Online Graduate Degree Programs

Online Master of Public Administration

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We know you’re driven to serve — otherwise you wouldn’t be here. But in a world where passion is equal, preparation wins out. It’s our job to make sure you’re not only prepared to serve the public through leadership, but serve it well.

Our online Master of Public Administration can help you build the skills to address public needs in effective, efficient, and imaginative ways. We want you to take the big ideas in your head and put them into action by helping you develop as a project manager, communicator, policy analyst, and financial mind. When you have an expert understanding of public administration and the professional tools to back it up, you can lead a career of consequence for your constituents.

Why choose the Master of Public Administration online program?

We’re not looking to build ideologues, we want to help you influence action and explore your interests in public service. At the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, our faculty and staff have dedicated decades to finding research-based solutions to challenges in the world, and that trickles down into the foundations of your learning.

We’re uniquely prepared to help you learn the intricacies of public administration through a pragmatic approach. Study the management of financial and human resources. Learn how to take policy from planning to financing to execution and evaluation. Connect the public and private sector as partners, not adversaries. Help cut through red tape with organizational excellence, the kind that can translate just as effectively in a town hall or the halls of Congress.

Our faculty members know the field’s obstacles and how to navigate them from firsthand experience. Our faculty members are professionals actively engaged in promoting public efforts that spark their interest. We want you to do the same, which is why we offer two distinct concentrations for the Master of Public Administration.

Our Concentrations Explained

Public Leadership and Management

Leadership in the public sector isn’t easy in a digitally enlightened, post-recession U.S. The public wants to know its dollars are being spent wisely and effectively to achieve positive outcomes locally and across the nation. Learn to blend efficacy and ethics while maximizing financial resources and personnel.

Non-Profit Management

Currently 1 in 10 U.S. workers are employed in the non-profit sector, and it continues to grow. Non-profits help to fill service gaps in communities, and you can help. Merge social responsibility and entrepreneurship. Use the connective power of technology to raise funds and awareness of your efforts.

What can I do with an online Master of Public Administration?


From 2001 to 2011

The nonprofit sector now employs nearly 10% of the U.S. workforce. This grew by 25% from 2001 to 2011. - The New York Times

Just because you have a Master of Public Administration doesn’t mean you can’t look at your career with a private eye. Your skills can easily transfer to private sector positions, especially in industries that work closely with public organizations such as healthcare, pharmaceuticals, law, and education.

With an online MPA degree, you can put your strategic planning, communication, project management, and budgeting skills to work in leadership positions normally reserved for MBA grads. What’s the online MPA advantage? Your knowledge of how organizations function. Your ability to translate technical talk and dense data for ease in public consumption. Your sense of social responsibility. Your determination to see a project through to completion.

What’s the OHIO MPA experience like?

Hear from our students.

Our online MPA degree curriculum

Designed for action.

Unlike other Master’s in Public Administration online programs, we offer a curriculum built for the real challenges of public administration. You won’t find us teaching hypotheticals. Instead we focus on topics like data analysis, public-private partnerships, and measuring outcomes. We also offer three concentrations that reflect the current landscape of public affairs, such as management in the burgeoning non-profit sector and renewable energy.

Integrative Core Courses (27 Credits)
  • MPA 6200 Foundations of Public Administration
  • MPA 6010 Research Methods in Leadership and Public Affairs
  • MPA 5140 Organizational Leadership
  • MPA 5580 Public Sector Program Evaluation
  • MPA 5860 Public Budgeting
  • MPA 5850 Policy Analysis for Public Affairs and Leadership
  • MPA 5810 Public Private Partnerships
  • MPA 5590 Measuring Outcomes in Public and Non-Profit Organizations
  • MPA 6800 Strategic Leadership and Public Value
Public Leadership and Management Concentration
(9 Credits)
  • MPA 5900 Public Human Resource Management
  • MPA 5830 Data Analytics for Public and Non-Profit Managers
  • MPA 5870 Financial Management in Government
Non-Profit Management Concentration
(9 Credits)
  • MPA 5680 Nonprofit Financial Management and Resource Development
  • MPA 5890 Nonprofit Leadership and Governance
  • MPA 5900 Strategic Communication and Outreach for Nonprofit Management

Meet the faculty

Our online MPA is led by a faculty of industry experts with a wide range of interests and experiences. Committed to sharing their skills with the next generation of public administration professionals, our faculty fuels the dynamic online MPA program.

