The Top 5 Best Online Master of Public Management Schools in 2023

Find Your Degree

Online Master of Public Management - featured image

Public management and policy-making are very important in the field of public service–whether through a voluntary or private sector organization or governmental.

Public Management is the process of handling the managerial tasks of public organizations. Similar to the Master of Public Administration, the goal of a Master of Public Management is to ensure these organizations’ successful delivery of services.

Featured Programs

Public managers can achieve this by executing public policies and considering the needed course of action to achieve these “deliverables.” In public management, managers can work in an external or internal environment.

Quick audio summary:


At present, public organizations and nonprofit entities need the skillset and assistance of public managers to integrate teams and oversee operations. Studying Public Management is very lucrative, considering graduates in the field can secure entry-level positions in practically all industries, including government and nonprofit organizations.

Which School Suits You Best? Use These Quick Jumps!


Do you have distinct leadership skills? Are you someone who can draft and execute plans and solve issues while dealing with a team’s motivational and emotional needs? Undoubtedly, you are fit for a career in Public Management and can make a difference in society.

We help you select the best graduate programs in Public Management! Our list consists of the country’s top-rated schools offering the country’s best-known programs with these features:

  • Offered 100% online or in a blended coursework format, allowing adult learners to pursue their academic objectives without compromising work or personal commitments,
  • Feature comprehensive coursework for competence in Public Management, including in the areas of administration, leadership, urban affairs, policy analysis, public finance, and economic analysis, among others, 
  • Sharpen the interpersonal skills required of Public Management students and future professionals,
  • Facilitated through a Learning Management System that provides each student with easy access to their coursework and virtual resources,
  • Taught by seasoned Public Management experts who hold terminal degrees in the field,
  • Generous Transfer Credit programs,
  • Provide eligible online graduate students opportunities for financial aid,
  • Earned appropriate accreditation from colleges and schools commission agencies that set the standards for master’s program instruction, with emphasis on Public Management,
  • Maintain a good reputation in the Public Management industry, as well as consistently earn approval from students and alumni for providing an excellent learning experience,

Check out our Methodology page for more details.

The 5 Best Online Masters of Public Management

Oklahoma State University

Oklahoma State University
Online Fire and Emergency Management Administration

The Fire and Emergency Management Administration online master’s program at Oklahoma State University is one of the oldest in the US. Students complete the best academic experiences to prepare them for leadership and other professional roles in the crucial service professions of emergency management, fire and rescue, law enforcement, emergency medical services, homeland security, and other fields related to the private and public sector.

  • This is a 33-credit-hour program that focuses on facilitating a professional network between students and leaders in fire and emergency management.
  • The core courses are designed for students to gain substantive and theoretical knowledge about management functions and structures.
  • Students will also gain analytical and research skills for effective management.
Standout Features:

After this online course is completed, you can easily conduct research and analyze problems in the field of fire and emergency management. Your written communication skills will also be significantly improved. You will also show the mastery of your knowledge in substantive theories of the field and how you can apply these skills to practical problems and issues in the real world.

To qualify for admission, you must have a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.00. Those with less than the required GPA may be admitted on probation. As with graduate student scholarships, several financial aid and assistantships are available to OSU graduate students. You can also look for outside scholarship opportunities for further options.

Did You Know?

Oklahoma State University is ranked number 1 by as the Best Online Master’s Program in Emergency Management. This online learning program, delivered through the College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology, is a flexible option to the conventional brick-and-mortar university courses. Students can earn the degree anytime, without compromising their life and career commitments.

Southeast Missouri State University

Southeast Missouri State University
Online Master of Public Administration and Management

This online program is for those who have a deep commitment and passion for public administration and nonprofit and community development and want to improve their knowledge in making a better impact in public sector management.

Online Public Management master’s programs prepare working professionals in the profit and nonprofit sector to have better opportunities for a lucrative career in government and nonprofit agency management.

At Southeast Missouri State University, students will learn more about public affairs, public service leadership, policy analysis, economic analysis, public finance, and public and urban affairs.

This online program ends with an internship or a thesis within a government or nonprofit setting. This is now each student’s capstone project, allowing them to customize their degrees based on their interests and needs.

