Master of Public Administration

Educating Future Public Service Leaders

California State Capitol Building in Downtown Sacramento

Why Earn a Master of Public Administration from USC Price?

Earn your MPA at USC Price and become a part of a collaborative program that will enable you to manage complex organizations and serve the public good, at home and abroad.

Our multifaceted, NASPAA-accredited Master of Public Administration (MPA) program is ranked #4 in the nation for public affairs schools. Our program not only prepares you for your future career, but it also provides opportunities to work with outstanding research centers, allows you to specialize in one of six areas, and offers the chance to earn additional certificates.

Shui Yan Tang headshot

Degree Director, Dr. Shui Yan Tang

Frances R. and John J. Duggan Professor in Public Administration
Chair, Department of Governance and Management

(213) 740-0379
[email protected]

MPA Curriculum: Price MPA Advantage

Today the world needs inspired leaders in governance and management more than ever. Let the USC Price MPA program get you ready for the challenges and opportunities of a career in public administration and management, or in a related public, private or non-profit organization. 

Prepare for the Future

MPA students presenting their capstone project.
  • Choose from multiple specialized fields of study that are in high-demand.
  • Focus on leading-edge courses in management, analytics and policymaking.
  • Hone your leadership skills, activate your community engagement and have fun in USC Price’s student associations.
  • Gain cross-cultural experience by participating in international labs and addressing a particular policy project identified by a client in your host country. Past locations have included China, Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Ireland, and more.
  • Options to earn additional certificates and dual degrees in specialized fields.

MPA Students Choose Their Classroom

Pershing Square Park Downtown Los Angeles

The MPA program is intertwined with Los Angeles, a living laboratory and the largest government center in America outside of Washington D.C.

California State Capitol Building in Downtown Sacramento

Price in Sacramento: Complete the entire MPA program at our Sacramento location, or complete a portion of your studies at the capital.

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Online MPA: No matter where you are, finish the MPA remotely. No matter where you are, finish the MPA remotely. Our face-to-face video classes foster flexible learning and certificate and residency options enhance your experience.

Learn from Expert Teachers, Mentors and Peers

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  • Take courses with exceptional and diverse full-time faculty as well as astute adjunct faculty of noted professionals – all of whom are invested in your success.
  • Build professional connections through USC Price’s extensive alumni network.
  • Connect with the USC Price advisory board, comprised of leaders in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

Get Direct Experience

  • In our MPA labs, develop key professional skills and knowledge about a broad range of social issues.
  • Complete a capstone project with a small group, identifying solutions for local and state government, nonprofit organizations and key public sector service providers.
  • Apply what you learn through paid internship opportunities.
USC Price students at an international lab in Hong Kong

A Customizable Program

MPA graduates at commencement holding an MPA sign.
  • Choose between a two year full-time program and a three year part-time program.
  • Self-designed focus areas or specializations: local government management, nonprofit management, health management, public financial management and international management.
  • Gain certificates in city/county management, public financial management, nonprofit management and policy, homeland security and public policy, social innovation, international policy and planning, social justice, and arts leadership.

A Degree with a Storied History

The Price MPA program has continued for more than 90 years and is one of the oldest in the nation. The long-standing history of the program goes back to 1929 when USC launched the nation’s second program of its kind: the USC School of Citizenship and Public Administration. Today our degree program has built upon its foundation of excellence, growing not only in student numbers, expert faculty and opportunities, but in its mission to make an impact.

USC Price at the Capital

California State Capitol Building in Downtown Sacramento

For nearly 50 years, we have had an important presence in California’s Capital. Blocks away from the steps, you’ll find USC Price in Sacramento, where a full MPA curriculum is offered in intensive format courses with small class sizes. Here, the majority of students work full-time. Students and alumni can take advantage of forums and workshops in Sacramento, and Los Angeles MPA students have the opportunity to take some courses at USC Price in Sacramento.

Employment After Graduation

Our recent graduates are succeeding in multiple fields and sectors. 

MPA News

State Capitol

Bedrosian Center on Governance

The Judith and John Bedrosian Center on Governance and the Public Enterprise, an applied research center at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, is dedicated to understanding and fostering effective democratic governance as an essential component in ensuring the betterment of communities. The Bedrosian Center fosters effective governance by building the capacity of public and nonprofit institutions; shaping public dialogue across public, private and nonprofit sectors; and promoting and supporting innovative scholarship.

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Center for Inclusive Democracy

Center for Inclusive Democracy (CID), is a nonpartisan research center serving the U.S. Founded and directed by Dr. Mindy S. Romero, CID moved to the USC Price School, Sacramento in 2018. CID conducts a range of national and multi-state research initiatives exploring voting behavior, civic engagement, electoral and economic research, the intersection of social justice and democracy, and more.


USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy

The USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy is committed to advancing post-partisanship, where leaders put people over political parties and work together to find the best ideas and solutions to benefit the people. The Institute seeks to influence public policy and public debate in finding solutions, and engages in the following policy areas: education, energy and the environment, health and wellness, and political reform.

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Sol Price Center for Social Innovation

The Sol Price Center for Social Innovation was established with the recent gift to name the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. This new center aims to advance ideas, strategies, and practices that enhance the quality of life for people in urban communities. The center will provide opportunities for direct student engagement across all of the Price School’s primary disciplines.


Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy

Established in 2000, the Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy promotes more effective philanthropy and strengthens the nonprofit sector to advance public problem solving. Its research focuses on trends and patterns in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector, philanthropic strategies for social impact, and challenges in philanthropic stewardship and leadership.

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Safe Communities Institute

The Safe Communities Institute (SCI) at the USC Price School of Public Policy engages in research, interdisciplinary education, and collaboration to advance sustainable “whole-of-community” public safety and violence prevention strategies, policies, and programs.

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CREATE Homeland Security Center

As the Department of Homeland Security’s first University Center of Excellence, Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Threats and Emergencies (CREATE) serves our nation through creation of advanced models and tools for the evaluation of the risks, costs and consequences of threats to human livelihood and through assessment of strategies to mitigate risks and respond to emergencies.

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USC Center for Sustainability Solutions

The Center for Sustainability Solutions develops policy, technological, and behavioral solutions to the most pressing sustainability problems of the Southern California region and the world.  It brings together scholars and stakeholders from sustainability organizations around the world to collaborate on basic and applied research aimed at making a real-world impact.