Masters in Public Administration Programs in the State of New Jersey

Cole Neder

Cole Neder

Updated & Fact Checked: 05.21.2024

Introduction

Obtaining an MPA degree in New Jersey can be a rewarding choice for several reasons. New Jersey offers a unique blend of urban and suburban environments, providing a diverse range of experiences. The state is known for its vibrant cultural scene, with theaters, museums, and historical sites. It’s also close to major cities like New York City and Philadelphia, offering easy access to even more cultural and recreational opportunities.

In terms of job opportunities, New Jersey has a strong presence of both local and state government agencies, providing ample prospects for MPA graduates. The state is known for its progressive policies and innovative projects, offering unique opportunities to work on impactful initiatives. For example, New Jersey has been focusing on environmental sustainability, transportation infrastructure, and public health programs. Local and state governments in New Jersey are also significant employers, offering a variety of positions in public administration. This includes roles in areas such as policy analysis, program management, budgeting, and public affairs.

Recreationally, New Jersey offers a variety of activities, from beautiful beaches along the Jersey Shore to hiking and camping in the state’s parks and forests. The state also has a rich culinary scene, with diverse dining options ranging from diners to fine dining restaurants. Overall, New Jersey provides a dynamic and diverse environment for MPA students, offering both professional opportunities and a high quality of life.

MPA Programs in New Jersey

New Jersey is home to several reputable Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs, offering a range of specializations and flexible formats to accommodate diverse student needs. These programs are designed to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in public service and administration roles.

There are 9 total institutions that offer MPA degrees in the State of New Jersey. Of those, 4 are accredited by NASPAA. These institutions offer both online and on-campus options, and are summarized here:

NASPAA-accredited MPA Programs

When searching for an MPA program in New Jersey, students should strongly consider looking for schools accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). NASPAA accreditation ensures that the program meets high standards of quality and relevance in public service education.

By choosing a NASPAA-accredited MPA program, students can be confident that they are receiving a quality education that prepares them for successful careers in public administration. Additionally, many employers value NASPAA accreditation, as it indicates that graduates have received a comprehensive and rigorous education in public administration.

An overview of the 4 NASPAA-accredited programs- including admission requirements, tuition costs, and credit hour requirements- in the State of New Jersey can be found here:

Rutgers University, Camden

  • Camden, NJ
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: NASPAA, MSCHE

Modality: Online/On-Campus

Credit Hours: 42

GRE: Not required

Resident Tuition: $9,912 (PSR)

Non-Resident Tuition: $16,332 (PSR)

Program Overview:
The Rutgers-Camden Masters in Public Administration (MPA) and Executive MPA programs prepare students for success in public service by providing a versatile skill set. Students develop proficiency in data analytics, financial management, leadership, and information technology, enabling them to make informed policy decisions, manage resources effectively, and lead teams. The programs offer flexible course delivery, including in-person, hybrid, and fully online options, allowing students to customize their academic path.

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Rutgers University, New Brunswick

  • New Brunswick, NJ
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: NASPAA, MSCHE

Modality: Online/On-Campus

Credit Hours: 30

GRE: Not required

Resident Tuition: $10,740 (PSR)

Non-Resident Tuition: $18,168 (PSR)

Program Overview:
The Program in Public Policy offers the Master of Public Affairs and Politics (M.P.A.P.) degree, focusing on developing analytic and quantitative skills and understanding political institutions related to public policy. The M.P.A.P. can be completed in one year full-time or part-time. Applicants must have at least five years of work experience in politics or public policy. The program consists of 30 credits (10 courses), including required courses in policy formation, research methods, economics, and quantitative methods.

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Rutgers University, Newark

  • Newark, NJ
  • Online

Accreditation: NASPAA, MSCHE

Modality: Online

Credit Hours: 42

GRE: Not required

Online Tuition: $12,912 (PSR)

Program Overview:
The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at Rutgers SPAA offers students the choice between a foundation in public or nonprofit management, with the flexibility to tailor the degree to their specialized interests and career goals. The program equips students with the knowledge and skills needed for successful careers in various sectors, including government, nonprofit organizations, international organizations, and the corporate world. The curriculum covers leadership and management and the policy process.

