Masters in Public Administration Programs in the State of Oregon

Cole Neder

Cole Neder

Updated & Fact Checked: 02.21.2024


Being a Public Administration graduate student in the state of Oregon offers a unique blend of academic excellence, outdoor activities, and abundant professional opportunities. The state boasts reputable institutions such as the Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University and the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at the University of Oregon. Outside of class, students can immerse themselves in the breathtaking natural landscapes, with numerous lakes and hiking trails providing an ideal escape. The state’s commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship aligns with the values often emphasized in public administration programs.

Oregon’s vibrant communities offer ample opportunities for professional networking. The thriving cities of Portland, Eugene, and Salem provide diverse platforms to connect with government officials, non-profit leaders, and industry professionals. Networking events and conferences are frequent, fostering relationships that can be pivotal in shaping a successful career in public administration.

The state’s unique job opportunities stem from its progressive policies and emphasis on community engagement. Public administration graduates can explore roles in sustainable development, environmental policy, and social justice initiatives, aligning with Oregon’s commitment to progressive governance.

Recreational activities are abundant, from exploring the Columbia River Gorge to skiing on Mount Hood. This balance of academics and outdoor pursuits contributes to a well-rounded graduate experience. For those working near the state capital in Salem, the exposure to state government operations is invaluable. Conversely, rural areas provide a different perspective, allowing students to understand the intricacies of governance in smaller communities.

Oregon’s prevalence of local governments further enhances the learning experience. The state’s decentralized structure encourages students to explore the dynamics of county and municipal administrations, offering hands-on experience in addressing the unique challenges faced by diverse communities. Overall, being a Public Administration graduate student in Oregon provides not only a robust academic foundation but also a rich blend of professional opportunities, outdoor adventures, and a deep understanding of governance at various levels.

MPA Programs in Oregon

In the vibrant state of Oregon, a variety of MPA programs cater to the specific challenges and requirements of the region, providing ambitious individuals with the chance to specialize in public administration, policy analysis, and leadership. These programs not only furnish graduates with crucial skills but also ready them for careers in sectors where adept public administration is integral to success. Embracing an MPA in Oregon goes beyond academic enrichment, ensuring professionals are well-prepared to navigate and address the unique complexities within the state’s dynamic landscape.

Prospective students exploring MPA programs in Oregon can choose from a diverse selection of five options, each tailored to accommodate different preferences and career aspirations. The state is home to esteemed public and private educational institutions that offer Master’s programs in Public Administration. A detailed overview of these programs, covering factors like accreditation, study modes, and costs, is available for reference here:

NASPAA-accredited MPA Programs

For students in Oregon pursuing an MPA, NASPAA accreditation provides a recognized benchmark of quality, assuring them that the program meets rigorous academic and professional standards. Additionally, employers often prioritize candidates with degrees from accredited programs, enhancing the career prospects for graduates. Furthermore, NASPAA accreditation reflects a commitment to continuous improvement and accountability, reinforcing the program’s dedication to delivering a high-quality education that prepares students for leadership roles in public administration within the state of Oregon.

NASPAA, the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration, sets rigorous standards for MPA programs, ensuring that they meet the highest levels of quality and effectiveness. Accreditation signifies that the program aligns with the best practices in public service education, covering essential areas such as curriculum design, faculty qualifications, student learning outcomes, and program effectiveness.

Here’s an overview of the four NASPAA-accredited institutions in Oregon, including estimated tuition costs calculated on a per credit hour basis:

Oregon State University

  • Corvallis, OR
  • Online + Campus

Modality: Online/On-Campus

Credit Hours: 54

GRE: Not required

Resident Tuition: $498

Non-Resident Tuition: $1,087

Program Overview:
The program at Oregon State focuses on new forms of governance and problem-solving to navigate interconnected challenges. Graduates of the interdisciplinary program gain the skills to integrate cutting-edge science into policies, practices, and global understandings, influencing policy decisions at local, regional, and international levels. The program offers flexibility in exploring various policy areas, such as economic, energy, environmental, international, law, crime, rural, and social policy, allowing students to design their concentration. The program prepares professionals for diverse roles in nonprofit agencies, government, and private businesses, offering expertise in policy analysis, politics, and research methods.

