How Students Engage with the UNC MPAHow Students Engage with the UNC MPAHow Students Engage with the UNC MPA

The Student Experience, Support, and CommunityThe Student Experience, Support, and CommunityThe Student Experience, Support, and Community

At Carolina, your coursework is just one part of your education. Earning your MPA online from UNC-Chapel Hill means building the skills you need to become a confident decision-maker and discovering your place in our community of distinguished leaders.

The UNC MPA delivery model—which includes online and optional in-person experiences—is designed to help you build a meaningful network with other current and aspiring public service leaders.

Live Classes, Hands-On Practice

Collaborate in class with peers and faculty, and apply your skills at a Professional Work Experience and in-person immersion.

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Student Support

Receive personalized academic advising services and technical support throughout your time in the program.

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Career Services and Development

Discuss your goals with the Career Services team and create an individualized professional development plan.

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The Carolina Community

Meet other public service professionals and become a lifelong member of our community of distinguished leaders.

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“UNC’s online program is mature. It was around long before COVID emerged and ‘Zoom’ was an everyday term. They run a serious program taught and staffed by a community focused on students and their success.”

– Michael Barclift,
UNC MPA Student,
Financial Advisor for Waddell & Reed, Inc.

Ready to move your career forward with one of the top public affairs programs in the nation?1

Learn more about UNC’s online MPA today.

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The Student Experience

The UNC MPA online experience is an extension of the UNC School of Government. Our renowned faculty, dedicated staff, proven MPA curriculum, and research-based online learning model empowers seasoned professionals to learn from and with other accomplished public service leaders.

Weekly Live Classes

Each week, you will attend live classes via Zoom and interact with accomplished peers and renowned professors from the UNC School of Government.

To enhance your learning experience, we offer an online classroom environment that features customization and collaboration tools, such as:

  • Small group breakout rooms
  • Live chats, surveys, and polls
  • Collaborative content annotation

Interactive Coursework

Coursework features self-paced modules, videos, readings, and other assignments that are accessible 24/7 via desktop and mobile, even without an internet connection. 

The online platform allows you to personalize your experience based on your learning style and other sensory needs, using features such as:

  • Dark mode
  • Searchable video transcripts
  • Adjustable video speed

Work Experience Practicum

During your MPA Professional Work Experience Practicum, you’ll engage in a high-level project or management endeavor in a public service environment, which may be your employer. You’ll practice applying these leadership competencies across current organizations facing today’s complex challenges.

You will discuss and examine these diverse experiences during your applied research problem.

On-Campus Immersion

Carolina MPA Immersions—held annually at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government—allow our online and on-campus students to take part in an intensive three-day weekend course that focuses on a current and highly relevant topic in public administration.

Immersions provide an invaluable opportunity to visit campus; earn credits; network in person with faculty, peers, and alumni; and engage in hands-on learning.

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Student Success and Faculty Support

Your student success specialist will support you throughout your time as a student. Initially, they will help you get up to speed on technical features, the online learning platform, and orientation details. They will also help you choose courses and electives that fit your interests.

Once your classes begin, you will have the opportunity to regularly meet with them one-on-one to discuss challenges, identify emerging strengths and opportunities, manage your course load, and track your progress.

We also encourage you to connect with faculty members through online office hours. These live, virtual meetings help you get to know your instructors and give you an opportunity to engage in further discussion about course topics or related interests.

Career Services

From the time you enter the UNC MPA program, you will begin working with our experienced Career Services team to identify and reach goals related to your professional development. They can help you create a plan to:

  • Advance into leadership and managerial roles
  • Help distinguish and identify career paths that interest you
  • Transition from one sector to another

Both our individual meetings and group sessions can help you practice interviewing, improve your resume, and search for jobs. You’ll have access to resources and coaching sessions with the associate director of Career Services.

Career Outcomes

The MPA is a highly versatile leadership degree, and public administration jobs span a variety of public- and private-sector environments. UNC MPA students and graduates apply what they’re learning right away, and many are seeing immediate returns:


Average salary six months post-graduation2


Job placement rate six months post-graduation2


Reported job satisfaction post-graduation3

Where UNC MPA Graduates Are Employed2

UNC MPA graduates have gone on to hold influential positions, serving as senior advisors, government officials, and agency directors, to name a few.

Below is a breakdown of the sectors where our graduates work.

35% Nonprofit Sector

33% State and Local Gov’t

13% Federal Gov’t

13% Private Sector

4% Other

2% Federal Military

“I wanted to get a degree from a reputable place, from a well-known, recognizable institution. UNC’s program was far and away the best one that fit my criteria. Being in the MPA program is a huge advantage for me and has given me the confidence to serve people well.”

Julia Farinas,
UNC MPA Student,
Chief of Client Services for the 82nd Airborne Division

Learn. Serve. Lead. Earn Your MPA.

Regardless of the sector or position you wish to pursue, earning your MPA online from top-ranked UNC School of Government can help set you apart. See what you can achieve.

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The Carolina Community

The relationships you develop in your MPA program are just as important as the skills you learn.

In addition to meeting other professionals in class, you will have numerous opportunities to connect with peers, alumni, and faculty through social groups, networking events, and participation in student organizations.

UNC MPA Class Profile

Our students come from diverse locations and backgrounds, and they bring a wealth of experience and insight to the classroom.4


States Represented


Age Range


Male/Female Ratio


U.S. Minority5


Hold Advanced Degrees


Average Years of Experience

Student Organizations

You will have the chance to discover new learning experiences, valuable professional connections, and lasting friendships through our thriving network of student organizations, such as the following:

  • International City/County Management Association
  • Graduate and Professional Student Federation
  • MPA Diversity Committee 

Connect with Influential Alumni

As a graduate, you will join UNC’s global alumni network of public service leaders. You’ll have access to useful career-building tools and networking opportunities, such as the Community Connections Program, which facilitates partnerships between students and alumni who are looking to develop mentoring relationships.

“UNC Tar Heel footprints are all over the creation and ongoing development of the organization [I founded]. Two board members are UNC MPA alum—one I met in class and the other I met at a virtual MPA happy hour. Two out of the three of us who led our inaugural grant-making cycle are recent graduates.”

Adrienne Augustus,
UNC MPA Graduate,
Founder of A Beautiful Mind Foundation

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1 Best Graduate Public Affairs Programs, U.S. News & World Report (2022)

2 According to a survey of 2020 graduates of the online UNC MPA program. Response rate was 96%.

3 According to a survey of 2020 graduates of the online and on-campus modalities of the UNC MPA program. Response rate was 51.3%.

4 Data represents all students currently enrolled in the program, as of October 2021.

5 This information includes Hispanic/Latino, Black or African American, and American Indian or Alaska Native students, as well as two or more races, when one or more are from the preceding racial and ethnic categories.