Masters in Public Administration Programs in the State of Maryland

Cole Neder

Cole Neder

Updated & Fact Checked: 02.21.2024

As a Public Administration graduate student in the state of Maryland, you’ll discover a range of educational opportunities within institutions like the University of Maryland School of Public Policy and Johns Hopkins University’s School of Public Health. These schools provide comprehensive programs that cater to various interests within the field, ensuring a well-rounded education. The strategic geographical location of Maryland, with its proximity to Washington, D.C., offers unique advantages for professional development. Students have unparalleled access to government agencies, think tanks, and non-governmental organizations, fostering an environment conducive to networking and internship opportunities.

Moreover, the state’s close proximity to the capital, Annapolis, opens doors for engagement with state-level policymaking, allowing students to gain insights into the intricacies of local governance. This intersection of academic and practical experience contributes to a well-rounded education that prepares graduates for a dynamic career in public administration.

Beyond academic pursuits, Maryland boasts a diverse range of recreational activities. Whether it’s exploring the scenic Chesapeake Bay, hiking in the Appalachian Mountains, or enjoying cultural events in cities like Baltimore, students have ample opportunities for relaxation and personal enrichment. The state’s unique geography also allows for a varied professional landscape. Urban areas like Baltimore and Washington, D.C., provide bustling hubs for those interested in federal agencies and international organizations, while more rural areas focus on community development, environmental policy, and local governance.

As a graduate student in Maryland, you’ll find an array of enjoyable recreational activities to balance the demands of academic life. Explore the picturesque Chesapeake Bay, offering opportunities for sailing, kayaking, and waterfront relaxation. Take a break from studies to hike the scenic trails of the Appalachian Mountains, providing not only a physical escape but also a chance to rejuvenate in nature. Embrace the cultural vibrancy of cities like Baltimore, where you can visit renowned museums, attend live performances, and savor diverse culinary experiences. 

For history enthusiasts, the state offers an abundance of historical sites, including Annapolis with its colonial charm and the antebellum treasures of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park. Whether enjoying outdoor adventures, cultural pursuits, or historical exploration, Maryland provides an enriching backdrop for graduate students to unwind and create lasting memories outside the academic realm.

Maryland’s commitment to local governance is evident through its numerous municipalities and counties. This not only presents students with opportunities for hands-on experience in local administration but also offers a chance to understand the diverse needs of communities across the state. Whether pursuing a career in urban management, environmental policy, or social services, a Public Administration graduate student in Maryland can tailor their education to align with the dynamic and multifaceted landscape of public service in this strategically located state.

MPA Programs in Maryland

Earning an MPA degree unlocks pathways to rewarding managerial roles in the public sector, nonprofit organizations, and private entities collaborating with government officials. Maryland presents numerous Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs, allowing students to cultivate expertise in public administration, policy analysis, and leadership. These programs offer valuable opportunities for skill development, preparing individuals for impactful careers in various sectors where effective public administration is crucial.

Prospective students researching MPA programs in Maryland can choose from various options. Maryland offers Public Administration Masters programs at seven different public and private educational institutions. A comprehensive overview of these programs, irrespective of accreditation, mode of study, or cost, is available here:

NASPAA-accredited MPA Programs

The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA), a prominent global accrediting organization for graduate educational institutions, holds a vital role in assessing and accrediting programs such as Master of Public Administration (MPA) and Master of Public Policy (MPP) to guarantee the highest standards in public administration education. The accreditation process entails a comprehensive evaluation of curriculum, faculty qualifications, and program outcomes.

Currently, three institutions in Maryland hold NASPAA accreditation for their MPA programs, demonstrating their commitment to quality education and industry standards. This accreditation serves as a reliable indicator for prospective students, affirming program relevance and providing a strong foundation for a career in public administration.

The following is an overview of the three NASPAA-accredited institutions in Maryland. Tuition estimates are calculated on a per credit hour basis:

Bowie State University

  • Bowie, MD
  • Campus

Modality: On-Campus

Credit Hours: 36

GRE: Yes

Resident Tuition: $448

Non-Resident Tuition: $730

Program Overview:
The program aims to enhance the career goals of professionals in government, special interests, lobbying groups, nonprofit, and professional organizations. The evening school program, consistent with Bowie State University’s goal of developing new programs, aligns with statewide educational goals. The Certificate in Public Administration, an 18-credit program under the MPA, provides professional development for officials in various public sector specialties. The program’s objectives include developing effective administrators, enhancing technological skills, strengthening research and analytical capabilities, and fostering information literacy. Open to all individuals meeting academic requirements, the MPA degree program offers concentrations in public administration, public policy and management (PPM), and human resource management (HRM).

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University of Baltimore

  • Baltimore, MD
  • Online

Modality: Online

Credit Hours: 36


Resident Tuition: $815

Non-Resident Tuition: $1,181

Program Overview:
The University of Baltimore MPA program, ranked among the best in the country, offers a flexible and accessible pathway to earning a Master of Public Administration degree. The online M.P.A. program, specializing in Public and Nonprofit Management, maintains the same academic rigor as on-site courses, ensuring a quality educational experience with opportunities for interactions with professors and peers. With accolades such as being ranked #7 among the Best Online Master’s in Public Administration Programs, #14 among the Top 38 Online Master’s in Public Administration programs, and #16 among the Best Online MPA Programs, this NASPAA-accredited program stands out as a premier choice for graduate studies in public administration.

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University of Maryland – College Park

  • College Park, MD
  • Campus

Modality: On-Campus

Credit Hours: 36


Resident Tuition: $995

Non-Resident Tuition: $2,044

Program Overview:
The School of Public Policy stands out as a leading graduate program dedicated to the exploration of public policy, management, and international affairs, boasting expertise in diverse fields such as environmental policy, energy policy, international development, security, economics, health, education, social policy, non-profit management, public leadership, acquisitions, and public finance. Located just outside Washington, D.C., the School attracts renowned faculty, combining scholarly knowledge with practical experience in policy-making. The School’s unique position allows students unparalleled exposure to real-world policy environments, including interactions with the federal government, international diplomatic community, state and local governments, and various non-governmental and multinational organizations.

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Online MPA Programs

Opting for an online Master of Public Administration (MPA) program in Maryland as a graduate student offers practical advantages. The flexibility of online classes means you can travel without missing out on your studies, providing a convenient option for those with varied commitments. The adaptable nature of the program allows you to balance work and school efficiently, making it suitable for those already working in the public sector. 

Moreover, the accessibility of online courses ensures that you can access learning materials from virtually anywhere, enhancing the convenience of pursuing your MPA degree. In essence, an online MPA program in Maryland provides graduate students with a pragmatic approach to education, accommodating their diverse needs and facilitating a seamless integration of academic and professional responsibilities.

Online MPA programs often incorporate real-world scenarios, letting students apply their learning directly to local contexts, enhancing the practical relevance of their education. Overall, the convenience and adaptability of an online MPA program align well with the varied opportunities and lifestyles present in the State of Maryland. 

In the State of Maryland, five MPA programs offer a fully online learning option, with one of them being NASPAA accredited. Additional information on the remaining unaccredited programs can be found here:

Strayer University – Maryland

  • Suitland, MD
  • Online + Campus

Credit Hours: 30


Tuition: $2,000 (per course)

Program Overview:
Gain a comprehensive understanding of public administration, policy management, and implementation to ensure efficient resource utilization across local, state, and federal governments. This program emphasizes the development of both qualitative and quantitative analytical skills, along with fostering citizenship skills and an understanding of public administrators’ roles. With flexible class sizes and a structure based on 11-week courses, the duration of the program depends on the number of courses taken concurrently. Strayer University credits are expressed in quarter hours, with 10 to 14 hours of weekly work expected.