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Portland State University

  • Portland, OR
  • Campus

Modality: On-Campus

Credit Hours: 60

GRE: Not required

Resident Tuition: $478

Non-Resident Tuition: $705

Program Overview:
Core courses cover essential areas such as administrative ethics, public policy, budgeting, and human resource management. The program offers specializations in Global Leadership, Local Government, Natural Resources, and Nonprofit Management, allowing students to tailor their studies to their interests. Portland State University (PSU) stands out due to its unique partnerships and community connections, fostering engagement and collaboration. The experienced faculty, renowned for their expertise in various public administration domains, contribute to the program’s comprehensive and practical approach, providing students with valuable insights and opportunities for hands-on experience.

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University of Oregon

  • Eugene, OR
  • Campus

Modality: On-Campus

Credit Hours: 72

GRE: Not required

Resident Tuition: $683

Non-Resident Tuition: $817

Program Overview:
Collaborating with organizations across the state, the program offers an immersive learning environment that allows students to contribute to their communities while still in the program. The curriculum emphasizes multidisciplinary, policy-oriented research with practical applications. Students can create a customized course plan, balancing rigorous academic training with experiential learning opportunities. The faculty supports a holistic approach to management and decision-making through research, community outreach, and teaching. Graduates hold positions as managers, leaders, analysts, and planners, addressing diverse social, economic, and environmental issues. Oregon’s innovative policy environment adds to the program’s appeal, making it an exciting place to study public administration. The University’s location in the Willamette Valley provides access to scenic landscapes, enhancing the overall student experience.

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Online MPA Programs

Enrolling in a remote or online Master of Public Administration (MPA) program in Oregon offers MPA students a myriad of advantages. One of the primary benefits is the unparalleled flexibility these programs afford. With the ability to access lectures and coursework at their own pace, students can seamlessly integrate their studies into their daily lives, fostering a better work-life balance.

This is particularly advantageous for working professionals, allowing them to pursue advanced education without compromising their current employment. The geographical independence of online MPA programs is another notable advantage, liberating students from the constraints of location and providing the freedom to choose programs based on merit rather than proximity.

Additionally, the cost savings associated with online learning, including reduced commuting and accommodation expenses, contribute to a more affordable educational experience. Beyond financial considerations, online MPA students can continue working while pursuing their degree, enabling immediate application of theoretical knowledge to real-world scenarios and enhancing career prospects.

Networking opportunities in virtual spaces further broaden horizons, connecting students with professionals and peers from diverse backgrounds. The digital nature of these programs also grants access to an abundance of resources, ensuring students stay current with the latest research and information.

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

Eastern Oregon University

  • La Grande, OR
  • Online

Credit Hours: 41

GRE: Not required

Tuition: $521

Program Overview:
Eastern Oregon University (EOU) offers a comprehensive online Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) program designed for working professionals looking to enhance their public service knowledge and skills. The curriculum emphasizes the implementation and processes of public policy and administration, uniquely informed by a rural perspective. EOU’s location in rural Oregon and its commitment to serving rural communities contribute to a distinctive learning experience that maintains a global perspective. The program offers optional hands-on learning opportunities, including fieldwork, research projects, and collaborative team exercises.

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Corban University

  • Salem, OR
  • Online

Credit Hours: 30

GRE: Not required

Tuition: $530

Program Overview:
This Master of Public Administration (MPA) program recognizes the unique challenges of managing people, projects, and processes in the public sector, emphasizing distinct skill sets required for success. Courses cover various aspects such as finance reporting, leadership, public sector human resource management, and more. The program, offered entirely online, prepares students for public service leadership roles by providing a holistic understanding of public institutions, policy processes, and program administration from a biblical worldview.

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Accelerated MPA Programs

Opting for an accelerated MPA graduate program in the state of Oregon presents a myriad of advantages that cater to the diverse needs of individuals seeking a swift and efficient academic journey. The shorter time frame inherent in accelerated programs is particularly advantageous, allowing students to expedite their degree completion and swiftly enter the workforce. 

This accelerated pace is especially beneficial for working adults who can seamlessly integrate their studies into their professional lives, balancing education with work commitments. Unlike traditional full-time programs, accelerated options provide a more flexible schedule, accommodating the demanding schedules of working professionals. 

Moreover, the cost-effectiveness of accelerated MPA programs cannot be overlooked, as they often require a shorter duration of financial commitment, making advanced education more accessible. Beyond time and cost considerations, the accelerated format ensures that individuals swiftly acquire the essential skills and knowledge needed for leadership roles in public administration, aligning perfectly with the dynamic and fast-paced nature of the state of Oregon.