In this program, students will have the chance to:

  • Develop their ability to organize their ideas and information and how they can effectively communicate these ideas in oral presentations or written reports.
  • Involve in leadership skills development to communicate successfully with communities, individuals, and organizations.
  • Assess the ethical factors facing nonprofit organizations and the public sector that serve a wide range of communities.
Standout Features:

While Master of Public Management programs are generally thought of as mere practitioner degrees for people interested in doing public or nonprofit administration, most Master’s of Public Management graduates continue to a doctorate so they can become college or university faculty members.

Did You Know?

Southeast Missouri State University is an affordable and accredited public institution that offers different online degree programs. It is the number 1 best online school offering a bachelor’s program in Missouri as ranked by the US News and World Report.

The school has fourteen different entry points and session terms, thus making it easier for students to start anytime according to their schedules.

Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University Logo
Online Master’s in Public Administration and Management

This track is designed to improve the careers of public sector and law enforcement professionals so they can affordably obtain management, director, or executive-level positions.

The school’s Master of Public Management is 100% online, unlike most other similar programs. This gives students the advantage of focusing on the specifics of management in public administration while simultaneously gaining hands-on experience via different internship opportunities.

  • This master’s in public administration track has core courses focusing on the needed skills for effective public administration and human resource management.
  • This public administration online program has 36 hours of coursework and has a capstone project option. Internships are highly encouraged for all pre-service students as well.
Standout Features:

Like most public administration programs, this online course focuses on areas of learning, including:

  • Integrating practice and theory through performance-based field activities, whether as community service managers, public service officers, strategic planning specialists, program evaluation managers, or heads of public sector organizations.
  • Examining administrative patterns and structures of behavior in public sector organizations.
  • Come up with a technical and theoretical framework for the basics of policy analysis and evaluation, as well as political processes.
Did You Know?

This online master’s degree is fully accredited by NASPAA (Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration). It aims to enhance organizational, social, individual, and governmental capacity in the public or nonprofit sector, the federal government, and local government by equipping students with the right management skills and the best public administration theory.

Penn State World Campus

Penn State World Campus
Online Master of Public Administration and Management

This online master’s program improves your ability to effectively promote and manage positive changes in an organization, whether it is a city and county management, healthcare administration, financial management firm, human resource management, nonprofit management, or public financial management.

Penn State’s NASPAA-accredited Master of Public Management degree program is offered by the school’s Harrisburg School of Public Affairs and focuses on genuine skills students can use and apply to their careers right after completing the program.

  • This online public administration program is for bachelor’s degree holders who need the convenience and flexibility an online class provides.
  • In this online master’s program, the classes are taught by the same faculty teaching the same program on campus.
  • Students are granted all access to the school’s student and career support services to guide them towards reaching their goal of a master’s degree.
Standout Features:

This online master in public administration program blends applied and theoretical concepts of the field and covers organizational financial management, governance, and administration. Aside from the core curriculum, this online master’s in public administration offers elective courses in several areas, including:

  • Homeland Security
  • State/Local Government Administration
  • Public Budgeting and Financial Management
  • Policy Analysis and Evaluation
  • Nonprofit Management
Did You Know?

The school offers graduate certificates in public administration online. This is also a part of the school’s online Master of Public Management programs that allow students the flexibility to earn both simultaneously, should they apply and get admitted.

Students earn a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security by choosing at least 12 homeland security elective credits embedded in the online programs.

University of Central Oklahoma

University of Central Oklahoma
Online Master’s of Public Administration – Public and Nonprofit Management

The online master’s degree of public administration in public and nonprofit management of the University of Central Oklahoma reiterates that while change needs a team effort, it needs good leadership to drive in that direction.

Especially in the nonprofit sector, an effective leader is very critical as this creates a domino effect. A great leader can motivate volunteers and employees to strive harder to achieve their common goals in society and, in the process, uplift the surrounding community.

Upon enrolling in UCO’s graduate program online, students will:

  • Gain a more understanding of research designed to influence public policy,
  • Learn to create services that each community can benefit from through inclusion and equity,
  • Understand how to inspire both volunteers and employees in carrying out the mission and vision of an organization,
  • Solidify the managerial and business skills to expand the student’s outlook on the nonprofit field,
  • Find ways to help nonprofit and public sectors grow in fundraising, visibility, and outreach.
Standout Features:

This online master’s degree is a 36-credit-hour program that involves 24-credit-hour core curriculum courses and a specialization track to be completed through 12 credit hours of electives.

Students can also showcase their academic excellence by researching and presenting a capstone project relevant to issues usually encountered in nonprofit organization management.

The curriculum will build upon what you have earned through experience in public administration, policy, nonprofit environment, or a related bachelor’s degree program.

