study Differ from the Public Management Track?
The nonprofit management coursework features strategic planning and an internship option, but further study differs according to the issues and operations specific to the nonprofit sector.
Nonprofit organization revenue streams consist primarily of donations (monetary or in-kind contributions) and grants. This means operational and financial management are entirely codependent. Coursework reflects this, focusing on the financial challenges of managing nonprofits as well as the marketing and branding skills needed for fundraising.
With A-State’s unique online MPA offerings, gained skills and knowledge can be applied to portfolio development and to practice in the field, deepening student learning. This integration of theory and knowledge through experiential learning prepares graduates to excel in manager-, director- or executive-level roles in a public sector or nonprofit organization.
As leaders, these graduates are positioned to improve organizational function through effective management and collaboration. In turn, competently run organizations strengthen and uplift the community.