About the Public Administration Field

Public administration focuses on creating and managing public agencies and policies,
and is as important today as it was during our nation’s infancy. Sustainability, health care, immigration, infrastructure, urban development, social policy, affordable housing and governance are just a few of the challenges facing the modern public administration field. With these pressing social issues at the forefront of today’s political stage, public administration experts are in high demand.

That’s why USC’s online Master of Public Administration is designed to help you become a public administration
leader who looks beyond the status quo to find the most effective solutions.

What are some issues you may face as a public administration professional?

Climate change and sustainability
Criminal rehabilitation
Global health issues and health care reform
Education reform
Economic growth and affordable housing

About Public Administration Growth

Public administration traditionally was most closely tied to government roles. However, in the past few decades, the emergence of what has been called the “new public sector” has expanded public service administration. The modern public administration field now includes nonprofits/NGOs, educational institutions, private companies and government institutions. This means there are more opportunities than ever before for MPA professionals.

  • The nonprofit sector has grown by 20% over the past 10 years (2015 Nonprofit Salaries & Staffing Report).
  • There are nearly 22 million U.S. federal, state, and local government employees, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015).
  • Hiring in the nonprofit sector continues to grow, with 50% of nonprofit survey respondents reporting staff increases (2015 Nonprofit Salaries & Staffing Report).

Why Enter Public Administration?

There are many reasons to pursue a Master of Public Administration, no matter your goals. Whether your priorities lie in professional stability, financial advancement or social impact, an MPA can help you move toward those goals.

Pursue New Opportunities

Developing specialized expertise in public administration can help you pursue roles beyond public policy and government agencies. Many nonprofit organizations and private corporations need leaders with public administration skills and experience. That means MPA holders have the flexibility to move between sectors and tackle a variety of social issues. As an MPA graduate, you also have the credentials, skills and mindset to pursue advanced roles within your organization.


Increase Your Earning Potential

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, master’s degree recipients earned $10,608 more than those with only a bachelor’s degree. Salary increases for MPA graduates heavily depend on location, work experience and sector. The average mid-career MPA holder can expect to earn anywhere from $61,846 to $74,139.


Community Impact

For many public administration professionals, a major motivation for entering the field is the opportunity to bring about positive change in their community. Public administration roles are particularly well positioned to create positive change through policy creation and implementation, and their focus on current social issues.

What Kind of Skills Do I Need?

Today’s ideal public administration professional is tech-savvy, communicative, passionate, globally minded and efficient.

While there are certain characteristics that can aid you in your pursuit of public administration expertise, the skills you can develop through our curriculum may be even more crucial. To reach your public administration goals, it helps to develop various skills, including:

  • Leadership
  • Project Management
  • Time Management
  • Public Speaking
  • Critical Thinking and Listening
  • Budgeting and Finances
  • Communication