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Johns Hopkins University

  • Baltimore, MD
  • Online + Campus

Credit Hours: 36


Tuition: $1,527 (per credit)

Program Overview:
This program equips you with essential skills for policy analysis, financial management, and leadership at various government levels, positioning you for success in your career. Tailor your expertise to match your professional interests by choosing from three areas of focus: Public Administration and Leadership, Public Policy Evaluation, or Public Financial Management and Budgeting. Benefit from faculty based in Washington, D.C., with extensive experience in top government offices and agencies. Notably, alumni have secured positions at prestigious institutions like the White House, the Department of the Treasury, and the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Washington Adventist University

  • Takoma Park, MD
  • Online

Credit Hours: 37

GRE: Contingent on GPA

Tuition: $560 (per credit)

Program Overview:
The Master of Arts in Public Administration (M.A.P.A.) program at Washington Adventist University is a cohort-dependent professional program designed for public service-oriented adult lifelong learners. The comprehensive curriculum includes core courses, nine cognate courses, and a practicum in an agency or nonprofit organization. The program aims to instill academic and professional competencies rooted in service to students, government, and society, fostering graduates who are practical public service thinkers and practitioners.

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McDaniel College

  • Westminster, MD
  • Online

Credit Hours: 33


Tuition: $643 (per credit)

Program Overview:
M.S. in Public Administration and Policy program aims to shape thoughtful and insightful leaders within communities by providing comprehensive education in various facets of public administration, policy planning, and governing. The curriculum, designed to make aspiring leaders adept in managing financial and human resources, emphasizes the formation and articulation of personal leadership identity and values related to the role of a public administrator. Throughout the program, students actively participate in and contribute to the policy process, gaining practical skills for policy development, implementation, and evaluation.

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Accelerated MPA Programs

In Maryland, a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) degree typically spans 2-3 years for full-time students and 3-4 years for part-time students. Nevertheless, specific programs within the state offer accelerated and dual-track options, providing students with the opportunity to expedite their degree completion. 

Choosing an accelerated track MPA program in Maryland holds distinct advantages. The shortened time frame not only enables a quicker attainment of the MPA degree, making it a cost-effective and efficient choice, but also proves beneficial for individuals aspiring to swiftly enter or progress within the field of public administration.

Navigating Maryland’s diverse administrative landscape, encompassing urban centers and rural areas, is streamlined through this accelerated program, facilitating a prompt response to regional challenges. Moreover, the accelerated pace enhances the immediacy of applying acquired knowledge to real-world scenarios, augmenting the practical relevance of the education received. This tailored approach aligns with the dynamic needs of Maryland’s administrative environment, offering students a swift and impactful trajectory towards their MPA goals.

For example, the MPA program at both Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland – College Park are normally completed in two years (in-person), but offers a 12-month accelerated program for students that stack their classes in a full time curriculum. In addition, Bowie State University allows students to take summer classes and finish in 21 months for a regular 2-year program.

Affordable MPA Programs

Tuition affordability is paramount for students pursuing a Master of Public Administration (MPA) graduate degree in the State of Maryland due to its direct impact on accessibility and inclusivity within the field of public administration. Aspiring public administrators often seek advanced degrees to enhance their skills and contribute meaningfully to society.

In a state known for its diverse administrative landscape, spanning urban centers and rural areas, ensuring affordability enables a broader range of individuals to engage in MPA programs. Affordable tuition reduces financial barriers, allowing a more diverse cohort of students, including those with various socio-economic backgrounds, to access quality education. This fosters a rich learning environment, bringing together perspectives from different walks of life, ultimately contributing to a more robust and representative public administration workforce. 

For example, Bowie State University, University of Baltimore, and the University of Maryland – College Park are all NASPAA-accredited universities that offer tuition for state residents under $1,000 per credit hour ($448, $995, and $815, respectively). 

The next best option for tuition affordability for non-resident graduate students is Washington Adventist University and McDaniel College. Tuition is charged at $560 and $643 per credit hour, respectively.

