Masters in Public Administration Programs in the State of Mississippi

Cole Neder

Cole Neder

Updated & Fact Checked: 04.29.2024


Prospective MPA students looking at Mississippi will find a unique blend of draws that make the state an intriguing choice. From a cultural perspective, Mississippi offers a rich history, particularly in the realms of music and literature, with the blues having deep roots here and renowned authors like William Faulkner and Eudora Welty calling the state home. Food enthusiasts will appreciate the diverse culinary scene, known for its Southern comfort food, barbecue, and seafood, reflecting the state’s agricultural and coastal influences.

For recreational activities, Mississippi’s natural beauty shines through its numerous parks, forests, and waterways, providing ample opportunities for hiking, camping, fishing, and boating. History buffs will find plenty to explore, including Civil War sites, antebellum homes, and museums dedicated to the state’s complex past.

In terms of governance and career opportunities, Mississippi presents a unique landscape. As a predominantly rural state, there are specific challenges and opportunities in public administration related to rural development, healthcare access, and education. State and local government roles can offer meaningful experiences in addressing these issues, with potential for impact and growth. Overall, Mississippi offers a blend of cultural, recreational, and professional opportunities that can make it an attractive destination for those pursuing an MPA.

MPA Programs in Mississippi

Mississippi offers a range of Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs, each tailored to prepare students for impactful careers in public service. Whether focusing on urban policy, rural development, or public management, these MPA programs in Mississippi offer a strong foundation for students passionate about making a difference in their communities. An overview of these programs- including accreditation, credit hours, and program modality- can be found here:

NASPAA-accredited MPA Programs

For students, NASPAA accreditation provides assurance that the MPA program meets recognized standards of excellence, enhancing the credibility and value of the degree. Additionally, NASPAA accreditation can facilitate transferability of credits between institutions and increase opportunities for scholarships and financial aid. Overall, NASPAA accreditation is crucial for MPA programs in Mississippi and nationwide, as it ensures that graduates are well-prepared to address complex challenges in public administration and make a positive impact in their communities.

In Mississippi, there are two NASPAA-accredited institutions offering MPA degrees. An overview of these degree programs can be found here:

Jackson State University

  • Jackson, MI
  • Campus

Accreditation: NASPAA, SACSCC

Modality: On-Campus

Credit Hours: 45

GRE: Not required

Resident Tuition: $611 (PCH)

Non-Resident Tuition: $1,611 (PCH)

Program Overview:
Jackson State University offers an MPA program that focuses on urban and regional policy, preparing students to address the unique challenges facing Mississippi’s urban areas. The program emphasizes community engagement and social justice, providing students with the skills and knowledge needed to promote equity and inclusivity in public service. Students benefit from the university’s location in Jackson, the state capital.

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Mississippi State University

  • Mississippi State, MI
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: NASPAA, SACSCC

Modality: Online/On-Campus

Credit Hours: 42

GRE: Not required

Resident Tuition: $9,248 (PYR)

Non-Resident Tuition: $25,294 (PYR)

Program Overview:
Mississippi State University’s MPA program provides students with a strong foundation in public administration, policy analysis, and management. The program emphasizes practical skills and real-world experience, offering opportunities for internships and research projects with local government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Students benefit from small class sizes and personalized attention from faculty, preparing them for leadership roles in public service.

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Online MPA Programs

Online-only MPA programs offer several advantages for prospective students, particularly those in Mississippi. Online MPA can provide flexibility, allowing students to complete coursework at their own pace and schedule, which can be especially beneficial for those balancing work, family, or other commitments. 

This flexibility can be crucial in a state like Mississippi, where access to traditional on-campus programs may be limited due to geographical constraints or work obligations. Working full-time while pursuing an online MPA degree also provides students with the opportunity to apply their learning directly to their current job. They can immediately implement new skills and knowledge gained from their coursework, enhancing their effectiveness in their current roles and potentially opening up new opportunities for advancement.

Overall, the flexibility of online MPA programs allows working professionals in Mississippi to pursue higher education without sacrificing their current employment, making it a practical and accessible option for those looking to advance their careers in public administration:

Belhaven University

  • Jackson, MI
  • Online

Accreditation: SACSCC

Modality: Online

Credit Hours: 36

GRE: Not required

Tuition: $9,975 (TTL)

Program Overview:
Belhaven’s MPA program offers students the opportunity to gain practical experience through internships and hands-on projects with local government agencies and nonprofit organizations. This hands-on approach can help students in Mississippi apply their learning to real-world situations and build valuable connections in the field of public administration. The program is designed for working professionals, offering online coursework to accommodate students’ busy schedules.

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Accelerated MPA Programs

Accelerated MPA programs, such as the one offered by Belhaven University with its 7-week terms, provide mid-career professionals with a fast-track option to earn their degree. The quick time to completion, typically under two years full-time, is a key benefit for professionals who want to enhance their skills and credentials without taking an extended break from their careers. The focused and intensive nature of accelerated programs allows students to delve deeply into course material, quickly gaining knowledge and skills that can be immediately applied in their current roles. This focused learning approach is particularly advantageous for mid-career professionals who are looking for a concentrated and efficient learning experience.

Affordable MPA Programs

Tuition affordability is a crucial consideration for mid-career professionals looking to pursue an MPA degree. Belhaven University and Jackson State University both offer MPA programs that are known for their affordability.

Belhaven offers various financial aid options, including scholarships and grants, to help offset the cost of tuition (under $10,000 for obtaining the entire degree) for eligible students. Similarly, Jackson State University’s MPA program is known for its competitive tuition rates ($611 per credit hour for in-state students), making it a cost-effective option for mid-career professionals.

All MPA Programs in Mississippi

School NameDegree Program NameStateCityNASPAA AccreditedOnline DegreeProgram Link
Jackson State UniversityMaster of Public Policy and AdministrationMississippiJacksonNoYes
Mississippi State UniversityMaster of Public Policy and AdministrationMississippiStarkvilleYesYes
Mississippi Valley State UniversityMaster of Arts in Rural Public Policy and PlanningMississippiItta BenaNoNo

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

With an MPA degree in Mississippi, you can pursue a variety of rewarding careers in public administration, nonprofit organizations, and related fields. In rural areas of Mississippi, MPA graduates can find unique opportunities to make a difference in community development, healthcare access, and education. They may work as county administrators, overseeing local government operations and budgets, or as community development coordinators, working to improve infrastructure and economic development in rural communities. MPA graduates can also pursue careers in healthcare management, ensuring that rural communities have access to quality healthcare services, or in education administration, leading schools and educational programs in underserved areas.

Many graduates of MPA programs in the state continue to serve in leadership positions both politically and from the fields of community and economic development. Significant leaders and individuals from Mississippi with MPA degrees include:

  • Haley Barbour: Barbour served as the governor of Mississippi from 2004 to 2012. He earned his MPA from the University of Mississippi and went on to have a successful career in politics and public service.
  • Derrick T. Simmons: Simmons is a Mississippi state senator who earned his MPA from Jackson State University. He has been a strong advocate for education, healthcare, and economic development in Mississippi.

These examples highlight the diverse range of career opportunities available to MPA graduates in Mississippi, as well as the potential for MPA graduates to make a significant impact in their communities and beyond.

MPA Programs in Other States