Masters in Public Administration Programs in the State of Montana

Cole Neder

Cole Neder

Updated & Fact Checked: 05.15.2024


As a prospective MPA student considering graduate institutions in Montana, there are several factors to weigh when contemplating life in the state. Montana is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes, offering abundant recreational opportunities such as hiking, camping, fishing, and skiing. The state is home to several national parks, including Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park, providing endless possibilities for outdoor enthusiasts.

In terms of educational and professional opportunities, Montana boasts a thriving academic scene, with institutions like the University of Montana in Missoula and Montana State University in Bozeman offering a range of graduate programs and research opportunities. Both cities have a strong sense of community and offer a variety of cultural events, art galleries, and music venues. Missoula, often referred to as the cultural hub of Montana, hosts numerous festivals and events throughout the year, including the International Wildlife Film Festival and the Montana Book Festival.

Additionally, both Missoula and Bozeman have a burgeoning food scene, with a focus on locally sourced ingredients and diverse culinary offerings. From farm-to-table restaurants to cozy cafes and breweries, there’s no shortage of dining options to explore. Overall, Montana offers a unique blend of recreational opportunities, educational and professional resources, and cultural experiences, making it an appealing destination for prospective MPA students looking for a balanced and enriching lifestyle.

MPA Programs in Montana

Montana’s scenic living environments and attractive recreational opportunities make the state a great place to obtain a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. The state has two educational institutions that offer MPA degrees, one of which is accredited by NASPAA. An overview of these two programs can be found here:

NASPAA-accredited MPA Programs

NASPAA, the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration, is a global accrediting body for MPA programs. For MPA students, NASPAA accreditation signifies that their program meets high standards of quality and rigor, ensuring that they receive a comprehensive and valuable education. The University of Montana’s MPA program is accredited by NASPAA:

University of Montana

  • Missoula, MT
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: NASPAA, NCCU

Modality: Online/On-Campus

Credit Hours: 36

GRE: Not required

Resident Tuition: $10,032 (PYR)

Non-Resident Tuition: $37,588 (PYR)

Program Overview:
The University of Montana’s MPA program is the sole accredited program in Montana, offering a flexible curriculum suitable for both pre-career and mid-career professionals seeking public and nonprofit sector careers. Available in online, in-person, or hybrid formats, the program requires 36 credits and a portfolio project or exit interview for completion. It offers a specialized concentration in nonprofit administration, catering to students’ diverse career aspirations and professional development needs.

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Online MPA Programs

Online MPA programs can be more cost-effective, as students can save on commuting and housing expenses. They also offer environmental benefits, as they reduce the need for commuting and paper-based materials. Overall, online learning for MPA programs provides flexibility, choice, and accessibility, making it an attractive option for many students. While both institutions in the state of Montana offer an online learning option, Montana State University is detailed further here:

Montana State University

  • Bozeman, MT
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: NCCU

Modality: Online/On-Campus

Credit Hours: 39

GRE: Not required

Resident Tuition: $4,445 (PSR)

Non-Resident Tuition: $15,419 (PSR)

Program Overview:
The MPA degree is tailored for pre-career and mid-career professionals, equipping them for supervisory, analytical support, and policy-making roles in public sector agencies and nonprofits at various government levels. The program emphasizes comprehensive preparation in administrative competencies. Coursework covers public administration theory, human resource management, public budgeting, the public policy process, leadership, ethics, organizational dynamics, and research methods for public administrators.

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Accelerated MPA Programs

Accelerated programs often offer a more streamlined curriculum that focuses on practical skills and knowledge relevant to advanced entry-level students and mid-career professionals. Accelerated programs may also offer more flexibility in terms of course scheduling and delivery. While neither program in the State of Montana offers an accelerated option, both offer flexible opportunities to transfer credits from other schools, if a student is looking for a change in educational institutions.

Affordable MPA Programs

Tuition affordability is a crucial factor for students considering MPA programs, as it can significantly impact their financial well-being and future career opportunities. In Montana, tuition costs for MPA programs vary depending on the institution and residency ($10,032 per year at the University of Montana for in-state students) status. The cost of living in Montana is relatively low compared to other states, which can help offset tuition expenses.

All MPA Programs in Montana

School NameDegree Program NameStateCityNASPAA AccreditedOnline DegreeProgram Link
University of MontanaMaster Of Public AdministrationMontanaMissoulaYesYes

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

Graduates in Montana have the chance to work in roles that are specific to the state’s characteristics and needs. These jobs often involve managing the state’s natural resources, addressing healthcare challenges in rural areas, and working closely with tribal communities. Here are some unique job opportunities that MPA graduates should consider in Montana:

  • State Park Manager: Montana’s vast and diverse landscapes, including numerous state parks, offer a unique opportunity for MPA graduates to manage and oversee these natural treasures. State park managers are responsible for the daily operations of the parks, including maintenance, visitor services, and conservation efforts.
  • Wildlife Biologist: With its rich wildlife and conservation efforts, Montana provides a unique setting for MPA graduates interested in wildlife biology. Wildlife biologists in Montana work to conserve and manage the state’s diverse wildlife populations, conducting research, implementing conservation programs, and monitoring wildlife habitats.
  • Tribal Affairs Coordinator: Montana is home to several Native American tribes, each with its own unique culture and governance structure. MPA graduates can work as tribal affairs coordinators, serving as a liaison between tribal governments and state or federal agencies, advocating for tribal rights, and promoting tribal sovereignty.
  • Rural Health Administrator: Montana’s rural communities face unique healthcare challenges, including access to healthcare services and healthcare workforce shortages. MPA graduates can work as rural health administrators, overseeing healthcare facilities, implementing public health programs, and addressing the healthcare needs of rural populations.
  • Natural Resource Policy Analyst: Given Montana’s abundance of natural resources, including forests, minerals, and waterways, there is a need for policy analysts who can develop and implement sustainable natural resource management policies. MPA graduates in this role would analyze and evaluate policies, collaborate with stakeholders, and recommend strategies for natural resource conservation and management.

MPA Programs in Other States

South Dakota

North Dakota