About the USC Master of Public Administration

Our Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree program is offered by the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. The program is a unique and multidisciplinary environment within the Price School that integrates all the major disciplines bearing on management and leadership in the modern, interconnected socioeconomic and political environment. The program connects cutting-edge research to the practice of public policy and management, equipping students with the skills required to meet the challenges and opportunities of the ever-changing field of public administration — sound management, analytical and policy-making skills.

About the USC Price School of Public Policy

The mission of the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy is to improve the quality of life for people and their communities, here and abroad. We achieve this mission through education and research that promotes actionable solutions to the most critical issues facing society. Price School faculty rank third at USC in terms of per capita research grants — a reflection of both faculty productivity and the quality of research. The USC Price research centers are actively examining today’s major issues in governance, economic development, philanthropy, immigration, sustainability, national security, transportation, population and health care. Through its interdisciplinary approach, the school empowers students to change the world as innovators and leaders in a variety of fields.

Why Does Public Administration Matter?

In today’s world of dynamic change and globalization, social challenges have become increasingly complex. To make a real difference at every level, public administration needs analytical thinkers with political mindsets. Without these leaders, public administration would not be able to develop, establish and implement initiatives and operations that impact communities. While often focused on government enterprises, public administration impacts communities at different levels through various sectors. The field is facing increasing complexity and drastically fewer resources, changing the way public administration professionals approach programs and initiatives. To be someone who can make significant and meaningful contributions, you must be able to adapt to modern public administration. That’s where our MPA comes in.

The USC Master of Public Administration program emphasizes intersectoral leadership while also helping students develop key analytic, political and communication skills. It’s the combination of these skills that creates truly successful public managers.

Learn more about the importance of public administration in our blog.

How Does an MPA Compare?

When it comes to the public administration field, you have a lot of options. There are a variety of professional degrees, including an MBA, MPP or MPH, that can help you develop skills useful to the field. While an MPA is one of the more direct routes to a public administration role, each professional degree has advantages and disadvantages.

Find out how an MPA stacks up now.

Employment Profile

USC MPA graduates go on to work at a variety of sectors and organizations, including nonprofit, public, private and international. Our graduating class of 2014 is proof of the versatility of public administration skills and the benefit of an MPA degree. Learn more about where an MPA can take you now.

Industry Employed*




Private Nonprofit






Public Policy



*Some alumni selected multiple industries; these are representative of the top industries employed.

Employment Location


Southern California


Northern California


Out of State




No Response

Annual Salary Range

32% earn less than

20% earn

23% earn

13% earn

10% earn
Over $85,000