Online Master’s in Public Administration and Policy

24 Month Duration

100% Online

Financial Aid & Scholarships Available

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Learn to Lead

The online master’s in public administration and policy combines American University’s nationally recognized and NASPAA-accredited master’s in public administration and master’s in public policy degree programs into one foundational, highly marketable credential. With this program, you will achieve a master’s-level understanding of modern governance from an award-winning faculty working and teaching in the heart of government, Washington, D.C.

#10 Best Public Affairs Program U.S. News & World Report Public Affairs Graduate Schools (2023)

#4 Top Public Management & Leadership Program U.S. News & World Report Pubic Affairs Graduate Schools (2023)

At AU, you will gain a distinct advantage over the competition by mastering the disciplines of both public policy and public administration and graduate with a foundational skill set to build on for life.

Online Merit Scholarships

No Separate Application Required

Prospective students who have a cumulative 3.0 GPA or above (on a 4.0 scale) in their undergraduate program, or those with five or more years of active-duty experience in the military (regardless of their GPA score), can qualify for the Online Merit Scholarship in award amounts up to $12,000.*

Professional Programs for Your Future

The curriculum in the online master’s program will equip you with the real-world skills you need to succeed.

Courses you may take in this program include:

  • Foundations of Policy Analysis: Explore the scope, methods, issues, and evolution of policy studies while learning various frameworks for approaching the enterprise of policy analysis.
  • Budgeting and Financial Management: Explore public sector budgeting and budgetary processes, including budget execution and control, cost estimation, capital financing and debt management, performance budgeting, and more.
  • Public Managerial Economics: Learn about the concepts managers need to become informed consumers of microeconomics-based policy analysis, including resource scarcity, opportunity cost, and supply and demand.
  • Organizational Analysis: Diagnose administrative problems and devise practical solutions to enhance governance using organizational analysis with an eye toward developing effective policies.

Public administration and policy is a field that’s always growing and always in demand. In fact, employment of operations research analysts is projected to grow 23% from 2022 to 2032.1

Some jobs our graduates pursue include:

  • U.S. ambassador – $190,063/year2
  • Financial manager – $139,790/year3
  • Non-profit director – $64,401/year4
  • Political scientist – $128,020/year5
  • Urban planner – $79,549/year6

Alumni Employers

As passionate change-makers, our alumni are responsible for using their policy skills to make an impact. You can join an incredible set of AU alumni who work in diverse roles across different public administration sectors and organizations.

  • Crossroads Treatment Centers
  • International Justice Mission
  • National Cancer Institute
  • Military Armed Forces
  • Volunteers of America

“I was able to apply new knowledge and skills toward all three of my careers and it has allowed me to advance my understanding of difficult policy topics and make well-informed decisions.”

– Justin Schultz, Regulatory Manager, 2021 Graduate

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  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Operations Research Analysts.” Retrieved December 5, 2023, from
  2. “Ambassador Salary in the United States.” Retrieved December 5, 2023, from
  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Financial Managers.” Retrieved December 5, 2023, from
  4. Payscale. “Average Director Non-Profit Organization Salary.” Retrieved December 5, 2023, from
  5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Political Scientists.” Retrieved December 5, 2023, from
  6. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Urban and Regional Planners.” Retrieved December 5, 2023, from

*As part of your application process, your academic history and military experience will be reviewed to see if the scholarship can be applied; there is no separate application to fill out.

*You’ll be notified of the scholarship status when you’re admitted to the program, or shortly thereafter.

*To receive the scholarship, which is applied equally across the fifth through eighth courses of the program, you must remain in good academic standing.