Online Programs

2016 Master of Public Administration and Policy Graduates Prepared to Advance Policy and Practice

As one of the nation’s top-ranked schools for public affairs, American University – in the heart of Washington, DC – offers an online Master of Public Administration and Policy program that allows students to sharpen their skills to pursue careers in the public interest.

The online master’s program means that, regardless of whether they live inside or outside the Beltway, students have access to American University’s renowned faculty, who have held senior leadership positions across a wide range of government agencies, nonprofits, research organizations, and think tanks. They can also network with and learn from fellow students, many of whom have established careers in public administration and public policy.

Master’s graduate Fletcher Smith, whose federal agency is working to adapt to a digital environment, says the program’s rigorous exposure to the foundations of public policy and public administration have given him added credibility and confidence as he seeks to improve the agency’s workflow.

“Spending two years trying to think clearly and write persuasively on policy questions has really helped me convince my boss to let me do some things that broke with established practice but will make our office’s work better,” he says.

Skills in High Demand

The online Master of Public Administration and Policy teaches a broad range of skills needed for careers at all levels of government and across a wide range of organizations. Skills learned include the ability to analyze problems and craft solutions within the context of public service organizations, create and evaluate public policies and programs, incorporate ethical values into policy, and tackle real-world problems of policy and practice.

Such skills are in high demand by employers in both the public and private sectors. Within six months of graduation, 95 percent of master’s graduates from AU’s School of Public Affairs report being employed, continuing their graduate education, or both.

“I have always been interested in how policy is implemented efficiently and gives a meaningful impact,” says Reena Shrestha, a former program coordinator with the World Bank and a State Department Pathways intern, who graduated with a full-time job as a program analyst with the State Department. “This is what I am doing in my new job now.”

Exposure to AU’s experienced faculty of Washington policy experts and a student body with a broad range of public and private sector experience provides MPAP students with practical, real-world perspective on how public policy is developed and put into place.

“Knowing how the pieces are going to fit is equally important as finding those pieces,” says graduate Cecile Cardillo, who is moving from a career in banking to one in public administration. “I think that those who have the uncanny ability of understanding the pieces of the policy work stand a much greater chance of effectuating solutions.”

Taking the Next Step

Despite the wide range of careers Master of Public Administration and Policy graduates pursue—between 30 and 50 percent work in the public sector, while another 25 percent work for nonprofits—they have one thing in common, says graduate Natalie Aggarwal. “There are a lot of paths which can be taken with this toolkit as you pursue the next phase of your journey,” says Aggarwal, who is pursuing a career with the federal government after working for a nonprofit.

“However, the passion which drew you to this program—to make a difference—and kept you afloat on this journey should not be quenched. It should be the motivator behind your career choice and as you progress in your career to truly make the difference you set out to make.”

American University’s online Master of Public Administration and Policy brings the experience and expertise of the nation’s capital to you. Students receive analytical, contextual, ethical, and substantive skills and knowledge to advance their careers and lead in government, non-profits, and the private sector in the US and abroad.

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