Transitioning Out of the Military With An MPA

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At Ohio University, we pride ourselves on being one of the most military-friendly colleges and universities in the United States. We offer a wide range of student services for active and former military service personnel, including the standard federal tuition assistance benefits and distance learning convenience.

Thinking about transitioning to a career in public service? Watch this brief overview of our online Master of Public Administration through the perspective of Col. Jay Johnson.


Hello and welcome to this brief overview of the impact and value in having a master’s in public administration degree to a military career. Ohio University, a perennial military-friendly school, is the Gateway to obtain your MPA at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. Next Slide. and I’m a retired Marine colonel with over 30 years of experience in leading and working with different organizations here in the United States and overseas. I have commanded from the battalion to the division level and held several senior directorate level positions. At the pinnacle of my career, I was focused on strategic leadership, strategy, and planning, all key requirements from having my master’s in public administration. My transition from the Marines has allowed me to continue to serve in my home state of Ohio and alma mater Ohio University where I’m currently the director of the Voinovich Academy for excellence in public service offering professional and executive education programs for those serving in the public sector. Next slide.

There are many paths you can take upon transitioning out of the military but I’d like to focus on the path most familiar to me and that is getting a master’s in public administration. As I pointed out before I received my MPA in pursuit to becoming a more versatile officer as I was advancing in my career so with the requirements and working with local, state and national level leaders and organizations. I’ve coupled my military background and my postgraduate education to help balance my career and experience as a leader. Next slide.

Our MPA program at Ohio University is organized and housed in the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. The Voinovich school prides itself on finding research-based solutions to challenges facing communities, the economy, and the environment. The school offers both academic and community support programs and three distinct groupings: energy in the environment, entrepreneurship and regional development, and policy innovation and strategic leadership more specifically looking at the slide you’ll see some of our highlights of the school, including how we prepare students for success, as well as, some of the projects were involved in. Next slide.

Moving along to our MPA program this slide outlines some important details you’ll want to know as a potential student. First, the program is completely online and can be completed within two years and this advanced degree covers the fundamentals of public administration and service equipping students with the skills to address difficult social problems, meet complex challenges, and enhance public value. Next slide.

Our curriculum is comprised of 36 total credit hours the first 27, as shown on the slide, is the program’s core courses. Just from a look at the course names, I think you’ll agree the program offers a robust curriculum. Our team develops coursework from real challenges in public administration instead of focusing on hypotheticals we teach on topics like data and analysis, public-private partnerships, and measuring outcomes. The MPA program is taught by award-winning faculty many who are also working professionals. Next slide. We offer two focused tracks that reflect the current landscape of public affairs: Public leadership and management, as well as, nonprofit management. Each dives a bit further into relevant subjects and topics seen within the field. Next slide.

As for how the program relates to the military career here are a few takeaways: The value of public service, leadership discussions, both at the organizational and personal level, planning and developing budgets, the importance of understanding and writing policy and procedures, and finally the ability to sharpen your professional development by continuing your education. Next slide.

If you think this program is indeed one you would like to pursue here are a list of the admission requirements. The program has three start terms a year: spring, summer and fall. So we typically have a window open for applications. Contact us today to learn the next steps to enrolling in our upcoming term. Thank you for your time!