Masters in Public Administration Programs in the State of Michigan

Cole Neder

Cole Neder

Updated & Fact Checked: 05.21.2024

Introduction

Being a Public Administration graduate student in the state of Michigan offers a unique blend of academic excellence, diverse landscapes, and plentiful opportunities for professional growth. Michigan is home to renowned institutions such as the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and Michigan State University’s School of Planning, Design, and Construction, providing students with top-notch education and exposure to cutting-edge research in the field. Outside of class, the state’s natural beauty, including its numerous lakes and hiking trails, allows for a refreshing escape and a perfect balance to academic pursuits.

Michigan’s vibrant cities like Detroit and Lansing serve as hubs for professional networking. Detroit, with its ongoing revitalization efforts, offers a dynamic environment for public administrators, while Lansing, as the state capital, provides direct access to government operations and policy making. Rural areas, on the other hand, offer a unique perspective on the challenges faced by local governments in managing resources and fostering community development.

Recognizing the significance of education, Detroit has invested in educational infrastructure and programs to further attract and retain residents. The city’s cultural assets, including museums, sports, and entertainment venues, have been leveraged to create a vibrant urban environment. Infrastructure improvements, such as transportation enhancements and public service upgrades, are also integral components of the city’s strategy.

The state’s emphasis on local governance is evident in the prevalence of townships, counties, and cities, providing ample opportunities for hands-on experience and internships. Michigan’s commitment to public service is reflected in various job opportunities, ranging from urban planning in metropolitan areas to community development in rural regions. Recreational activities abound, from exploring the Great Lakes to camping in state parks, offering students a chance to unwind and build lasting connections with classmates.

Michigan’s Public Administration programs also foster collaboration with governmental and non-profit organizations, enhancing students’ exposure to real-world problem-solving. Whether working on revitalization projects in Detroit or contributing to sustainable development in rural communities, graduates are well-prepared to make a positive impact on Michigan’s diverse public sector. The state’s unique combination of academic excellence, professional networking, recreational opportunities, and varied job prospects makes pursuing a Public Administration degree in Michigan a distinctive and rewarding experience.

MPA Programs in Michigan

Attaining an MPA degree opens avenues to fulfilling leadership roles within the public sector, nonprofit organizations, and private entities engaged in collaborations with government agencies. In the context of Michigan, the state provides an array of MPA programs, offering aspiring professionals the opportunity to specialize in public administration, policy analysis, and leadership tailored to the unique challenges and needs of the region. These MPA programs not only equip graduates with essential skills but also prepare them for careers in sectors where effective public administration plays a pivotal role.

For those considering MPA programs in Michigan, the state boasts a selection of 10 options to cater to various preferences and career goals. Michigan hosts Public Administration Master’s programs at several esteemed public and private educational institutions. A comprehensive overview of these programs, encompassing considerations such as accreditation, study modes, and costs, can be found here:

NASPAA-accredited MPA Programs

The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA), a globally recognized accrediting organization for graduate educational institutions, plays a crucial role in evaluating and accrediting programs like the Master of Public Administration (MPA) and Master of Public Policy (MPP) to ensure the highest standards in public administration education. The accreditation process involves a thorough assessment of curriculum, faculty qualifications, and program outcomes.

Presently, six institutions in Michigan have received NASPAA accreditation for their MPA programs, underscoring their dedication to providing quality education and meeting industry standards. This accreditation serves as a dependable indicator for prospective students, confirming the program’s relevance and offering a solid foundation for a career in public administration.

Here’s an overview of the six NASPAA-accredited institutions in Michigan, with tuition estimates calculated on a per credit hour basis:

Central Michigan University

  • Mount Pleasant, MI
  • Online

Modality: Online

Credit Hours: 37

GRE: No

Tuition: $758

Program Overview:
The MPA program at CMU equips aspiring public service leaders with the skills for innovative leadership. Covering areas such as nonprofit administration, strategic leadership, public policy analysis, and program evaluation, the program prepares directors and managers for roles in local, state, federal governments, and the nonprofit sector. Housed in the School of Politics, Society, Justice, and Public Service, the MPA program integrates academic rigor with hands-on learning, fostering well-rounded professionals.

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Eastern Michigan University

  • Ypsilanti, MI
  • Campus

Modality: On-Campus

Credit Hours: 36

GRE: No

Resident Tuition: $958

Non-Resident Tuition: $1,661

Program Overview:
Eastern Michigan University’s Master of Public Administration Program provides a professional degree grounded in applied social sciences, arming students with the knowledge and tools to tackle diverse public service needs. The program, offered through the Political Science Department, features classroom-based courses on the Ypsilanti campus. With options for full-time or part-time study, students can tailor their experience through specializations in local government management or nonprofit administration.

