Masters in Public Administration Programs in the State of Washington

Cole Neder

Cole Neder

Updated & Fact Checked: 03.19.2024


Obtaining a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) in the State of Washington can be a rewarding experience, especially given the state’s robust public sector and commitment to environmental and social issues.

Washington has been actively addressing housing challenges through various legislative mandates and planning projects. Recent efforts include bills like HB 1406, which allows local governments to retain a portion of the state sales tax to fund affordable housing projects. SB 5235 encourages higher density and more diverse housing options by prohibiting local governments from banning duplexes, triplexes, and townhomes.

The state has also integrated climate resilience into housing planning, aiming to reduce the environmental impact of housing developments and increase resilience to climate change impacts. Additionally, Washington is promoting equitable development practices, ensuring that housing projects consider the needs of all community members, including low-income and marginalized populations. These projects and mandates reflect Washington’s commitment to addressing housing affordability, equity, and sustainability through planning efforts.

Washington’s unique recreational opportunities add to its appeal. Mount Rainier National Park, just a short drive from Seattle, offers hiking, camping, and stunning views of the Cascade Range. Olympic National Park, known for its diverse ecosystems, is perfect for hiking, wildlife viewing, and exploring the coastline. The Puget Sound area offers opportunities for boating, kayaking, and whale watching.

Living in Seattle offers a blend of culture, arts, and outdoor activities. The city’s vibrant arts scene includes museums, theaters, and galleries, while its proximity to mountains, forests, and water makes it ideal for outdoor enthusiasts. Seattle is also famous for its coffee culture and has a thriving culinary scene with diverse dining options.

Career opportunities in Washington’s public sector include roles in state agencies, ranging from policy analysis to program management. Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) in Washington, such as the Puget Sound Regional Council, play a crucial role in transportation planning and policy development.

MPA Programs in Washington

Pursuing an MPA in Washington can thus open up a range of career opportunities in the public sector, with the chance to make a positive impact on local communities and the environment.

The University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy & Governance offers a highly regarded MPA program with a focus on leadership, policy analysis, and public management, while Seattle University emphasizes social justice, public leadership, and sustainability.

In total, there are 5 educational institutions that offer a Master’s degree in Public Administration in the State of Seattle. A general overview of these schools- including accreditation, credit hours, and modality- can be found here:

NASPAA-accredited MPA Programs

For MPA graduate students attending a NASPAA-accredited school, this accreditation offers several benefits. Firstly, it provides assurance of the program’s quality and credibility, which can be important for prospective employers and can enhance the graduates’ professional reputation. Employers often value graduates from NASPAA-accredited programs because they are seen as having received a rigorous and comprehensive education in public administration.

Secondly, NASPAA accreditation can enhance students’ educational experience by ensuring that the curriculum is relevant, up-to-date, and aligned with best practices in the field. Accredited programs are required to regularly review and update their curriculum to reflect changes in the field of public administration, ensuring that students receive a current and comprehensive education.

Of the 5 total MPA programs in the State of Washington, 3 of them are accredited by NASPAA. A detailed overview of these programs can be found here:

Eastern Washington University

  • Cheney, WA
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: NASPAA, NCCU

Modality: Online/On-Campus

Credit Hours: 60

GRE: Not required

Resident Tuition: $423 (PCH)

Non-Resident Tuition: $935 (PCH)

Program Overview:
The program provides full-time and part-time study options, including degree and non-degree programs. Students are encouraged to gain insights into the public service environment, understand its guiding values, and develop critical and analytical skills for decision-making. The faculty, comprising doctoral degree holders with public service management experience, are selected from relevant academic fields, while adjunct faculty bring additional expertise from academia and practice.

More Details

Seattle University

  • Seattle, WA
  • Campus

Accreditation: NASPAA, NCCU

Modality: On-Campus

Credit Hours: 57

GRE: Not required

Tuition: $834 (PCH)

Program Overview:
With a focus on community engagement and service, the program equips students with essential skills in critical thinking, analysis, administration, management, policy, and research. Ideal for current or aspiring leaders, the program offers tracks in government and nonprofit sectors, flexible evening and weekend classes on campus, and a fast completion time of 2.5 years. Additionally, students benefit from comparable tuition rates, scholarship opportunities, and the convenience of starting any quarter, all with no application fee.

