As part of GPN’s series on Master's of Public Administration (MPA) degree programs and their value to government administrators, GPN checked in with Professor Erica Foldy, the director of the MPA in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy program at NYU Wagner, the graduate school of public service at New York University. The school offers an MPA degree as well as an Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) degree.

NYU Wagner is named for the mid-century New York City mayor, Robert F. Wagner. The school was founded more than 75 years ago.

According to Foldy, her school is working to make it easier for recent college graduates as well as professionals in the government, nonprofit, and private sectors to return to school. In the graduate program, says Foldy, “Students can gain the critical analytic skills and frameworks for action that they need to succeed.”

Foldy says there’s a growing need and demand for public service leaders who can innovate, implement, and manage policies addressing complex and messy problems. NYU Wagner, says Foldy, is preparing the next generation “that can have an impact on issues that matter—whether that’s to improve education, update transportation systems, open pathways to affordable housing, reduce health disparities, or prepare coastal areas for rising sea levels.”

“We help our students take full advantage of the connections, networks, jobs, and organizations that thrive in New York City—which they use as a springboard to the rest of the world,” Foldy says. “Fundamentally, we believe there is no one-size-fits-all solution in public service, and sustainable innovation invariably occurs at the intersection of distinct fields, disciplines, and geographies.”

Foldy says many of her school’s students hold jobs, and that the program offers flexibility. “NYU Wagner offers viable full- and part-time paths to an advanced degree. The MPA program takes two years for those who are enrolled full-time. Working students can, and do, pivot between full-time and part-time status.”

Public service managers and executives with at least ten years of professional experience, including seven years of management-level experience, can enroll in the school’s executive MPA degree (EMPA) degree. “The EMPA program provides a way for experienced professionals to make a sector change, expand their skill set, or accelerate their career path,” Foldy says. Enrollees can complete the program requirements in one year attending full time, or two years attending part time. The school also offers a one-year, full-time Saturdays-only option.

In the video, learn how NYU Wagner alumni and faculty are making a difference across the world in a range of fields.

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