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  • Course Delivery
  • Minimum Credits
  • Estimated Tuition
  • Duration
    2 Years

Program Overview

Become a proactive, ethical leader who uses data-driven decisions to power successful public programs. The online Master of Arts in Public Administration from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota delivers a rigorous curriculum focused on diverse community engagement, effective leadership, data-driven decision-making, the principles of policy making, and data analysis.

Combine perspectives and processes from both government agencies and non-profit sectors that rely on each other to succeed and practice ethics and authenticity, managerial analysis, and public leadership. Prepare to better meet the needs of everyone in your community, including populations who are underserved and overlooked, in any sector.

Program Highlights

  • Analyze the effects of public policies and laws
  • Handle changing circumstances and complex, strategic decisions
  • Build alliances among and within organizations
  • Manage financial resources responsibly
  • Promote organizational effectiveness
  • Lead through respectful and responsive communications
  • Act ethically and with accountability

Career Impact

Public administration leaders need to do more with less. With your organizational expertise and your unique knowledge of the private and nonprofit sectors and your understanding of their interdependencies, you can serve the public in a number of ways across all sectors.

  • Nonprofit. In 2005 it was reported that the nonprofit sector has grown 20 percent in 10 years and struggled to hire qualified candidates.1 With the leadership skills you'll gain in earning your master's, you'll be well-suited for work as an executive director or financial manager to lead continued growth.
  • Government. With your master's in public affairs, you'll be ready to work as a government administrator or legislator in urban planning, community affairs, accounting offices, legislative offices, and independent agencies.
  • Private Sector. Draw upon your interests and prior positions and take on human resources, budgeting, or marketing positions at companies that interact with public-facing organizations.

Compensation varies based on your industry, sector and experience level, but here are a few master's in public administration jobs and salaries:

  • Program Manager, Nonprofit, $50,303 average salary2
  • Director of Development, Nonprofit, $63,768 average salary3
  • Human Resources Manager, $65,654 average salary4
  • Social and Community Service Manager, $48,563 average salary5
  • City Administrator, $69,679 average salary6

1Nonprofit Sector Growing Faster than For-Profit. Retrieved from
2Payscale, Program Manager, Non-profit Organization Salary. Retrieved from
3Payscale, Program Manager, Non-profit Organization Salary. Retrieved from
4Payscale, Human Resources Manager Salary. Retrieved from
5Payscale, Social or Community Service Manager Salary. Retrieved from
6Payscale, City Administrator Salary. Retrieved from

Course Information

Focusing on the skills, behaviors, and approaches needed to administer agencies and implement policy on behalf of the public, this program is designed to develop and advance students from a variety of backgrounds in both nonprofit and governmental administrative positions.

For more information and course descriptions, check out our course catalog.

Applicants must submit:

  1. An undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  2. A minimum GPA of 2.75 on a 4.00 scale. If your overall GPA is below 2.75, you may receive provisional status in the program at the discretion of the MAPA program director.
  3. $25 non-refundable application fee: Note that Saint Mary’s alumni, students seeking readmission, veterans, and active military personnel are exempt from this application fee.
  4. Official transcripts: An official transcript issued to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota from the institution posting the applicant’s completed bachelor degree and other relevant transcripts documenting program prerequisites and potential transfer credits must be sent separately and directly from your undergraduate institution in a sealed envelope. We don't accept transcripts that are scanned, emailed, or faxed.
  5. A written statement: Describe your personal background, training, career goals, and experience. Tell us why you’re seeking admission to the master’s of public administration program, what your personal and professional strengths are, and any other personal information you wish to share.
  6. An up-to-date résumé: Include both your educational and professional experience.
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Key Dates

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Start Date
Summer Semester
Fall Semester
Spring Semester
Summer Semester
Fall Semester

Tuition & Fees

Tuition: $660 Per Credit


Graduation fee:$190

The Saint Mary's Difference

The heart of Saint Mary's is its people — faculty, staff, and your fellow students — who become your companions and allies on your educational journey. Here, in an intense give-and-take setting, each of us discovers just how much we can learn. You'll find, in every one of our classrooms, a person-centered education focused on your growth, your potential — because we believe that everyone deserves the chance to make an impact, to change the world around them.

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