Master's Degree in Public Administration and Policy: Online Courses

A Proven Curriculum from a Recognized Institution

When you choose the online Master of Public Administration and Policy from American University, you receive an education that provides a targeted blend of courses in public administration and policy analysis. The MPAP curriculum takes you from start to finish in a predictably sequenced curriculum in as few as 24 months, during which you take two courses per semester, including fall, spring, and summer.

The online program consists of 12 three-credit courses (36 credits in total), each eight weeks long. It includes a well-planned sequence of public administration courses and public policy courses from American University's NASPAA-accredited MPA and MPP programs. The MPAP program culminates in a capstone course that allows you to incorporate everything you've learned into completion of a policy analysis or administrative project for a real-world client. Over the course of this program, you will develop knowledge and skills in public administration and policy analysis to:

  • Effectively recognize, communicate, and contrast foundational concepts and issues in public policy and administration
  • Practice public administration constitutionally and legally by understanding the Constitution, due process, and equal protection rights
  • Master the foundations of policy analysis and economics to make better-informed public policy decisions
  • Understand federal budget processes and assess financial implications of public decisions
  • Use data and quantitative methods to solve problems, conduct analyses, and evaluate public programs
  • Bridge theory and practice to successfully address complex organizational problems
  • Perform human resource management tasks in the public and nonprofit sector
  • Understand leadership theory and develop enhanced leadership skills
  • Apply project management concepts to improve public sector and nonprofit performance
  • Synthesize the full range of your skill set by applying it to a salient project in collaboration with a client organization

In each course, you will complete one learning unit per week in an interactive and deadline-driven learning process, which allows you to build your studies into your life and work in a flexible manner. Our instruction offers hands-on, case-based learning and regular opportunities to work and interact with your peers. You will learn through a system called Engage, which is designed with students in mind and has a heavy focus on collaboration and community.

AU's real-world curriculum has made us a leading university for producing Presidential Management Fellows. Read more.


As an online student, you will enjoy access to all of American University's School of Public Affairs resources and services. You will be able to take part in our growing online learning community while enjoying online access to events taking place on campus. Our team of advisors and technicians are at your side throughout your online learning experience with us.

Our online courses are led by award-winning faculty members and experienced instructors from American University's School of Public Affairs who have deep connections with the practice of managing and analyzing public programs. They are part of our Department of Public Administration and Policy, which includes some of today's most respected educators in their areas of specialization. You have over 50 faculty members, affiliated centers, and experts at your disposal.

Match Your Learning Path to Your Career Goals

Our online Master of Public Administration and Policy (MPAP) courses are designed to be directly relevant to a successful career in public service—whether in government, a nonprofit setting, or the private sector. By integrating course material developed by our renowned faculty with the real-world applications and expertise from our practitioner instructors, you'll gain valuable insights that you can apply immediately to your work at the local, state, federal, and international level.

The course work and readings were so interesting and timely. I was able to take the lessons learned an apply them directly to my work.

– Allison Deines, Alumni, Master of Public Administration and Policy

You'll explore the operational, financial, and political aspects of policy-making, public administration, and nonprofit management, including:

  • Public Administration in the Policy Process
  • Legal Issues in Public Administration
  • Foundations of Policy Analysis
  • Public Managerial Economics
  • Budgeting and Financial Management
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Foundations of Program Evaluation
  • Organizational Analysis
  • Managing Human Capital Assets
  • Leadership in a Changing Workplace
  • Project Management

Our online MPAP courses build your analytic proficiency and shape your approach to lead in public service.

Public Administration and Policy Courses

3 credit hours each

Learn more today. Call us at 855-725-7614 to speak to an admissions representative, or request more information here.