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MPA Curriculum

Home Message from the Director MPA at a Glance Program Faculty

To earn the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree, students must successfully complete 40 semester hours (SH) of credit in a prescribed curriculum, which can be accomplished in as little as 18 months.

The MPA Core

The MPA Core encompasses seven courses (28 SH) that combined provide a range of competencies to prepare students for leadership and management careers in the public and nonprofit sectors. All students should expect to start the program with PPUA 6500, Principles of Public Administration, and finish it with PPUA 7673, Capstone in Public Policy and Urban Affairs. Other core courses, and any electives, can be taken as convenient, with sequencing based on an individualized plan of study worked out with the student’s advisor. Core course typically are offered twice per year, once on the Boston campus and once online. Current and prospective students should refer to the 2019-2020 Graduate Catalog for a description of the Master of Public Administration curriculum.


MPA students have 12 SH in free electives, which can be applied to earning one of several graduate certificates (below), concentrated in a particular focus area, or selected as desired from a broad array of courses offered by the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, other graduate programs in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities, and most other graduate level programs at Northeastern University. The selection of electives is done in consultation with the student’s advisor.

Health Care Management and Policy Concentration

This graduate concentration is available to students in the Masters of Public Administration (MPA) and Masters of Public Policy (MPP) programs in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. It is designed to enable students to develop a deeper understanding of the contemporary health care sector, including the intricacies of U.S. health policy, and competencies in health care management. The concentration is comprised of three (3) courses, one from each of three focus areas.
Health Management (Select 1)

  • HRMG 6220 Health Organization Management. 3 SH
  • STRT 6220 Strategic Management for Healthcare Organizations. 3 SH
  • SCHM 6223 Managing Healthcare Supply Chain Operations. 3 SH

Health Policy (Select 1)

  • PPUA 7240 Health Policy and Politics. 4 SH
  • PPUA 7247 U.S. Health Reform: Past, Present, and Future. 4 SH
  • PHTH 5234 Economic Perspectives on Health Policy. 3 SH.
  • PHTH 5212 Public Health Administration and Policy. 3 SH

Health Elective (Select 1)

  • PHTH 5120 Race, Ethnicity, and Health in the United States. 3 SH
  • PHTH 5212 Public Health Administration and Policy. 3 SH.
  • PHTH 5214 Environmental Health. 3 SH
  • PHTH 5222 Health Advocacy. 3 SH
  • PHTH 5224 Social Epidemiology. 3 SH
  • PHTH 5230 Global Health. 3 SH
  • PHTH 6200 Principles and History of Urban Health. 3 SH
  • PHTH 6204 Society, Behavior, and Health. 3 SH


MPA students can use their electives to fulfill a graduate certificate in an area of specialized training. Currently available graduate certificates include in the Nonprofit Sector, Urban Analytics, Urban Studies, or Public Policy Analysis.


Students new to the field of public affairs or those changing careers are required to pursue a 300-hour internship experience, which can be accomplished any time after the first semester, and while taking classes. Students with relevant professional experience can request a waiver of the internship requirement.

Examples of internship opportunities in 2017-18 include:

  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • Emerge Massachusetts
  • Subscript.org
  • Thomas Davis Defending Dreams Foundation
  • State Legislative Leaders Foundation
  • Sport Bureau of Hebei Province
  • China Soong Ching Ling Foundation
  • Massachusetts House of Representatives
  • Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law
  • V2A LLC
  • Metropolitan Area Planning Council
  • Boston Educational Development Fund
  • Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
  • Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center
  • CMST Development Co. Ltd


For more information, visit our Internship Experiences page.

Cooperative Education (Co-op)

MPA students can take advantage of Northeastern’s signature Cooperative Education Experience (“Co-op”), which offers full time, six-month research and work experiences in nonprofit, public, and private sector institutions in Greater Boston and across the United States. Participating students apply the skills and competencies acquired in the program in a particular professional environment, and then reflect on their professional experiences through the required one-credit Experiential Integration course. Students interested in Co-op should meet early on with Professor Linda Kowalcky, who coordinates the School’s experiential education program, to  determine eligibility and how Co-op will fit within the student’s curriculum.

Degree Outcomes and Tuition

Graduates of the MPA Program enter a wide variety of careers in the public and nonprofit sectors alike. A small percentage also enter the private sector. Graduates go on to careers as Town Administrators, Management Analysts, Research Analysts, and Program Directors.

A recent survey of MPA alumni concluded that 30 percent of 2015-2016 graduates are employed in the nonprofit sector; 35 percent in the public sector; and 22 percent in the private sector.

Data from the 2012-2013 cohort shows that of the 44 students initially enrolled in the MPA Program, 27 graduated within 2 years, 32 graduated within 3 years, and 34 graduated within 4 years.

As of Fall 2019, the tuition rate for the MPA Program is $1,250 per credit hour for a total of approximately $55,254. Additional fees may apply.

Semester Summer Session
International Student Fee (one-time) $350
Student Center Fee (full-time students, per-term, Boston campus only) $70 $35
Student Center Fee (part-time students, per-term, Boston campus only) $10 $5
Student Recreation Fee (full-time students, per-term) $60 $35
Student Recreation Fee (part-time students, per-term) $30
Student Activities Fee (per-term) $16 $8
Resident Activity Fee (per-term) $32 $16

For a list of fee descriptions click here.

Additional Information

Requirements and policies subject to change. For up-to-date information, contact Julie Switkes  or view the official graduate catalog for a full listing of graduate level courses.