In Oregon, students attending the NASPAA-accredited Oregon State can transfer up to 22 graduate credits between their undergraduate and MPA degrees, accelerating their time to completion by at least six months. In addition, Corban University offers stacked online classes that allow students to complete their MPA degree in just 12 months.

Affordable MPA Programs

Student loans are a significant concern for MPA students in Oregon, as the cost of tuition and associated expenses can lead to substantial debt. Managing student loans responsibly becomes crucial to prevent graduates from facing long-term financial burdens. Oregon acknowledges the impact of student loans on economic prospects and strives to provide resources for financial literacy and responsible borrowing to mitigate these challenges.

Equitable outcomes are a priority in Oregon’s higher education landscape. The state recognizes the importance of ensuring that all students, regardless of socioeconomic background, have equal opportunities to pursue and complete an MPA degree. Efforts are made to address disparities in access and financial resources, fostering an environment where diverse individuals can thrive academically and professionally.

Accessibility is another financial challenge, particularly for students facing barriers related to the cost of living and other ancillary expenses. While Oregon is committed to providing accessible education, the overall affordability of an MPA program may be impacted by living costs in different regions of the state. Initiatives to address these challenges involve considering regional variations in the cost of living and implementing support systems to enhance accessibility.

For prospective students looking for an on-campus experience in the state of Oregon, both Portland State and the University of Oregon offer competitive tuition rates to both resident and non-resident applicants. The University of Oregon offers resident tuition at $683 per credit hour and non-resident tuition at $817 per credit hour. At Portland State, resident tuition is $478 per credit hour and non-resident tuition is $705 per credit hour.

All MPA Programs in Oregon

School NameDegree Program NameStateCityNASPAA AccreditedOnline DegreeProgram Link
Oregon State UniversityMaster Of Public PolicyOregonCorvallisYesYes
Portland State UniversityMaster Of Public AdministrationOregonPortlandYesYes
Portland State UniversityMaster of Public Administration: Health AdministrationOregonPortlandYesYes
Portland State UniversityExecutive Master of Public AdministrationOregonPortlandNoYes
University of OregonMaster Of Public AdministrationOregonEugeneNoYes
Willamette UniversityMaster of Business Administration for Business, Government and Not-for-Profit ManagementOregonSalemNoYes

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

Oregon, with its diverse landscapes and progressive policies, offers unique opportunities for public administration careers. Careers can differ between rural areas and the state capital, Salem, and are influenced by the state’s political environment. Here are some public administration careers that showcase these distinctions:

Rural Area Public Administration Careers:

  • Natural Resources Manager: Working in rural regions, these professionals oversee the sustainable use of natural resources, including forests and watersheds.
  • Rural Economic Development Coordinator: Focused on supporting rural economies, coordinators work on initiatives to create jobs, attract businesses, and enhance economic opportunities.
  • County Extension Agent: Addressing local agricultural and community needs, extension agents collaborate with farmers and residents to implement research-based solutions.

State Capital Public Administration Careers (Salem):

  • Environmental Policy Analyst: In Salem, professionals may analyze and develop policies related to environmental conservation, renewable energy, and sustainability.
  • State Parks Manager: Managing state parks and recreational areas, these individuals contribute to tourism and outdoor recreation initiatives in the capital.
  • Legislative Liaison: Serving as a liaison between state agencies and legislators, these professionals help navigate the legislative process and ensure effective communication.

Politics of the State and Associated Careers:

  • Land Use Planner: Given Oregon’s unique land-use planning system, planners in this role work on balancing development with environmental conservation.
  • Social Equity Coordinator: With a focus on progressive policies, coordinators work on initiatives promoting social justice, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Sustainability Manager: In both urban and rural settings, these professionals work to implement sustainable practices and policies aligned with Oregon’s environmental ethos.

Oregon’s political landscape is characterized by a mix of progressive and conservationist values. The state has been a pioneer in environmental policies, including land-use planning and sustainability initiatives. Professionals in public administration navigate these values to address challenges and opportunities.

Public administration careers in Oregon vary based on your location and the state’s political context. Whether working in rural areas to support local economies or contributing to progressive policies in the capital, public administration professionals play a key role in shaping Oregon’s future.

MPA Programs in Other States