The Master of Public Administration (M.P.Adm., M.P.A., or MPA) is a professional post-graduate degree in public administration, similar to the Master of Business Administration but with an emphasis on the issues of governance.
The MPA program is a professional degree and a graduate degree for the public sector and it prepares individuals to serve as managers, executives and policy analysts in the executive arm of local, state/provincial, and federal/national government, and increasingly in non-governmental organization (NGO) and nonprofit sectors; it places a focus on the systematic investigation of executive organization and management. Instruction includes the roles, development, and principles of public administration; public policy management and implementation.
Through its history, the MPA degree has become more interdisciplinary by drawing from fields such as economics, sociology, law, anthropology, political science, and regional planning in order to equip MPA graduates with skills and knowledge covering a broad range of topics and disciplines relevant to the public sector. A core curriculum of a typical MPA program usually includes courses on microeconomics, public finance, research methods, statistics, policy analysis, managerial accounting, ethics, public management, geographic information systems (GIS), and program evaluation. MPA students may focus their studies on public sector fields such as urban planning, emergency management, transportation, health care (especially public health), economic development, community development, non-profit management, environmental policy, cultural policy, and criminal justice.
MPA graduates currently serve in some important positions within the public sector including Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, former CIA Director David Petraeus, President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Mexico Felipe Calderón, Foreign Minister of Serbia Vuk Jeremi?, former New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, former Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, former Treasurer of Australia Wayne Swan. Other notable MPA graduates include Bill O'Reilly.
Outside the United States, the MPA degree increasingly includes a substantial element of management education sitting alongside public policy and public administration thereby bringing it closer to the MBA degree.[clarification needed] However, some MPA programs in the United States are housed in business schools (see BYU's Marriott School of Management and LSU's E. J. Ourso College of Business).
A Master of Public Administration can be acquired at various institutions. See List of schools offering MPA degrees.