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 in-residence program but on more flexible terms. With asynchronous classes, you can go at your own pace while balancing work and family life.

Over 60% of O’Neill master’s students receive funding.

Competitive funding packages are available to assist in making our top-ranked school affordable. If you apply by the priority deadline, you will automatically be considered for fellowship funding.

Take the first step

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Description of the video:

I am a single mother. I have three children. We spend a lot of time going multiple directions of activities and programming and school. So when I am not living the dream every day through my career, I have a lot of other things going on. O'Neill's Online MPA allows me the flexibility to navigate the program. Having the opportunity to take an in-person class or to do online is really one of the critical components of why I chose O'Neill. I always choose an in-person option if I have the ability to do so. What I realized though, was between my family and my home life and my work life and all of the expectations, I needed a flexibility that having a set class time wouldn't necessarily allow. I have been able to tailor my coursework, which has been very good given that it's been many years since I had been in undergrad. Having the opportunity to choose which classes I thought were going to be the best fit for me at that time and topics of which I already have a strong interest in made this transition back into the learning mode much easier. The instructors I've had have always been wonderful about engaging with me, whether that was through written communication, if that was through a phone call, or the online office hour option. I'm a first-gen college student and the importance of this education to me is just as important as seeing my kids education grow. It's important for them to understand that continuing their education no matter where or what age they are in life is going to continue to add value to who they are and what they bring to their communities and then their careers. This is about knowing and recognizing that we are more than ourselves as individuals and that the work that we do and the impact we have on our communities is actually what is going to change the world.

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. Learn more about our in-residence program.

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