The Master of Public Administration is designed to develop public affairs professionals who understand the increasingly complex issues shaping local and national policies, and who have the analytical and managerial skills to apply their knowledge to real world situations. 

Students and faculty in the MPA program focus on local and national projects in a global context, drawing on the international strengths of SIPA. Students address a variety of local and national issues, ranging from economic development in Kazakhstan, to environmental issues in Japan, to municipal bond ratings or city management in New York.

Who It's For

The MPA program is best suited for young professionals holding a bachelor’s degree and 3-5 years of relevant work or substantive internship experience.

Career Paths

With an MPA degree, you’ll acquire concrete skills to work in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. You can develop a career in business, consulting, financial services, energy, and media/communications firms, as well as in development, human rights, think tanks, foundations, advocacy and environmental organizations, and federal, state, local, and foreign governments.


The MPA program’s core curriculum includes graduate-level coursework in economics, statistics, the politics of policymaking, and management. You will take a two-semester course in economics, one course on politics, and one-semester courses in statistics, management, and financial management. Learn more about the MPA course structure here.

Can I be exempted from some of the requirements based on past academic or professional experience?

Most likely, no. Course exemptions are only granted to students who obtain advanced standing based on previous academic work or pass a proficiency test.

Can I switch my program, concentration, or specialization after I’m admitted?


Can I study part-time or in the evenings?

All students are required to register full-time as many required courses are only offered during the day.

Can I take classes at other schools at Columbia University?

Yes. Many of our students take courses at other Columbia Schools. For more information, please consult the SIPA Bulletin.

Dual-Degree Programs with other columbia schools

  • MPA and Juris Doctor (JD)
  • MPA and Master of Public Health (MPH)
  • MPA and Master in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences (MA)
  • MPA and Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW)

Learn more about the MPA Dual Degree programs 

Dual-Degree Programs with international partners

Application Checklist

More information about the application deadlines and checklist can be found on How to Apply to SIPA. Detailed instructions on the application requirements may be found once you start an account in the online Application Portal or by browsing the Admissions Blog.

Learn more about what SIPA looks for


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