More Details

University of Washington

  • Seattle, WA
  • Campus

Accreditation: NASPAA, NCCU

Modality: On-Campus

Credit Hours: 54

GRE: Not required

Resident Tuition: $26,140 (PYR)

Non-Resident Tuition: $44,525 (PYR)

Program Overview:
With a focus on providing foundational knowledge and skills for career agility, the Evans School’s master’s programs equip students with essential tools for success. In 2023, the school maintained its top-ten ranking among graduate public affairs programs nationally, with three specialization areas ranked in the top ten, including Environmental Policy and Public Finance & Budgeting. Additionally, the school’s expertise was recognized with two newly ranked specializations: Local Government Management and Urban Policy.

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Online MPA Programs

Opting for an online-only Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) program in the state of Washington offers several perks. Firstly, it provides flexibility, allowing students to balance their studies with work and personal commitments. This flexibility is particularly beneficial for working professionals seeking to advance their careers or individuals living outside major cities who may find it challenging to attend classes in person.

The online MPA program at Eastern Washington University can be a cost-effective option, as it eliminates the need for commuting or relocating, and may offer more affordable tuition rates compared to on-campus programs. Overall, an online-only MPA program in Washington offers flexibility, customization, networking opportunities, and cost savings, making it an attractive option for those pursuing a career in public administration.

Accelerated MPA Programs

In Washington state, several universities offer accelerated Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) programs designed to allow students to earn their degree in a shorter time frame. For example, the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy & Governance offers an Accelerated Master of Public Administration (MPA) program that allows students to complete their MPA degree in just 11 months. This intensive program is designed for students with significant work experience in the public or nonprofit sectors who are looking to advance their careers quickly.

Additionally, some universities in Washington offer dual track or 4+1 programs that allow students to earn both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in a shortened time frame. For example, Seattle University offers a 4+1 program that allows students to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs and a Master of Public Administration in just five years. This program is ideal for students who are committed to a career in public service and want to accelerate their path to a master’s degree.

Affordable MPA Programs

In the state of Washington, several universities offer Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) programs with affordable tuition rates. One of the most affordable options is the MPA program at The Evergreen State College, which offers a Master of Public Administration for Washington residents at a lower tuition rate compared to other institutions in the state.

Additionally, Eastern Washington University offers a competitive tuition rate ($423 per credit hour for state residents) for its MPA program, making it an affordable option for students seeking a high-quality education in public administration. Another affordable option is the MPA program at Western Washington University, which offers in-state tuition rates for Washington residents. These programs provide an excellent value for students looking to pursue a career in public service without breaking the bank.

All MPA Programs in Washington

School NameDegree Program NameStateCityNASPAA AccreditedOnline DegreeProgram Link
Eastern Washington UniversityMaster Of Public AdministrationWashingtonCheneyNoYes
Seattle UniversityMaster Of Public AdministrationWashingtonSeattleNoYes
The Evergreen State CollegeMaster Of Public AdministrationWashingtonOlympiaNoNo
University of WashingtonMaster Of Public AdministrationWashingtonSeattleNoYes
Washington State UniversityMaster Of Public AffairsWashingtonPullmanNoNo
Gallaudet UniversityMaster Of Public AdministrationWashingtonWashingtonNoNo

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

With a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) degree in Washington, you can pursue a variety of rewarding careers in the public sector. In the field of planning and urban development, MPA graduates often work as urban planners, helping to develop and implement land use plans, zoning regulations, and growth management policies. They may also work as community development specialists, focusing on revitalizing neighborhoods, promoting affordable housing, and improving quality of life for residents.

In the housing sector, MPA graduates can pursue careers as housing program managers, overseeing affordable housing programs, and policies. They may also work as housing policy analysts, researching and evaluating housing trends, and developing recommendations for policymakers. Additionally, MPA graduates can work in nonprofit organizations, advocacy groups, and government agencies focused on housing issues, such as homelessness prevention and affordable housing development.

Other unique career opportunities for MPA graduates in Washington include working in environmental policy and sustainability, where they can help develop and implement policies to protect the environment and promote sustainable practices. MPA graduates can also work in transportation planning, helping to develop and implement transportation plans that improve mobility, reduce congestion, and enhance public transportation options.

Overall, an MPA degree in Washington can open up a wide range of career opportunities in planning, urban development, housing, environmental policy, and transportation planning, allowing you to make a positive impact on your community and the environment.