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Grand Valley State University

  • Allendale, MI
  • Online + Campus

Modality: Online/On-Campus

Credit Hours: 39

GRE: Contingent on GPA

Resident Tuition: $644

Non-Resident Tuition: $903

Program Overview:
Focused on preparing graduates for diverse professional careers in public service organizations, the curriculum emphasizes ethical and effective practices in governance, policy analysis, nonprofit management, criminal justice, and healthcare administration. Situated in an urban setting, the program actively engages with the community through professional service activities and applied research. Offering flexibility through evening and weekend courses, workshops, and hybrid and online learning, the M.P.A. program caters to the diverse educational needs of both part-time and full-time students. Designed to cultivate advanced executive abilities, the curriculum includes core competencies and specialized concentrations across public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

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Oakland University

  • Rochester Hills, MI
  • Online + Campus

Modality: Online/On-Campus

Credit Hours: 32

GRE: No

Resident Tuition: $872

Non-Resident Tuition: $1,027

Program Overview:
Oakland University’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) program is dedicated to shaping effective leaders across public, private, and nonprofit sectors. With a rigorous curriculum, small class sizes, and the option for a 100% online program, the MPA program offers five specializations: Court Administration, Criminal Justice Leadership, Healthcare Administration, Local Government Management, and Nonprofit Management. The program emphasizes leadership capacity, problem-solving skills, public service values, and community engagement for current and aspiring executives in the public and nonprofit sectors. Committed to diversity and public service values, the MPA program at Oakland University strives to create a welcoming environment and instill an awareness of the value of diversity among students, faculty, and staff.

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Wayne State University

  • Detroit, MI
  • Online + Campus

Modality: Online/On-Campus

Credit Hours: 39

GRE: Contingent on GPA

Resident Tuition: $762

Non-Resident Tuition: $1,652

Program Overview:
Wayne State University’s Master of Public Administration program offers professional training, equipping students with competencies essential for a broad range of public service roles and fostering long-term individual development in public service careers. The program prepares students for employment in local, state, and federal agencies, private and nonprofit organizations, voluntary groups, private businesses’ public affairs offices, and legislative staff positions. With an annual intake of 20 to 30 students, the M.P.A. program provides flexible, in-person, and virtual course options, predominantly scheduled in the evenings. Committed to academic excellence and relevance to public and nonprofit policy and management, the program contributes to Wayne State’s role as a major urban research university dedicated to community improvement. Public administration, as encompassed by the program, involves diverse roles across public, private, and nonprofit sectors, focusing on efficient government operations and program administration that directly benefit the public.

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Western Michigan University

  • Kalamazoo, MI
  • Online + Campus

Modality: Online/On-Campus

Credit Hours: 39

GRE: No

Resident Tuition: $764

Non-Resident Tuition: $1,147

Online Tuition: $764

Program Overview:
The School of Public Affairs and Administration is dedicated to enhancing lives in West Michigan and beyond, fostering dedicated public service graduates. Their values include a commitment to the common good, democratic governance, ethical leadership, and the intersection of theory and practice. Embracing a plurality of ideas and perspectives, the school pursues social justice and advocates for the efficient, effective, equitable, and transparent practice of public service. The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program aims to elevate the quality of public service by equipping leaders with interdisciplinary knowledge and skills. Graduates of the 30-39 credit hour program lead and manage diverse governmental, nonprofit, and healthcare organizations, making positive impacts on citizens’ lives locally, nationally, and globally. The program offers flexibility, allowing completion at the student’s own pace.

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Online MPA Programs

Opting for a remote or online Master of Public Administration (MPA) program in the state of Michigan presents several advantages for MPA students, contributing to a more flexible and accommodating learning experience.

One significant benefit is the ability to maintain employment while pursuing an MPA. Online programs allow students to continue working, gaining practical experience in the public sector, nonprofit organizations, or relevant fields. This not only provides financial support during studies but also enhances the application of theoretical knowledge in real-world settings.

The flexibility of online MPA programs is conducive to those who may need to travel or have other commitments. Students can access course materials and participate in discussions from anywhere with an internet connection. This flexibility is particularly beneficial for individuals with job-related travel requirements, ensuring they can continue their education without geographic constraints.

The asynchronous nature of many online classes allows students to learn at their own pace. This adaptability caters to diverse learning styles and preferences, offering a more personalized educational experience. Additionally, the ability to revisit recorded lectures and course materials can aid in reinforcing understanding and clarifying concepts, contributing to a more effective learning process.

Online MPA programs often promote a diverse and inclusive learning environment, bringing together students from various geographical locations and professional backgrounds. This diversity enriches discussions and provides students with insights into different perspectives and experiences within the field of public administration.

