Master of Public Administration and Affairs

Master of Public Administration and Affairs (Online or On-Campus)

Similar to an MPA, our unique public administration and public affairs master’s degree prepares you for leadership roles in public administration, public policy and community service.

Finish in as little as 1 year. Study online or on-campus.

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Graduate Programs Virtual Information Session

Monday, April 22, 2024 
from 5:30 pm 
to 7:00 pm

Learn about the Merrimack College community, application process, financial aid, your program's curriculum, professional opportunities, fellowships and more!

Master’s Degree in Public Administration: Why Merrimack College?

Develop interdisciplinary skills.

Merrimack College’s public administration and affairs degree equips you with marketable expertise that you can adapt for a variety of roles. You’ll acquire practical skills in public administration, public policy, organizational leadership, finance, communication, data analysis, and more, gaining the ability to address complex problems and craft innovative solutions.

Specialize in issues that matter to you.

Our graduate degree in public administration and affairs grants you the freedom to focus on the public policy issues you care about most. The program culminates in a capstone project or internship that may include original research, public policy design, in-depth analysis, fieldwork or other hands-on activity.

Connect with public administration professionals.

Merrimack has active partnerships throughout the public administration and affairs community. You’ll interact with legislators, nonprofit directors, government officials, public policy experts, political advocates and other leaders.

Convenient and flexible options.

Our master of public administration and affairs was designed to fit your busy life. Whether you study online or on campus, you can choose to earn your master’s in 1-2 years of full-time study, or complete the degree part-time at your own pace. Our campus program offers evening classes to fit the schedules of working adults, while our online graduate program lets you pursue your MPA from anywhere.

Build strong faculty relationships.

You’ll study public administration in small classes led by attentive, highly engaged instructors. Our faculty experts include scholars such as Dr. Anne Boxberger FlahertyDr. Harry Wessel and Dr. Brad Miller, as well as veteran public administrators such as Andrew Maylor and Sarah Stanton.

Join a committed community.

Merrimack’s public affairs graduate degree caters to a diverse, engaged and enthusiastic student cohort. Whether you’re just entering the workforce, seeking a promotion or migrating into public administration from another profession, our master’s degree in public affairs will help you take the next step.

Program Format

  • On-Campus or Online
  • 32 credits
  • Complete in as little 1 year full-time, or at your own pace part-time

Scholarships & Fellowships

(Campus Program Only)

Start Terms

  • Fall
  • Spring
  • Summer I
  • Summer II


Earn a Master’s Degree That Empowers You to Make a Difference

Every academic program at Merrimack College reflects our decades-long tradition of socially aware, civically engaged education. The Master of Public Administration and Affairs builds on this heritage, providing you with the tools to help your community govern itself effectively, respond to challenges, maintain a high quality of life and promote high ethical and moral values.

Our public affairs master’s program resembles a traditional Master of Public Administration (MPA), but it takes a broader perspective than the usual MPA degree. In addition to studying government administration and public policy, you’ll also develop expertise in nonprofit management, community outreach, philanthropy and other kinds of active citizenship.

You can apply our public administration and affairs master’s program to tackle almost any challenge confronting society, including (but not limited to):

  • Health care
  • Immigration
  • Economic development
  • Education
  • Finance
  • Workforce development
  • Environmental and climate issues
  • Social services
  • Gender equity
  • Public safety
  • Housing
  • Urban renewal

Online Master of Public Administration and Affairs

Since its inception, the on campus Master in Public Administration and Affairs program at Merrimack College has earned a reputation as one of the area’s best master’s programs. Now, you can also choose to complete the program online! Whichever modality you pick, you’ll benefit from the same rigor, expert faculty, and close-knit community. Read on to discover which option is right for you.

