Skip to content

Why Choose an MPA?

What is an MPA?

A Master of Public Administration (MPA) is the degree to have if you want to manage in the public or nonprofit sector. MPA coursework teaches students fundamental administrative skills, understanding of leadership and managerial roles, and ethical maturity in the public and nonprofit sectors. Earning your MPA at the University of Utah not only provides you with the skills needed to excel in the public and nonprofit spheres, it demonstrates to others that you are a capable and well-trained leader, ready to excel!

Where can an MPA take me?

The MPA program prepares students for a wide variety of careers within the public and nonprofit sectors. Many students choose to specialize their studies through dual degrees or certificates that provide them with in depth knowledge on a particular area of Public Administration. Our MPA students and graduates work in a variety of public and nonprofit entities, such as:

  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • City, County, State, and Federal Government Agencies    
  • Hospitals and Health Centers
  • Environmental and Natural Resource Divisions
  • Criminal Justice Agencies
  • Human Resources Departments
  • Policy Analysis Divisions
  • Schools, School Districts, Universities, and State Education Offices

MPA, MPP, and MBA—What's the Difference?

A Master of Public Administration, a Master of Public Policy, and a Master of Business Administration. While the names may seem similar, they each prepare their students for very different careers.

Master of Public Administration (MPA)

The MPA prepares students for administrative careers within the public and nonprofit spheres. While there may be overlap in adminsitrative practices between the corporate and public worlds, public administrators often face challenges that may not be fully explored in a Business Administration or Public Policy program.

Master of Public Policy (MPP)

The primary focus of the MPP is policy and research within the public and nonprofit sectors, which can often result in overlap with the MPA. Ultimately, however, the MPP will typically be the best option for students interested in policy and research development, while an MPA is generally best for students interested in administrative and managerial positions.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

An MBA typically prepares students to engage with the financial and social structures that exist in the private sector, whereas the MPA is tailored to the unique challenges that exist within public and nonprofit sectors. While many administrative skills can be transferrable, the context in which they are taught can vary considerably, which means that the nature of your desired profession is important to consider when comparing these programs.

Let's Go!

Are you ready to gain the skills and experience you need to change the world? Take the next step and apply for a Master of Public Administration at the University of Utah! 

If you are still unsure, explore the resources available on our website, or contact our office to meet with an advisor. We are passionate about the education we provide, and we are happy to share our knowledge and experience with you as you take this next big step in your life.

Contact Us

Start an Application


Explore the Program

Last Updated: 10/6/21