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

Northern Michigan University

  • Marquette, MI
  • Online

Credit Hours: 36

GRE: No

Tuition: $667

Program Overview:
Crafted with professionals in mind, Northern Michigan University has tailored its online master’s degree program in public administration to enhance your skills and elevate your professional value. This program delves into research methods, advanced principles of public administration, budget management, and theory, offering a comprehensive curriculum. Students have the option to select either a capstone or thesis track based on their preferences. In-service students, boasting one or more years of prior relevant work experience, can request an exemption from the internship requirement, streamlining the educational experience to align with their expertise and goals.

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Saginaw Valley State University

  • University Center, MI
  • Online

Credit Hours: 36

GRE: No

Tuition: $722

Program Overview:
The Master of Public Administration (MPA) at SVSU is a leadership-centric degree designed for individuals aspiring to become leaders in their organizations, encompassing roles such as supervisors, team leaders, managers, directors, and executives. Tailored for those in the public, governmental, criminal justice, higher education, non-profit, and not-for-profit sectors, the 36-credit program equips students with the knowledge and skills crucial for success in organizational leadership within these employment areas. The program, including a track in College and University Student Affairs Administration, allows for flexible completion in as little as 24 months for full-time students or on a part-time basis to accommodate personal schedules, with a generous seven-year timeframe for completion.

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University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

  • Ann Arbor, MI
  • Online + Campus

Credit Hours: 30

GRE: No

Resident Tuition: $1,112

Non-Resident Tuition: $1,889

Program Overview:
Tailored for seasoned professionals with a minimum of five years of policy-relevant experience in various sectors, the MPA program spans two semesters and covers economics, statistics, values and ethics, politics, policy writing, and management and leadership. Students can choose electives from diverse University of Michigan schools, such as the Ross School of Business, School for Environment and Sustainability, Marsal Family School of Education, School of Public Health, School of Social Work, and the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Additionally, a new professional seminar in leadership and professional development, coupled with executive coaching opportunities, enhances the program’s comprehensive approach to skill development.

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University of Michigan – Flint

  • Flint, MI
  • Online + Campus

Credit Hours: 36

GRE: No

Resident Tuition: $744

Non-Resident Tuition: $1,113

Program Overview:
The MPA program adopts an interdisciplinary approach, offering courses in political science, economics, health care, criminal justice, and more to cultivate well-rounded public administrators. Students can choose between flexible online and in-person formats, including hyperflex courses, with an evening class schedule designed for part-time enrollment, allowing professionals to balance full-time employment with academic pursuits. The program offers five concentration options, including Nonprofit Administration & Social Entrepreneurship, Criminal Justice Administration, Health Care Administration, and Social & Public Policy, providing a customizable educational experience.

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Accelerated MPA Programs

In Michigan, completing a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) degree typically takes 2-3 years for full-time students and 3-4 years for part-time students. However, certain programs within the state provide accelerated and dual-track options, allowing students to expedite their degree completion.

Opting for an accelerated track MPA program in Michigan comes with distinct advantages. The abbreviated time frame not only ensures a faster acquisition of the MPA degree, making it a cost-effective and efficient choice, but also proves beneficial for individuals eager to promptly enter or advance within the field of public administration.

This accelerated program simplifies the navigation of Michigan’s diverse administrative landscape, spanning urban centers and rural areas, enabling a swift response to regional challenges. Additionally, the accelerated pace enhances the immediacy of applying gained knowledge to real-world scenarios, increasing the practical relevance of the education received. This customized approach aligns with the dynamic needs of Michigan’s administrative environment, providing students with a rapid and impactful path towards their MPA goals.

In Michigan, all NASPAA-accredited institutions allow full-time students to complete their MPA degrees in just two years. At Wayne State University, undergraduate students can enroll up to 16 exceptional undergraduate credits into their graduate degree, shortening their degree completion time by over one semester. For mid-career professionals with at least 5 years of job experience, the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor offers an accelerated track of 9 months for degree completion.

Affordable MPA Programs

Tuition affordability holds paramount significance for MPA graduates in the state of Michigan, playing a crucial role in ensuring accessibility to quality education and fostering financial stability for aspiring public administrators.

Accessibility to education is a key consideration for MPA graduates, and affordable tuition directly contributes to broadening this accessibility. Michigan’s commitment to providing affordable education allows a diverse range of individuals, regardless of socioeconomic backgrounds, to pursue an MPA degree without facing prohibitive financial barriers. This inclusivity ensures that a talented and diverse pool of individuals can contribute to the field of public administration, enriching the sector with varied perspectives and experiences.

Affordable tuition is particularly vital for MPA graduates in Michigan due to its impact on overall cost of living. The state’s commitment to housing and rent affordability further complements tuition affordability, creating a more sustainable financial environment for students. By alleviating the burden of high living expenses, MPA graduates can focus on their studies and career development without being unduly constrained by financial concerns.