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Seton Hall University

  • South Orange, NJ
  • Campus

Accreditation: NASPAA, MSCHE

Modality: On-Campus

Credit Hours: 39

GRE: Not required

Tuition: $1,465 (PCH)

Program Overview:
The MPA program prepares students for leadership roles in various public service settings, such as executive director of a homeless shelter or program director for an NGO. The program emphasizes bringing academic theory into practice and offers convenient course schedules for working students, including year-round classes on campus, including summers and weekends. Located in South Orange, NJ, the campus is close to Manhattan and New York City. Scholarship opportunities are available specifically for M.P.A. students.

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Online MPA Programs

When considering pursuing an MPA degree in New Jersey, students should take into account the state’s unique demographics, commuting challenges, and geographical constraints. New Jersey is known for its diverse population, with a mix of urban, suburban, and rural areas. Commuting times can vary significantly depending on where a student lives and where their chosen MPA program is located.

The state’s dense population and traffic congestion, especially in the northern part of the state near New York City, can make commuting to a traditional on-campus program time-consuming and stressful. Geographical constraints, such as limited access to public transportation or personal mobility issues, can also impact a student’s ability to attend classes in person.

As a result, many students may find that an online-only format for their MPA degree offers greater flexibility and convenience, allowing them to balance their education with work and other commitments more easily. Here are the remaining institutions that offer an online-only MPA degree option:

Centenary College

  • Hackettstown, NJ
  • Online

Accreditation: MSCHE

Modality: Online

Credit Hours: 30

GRE: Not required

Tuition: $1,061 (PCH)

Program Overview:
The program offers a comprehensive understanding of leadership intricacies, enabling professionals to navigate modern workplace challenges. It is a 30-credit program that allows customization in areas such as business, healthcare, non-profits, or public administration. One unique advantage is the opportunity for students to take the American Management Association’s (AMA) Certified Professional in Management designation test.

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Fairleigh Dickinson University

  • Teaneck, NJ
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: MSCHE

Modality: Online/On-Campus

Credit Hours: 39

GRE: Not required

Tuition: $647 (PCH)

Program Overview:
The School of Public and Global Affairs emphasizes public service as a calling and public administration as essential for a healthy society. Aligned with NASPAA, it aims to educate leaders for public and nonprofit agencies while enhancing the skills of current administrators. The curriculum, ranging from 39 to 42 credits, focuses on conceptual, analytic, and managerial skills for various public service situations. The program offers an Executive option with advanced standing for professional development.

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Kean University

  • Union, NJ
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: MSCHE

Modality: Online/On-Campus

Credit Hours: 36

GRE: Not required

Resident Tuition: $8,397 (PSR)

Non-Resident Tuition: $11,041 (PSR)

Program Overview:
The Public Management concentration is designed to prepare students for leadership roles in governmental and public service organizations. It covers essential aspects of administration, including budgeting, strategic planning, human resources, information systems, law, leadership, ethics, and multicultural competencies. The curriculum is crafted in consultation with industry experts to ensure relevance and effectiveness. With a focus on the unique needs of government organizations, this concentration equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary for leadership in the diverse and dynamic public sector, spanning local, county, state, and federal levels.

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Princeton University

  • Princeton, NJ
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: MSCHE

Modality: Online/On-Campus

Credit Hours: 36

GRE: Required

Tuition: $57,410 (PYR)

Program Overview:
Field I, International Relations, focuses on the international system and state foreign policies, including topics like diplomacy, international trade, human rights, and climate change. Field II, International Development, examines development strategies in low-income and transition economies, covering areas like economic development, conflict resolution, and global health. Field III, Domestic Policy, centers on U.S. domestic policy issues such as education, health, and inequality. Field IV, Economics and Public Policy, delves into economic analysis of public policy, including international trade, public finance, and program evaluation.

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Accelerated MPA Programs

Accelerated MPA programs, such as 4+1 programs, offer a unique opportunity for both working professionals and undergraduates in New Jersey to fast-track their education and career advancement. These programs typically allow students to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in public administration in a shorter timeframe than traditional programs. Both Rutgers University and Seton Hall offer 4+1 and 3+2 MPA degree programs, respectively.

For working individuals, an accelerated program opportunity means they can enhance their skills and qualifications without taking an extended break from their careers. They can continue working while pursuing their graduate studies, potentially leading to quicker promotions or career changes. At Centenary College for example, you can obtain your degree in only 1 year.

