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Best Online Master of Public Administration (MPA) Programs in Florida for 2024: Online & On-Campus

Earning your Master of Public Administration (MPA) in Florida has never been easier. This guide explores the best on-campus and online MPA programs in the Sunshine State for 2024, helping you find the perfect fit for your career goals, budget, and schedule.

Author: Shelby Green
Editor: STEPS Staff

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A scenic waterfront view of a vibrant, multi-story building complex at sunset. Palm trees line the front of the buildings, which feature a mix of colorful facades. In the foreground, boats are docked at a marina, enhancing the tranquil atmosphere.

Are you eager to make a positive impact in your community? Earning a Master of Public Administration (MPA) in Florida will equip you with the skills and knowledge to excel in public service, nonprofit leadership, and urban development. Florida boasts a wealth of exceptional in-person and affordable online MPA programs designed to help you achieve your career goals and empower you to make a real difference within your community.

With so many great in-person and online MPA programs in Florida to choose from, it can be difficult to find the perfect fit for you, especially if you’re a busy working professional. Luckily, many Florida schools provide flexible and convenient options that improve access to earning your degree. In this guide, we’ll explore several of the top in-person and online MPAs in Florida, highlighting key factors like accreditation, specializations, and affordability.

Best Colleges to Earn a Master of Public Administration (MPA) Degree in Florida: Campus-Based

The Sunshine State is home to several of the nation’s most recognizable institutions, many that offer exceptional MPA programs. To help you find the right in-person MPA in Florida, we’ve highlighted three top-tier institutions to help you achieve your career goals. The University of Central Florida, Florida Atlantic University, and the University of South Florida each feature a supportive and diverse learning environment that provides students with the skills, knowledge, and experience to thrive in government and nonprofit sectors. Consider this a sneak peek at our comprehensive ranking of best MPA programs in Florida, coming later in 2024.

University of Central Florida

Logo of the university of central florida featuring a stylized yellow and white flame on a black background with the text "university of central florida" also in white.

The University of Central Florida (UCF) offers a Master of Public Administration that emphasizes practical, hands-on learning through real-world experiences and community partnerships. The two-year program is carefully designed to prepare students for leadership roles in the public service sector covering key topics like strategic planning, public policy, organizational management, and financial management.

Delivery: Online and on-campus

Accreditation: Nationally accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA)

Financial Aid: UCF offers a variety of financial aid options, including federal loans and scholarships.

Specialization Tracks:

UCF offers two specialized, dual degree tracks that empower students to gain valuable experience in multiple focus areas, including:

  • Public Administration (MPA) – Criminal Justice (MS) Dual Degree Track
  • Public Administration (MPA) – Nonprofit Management (MNM) Dual Degree Track

Cost: $369.65 per credit hour for in-state students, $1,194.05 per credit hour for out-of-state

Atlantic University

Master of Public Administration from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) is designed to prepare students for leadership and management roles in the public service sector. The hybrid program’s curriculum focuses on leadership, management, social, economic, political, and international contexts in public affairs. Students may customize their learning experience through engaging elective courses that align with their career goals, and practical knowledge is emphasized; to that end, if you enter the program without prior public sector experience, you’ll be required to complete an internship. The program caters to working professionals who are eager to advance their career.

Delivery: Primarily hybrid, with most courses offering a mix of in-person evening meetings in Boca Raton and some online components.

Duration: Most students graduate within three years.

Accreditation: FAU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Financial Aid: In addition to federal aid, FAU also offers scholarships, grants, and work-study opportunities to help students fund their education.

Cost: $371.82 per credit hour for Florida residents, $1,026.81 per credit hour for non-Florida residents

University of South Florida

The Master of Public Administration program at University of South Florida (USF) emphasizes practical application through real-world projects, internships, and a mentorship program to prepare students for careers in local, state, or federal government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or special service districts. The comprehensive program boasts a high employment rate following one year of graduation, giving you peace of mind knowing you’re prepared to succeed in the workforce.

Delivery: Primarily in-person on the Tampa campus with several hybrid and online course options. No fully online degree option is available.

Duration:

  • Full-time: 2 years
  • Part-time: 3-4 years

Financial Aid: USF offers scholarships, grants, and fellowships to help pay for your degree

Cost: $347.91 for Florida residents, $431.43 per credit hour for non-Florida residents

Top Online Master of Public Administration (MPA) Programs in Florida

As a working professional, a traditional MPA program may not be feasible with your busy schedule. Fortunately, you can earn your MPA online in Florida to ensure you have the flexibility you need to balance work, education, and other life commitments. Online public administration programs in Florida are available in both synchronous and asynchronous formats that feature lectures, online discussions, videos, and collaborative projects to provide the same rigorous education you’d receive in person. Below, you’ll find a list of the top online MPAs in Florida that can provide you with a convenient path to achieving your goals. These are just a sneak peek of our full rankings coming later this year.

Florida Gulf Coast University

Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) offers a fully online Master of Public Administration designed for both experienced professionals and those new to the public and nonprofit sectors. Students can tailor their learning experience to their career goals by choosing a specialized track in either Public Leadership Management or Community Resilience.

