Master of Public Administration and Policy


Develop Public Affairs Leadership Skills in Our Prestigious Program

Organizations in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors seek leaders who possess acumen in both policy analysis and management. Develop these sought-after interdisciplinary skills in American University’s online Master of Public Administration and Policy (MPAP) program. The degree blends foundational competencies from our nationally recognized and NASPAA-accredited Master in Public Administration (MPA) and Master in Public Policy (MPP) programs to offer you a prestigious and marketable credential.

Based in Washington DC, American University is among the nation’s top-ranked schools for public affairs. For over 80 years, the School of Public Affairs has transformed its students into public management leaders who serve in countless functions that enhance not only the lives of its graduates, but all of society. This online two-year program enables you to earn a graduate degree in public administration and policy on your schedule. It also gives you immediate access to American University’s vast network of policy experts, reputed faculty, and well-connected alumni.

With a Master in Public Administration and Policy, you will gain critical knowledge in both policy analysis and public administration to advance your career. Regardless of where you live and work, you can study at an institution with a longstanding reputation for excellence and deep connections in public affairs. Recent rankings for American University’s School of Public Affairs include:

Rankings & Accreditation

#19 Top Schools: Public Affairs

U.S. News & World Report
America's Best Colleges (2018)

#3 Nationally for Presidential Management Fellows Semifinalists

#35 Best Colleges for Veterans

U.S. News & World Report
America's Best Colleges (2018)

#4 Most Politically Active Students

Princeton Review
Best Colleges (2018)

#5 Top Public Management Administration Program

U.S. News & World Report
Best Grad Schools (2018)

#3 College Gets High Marks

Princeton Review
Best Colleges (2018)

The Princeton Review, 2018
  • No. 4 Most Politically Active Students, 2017

  • No. 50 Top Online Master’s Degree in Public Administration 2017

  • No. 2 Best Online Master in Public Administration

U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools, 2018

  • No. 6 Top Public Management/Public Administration Program
  • No. 18 Top Schools: Public Affairs
  • No. 23 Top Public Finance and Budgeting Program
  • No. 26 Top Public Policy Program

Journal of Public Affairs Education

  • Ranked 1st in D.C., 3rd in the U.S. and 5th worldwide for institutional impact on research in the field of public administration

94% of American University’s School of Public Affairs graduates are working in the field, in graduate school or both within six months.


American University is internationally recognized for its passion for public service, political activism, and location in Washington, DC—a political, cultural, and media capital. School of Public Affairs alumni report a 94 percent rate of post-graduation employment, continued graduate education, or both within six months of receiving their degree.

Our MPAP degree arms you with the analytical, contextual, ethical, and substantive skills and knowledge critical to effectively advise public policy and lead public programs. These key skills are in high demand for careers across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, at all levels of government.

Upon completion, you will possess the knowledge and skills to:

  • analyze administrative problems and craft solutions by applying knowledge of organizational management and leadership, organizational structure and culture, human resource systems, as well as the political and legal context of contemporary public service organizations.
  • formulate, evaluate, and communicate public policies and programs using acquired analytic frameworks and methodological skills, including statistics, economics, and politics while considering their responsiveness, accountability, effectiveness and equity.
  • incorporate a range of constitutional and ethical values into policy and administrative analysis and actions, including respect for the diversity of people and perspectives in the policy process.
  • apply acquired skillsets, expertise, and values to real-world policy and organizational problems in a collaborative manner.
Marissa Brown

Marissa Brown, Master of Public Administration and Policy, '16

"...a program that caters to my needs and positions me for my dream job."

I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to be in a program that caters to my needs and positions me for my dream job. American University’s reputation and ideal location, provides the perfect environment to foster me into the public leader I hope to become. The School of Public Affairs transforms lives of students like myself and I have no doubt in my mind that come May 2018 I will walk across the stage at graduation with the knowledge, skills, and contacts needed to thrive in the public administration and policy fields.


Whether teaching a class or speaking to legislators, MPAP faculty are always actively engaged.


Click Here for Video Transcript


VICKY WILKINS: I think the School of Public Affairs at American University stands out and is often ranked among the best schools of Public Affairs because of the fact that we have such a active and engaged faculty. Our faculty are just as comfortable in the classroom as they are behind their desk doing research as they are downtown giving testimony to Congress.


At the helm of the online Master of Public Administration and Policy is our School of Public Affair’s renowned faculty, whose Washington expertise allows us to expose students to the practical application of policy analysis and provide unique insight into public administration challenges currently facing policy experts and administrators. Our online MPAP courses are developed by faculty who:

  • have held senior leadership positions at the American Society of Public Administration and the National Academy of Public Administration
  • consult and train NGOs and donor agencies
  • work with leading Washington, D.C. think tanks
  • spearhead critical government-funded public policy research
  • have personally led state legislation implementation
  • are frequently published in leading public affairs journals
  • have won several prestigious awards in the field
  • regularly appear as expert speakers at conferences and in the media

As experts in every aspect of public service, these highly motivated and skilled educators from the School of Public Affairs develop all courses for this MPAP degree. They work in close cooperation with course instructors who mentor and guide students through the day-to-day learning process. All of our instructors in our faculty hold advanced degrees in public affairs. They are well-connected professionals working in government and the non-profit sector. Together, our online faculty delivers a comprehensive understanding of core administrative and policy analytic skills in an effective and engaging manner. Our faculty’s academic credentials, real-world experience, and political and policy expertise provide you with a world-class education that prepares you for immediate success in your career.

To learn more about how American University’s online Master of Public Administration and Policy can advance your career, request more information or call us toll free at 855-725-7614.