Academics Overview

MPA@UNC will equip you with the managerial and public policy skills you need to become an effective leader within a public service organization. The online MPA begins with nine core courses that focus on key subject areas such as public administration institutions and values, professional communication, and financial management. You can then customize your education with a range of electives.

Degree Requirements

MPA@UNC is 45 credits and can be completed in as few as 18 months. Learn more about the curriculum.

The curriculum breaks down as follows:


Core Course


Elective Credits


Research Problem


Work Experience


This online MPA allows you to choose from a range of concentrations based on your academic and career goals:

Public Management:

Build the leadership and economic development skills to promote social change in various types of communities.

International Relations:

Learn to drive policy change using skills in intercultural communication, economic development, and conflict resolution.

Local Government:

Learn a variety of skills—including city and county management and government accounting—to grow your career in this sector.

Nonprofit Management:

Prepare for a career at a nonprofit organization through courses on grant writing, accounting and reporting, and management.

Public Health:

Learn to apply your knowledge of policy evaluation and reform to issues relating to global health and wellness.

Practicum and Applied Research Problem

As an online MPA student, you are required to complete a practicum and a portfolio:

  • Practicum: You will complete public service work in your community to gain real-world, hands-on experience in your sector.
  • Applied Research Problem: You will apply your coursework and public service work experiences to respond to an applied research problem.

Learn more about the Practicum and Applied Research Problem