What the on campus and online graduate programs have in common:

  • The same rigorous curriculum, with all classes taught by Merrimack’s expert faculty
  • Requires 32 credit hours to complete
  • Earn your M.P.A. full-time in as little as 1 year, or study part-time at your own pace
  • Optional concentrations in Government Management and Public Policy
  • Offers entry terms in the spring, summer, and fall
  • Provides Merrimack alumni with a streamlined application process (transcript and letters of recommendation requirements are waived)

Differences between the on campus and online master’s degree:

 On Campus M.P.A. ProgramOnline M.P.A. Program
Course FormatClassroom, synchronousOnline, asynchronous
Semester Length14 weeks8 weeks
Tuition* (per credit)$1,028$781
Tuition* (total)$32,896$24,992
Fellowships AvailablePresidential Fellowships (full tuition) and Provost Fellowships (half tuition)None
Automatic Scholarship EligibilityDeans Scholarship (up to 20% of tuition); Double Warrior Alumni Scholarship (up to 33% of tuition)None

* Tuition indicated is for the 2024-25 academic year and subject to change. Please visit of Graduate Tuition and Fees page for the most up to date and complete cost of attendance information.

“I got real hands-on experience in the field I want to be in. It supported what I learned in the classroom, and it gave me so many connections in the world of state policy.”

Careers in Public Administration, Public Policy and Civil Society

The U.S. Bureau of Labors Statistics (BLS) projects rapid job growth over the next decade in public administration, public policy, community service and related fields.

Like a master of public administration or similar degree, our Master of Public Administration and Public Affairs will qualify you to exercise leadership in executive, managerial or supervisory positions. Merrimack graduates work in public administration jobs throughout the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Our alumni have gone to work for employers such as:

  • Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)
  • Massachusetts State House
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • City of North Andover
  • Town of Andover
  • GroundWork (a Lawrence, MA nonprofit)
  • F.H. Cann and Associates
  • Stantec Consulting Services
  • Port Healthcare Center
  • Greene LLP
  • Hampton, NH Police Department
  • Merrimack College

Learning Outcomes: What You Will Learn in the Master’s of Public Administration and Public Policy

Whether you choose the online or on campus MPAA degree, you will gain a foundation in public administration theory and research with an emphasis on practical applications. Complete in as little 1 year full-time, or at your own pace part-time. With its well-rounded approach, the public administration and public affairs master’s degree prepares you for a wide range of leadership roles in all kinds of organizations. Upon completing the program, you will have developed:

  • An Understanding of Public Administration: You will understand the roles and responsibilities of key actors in public administration and the framework of public administration under the law; analyze and critique concepts and realities of public service; understand the importance of diverse viewpoints and populations in the public sphere; will be able to exhibit a knowledge of leadership and management skill in public administration; and will present the role of public financial management and budgeting in a public setting.
  • Policy Expertise and Understanding of the Policy Process: You will understand the dynamics and implications of policy making, from development to implementation and evaluation; identify problems and challenges in policy making; assess and evaluate policy effects. In addition, you will understand the important relationship between policy and diversity, and the impact that relationship has on the public work force and the public at large.
  • Research Skills and Practices: You will develop the capacity to conduct ethical, responsible, and appropriate research using a variety of methodologies to answer questions in public administration and affairs; will conduct research will analyze and interpret results; and will disseminate results appropriately.
  • Communication, Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills: You will develop the ability to identify problems and possible solutions; critically incorporate and synthesize information from a variety of perspectives; analyze information to determine possible solutions to problems and comparative outcomes; and effectively communicate that understanding through oral and written proficiency.
  • Diversity and Ethical Frameworks for Public Service: You will understand and be able to identify a variety of ethical frameworks; will be able to apply ethical frameworks to a variety of settings; and, will develop an awareness of public service ethics and responsibilities. Included is an understanding of the importance of diverse viewpoints and populations in the public sector.

Grad Chat Podcast

In this episode of Grad Chat, we focus on Merrimack’s Master of Public Administration and Affairs program, with two special guests: Taylor Galusha, a 2021 graduate of the program, and Bradley Miller, the program director for the Master of Public Administration and Affairs. Tune in to hear their insights and experiences!

Merrimack College Master of Public Affairs Program Director Bradley Miller

Want to Learn More about the Master of Public Administration and Public Affairs?

Contact the Merrimack College Office of Graduate Admission at

Schedule an Informational Call with the Program Director, Dr. Brad Miller

Scholarships and Fellowships

Public administration and public affairs graduate fellowships can reduce your tuition by 50% to 100%, while scholarships can reduce your tuition by up to 25%.

Learn More

How to Apply

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