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Master of Public Administration

UMass Lowell's online MPA will prepare you for a successful career in the public and nonprofit sectors by developing managerial, analytical and communication skills.

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Online Master of Public Administration

UMass Lowell's fully online Master of Public Administration (MPA) Degree will provide you with the leadership skills, knowledge and credentials to advance your career in the public sector. The online MPA is designed for those looking to begin careers in government or nonprofit organizations and public servants seeking career advancement.

Our MPA offers an interdisciplinary approach with faculty who teach in the fine arts, humanities, social sciences, health sciences, education and business departments. The program concludes with a capstone experience at a public or nonprofit agency, allowing you to use newly acquired skills and knowledge while expanding your professional network.

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No GRE Required

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One of the Most Affordable Tuitions in the Nation

Part-Time or Full-Time Option

Part-Time or Full-Time Option

Career Outlook

Jobs (2022)
% Change (2022-2023)
Median Earnings
Annual Openings
Source: Lightcast, 2023, Target Occupations in New England for Public Administration Majors


  • City managers
  • Municipal department leaders
  • Health and human service workers
  • Music and art educators
  • State government administrators
  • Founders of nonprofit organizations
  • Human resource coordinators
  • Policy analysts

One Success Leads to Another

Apply credits from lower credentials to higher ones. Our programs are designed to build upon themselves:

Curriculum Outline

Total: 13 Courses / 39 Credits

Required Courses (4 Courses / 12cr)

  • MPAD.5010 Foundations of Public Administration (3cr)
  • MPAD.5020 Public and Non-Profit Budgeting and Financial Management (3cr)
  • MPAD.5030 Public and Non-Profit Management and Leadership (3cr)
  • MPAD.5040 Data Analysis (3cr)
  • OR
  • CRIM.5900 Descriptive & Inferential Statistics (3cr) - Available Summer 2024!

Management Skill Courses (4 Courses / 12cr)

Managing Resources (Choose 1)

Managing People (Choose 1)

  • MPAD.5300 Gender and Administration (3cr)
  • CRIM.5200 Administration of Justice (3cr) - Available Summer 2024!
  • CRIM.5210 Managing Justice Organizations (3cr)
  • MPAD.5150 Public and Non-Profit Personnel Management (3cr)

Managing Communication (Choose 1)

Managing Information (Choose 1)

General Electives (4 Courses / 12cr)

Choose 4 courses from the options below or select any of the management skill courses not already to fulfill that category requirement.

Capstone (1 Course / 3cr)

  • MPAD.6010 Capstone Experience (3cr)

Course Descriptions

CRIM.5200 Administration of Justice (3cr)

An examination of the components of the criminal justice system and a review of the administration of federal, state and local criminal justice agencies, including a focus on criminal law and procedure.

CRIM.5210 Managing Justice Organizations (3cr)

A range of criminal justice management issues are addressed, including organizational structure, purpose, rewards and relationships, leadership and management styles, and the development of effective change strategies by criminal justice agencies. The complex role of the criminal justice manager in both the adult and juvenile justice system is emphasized.

CRIM.5900 Descriptive & Inferential Statistics (3cr)

This course is a rigorous introduction to statistical inference: probability theory, confidence intervals, and hypothesis tests. The course also covers regression analysis, which is developed in a non-technical way, with an emphasis on interpretation of regression results, using examples from recent research.

CRIM.5910 Research Design (3cr)

Research design is a graduate-level introduction to methodology as used in criminology/criminal justice. The course surveys the research design enterprise and covers a host of issues on the measurement and collection of data, and other procedures that influence whether a research study will lead the investigator to scientifically rigorous information. This course explains various strategies for devising social science studies, compares the relative benefits of various designs, and identifies the tools necessary to conduct studies that will yield data worthy of analysis and interpretation. This material will be valuable for students who will conduct research and administrators who must evaluate the research of others.


CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.5920 From Data to Practice and Policy (3cr)

This course provides students with the tools and understanding needed to collect, process, and analyze data, turn it into useful information, and communicate knowledge to a variety of audiences via written and visual means. Students will earn how they can take unprocessed, messy, and complex data from a variety of sources, turn this into something useful (and reliable), and then effectively communicate the underlying 'so what' to other people to help influence policy and practice.As part of this process, students will learn the skills needed to spot incomplete, suspect, and/or fake data, and to identify misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda. Students will learn these skills through a combination of different modalities. At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to produce their own impactful policy briefs and data visualizations to effectively communicate impactful information to a variety of audiences.