The elective courses are also very interesting, as most of the topics focus on nonprofit and public organization improvement. These electives:

  • Study political, economic, and social institutions, the political and administrative sides of government agencies, and revenue allocation for local, federal, or state government,
  • Improve your knowledge about the relationship among state, metropolitan, federal, and local governments, from the administrative structure down to current challenges,
  • Give you a better understanding of how a political process can greatly influence sustainable development,
  • Study factors relevant to running a government or nonprofit organization, from ethics and public health to citizen participation, budgeting, criminal justice, budgeting privatization, and more.
Did You Know?

When you enroll in UCO’s master’s degree, you can also explore where the policy, law, and leadership in public administration intersect by getting a Juris Doctor degree together with your Master of Public Management program.

UCO has partnered with the Oklahoma City University School of Law to make this possible. You will begin the Master of Public Management program before you are qualified to apply to law school. You can complete both programs in less time than taking them with two separate credentials.

Are Public Administration and Public Management the same?

While public management deals with managing things and people within the organization systematically, public administration is how a group of people administers a whole organization.

Simply put, public administration focuses more on policy application and seeing how management personnel act, while public management focuses more on planning and taking action. Essentially, both these professions are bound to carry out and perform crucial tasks in the public and nonprofit sectors, government agencies, and the local government.

Online Master of Public Management - fact
Top Reasons Why a Public Administration and Management Degree is Worth Considering

Top Reasons Why a Public Administration and Management Degree is Worth Considering

In public administration and management, many attractive features will surely encourage people to have a career in the field. Here are some reasons why getting this degree is something you might want to consider.

You Get to Work and Manage People. 

Whether in the private sector or nonprofit agencies, public administration programs are suitable for those who love working in a managerial position. They get to interact and manage people and collectively implement programs.

You Hone Your Leadership Qualities.

Public Management, similar to Public Administration degree programs, is crucial in jobs that need strong leadership abilities. For those seeking to enhance their leadership potential, getting a master’s degree is a good investment.

You Study So Many Subjects.

A master’s in public administration program involve a mix and match of different subjects. You will have required classes in communications, economics, legal, finance, administration, and even health. Those who love learning new things from different subjects will certainly enjoy a career in public administration.

Your Chances of Holding Critical Government Positions Are Relatively Higher.

Especially if you go to trusted partner programs, a Master of Public Management degree opens your chances to career paths in the government like being a cabinet member for the president, a police commissioner, or even a United Nations worker.

You Can Get a Decent Starting Salary.

People with a master’s in public administration, public affairs, and the likes are likely to get a better starting salary, whether in the private sector or the government.

You Make a Huge Impact on the Government.

Whether you go for online programs or stick to the traditional on-campus setup, a master’s in public administration is your stepping stone toward implementing and recommending program changes. You now hold the power to work in a field where you can directly impact your government.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can students select the best online Public Management graduate program?

You must do your research first about the many sectors of the field and have a clear grasp of what you wish to focus on. Consider the coursework, the program’s accreditation status, student feedback, and learning outcomes. 

As you read editorially independent information published about the graduate school or assess school rankings in terms of efficiency, consider the program’s demands. In a master’s in Public Management, anybody can be admitted regardless of their educational background, which explains why hands-on learning experience plays a crucial part in the course.

What are the usual Public Management graduate program’s admissions criteria?

Although most Public Management programs accept enrollees from all professional and educational backgrounds, some schools require students to have at least some level of Public Administration experience. Others may even need you to take pre-requisite coursework.

Don’t check the school’s ranking, reputation, financial aid, and scholarship offer when scouting. Check the program’s admission requirements and ensure you satisfy them before you send in your application.

What careers can Public Management Master’s degree holders expect?

Public Management graduates work in law, business, government, education, social services, and healthcare. There are numerous concentrations offered, including in the fields of Criminal Justice, nonprofit management, public safety, public affairs, public finance, healthcare administration, and policy analysis.

Public administrators and managers in social services, emergency management, or the government will often find themself always on call or required to work overtime. 

Key Takeaways

  • A Public Management master’s degree is a crucial step to career advancement. Selecting an online graduate degree does not undermine your potential to qualify for higher positions.
  • Choosing a highly reputable program and graduate school can enhance your credentials for executive and leadership roles in the private, government, and nonprofit sectors.

Additional Information:

Dr. Jared Goff
Chief Editor