Online MPA

A degree that’s customized to your needs and schedule

With an MPA from the O’Neill School, your education builds on 50 years of growth and scholarship. The O’Neill School is one of the largest and most-respected schools of its kind, consistently recognized as one of the best among all Master of Public Affairs programs in the nation.

As an Online MPA student at O’Neill, you’ll experience the same expert faculty and rigorous curriculum as our No. 1-ranked in-residence program but on more flexible terms. With asynchronous classes, you can go at your own pace while balancing work and family life.

Take the first step

Description of the video:

I'd really love to work for a nonprofit that is human rights-based, social services something like that, so I thought it prudent to expand my knowledge. When I was looking at going to grad school, I really wanted to find a program where I would have good work-life balance. Really O'Neill was the only one I wanted to go to. I didn't even apply anywhere else. I am a single mom of three-year-old twins and they are in preschool. I think that my kids find it kind of fun that I'm in school too, because I started grad school at the same time that they started preschool. So it's nice, I can sit at the table and do my work and they'll be you know reading a book. Then we're sort of like doing our homework together. I knew I wanted to do the program online because the flexibility is really key to my lifestyle. Working, a single mother of two three-year-olds, in-person classes on a regular basis is just not something that was possible. So honestly the online program is what made grad school possible for me. One of the great things is the classes are asynchronous. I don't necessarily have to be online two days a week at 1 pm to see the lecture. I can watch after my kids go to bed. You fix it to your schedule. Whether it's you get up early and do homework or you do it at night. It is what you make of it. With the program being online and asynchronous and as flexible as it is, it makes it easier for me to spend more time with my kids like after school. At this point with them being so small, that's so important to me. I think showing them that Mommy was able to do this while you were little - I hope will make them realize that absolutely anything is possible for them.

Receive credit for professional experience

You may be eligible to receive credit for the experiential component—typically three to six hours—for prior professional and military experience (PPE) or volunteer service in Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, or Teach for America.

What you’ll learn

The O’Neill Online MPA curriculum begins with 10 required core courses—your foundation to move up in the public affairs field:

  • Leading and Managing Public Affairs 
  • Social Equity and Justice 
  • Designing and Managing Complex Projects 
  • Statistical Analysis for Effective Decision Making
  • Problem Solving for Effective Decision Making 
  • Public Management Economics
  • Law for Public Affairs 
  • Policy Process and Institutions*
  • International Policy and Institutions*
  • Public Finance and Budgeting 
  • U.S. or Global Capstone 

*Students can choose to take Policy Process and Institutions or International Policy and Institutions

You will choose at least five advanced elective courses to fulfill your degree requirements and tailor the curriculum to meet your needs. 

Students are required to focus in at least one of the following MPA advanced curriculum areas: Public Management, Nonprofit Management, or Policy Analysis.

One of your electives can be O'Neill Online Week, an optional, weeklong residential program held at our Bloomington, Indiana, campus in early August.

Relevant experience is key to professional growth. That’s why, as an O'Neill Online student, you must do ONE of the following:

  • Complete an approved internship
  • Receive credit for prior professional experience or volunteer service
  • Complete an independent or group research project (V590 or V601)

The amount of experiential credit students receive varies. Some choose to do an internship for 3 to 6 credits, while others join the program with significant prior experience and receive the maximum 9 credits. The fewer experiential credits, the more advanced electives you must take to meet the 48 credit hour degree requirement. 

On campus opportunities

Build deeper connections with faculty and peers through our optional O’Neill Online Week. This is your chance to join us on campus while you complete a project for a community client, network, and benefit from face-to-face time with an advisor and members of the O’Neill Career Hub.

In addition, you can decide to take courses in person at any point during the program. We will work with you to switch back and forth between online and in-person courses based on your needs.

*Apply by the priority deadline to be automatically considered for O’Neill Fellowships