The Top Management Degrees site is a source of information about business and management education, including master’s in public administration programs. The site has rankings and reviews of the leading management degree programs. The site also has information from experts on how to select the right degree program. Go to this website for information on top 20 business and management scholarships for 2017 and other resources.

Go here to view a ranking of the top 50 master’s in public administration (MPA) degree programs at Top Management Degrees’ sister site. The resource includes a list of online MPA offerings that are recommended and accredited.

The data for the MPA ranking was compiled from the most recent and publicly available sources, including The Princeton Review, US News and World Report, National Center for Education and Statistics, and PayScale. The ranking combines the results of two influential higher education rankings in order to give a comprehensive view of the programs available. The ranking is also based on other measures, including each school’s average graduate school tuition and average early career salary. These yardsticks were used to factor in a return on investment on the master’s program. In addition, each school was ranked on its accreditation from this organization: NASPAA-The Network of Schools of Public Policy.

GPN reached out to Tammie Cagle, editor of the Top Management Degrees site, to get her insights on graduate programs today. Cagle’s views are below. She is pictured on the right.

GPN: Do you have any advice for people considering where to enroll in an MPA program?

Tammie Cagle: It is wise for prospective students to research many programs and gather information from different sources. Prospective students need to identify what are the most important factors in a program, school brand, tuition cost, program rigor, international opportunities, location, etc. Information obtained through that research can help prospective students make the right decision.

There are many places to find some great information. Rankings have great data on programs and can give great insight. Check out first-hand stories from students who have been in the program you are researching. Try and find data on how the alumni are rated in the profession, or what salaries they are given. Look at the program or school Facebook page or Twitter account and try and get a feel of the program’s ethos. Students can research the professors, who they are and what they have done in their careers. There is a lot of data out there to help students narrow down their choices and find their top programs. Then apply and see what doors open.

GPN: Should prospective students consider both online and on-campus programs?

TC: More options always help the odds of getting accepted into a program and starting the next steps into a future career. More and more prestigious campuses are offering online and hybrid programs. Online programs are such a great option, especially for prospective students who have professional, personal, and geographical constraints. And with our ever-increasing personal and business communication and processes being done online, an online education fits seamlessly into our virtual world.

GPN: Are there good opportunities for new MPA grads in 2017?

TC: With any master's degree, it is important for students to understand a few things. A master's degree offers a great wealth of knowledge and can be a great credential to use to climb up the ladder. But a master's degree isn't an automatic ticket into anything. Students still need to build up their resumes, try internships, leverage their professional contacts, build up their social media presence and work on their interviewing skills. An MPA is a great credential to have when looking for your next job or starting your career in the public sector. It is an important piece of the puzzle, but it is important to remember that it is only a piece of the puzzle.

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