Public administration is a highly versatile career path. While the leadership skills you develop in an MPA program are applicable in any environment, many public service sectors perform unique functions and encounter circumstances that require specialized knowledge and expertise.
Depending on their career aspirations and interests, MPA students may wish to tailor their degree programs to a particular discipline by completing one or more public administration concentrations.
Concentrating in a particular discipline can help rising administrators:
Build transferable skills to support a career change or a job transition
Develop specialized knowledge of an area that aligns with their career plans and interest areas
Gain insight into a particular public service network with professional opportunities and trends
Explore Public Administration Careers
Learn how MPA graduates are applying their skills across sectors and industries.
We offer six concentrations, outlined below. To complete their chosen concentration, students must take at least three of concentration-specific electives.
Before deciding on a concentration, students can explore their options through on-campus immersions, where they’ll be able to network with classmates and alumni who have completed concentrations, and their Professional Work Experience (PWE) Requirement.
Local Government Concentration
The Local Government concentration teaches students how to build strong, sustainable local communities that make a meaningful difference in residents’ lives. Topics include:
Environmental, economic, and community development
The Public Management concentration teaches students how to lead different types of public organizations and improve operational efficiency across functions, from economic development to government relations. Topics include:
Organizational policy change and implementation
Managerial and leadership skills
Challenges facing public management administrators
Online students who are located near Chapel Hill also have the option to pursue our on-campus Community and Economic Development concentration, which focuses on economic development strategies that transform communities and achieve social equity.
Learn How a Concentration Can Amplify Your Career
Complete a brief form to connect with a dedicated admissions counselor and get personalized guidance.
We partner with other university programs to offer more than 30 specialized elective courses, which allows students to tailor their MPA to fit with their particular interest areas and career goals.
Students may apply as many as nine credits from these courses to their MPA program. The course-providing institution grants credit and bills students at its current per-credit rate.
Electives from MPH@GW, the Milken Institute School of Public Health’s online MPH program, explore the intersection of administration and health, and cover a range of public health topics, from epidemiology and biostatistics to policy and management.
Electives from American University’s online Master of Arts in International Relations program equip students with essential knowledge of areas such as foreign policy, global development, and intercultural communication.
Social work electives from MSW@USC, the online Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California School of Social Work help students recognize the determinants that affect the health and well-being of communities, including human behavior, public policy in social service organizations, and substance abuse.
Through courses delivered by MBA@UNC, the online MBA from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, students can strengthen their knowledge of core business functions—including finance, accounting, and marketing—modern trends, and leadership strategies.
Serve with Skill, Confidence, and Purpose
Earn Your MPA Online from UNC
Request information today to connect with one of our admissions counselors.
Your dedicated counselor can help you learn more about our online MPA concentrations, program curriculum, and admission requirements.