CRIM.6130 Law and Public Policy (3cr)

The course is an introduction to crime and the efforts to control crime through public policy. We explore the foundations of the policy-making process at the federal, state, and local levels. The course also considers broad theoretical applications pertaining to public opinion, national culture, and comparative analyses among Western democracies and their differing approaches to crime. This course employs a variety of learning tools, from roundtable discussions to policy cases.


CSCE Graduate Restrictions

MPAD.5010 Foundations of Public Administration (3cr)

This course provides an introduction to the field of public administration, including both its theoretical and practical dimensions. Beyond exploring the history and evolution of the field, the course will examine the contours of the public sector, the workings of public institutions and bureaucracies, and the ways in which analytic tools can be applied to understand public policy problems and questions.

MPAD.5020 Public and Non-Profit Budgeting and Financial Management (3cr)

This course provides students with a conceptual and practical introduction to budgeting and financial management in the public sector. It examines the relationship between the budget and agency strategy, reviews the mechanics of the public budgeting process, and introduces students to the basics of financial management practice and financial analysis. It also emphasizes budgeting as a tool for performance management and accountability to the public. Topics covered in the course include an overview of the structure and sources of government revenue, the politics of the budget process, capital budgeting, intergovernmental fiscal relations, the process of budget formulation, performance-based budgeting, financial reporting, and an overview of generally accepted accounting principles.

MPAD.5030 Public and Non-Profit Management and Leadership (3cr)

This course offers students an overview of the practical and theoretical foundations of managing, planning, and leadership within public and community-serving organizations. Topics and issues explored through the course include the role of professional managers within the public sector, the process of executive decision-making, employee incentives and motivation, conflict management, performance measurement, ethical challenges faced by managers, workplace diversity, strategic planning, and power dynamics. Course activities will include weekly critical readings and case studies, as well as individual and group problem-solving exercises.

MPAD.5040 Data Analysis (3cr)

This course provides students with a basic introduction to the use of quantitative methods in policy research. It is very much designed as a course in applied statistics, covering common topics such as types of variables and data, probability theory, hypothesis testing, measures of central tendency and variance, as well as tools for examining basic relationships between two variables: contingency tables, correlation and bivariate regression. Weekly homework assignments ask students to work with actual data and develop skills for quickly analyzing data, reporting the results, and using their conclusions to inform decision-making.

MPAD.5120 Communication for Public and Non-Profit Managers (3cr)

This class focuses on public relations, marketing, and advertising for public service communication and public education campaigns related to nonprofit organizations and issues such as public safety, education, public health, social welfare, health, environment and community development. All nonprofit organizations at some point must be visible to the public in order to fulfill their missions; nonprofit managers must know how to promote their organizations and issues to current and potential supporters, the broader public, and the mass media. Students in this course explore the uses of traditional and nontraditional public relations tools. Topics include program and organization branding, targeting audience targeting, campaigning, preparing materials for the media, and using social media.


Graduate Level.

MPAD.5150 Public and Non-Profit Personnel Management (3cr)

Current issues in the management of public sector human resources recruitment, selection, work force training, and development, reward systems, employee health and safety, legal issues, managing diversity, performance evaluation, human resource planning, and labor-management relations.

MPAD.5300 Gender and Administration (3cr)

This course explores intersection of gender issues and administration in public and non-profit organizations. With a focus on the manner in which governmental organizational structures and also the need for these organizations to assess the impact of their programs on issues of gender equity in the larger community.

MPAD.5400 Public Finance (3cr)

This course introduces microeconomic theory and considers the role of government in a market economy. Examining common sources of market failure (market power, externalities, asymmetric information) and considering how government policy can address these failures. The course considers equity and fairness in relation to efficiency concerns in terms of policy. The course also attends to empirical considerations of policy. Including the use of data to estimate benefits and costs of policy, government spending and revenue and government deficits and surpluses.

MPAD.6010 Capstone Experience (3cr)

Designed to e taken during the student's final semester in the program, this course offers students the opportunity to apply what they have learned through an analytic and/or management project conducted on behalf of a client agency. The capstone projects will be team-based, with teams consisting of between 3-5 students. Projects and teams will be established in accordance with the focus on the student's selected option, and overseen by faculty mentor.

PSYC.5460 Grant Writing (3cr)

This course will be a hands-on course in grant writing. One of the first lessons that you will learn is that grant writing is only to a small degree about writing. Successful grants emerge from working effectively with others to draw out ideas, capture those ideas to create a program or a plan for research, show how the plan is an appropriate one to respond to the Request for Proposals, and package those ideas so that they make sense to the people who will review the proposal. Grant writing is increasingly a team building activity. Whether or not you obtain the funding is sometimes less important than the networking and planning that you do as a part of developing a grant proposal.