Student loans are a significant consideration for many graduate students, and affordable tuition reduces the need for excessive borrowing. Michigan’s emphasis on keeping tuition costs reasonable contributes to a lower overall financial burden, decreasing reliance on student loans and fostering a healthier financial outlook for MPA graduates post-graduation. This aligns with the goal of empowering graduates to pursue careers in public administration without being encumbered by significant debt.

Michigan offers many options for both state residents and non-residents for affordable tuition rates. Grand Valley State University offers per credit tuition at $644 for residents and $903 for non-residents. Oakland University offers per credit tuition at $872 for residents and $1,027 for non-residents. Both institutions are NASPAA-accredited. 

For online options, Central Michigan University offers competitive tuition rates at $758 per credit hour. Western Michigan University offers tuition rates at $764 per credit hour, and Northern Michigan University offers tuition at $667 per credit hour. Finally, Saginaw Valley State University offers tuition at $722 per credit hour with flexible repayment options.

All MPA Programs in Michigan

School NameDegree Program NameStateCityNASPAA AccreditedOnline DegreeProgram Link
Central Michigan UniversityMaster Of Public AdministrationMichiganMount PleasantYesYeshttps://www.cmich.edu/program/Master-of-Public-Administration
Eastern Michigan UniversityMaster Of Public AdministrationMichiganYpsilantiNoYeshttps://www.emich.edu/political-science/grad/master/index.php
Grand Valley State UniversityMaster Of Public AdministrationMichiganGrand RapidsNoYeshttps://www.gvsu.edu/acad/public-administration-mpa.htm
Northern Michigan UniversityMaster Of Public AdministrationMichiganMarquetteYesNohttps://nmu.edu/politicalscience/master-public-administration
Oakland UniversityMaster Of Public AdministrationMichiganRochesterYesYeshttps://oakland.edu/polisci/master-of-public-administration/
The University of Michigan - DearbornMaster Of Public AdministrationMichiganDearbornNoNohttps://umdearborn.edu/casl/graduate-programs/programs/master-public-administration-and-policy
University of Michigan, Ann ArborMaster Of Public PolicyMichiganAnn ArborNoNohttps://marsal.umich.edu/academics-admissions/degrees/masters/public-policy
University of Michigan- FlintMaster Of Public AdministrationMichiganFlintNoNohttps://www.umflint.edu/graduateprograms/public-administration-mpa/
Wayne State UniversityMaster Of Public AdministrationMichiganDetroitNoYeshttps://clas.wayne.edu/politicalscience/grad/mpa
Western Michigan UniversityMaster Of Public AdministrationMichiganKalamazooNoYeshttps://wmich.edu/spaa/academics/mpa

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

MPA graduates in the state of Michigan can pursue a diverse range of careers in public administration, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector. The skills acquired during an MPA program prepare graduates for leadership and managerial roles in various fields. Some career options include:

  • City Manager or Administrator: MPA graduates can take on roles as city managers or administrators, overseeing the day-to-day operations of municipalities and ensuring the implementation of policies.
  • Policy Analyst: Analyzing and evaluating public policies is a common role for MPA graduates. They may work for government agencies, think tanks, or research institutions to assess the impact of policies on communities.
  • Nonprofit Management: Many MPA graduates contribute their skills to nonprofit organizations, managing programs, coordinating services, and ensuring effective resource allocation.
  • Emergency Management Specialist: Given the importance of disaster preparedness and response, MPA graduates may work in emergency management roles, helping communities plan and respond to crises.
  • Healthcare Administration: With a focus on managing public health programs and organizations, MPA graduates can pursue careers in healthcare administration, ensuring the efficient delivery of healthcare services.
  • Environmental Policy Analyst: Michigan’s commitment to environmental conservation creates opportunities for MPA graduates to work on environmental policy and sustainable development initiatives.
  • Economic Development Specialist: MPA graduates can contribute to the economic growth of Michigan by working on projects related to job creation, business development, and community revitalization.

In Michigan, there are prominent individuals with MPA degrees who have made significant contributions to public service. While specific famous people with MPAs in Michigan might not be widely recognized, the impact of MPA alumni is felt across various sectors. Notable administrators and policymakers may have obtained MPA degrees, but their prominence often comes from their accomplishments in specific roles rather than the degree itself.

Michigan’s unique economic challenges and revitalization efforts provide a distinctive context for MPA graduates. They can actively contribute to the state’s growth and development, tackling issues such as urban renewal, infrastructure improvement, and community engagement. The skills acquired through an MPA program position graduates to make meaningful contributions to Michigan’s public sector, nonprofit organizations, and beyond.

MPA Programs in Other States

Minnesota

Wisconsin

Indiana