Delivery: Online only

Additional Program: FGCU also offers a Graduate Certificate in Local Government Management (15 credits) which can be applied towards the MPA degree.

Accreditation: Florida Gulf Coast University is Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Financial Aid: In addition to federal student aid, FGCU also offers a handful of scholarships and grants to eligible students.

Cost: $373.38 per credit for Florida residents, $1,300.66 for non-residents

Barry University

Barry University offers a fully MPA online program in Florida that emphasizes leadership with a social conscience and equips graduates to solve social, economic, and environmental challenges. In 36 or 42 credits (depending on your choice of the general MPA or a specialization option), you’ll become poised to assume public or nonprofit leadership roles and drive change in the public administration sector.

No GMAT/GRE scores are required for admission, and you can transfer in up to six credits to reduce your tuition costs.

Accreditation: Barry University’s online MPA program is accredited by NASPAA.

Delivery: 100% online

Duration: As few as 14 months

Specializations: Specialization in Nonprofit Administration available

Financial Aid: Barry University offers student loans and tuition discounts to qualified students.

Cost: Total tuition is $16,200 for the MPA, $18,900 for the MPA plus Nonprofit Administration specialization.

Florida International University

Florida International University (FIU) offers a consistently top-ranked fully online MPA in Florida designed for both experienced professionals and those new to the public service sector. Led by experienced and accomplished faculty, the online MPA program prepares graduates for careers in public service, community empowerment, and social good. With dedicated career development, an extensive alumni network, and a competitive admissions process, FIU’s world class MPA program provides a comprehensive learning experience that can arm you with the knowledge and skills to thrive.

Accreditation: FIU’s MPA program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).

Delivery: Fully online with annual course rotations

Schedule: Part-time or full-time options available

Financial Aid: In addition to federal financial aid, FIU offers scholarships, grants, federal work-study, loans, and outside resources.

Cost: $4,371 per semester for Florida residents, $9,285 for non-residents

Financial Aid and Scholarships for MPA Students in Florida

While pursuing an MPA can lead to lucrative and rewarding career paths, it can be costly. Luckily, there are many ways to finance your Master of Public Administration in Florida including scholarships, loans, and grants. In additional to federal financial aid, many schools offer merit-based aid programs to minimize financial impact.

The first step to securing financial aid for your Master of Public Administration in Florida is to apply online for federal financial aid, which is awarded through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can also reach out to the schools to which you are applying to determine if your specific department or the college itself offers scholarships for public administration students.

For a deeper dive into financial aid and scholarship resources, explore the STEPS’ financial aid guide and scholarships guide to prepare to navigate the funding landscape and make your MPA a reality. You can also check out popular Public Administration Scholarships.

Job Outlook and Earnings Potential for MPA Graduates in Florida

At this point in your research, you may be wondering what you can do with your MPA degree. Earning your in-person or online MPA in Florida unlocks several exciting career paths across the government, nonprofit, and private sectors. Many of the popular roles for MPA graduates are predicted to experience massive growth over the next decade that’s much greater than the national average of 4%, offering ample employment opportunities.

The table below provides a high-level overview of the prospects of earning your MPA. We’ve researched five popular career paths within public administration, along with the anticipated job growth rate and projected annual job openings specific to the state of Florida; we’ve also included national mean salary information.

Job Growth Rate
(2020-2030)
Average Annual Openings (2020-2030)Annual Mean Wage (2023)
Urban and Regional Planners16.4% 330$81,800
Public Relations Specialists19.3% 1,620$66,750
Fundraising Manager20.6% 330$130,480
Human Resources Manager20.9% 790$136,350
Budget Analyst11.7% 310$84,940

Sources: Projections Central; Bureau of Labor Statistics

Florida Public Administration Professional and Student Resources

Earning your MPA is just one step to launching a successful career. Ongoing professional development is crucial for growth in the public sector. Here are a few resources to enhance your knowledge, connect with peers, and stay up to date with the latest information.

  • American Society for Public Administration South Florida Chapter
    The ASPA South Florida Chapter is part of the larger national organization. This nonprofit association builds connections between academic professionals and practitioners. ASPA offers a variety of resources, including professional development opportunities, research assistance, and networking events to enhance skills and knowledge.
  • Center for Public and Nonprofit Management at the University of Central Florida
    The University of Central Florida’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Management is a research and service organization dedicated to improving public service. They offer training and consulting services to government and nonprofit organizations, focusing on areas like civic engagement and public participation.
  • Florida Department of Education
    The Florida Department of Education provides an overview of career paths in public service. It details seven areas of focus, including governance and public management. It also highlights the many educational opportunities available throughout Florida schools, community colleges, and universities.
  • Florida Public Service Association
    The Florida Public Service Association (FPSA) provides programs and events to help build leadership and career skills for future public servants. This organization prepares students to excel through workshops, competitions, and mentorship opportunities, helping students develop essential soft skills and practical knowledge to excel in their careers.
  • National Academy of Public Administration Management Matters Podcast
    NAPA conducts independent research and studies that advance the field of public administration. The organization’s podcast, called Management Matters, addresses solutions to government’s most significant challenges.