CSP & ESDR Majors only.

PUBH.5010 Social and Behavioral Determinants of Health (3cr)

This course introduces core concepts of social and behavioral determinants of health and provides a foundation for the analysis of social, political and economic influences on health and their role in contributing to health inequities. The core functions of public health and essential services are discussed as well as the history of public health, its philosophy and values. Upstream and downstream reforms to addressing fundamental determinants are evaluated. The influence of behavioral and psychological factors on health and disease are analyzed.

PUBH.5110 Health Care Finance (3cr)

Provides broad exposure to the concepts and practices of healthcare finance and healthcare financial management. Teaches a practical understanding of basic healthcare financial issues, financial reporting and analysis, and provider payment structures. The course enables students to read, analyze and use healthcare financial information in today's healthcare environment.

PUBH.6250 Health Policy (3cr)

This course provides students with a basic framework for health policy analysis and examines major aspects of U.S. health policy. Detailed consideration and discussion focus on the relationship of national policy to the planning, implementation and funding of healthcare services. The course covers topics such as the healthcare policy environment in the U.S, government-funded healthcare through Medicaid and Medicare, and the Massachusetts healthcare reform.


CSCE Graduate Restrictions

Program Requirements

To be recommended for a University of Massachusetts Lowell master's degree, candidates must satisfy all of the general requirements below, plus any additional requirements that may be required by the department through which the program is offered. Any additional requirements for this program are either listed below or may be found in the University's Graduate Program Catalog.

General Requirements:

  • Students must complete the program of study designed by the Department in which they are enrolled and approved by the University.
  • Satisfactory grades in all subjects offered for the degree must be earned. See Academic Standing.
  • All financial obligations, including tuition, fees and expenses, must be satisfied as evidenced by completion.
  • Upon completion of all their courses, graduate degree candidates must submit a signed Declaration of Intent to Graduate (DIG) form to their coordinator. The coordinator will apply them in SIS, Graduation Tracking.

Graduate Program Policies

In applying for a degree program or registering for courses, each student assumes full responsibility for knowledge of and compliance with the definitions, regulations and procedures of UMass Lowell as set forth on our website. For additional information, please refer to the Graduate Program Policies found within the UMass Lowell Graduate Catalog.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition at UMass Lowell is typically half the cost of private colleges, and our online tuition is among the lowest in the nation. Tuition for online programs offered through the Division of Graduate, Online & Professional Studies is the same whether you live in-state, out-of-state or outside of the U.S.

Summer 2024 Tuition

Cost Per Credit Cost Per 3-Credit Course*


Online $600 $1,800
Online Business1 $655 $1,965
Online Education2 $470 $1,410
Online 7000-Level Education $655 $1,965
Select Online Nursing M.S. courses3 $750 $2,250
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*Tuition is priced on the listed credit hour unless the contact hour is different. Tuition is then based upon the listed contact hour.
1Applies to ACCT, BUSI, ENTR, FINA, MGMT, MKTG, MIST and POMS courses.
2Applies to EDUC courses excluding 7000-level courses.
3Applies to NURS.6510, NURS.6511, NURS.6512 and NURS.6513 courses.

Additional Costs

Term Registration Fee $30
Returned Check Fee $30
Graduate Degree and Certificate Application $50

Please note: Tuition and fees are subject to change.

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Master of Public Administration Admission Requirements

  • F1 student visas are not issued for this program since it is offered exclusively online.
  • For students from countries where English is not the national language, an English test is required: we accept TOEFL: minimum is 79, IELTS: minimum is 6.5 and Duolingo: minimum is 105.

Applying into a Graduate Degree Program

All applicants must submit:

Graduate Program Admissions Requirements

Admission to all graduate programs at UMass Lowell is contingent upon successful completion of a bachelor's degree. In many cases, applicants may register for a course before formally applying to the program; however, students requiring financial aid may want to wait until they have been formally accepted into the program to ensure that their course(s) will be covered. Contact UMass Lowell's Office of Graduate Admissions if you have questions about the application process.

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Questions Regarding Your Graduate Application?

Email Graduate_Admissions@uml.edu or call 800-656-4723 (for U.S. students) or 978-934-2390 (for international students).

For General Assistance:

For general questions about registering for courses or to find out who the advisor is for your graduate program, call 800-480-3190. Our admissions and advising teams are here to help!

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