Masters in Public Administration Programs in the State of Rhode Island

Cole Neder

Cole Neder

Updated & Fact Checked: 05.16.2024


When considering Rhode Island for pursuing an MPA degree, the state’s small size and unique mix of urban and rural environments offer several distinct advantages for students. Rhode Island is home to several prestigious universities, including Roger Williams University in Bristol, the University of Rhode Island (URI) in Kingston, and Brown University in Providence. These institutions offer strong MPA programs with dedicated faculty and a supportive learning environment.

Rhode Island’s proximity to major metropolitan areas, such as Boston and New York City, provides students with access to a wide range of cultural and professional opportunities. This makes Rhode Island an attractive location for students who want to experience the benefits of a small state while still having access to urban amenities.

Rhode Island’s economy is diverse, with a focus on industries such as healthcare, education, and tourism. The state’s stable economy can provide MPA students with opportunities for internships, networking, and potential employment in various government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private sector companies.

Finally, Rhode Island offers a high quality of life. The state is known for its beautiful coastline, historic architecture, and vibrant arts scene. Bristol, Kingston, and Providence each offer their own unique charm, providing students with a variety of options for recreation and entertainment.

MPA Programs in Rhode Island

Rhode Island, and specifically Bristol, Kingston, and Providence, offers MPA students a combination of strong educational institutions, diverse economy, access to cultural and professional opportunities, high quality of life, and supportive communities. These factors make Rhode Island an appealing option for students looking to pursue a graduate degree in public administration:

NASPAA-accredited MPA Programs

NASPAA, the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration, is the global standard in public service education. It is a membership organization that serves as the accreditor of graduate programs in public administration, public policy, public affairs, and related fields.

Although NASPAA accreditation is a prestigious mark of quality in public administration education, it is not a requirement for all MPA programs to be valuable and effective. Many MPA programs, including those in Rhode Island, focus on providing students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in public service careers, even without NASPAA accreditation.

Online MPA Programs

The demand for online education is growing. As technology continues to advance, more students are seeking flexible, convenient ways to earn their degrees. Schools that offer online MPA programs can attract a larger pool of applicants and remain competitive in the higher education market.

Additionally, online programs can enhance the learning experience by incorporating multimedia resources, interactive simulations, and virtual collaborations, providing students with a dynamic and engaging education that prepares them for success in the field of public administration. An overview of the remaining two MPA programs in the state of Rhode Island that offer an online format are shown here:

Roger Williams University

  • Bristol, RI
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: NEASCCIHE

Modality: Online/On-Campus

Credit Hours: 36

GRE: Not required

Tuition: $1,091 (PCH)

Program Overview:
The Master of Public Administration program (MPA) is a 36-credit hour program designed for individuals working or interested in federal, state, local, regional, and international government, non-profits, and NGOs. The curriculum aligns with NASPAA standards and focuses on developing competencies in areas such as financial administration, organizational management, ethics, and global awareness. Graduates pursue careers in various organizations, including local municipalities, state agencies, and roles like government policy analysts and fundraisers, addressing critical social issues.

More Details

University of Rhode Island

  • Kingston, RI
  • Online

Accreditation: NEASCCIHE

Modality: Online

Credit Hours: 36

GRE: Not required

Tuition: $887 (PCH)

Program Overview:
The Master of Public Administration program is open to students from various educational and professional backgrounds but requires a four-year college degree for admission. Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation and a personal statement detailing their career aspirations in public service or how a graduate degree will enhance their career. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is typically required for admission. Courses are offered in 7-week sessions, with two sessions per semester (Spring, Summer, Fall).

More Details

Accelerated MPA Programs

Accelerated MPA programs typically have a condensed timeline, allowing students to complete their degree in a shorter period, often as little as one year. This accelerated pace can be appealing to individuals looking to enter the workforce or advance their careers quickly.

Additionally, accelerated programs often offer flexible scheduling options, including evening, weekend, and online courses, making them suitable for working professionals seeking to balance work and education.

The Master of Public Affairs (MPA) program at the Watson Institute at Brown University offers a one-year accelerated format. Courses are structured in 7-week sessions at the University of Rhode Island (URI), allowing students to complete the degree in 18 months.

Affordable MPA Programs

MPA tuition affordability can vary depending on the institution and program. However, the state’s commitment to education and access to higher education can lead to competitive tuition rates for MPA programs. The University of Rhode Island offers the lowest tuition rates for both in-state and out-of-state students ($887 for both).

All MPA Programs in Rhode Island

School NameDegree Program NameStateCityNASPAA AccreditedOnline DegreeProgram Link
Brown UniversityMaster Of Public AffairsRhode IslandProvidenceNoNo
Roger Williams UniversityMaster Of Public AdministrationRhode IslandBristolNoNo
University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island CollegeMaster Of Public AdministrationRhode IslandKingstonNoNo

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

In Rhode Island, MPA graduates have unique opportunities to work in a variety of roles that are specific to the state’s economy, geography, and government structure. Some of these unique job opportunities include:

  • Coastal Management Specialist: Rhode Island is known for its extensive coastline and is a leader in coastal management and resilience. MPA graduates can work as coastal management specialists, helping to develop and implement policies and programs to protect and enhance the state’s coastal resources.
  • Historic Preservation Officer: Rhode Island has a rich history and is home to many historic sites and buildings. MPA graduates can work as historic preservation officers, overseeing efforts to preserve and protect Rhode Island’s historic landmarks and promote heritage tourism.
  • Renewable Energy Program Manager: Rhode Island is committed to renewable energy and has set ambitious goals for expanding renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. MPA graduates can work as program managers, leading efforts to promote and develop renewable energy projects in the state.
  • Health Equity Coordinator: Rhode Island is known for its innovative approaches to healthcare and has a strong focus on health equity. MPA graduates can work as health equity coordinators, developing and implementing policies and programs to address health disparities and improve health outcomes for all Rhode Islanders.
  • Aquaculture Development Specialist: Rhode Island has a thriving aquaculture industry, particularly in shellfish farming. MPA graduates can work as aquaculture development specialists, supporting the growth and sustainability of the state’s aquaculture sector through policy development and program management.
  • Nonprofit Capacity Builder: Rhode Island has a vibrant nonprofit sector that plays a key role in addressing social, economic, and environmental challenges in the state. MPA graduates can work as nonprofit capacity builders, providing support and resources to nonprofit organizations to help them achieve their missions more effectively.