Online MPA Concentrations

Build Specialized Expertise and Skills

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:

  1. Build transferable skills to support a career change or a job transition
  2. Develop specialized knowledge of an area that aligns with their career plans and interest areas
  3. 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.

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UNC MPA Concentration Options

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
  • Practical policy implementation and evaluation
  • Budgeting concepts and techniques

Learn more about the Local Government concentration.

Nonprofit Management Concentration

In the Nonprofit Management concentration, students will gain deeper insight into the unique challenges, competencies, and characteristics that define nonprofit organizations. Topics include:

  • The history of public policy and management in the nonprofit sector
  • Core principles of nonprofit management and leadership
  • Practical fundraising and grant application development strategies

Learn more about the Nonprofit Management concentration.

Public Management Concentration

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

Learn more about the Public Management concentration.

Public Health Concentration

The Public Health concentration helps students prepare for careers as policy-driven health care administrators. Topics include:

  • Foundational public health principles and practice
  • Health care policy evaluation and reform strategies
  • Behavioral science, biostatistics, and epidemiology

Learn more about the Public Health concentration.

International Relations Concentration

The International Relations concentration is ideal for students who want to apply their public administration knowledge in communities around the world. Topics include:

  • Intercultural relations, foreign policy, and conflict resolution
  • Sociopolitical systems and international development
  • Essential international leadership skills

Learn more about the International Relations concentration.

Community and Economic Development Concentration

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

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Cross-University Courses

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.

Learn more about cross-university courses.

Public Health at the George Washington University

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.

See all public health courses.

International Relations at American University

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.

See all international relations courses.

Law and Legal Studies at Washington University

Courses from @WashULaw, the online Master of Laws (LL.M.) in U.S. Law from the Washington University School of Law give students a firm grasp of the legal variables that can affect administrative work, including property, intellectual property, and negotiations.

Social Work at USC

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.

See all social work courses.

Business Administration at UNC

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.