Affordable MPA Programs

Tuition affordability is particularly crucial for students in New Jersey due to the state’s relatively high cost of living, especially in more populated areas. New Jersey consistently ranks among the states with the highest cost of living in the United States, driven in part by factors such as housing costs, transportation expenses, and overall living expenses.

For students, especially those pursuing graduate degrees like an MPA, managing these costs can be challenging. High tuition rates can add significant financial strain, making it harder for students to afford other necessities and potentially limiting access to higher education. For on-campus tuition options, Rutgers – Camden offers resident and non-resident tuition at $9,912 and $16,332 per semester, respectively. For online options, FDU offers a tuition rate of $647 per credit hour.

All MPA Programs in New Jersey

School NameDegree Program NameStateCityNASPAA AccreditedOnline DegreeProgram Link
Fairleigh Dickinson UniversityMaster Of Public AdministrationNew JerseyFlorham NoNohttps://www.fdu.edu/program/mpa-public-administration/
Kean UniversityMaster Of Public AdministrationNew JerseyUnionNoNohttps://www.kean.edu/academics/programs/public-administration-mpa
Princeton UniversityMaster Of Public PolicyNew JerseyPrincetonNoNohttps://spia.princeton.edu/graduate-programs/master-public-policy
Princeton UniversityMaster Of Public AffairsNew JerseyPrincetonNoNohttps://spia.princeton.edu/graduate-programs/master-public-affairs
Rutgers University, CamdenMaster Of Public AdministrationNew JerseyCamdenNoYeshttps://dppa.camden.rutgers.edu/degrees/mpa/
Rutgers University, New BrunswickMaster Of Public PolicyNew JerseyNew BrunswickNoYeshttps://bloustein.rutgers.edu/graduate/public-policy/mpp/
Rutgers University, NewarkMaster Of Public AdministrationNew JerseyNewarkYesYeshttps://spaa.newark.rutgers.edu/mpa
Saint Peter's UniversityMaster Of Public AdministrationNew JerseyJersey CityNoNohttps://www.saintpeters.edu/academics/graduate-programs/business/master-of-business-administration/
Seton Hall UniversityMaster Of Public AdministrationNew JerseySouth OrangeNoYeshttps://www.shu.edu/academics/mpa-public-administration.html

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

With an MPA degree in the State of New Jersey, you can pursue a wide range of careers in government, the nonprofit sector, and beyond. In government, you can work at the state, local, or federal level in roles such as city manager, policy analyst, program manager, or budget director. New Jersey’s proximity to major cities like New York and Philadelphia also opens up opportunities in regional government organizations.

  • County Administrator: Counties in New Jersey often employ administrators who oversee the day-to-day operations of county government, including managing budgets, implementing policies, and coordinating services.
  • Port Authority Manager: Given New Jersey’s extensive coastline and ports, there are opportunities for MPA graduates to work in port authorities, managing operations, logistics, and infrastructure development.
  • Environmental Policy Analyst: New Jersey has a strong focus on environmental protection and sustainability, creating a demand for professionals who can analyze and develop policies related to air and water quality, land use, and climate change.
  • Emergency Management Director: With its dense population and proximity to major cities, New Jersey places importance on emergency preparedness and response. MPA graduates can work in roles overseeing emergency management planning and coordination.
  • Community Development Director: New Jersey’s diverse communities often require professionals to oversee community development initiatives, including affordable housing, economic development, and neighborhood revitalization projects.

The nonprofit sector in New Jersey is vibrant, offering positions in organizations focused on social services, healthcare, education, and more. Nonprofit roles include executive director, program coordinator, fundraising manager, and advocacy specialist.

The state’s political scene is dynamic, with a strong tradition of civic engagement and a diverse population. New Jersey is known for its active political landscape, which can provide ample opportunities for MPA graduates interested in public policy, advocacy, and government affairs.

Several notable individuals in New Jersey have earned an MPA degree, including Cory Booker, the former Mayor of Newark and current U.S. Senator, who holds an MPA from the University of Oxford. Another example is Christine Todd Whitman, the former Governor of New Jersey and Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, who earned an MPA from Harvard University. These individuals have leveraged their MPA degrees to achieve success in both the public and private sectors, demonstrating the versatility and value of an MPA degree in New Jersey.