Public Management

Learn—and then lead

A successful organization—the kind that can contribute to solving big problems—requires strong leadership, particularly at the managerial and executive levels. With a concentration in Public Management, you will be prepared for a leadership role in a variety of public, private, and nonprofit settings. In fact, U.S. News & World Report ranks us #1 in the nation in this area.

You’ll learn how policies are adopted and implemented, how the public bureaucracy operates in a democracy, and what goals, structures, and processes drive organizations. You’ll also develop vital skills such as strategic thinking, planning, management, personnel relations, technology, and the design, operation, and evaluation of successful work systems.

How to apply

16PUBLIC MANAGEMENT MPA students (Spring 2021)

1:2Faculty : student ratio (2021)

89%All O’Neill MPA placement rate (2020)

A broad base, plus depth and detail

You’ll begin by mastering the fundamentals reflected in the MPA program’s core competencies. These five courses (15 credit hours) will give you well-developed analytical skills and a broad understanding of policy issues and government processes. In addition to these highly transferable core skills, the Public Management concentration requires three of the following five skills courses.

You’ll select nine credits from:

  • Public Human Resources Management (M 561)
  • Strategic Management in Public and Nonprofit Organizations (M 602)
  • Public Program Management and Contracting (M 654)
  • Seminar in Accountability and Performance (M 662)
  • Public Program Evaluation (P 562)

The remainder of the coursework comes in a wide range of elective courses. These will allow you to tailor your Public Management program to your own specific interests. Working with your advisor, you'll be able to select from many elective options, including (but not limited to) the following: 

  • Seminar in Government Budget and Program Analysis (F 610)
  • Public Management Information Systems (I 516)
  • Management of Urban Government Services (L 568)
  • Intergovernmental Systems and Management (M 518)
  • Negotiation and Dispute Resolution for Public Affairs (M 547)
  • Public Sector Labor Relations (M 570)
  • Benefit-Cost Analysis (P 541)
  • Law, Public Management, and Public Policy (V 640)

Combining your Public Management concentration with another MPA concentration—such as Information Systems or Public Financial Administration—can offer you unique advantages in pursuing a particular career. As they help you design your program, our faculty will work to accommodate your specialized professional interests.

The above are examples of your course options. For a complete listing, see the official Indiana University Graduate Bulletin and work with your advisor as you make your schedule.

Experiential learning

Our MPA offers far more than traditional lectures and lessons. You'll also get the benefit of experiential learning – typically through an approved internship. What's more, your concentration's course work will culminate in a project-oriented course—a Capstone—that lets you apply the knowledge you gained throughout the program.

You can also join any number of professional student organizations that offer networking and current information on events in the industry.

Get involved

  • American Red Cross
  • Jubilee Housing
  • City of Bloomington
  • U.S. Social Security Administration
  • City of Chicago
  • Partnership for Public Service

Learn from faculty with expertise and experience in public management


O'Neill Professor; Fischer Faculty Fellow; and Faculty Affiliate to the Ostrom Workshop, the Political Science Department, and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS)

(812) 856-9026

Associate Professor; Director, Undergraduate Honors Program

(812) 856-0828

Christopher Bentley, MPA’12

Regional Digital Media Manager, Pacific Northwest Region of the U.S. Forest Service, Portland, Ore.

“I’m certain that my investment in my education through the O’Neill School will continue to pay rich dividends through the relationships I built and the skills I gained because I use them nearly every day with the U.S. Forest Service.”


Pia Chaib, MPA’17

Program Coordinator, Culture Resource (Al Mawred Al Thaqafy), Lebanon

“O’Neill offered a welcoming and flexible environment, with great people who stood by my side to pursue my interests. They saw potential in me and empowered me to become a skilled public and cultural manager for the greater good!”


Clay T. Johnson, MPA’10

Village Administrator for Lindenhurst, Ill.

“The curriculum and programs at O’Neill are all focused on real world application in preparation for your life as a professional.  I was able to take the knowledge gained through O’Neill and transform my passion of improving my community and make it into a rewarding career.”

50 years at O'Neill