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

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Description of the video:

O'Neill MPA Director Sanya Carley: The O’Neill MPA is designed to prepare students to lead organizations and create positive change in the world. We pride ourselves on having one of the most flexible programs possible.

Nino Lazari: O’Neill provides a lot of flexibility in terms of getting your degree online or in person. Thus you have an opportunity to choose whatever is more convenient for you.

Jairus Johnson: Living outside of Bloomington, I wanted a program that I could really be flexible with and be able to attend whether online or in residence.

Nino Lazari: Even when I was taking my classes online I was able to connect with my classmates as well as with professors and staff. I think it's a great opportunity that O’Neill creates such a space where you can connect with others even by being online.

Director Carley: As an O’Neill student you'll gain instant access to a powerful network of more than 36 000 alumni around the globe. They help offer guidance and mentorship and real world connections.

Nino Lazari: It was great connecting with alumni during my job search and I think it's very important to have that support system.

Joel Garcia: You're going to have a network that you can depend on. You're going to have the resources and the skills that usually only come from years in a field.

Anagha Gore: If you are the kind of person that has noticed a problem and wants to make change and be the solution for it - I would highly recommend O’Neill, because this is where we actually lead for the greater good.

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 priority deadline to be considered for O’Neill Fellowships
50 years at O'Neill