All MPA Programs in Maryland

School NameDegree Program NameStateCityNASPAA AccreditedOnline DegreeProgram Link
Bowie State UniversityMaster Of Public AdministrationMarylandBowieNoYes
Johns Hopkins UniversityMaster Of Public PolicyMarylandBaltimoreNoNo
University of BaltimoreMaster Of Public AdministrationMarylandBaltimoreYesYes
University of Maryland, Baltimore CountyMaster Of Public PolicyMarylandBaltimoreNoNo
University of Maryland, College ParkMaster Of Public PolicyMarylandCollege ParkNoYes

What Types of Careers Can I Pursue With an MPA Degree in Maryland?

An MPA degree in the state of Maryland opens up diverse career avenues, given its dynamic administrative landscape. Graduates can find fulfilling opportunities in various sectors, including government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private entities collaborating with the public sector. In the heart of the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., MPA graduates in Maryland can pursue roles in federal agencies, think tanks, and international organizations, contributing to policy development and implementation on a national and global scale. With Annapolis being the state capital, there are unique job opportunities within Maryland’s state government, offering roles in state-level policymaking, program management, and public administration.

Moreover, Maryland’s commitment to environmental sustainability presents distinctive career paths for MPA graduates interested in environmental policy and management. The Chesapeake Bay, one of the nation’s largest estuaries, offers opportunities to work on conservation initiatives and ecological restoration projects. Nonprofit organizations focused on community development, healthcare, and social services also provide meaningful career options for MPA graduates seeking to make a positive impact within local communities.

Some notable public officials in Maryland who hold MPA degrees have made significant contributions to public service. For instance, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley earned his MPA from the University of Maryland, College Park, and his leadership exemplifies the impact of MPA education in shaping effective governance. Similarly, Congressman Elijah Cummings, renowned for his advocacy and service, held an MPA degree, demonstrating how this educational background equips individuals to navigate complex policy issues and contribute to public welfare.

In summary, an MPA degree in Maryland opens doors to a broad spectrum of careers, including roles in government, environmental policy, nonprofit management, and community development. The state’s unique administrative landscape, coupled with its proximity to influential institutions, provides MPA graduates with distinctive opportunities to make a meaningful difference in both local and broader contexts.

  • State Department Administrator: MPA graduates in Maryland can pursue roles as administrators within state departments, managing programs, overseeing budgets, and ensuring efficient operations at the state level. With Annapolis being the state capital, there are unique opportunities to engage in state policy making and implementation.
  • Environmental Policy Analyst: Given Maryland’s commitment to environmental sustainability, MPA graduates can find roles as policy analysts focused on environmental issues. This may involve working with state agencies to develop and implement policies related to conservation, pollution control, and sustainable development, especially around the Chesapeake Bay region.
  • Urban Development Planner: In urban centers like Baltimore, there are opportunities for MPA graduates to work as urban development planners. This involves collaborating with local governments, communities, and stakeholders to design and implement initiatives for urban revitalization, affordable housing, and community development.
  • Emergency Management Coordinator: Maryland faces various environmental challenges, and MPA graduates can contribute by working as emergency management coordinators. This involves planning and coordinating responses to natural disasters and emergencies, ensuring public safety and effective disaster recovery.
  • Intergovernmental Relations Specialist: Given Maryland’s proximity to Washington, D.C., MPA graduates can explore opportunities as intergovernmental relations specialists. They may work for state agencies or local governments to liaise with federal counterparts, facilitating collaboration on policies and programs.
  • Transportation Policy Analyst: Maryland’s transportation infrastructure is a critical aspect of its economy. MPA graduates can work as policy analysts in transportation departments, focusing on improving public transit, addressing traffic congestion, and ensuring sustainable transportation solutions.
  • Public-Private Partnership Coordinator: With Maryland’s emphasis on collaboration between the public and private sectors, MPA graduates can explore roles as coordinators for public-private partnerships. These positions involve fostering relationships between government entities and private businesses to address shared goals and challenges.

MPA Programs in Other States