The Online MPA vs. the On-Campus MPA Degree: What’s the Difference?

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Classroom In Laptop Screen

For active professionals or undergraduate students seeking a master’s degree in public administration, choosing between an online or on-campus degree can be a challenge. The two platforms may seem entirely different, but in actuality, they are strikingly similar in many ways.

Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs regionally accredited Master of Public Administration program delivers an identical degree between both the online and on-campus platforms. MPA candidates can experience the same high admissions standards, challenging curriculum, and practical instruction to prepare for a career in public leadership.

Parallels in Your MPA Education

At Ohio University, both the online and on-campus MPA offer the same dynamic curriculum rooted in extensive research and based around real-world scenarios. Both programs are also regionally and nationally accredited to ensure a high-quality education.

In addition:

  • Students learn from dedicated faculty who are well-rounded scholars with years of field experience and are active in the public administration field.
  • Students are admitted to the online and on-campus MPA program each semester, allowing multiple start dates around your schedule.
  • Both programs have the same assignments and assessments to ensure successful understanding of modules and concepts.
  • The online and on-campus platforms prepare students to work in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

OHIO’s on-campus and Online MPA degree programs accommodate all students, whether they have accelerated timetables for completion or prefer one course at a time.

Putting Technology to Work for You

The main difference between an online and an on-campus MPA is the delivery method. The rigorous coursework and focused instruction are the same, allowing you to develop expertise and prepare to advance your career.

As technology progresses, the possibilities of online learning continue to expand. Learning applications like video lectures, message boards, and discussion groups can help you understand core concepts, take assessments, and complete assignments.

Ohio University’s Online Master of Public Administration program is designed to be responsive to professionals at all levels. The advanced, high-touch platform allows MPA candidates across geographic regions and in various employment circumstances to access quality education around their schedule.

Professor teaching at Voinovich SchoolThe On-Campus MPA Structure

For students who prefer the structure of an on-campus degree program, OHIO offers the traditional classroom setting with face-to-face instruction and direct communication with classmates. This conventional mode of learning is comfortable for students seeking a more personal connection to their education.

OHIO’s online and on-campus MPA programs provide nearly identical learning landscapes, but the mode of delivery is a crucial aspect to certain students since everyone learns differently. Additionally, our online MPA program does not offer graduate assistantships, which some students seek to lower costs and gain teaching/research experience.

Many local students enjoy the regimen that an on-campus degree program provides. Traveling to class during set times and days, direct access to the campus library, and live instruction can help students maintain focus. For those without reliable internet access or who live nearby, OHIO’s on-campus MPA degree program can be beneficial.

Prepare to Advance Your Career Without Compromising Your Schedule

Time is a crucial factor for all students looking to take graduate-level courses. According to the 2017 Learning House Report, 33% of students seek year-round courses along with 29% who seek faster completion for degree programs.

Students seeking master’s degrees often balance full-time jobs along with various personal responsibilities. Your geography or work schedule shouldn’t stand between you and your future goals.

With Ohio University’s online MPA degree program, you can work toward your success with 100% online coursework and specialize your expertise and leadership with concentrations in either Public Leadership and Management; or Non-Profit Management.

MPA candidates whose schedules don’t fit within the restrictions of an on-campus program can still access an engaging student experience that fosters growth and ignites leadership.

What’s the Online MPA Advantage?

The convenience of OHIO’s online MPA program is the most obvious advantage that appeals to many students. In addition, you may be interested in online learning for a number of different reasons.

When you choose to earn your MPA online, you can benefit from distinct online program features such as:

  • Mobility in education. You’re not stationary, and neither is your education. No need to worry about missing a class or having to live near campus.
  • Save time. Earn your degree without commuting to and from class.
  • Control your learning. Learn the way you prefer and control your pace.

You can prepare to do fulfilling work that benefits your community and posterity without sacrificing your current job and responsibilities. And once you receive your diploma, it will read that you are a Master of Public Administration, with no mention of the online delivery.

Gain the Tools You Need to Succeed at OHIO

When you earn your Master of Public Administration, your world opens up to greater possibility. Those with MPA degrees can effect change in their communities, gain access to leadership roles, and earn more money.

OHIO’s online and on-campus MPA degree programs are designed to be responsive to students at all levels. The program prepares students to address challenging social problems and complex issues through theoretical knowledge and applied skills.

Learn how the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs online MPA degree can empower your work and help shape the future.



Learning House Report 2017

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Employment Statistics Highlights

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook