Careers in Public

Earning a master's degree in public administration (MPA) prepares you for leadership roles across a wide range of public service careers. Our graduates hold positions in government service, the military, nonprofit organizations, and the public and private sectors.

Explore the variety of public and private sector jobs MPA@UNC graduates can pursue:

Career Services at MPA@UNC helps our students advance their career, offering personalized career coaching and networking events. If you find that the careers listed above don’t align with your interests, visit our degree comparisons page for more information on the fields you can pursue with our other offerings.

Government Careers for MPA Graduates

As government policies and regulations evolve, government employees are finding themselves under increased pressure to develop new skills through continued education. MPA@UNC students complete a curriculum that prepares them to succeed in federal, state, or local government agencies influencing policy, overseeing agencies, or analyzing efficiencies. Students develop the organizational skills to lead government initiatives and have the opportunity to connect with a worldwide community of professionals who are driving change at all levels of government.

The UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government is renowned for its focus on local government training. Our faculty members advise public officials at all levels, and the school has been ranked among the best in the nation in 2019 by U.S. News and World Report in a variety of government-focused areas, including Local Government and Management (#2), Environmental Policy and Management (#14), and Public Finance and Budgeting (#17)1.

UNC School of Government graduates are sought after for both their technical and soft skills. Our multidisciplinary curriculum allows our online MPA graduates to lend their expertise to a variety of fields, including the following:

Military Careers for MPA Graduates

Whether they are looking to advance in the ranks or transition to civilian life, military personnel can benefit greatly from MPA@UNC's focus on leadership development. Students can continue serving at home or abroad while taking MPA classes and will build essential skills such as organizational theory, professional communication, human resource management, and community engagement.

Read more about the numerous benefits and support services available to active duty military members and veterans.

Nonprofit Careers for MPA Graduates

There are more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the United States currently, and that number is growing at an astounding rate. Increasingly, these organizations are looking to those with a better understanding of budgeting, management, law, and legal processes to take on leadership roles.

Earning an MPA degree from the UNC School of Government can help those in the nonprofit sector become the service-oriented leaders their organizations need. MPA@UNC offers highly specialized training for aspiring nonprofit leaders with a concentration uniquely designed to build real-world nonprofit management skills.

The program offers a concentration specifically created to prepare students for a wide range of careers in the nonprofit sector, including:

  • Legal assistance
  • Higher education administration
  • Advocacy
  • Volunteer coordination and development

Private Sector Careers for MPA Graduates

While many prospective students associate an MPA degree exclusively with public service and nonprofit careers, the degree can also benefit those looking for career advancement in the private sector. Many MPA@UNC students seek to enhance their expertise in public-private partnerships or pursue private sector careers that directly or indirectly collaborate with government to meet their business goals.

With their heavy focus on leadership and organizational efficiency, the skills students develop through MPA@UNC can be directly applied within a wide range of private sector careers, such as:

  • Consulting
  • Human capital management
  • Human resource management
  • Program administration
  • Strategic analysis
  • Marketing management
  • Compliance
  • Legal counsel
  • Operations analysis