Read more about their research and work below.

  • Anirudh Ruhil
  • Derek Kauneckis
  • Geoffrey D. Dabelko
  • Gilbert Michaud
  • Holly Raffle
  • Jason Jolley
  • Jay Ryu
  • Judith Millesen
  • Lesli Johnson
  • Marsha Lewis
  • Natalie Kruse
  • Ross Alexander
  • Sarah Davis
Anirudh Ruhil

Anirudh Ruhil

Dr. Anirudh Ruhil is a Professor at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. He also directs the Voinovich Undergraduate Research Scholars program, a rewarding applied research program enrolling some of Ohio University’s most promising undergraduate students interested in leadership and public affairs. Ani also teaches quantitative research methods, policy analysis, and program evaluation for the Voinovich School’s Master of Public Administration academic programs. He serves as a quantitative research methodologist/data analyst for the School.

Derek Kauneckis

Derek Kauneckis

Dr. Derek Kauneckis is an associate professor at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, where he teaches in the Environmental Studies Program. He received a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Indiana University at Bloomington.

Dr. Kauneckis’ research focuses on governance and institutional design as applied to environmental and science/technology policy. His current work focuses on climate change adaptation and local governance, the resilience of socio-ecological systems, policy innovation and the science/policy interface.

He is currently studying the climate resilience of western river systems, local government climate change policies and the emergence of local and regional green business programs. His other research has included collaborative environmental governance at Lake Tahoe; conservation and property rights institutions at the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve in Yucatan, Mexico; landowner behavior in rural Indiana; water governance and climate adaption on the Truckee and Sacramento River systems; and state-level science and technology policy.

Dr. Kauneckis has received teaching and mentoring awards from Indiana University and the University of Nevada. His work has been supported by the Fulbright Scholar Program; the National Science Foundation (NSF); the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Geoffrey D. Dabelko

Geoffrey D. Dabelko

Dr. Geoffrey D. Dabelko is Professor and Director of the Environmental Studies Program at the George V. Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University in Athens, OH. He teaches and conducts research on natural resources, conflict, and peacebuilding; global environmental politics; climate change and security; and environmental leadership. He is currently focusing on the conflict and peacebuilding potential of climate change responses and co-directing an environmental peacebuilding study abroad program in the Balkans.

From 1997-2012, he served as director of the Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP), a nonpartisan policy forum on environment, population, and security issues at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. He continues to work as a senior advisor to the Wilson Center where he works with policymakers, practitioners, and scholars grappling with the complex connections that link environment, health, population, conflict, and security.

Dabelko has directed grants from a range of international and national organizations such as the UN Environment Program and the US Agency for International Development. He was principal investigator for USAID-funded efforts including the “Health, Environment, Livelihoods, Population and Security (HELPS) Project” and the “Resources for Peace Project.” He worked previously at Foreign Policy and the Council on Foreign Relations. He is an adjunct professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and has taught at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.

Dabelko is co-editor of Green Planet Blues: Critical Perspectives on Global Environmental Politics (5th ed., 2014) and Environmental Peacemaking (2002). He was a lead author for the 5th assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group II Chapter 12 on Human Security released in 2014. Other recent publications appeared in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Climatic Change, Environment, Environment, and Ensia. Dabelko is a member of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Expert Advisory Group on Environment, Conflict, and Peacebuilding and an advisory board member of Screenscope’s “Journey to Planet Earth” PBS documentary initiative. On campus, he serves as chair of the Kennedy/Frontiers in Science Lecture Committee and is a member of the Ohio University Press Board.

Dabelko has a Ph.D. in government and politics from the University of Maryland and an AB in political science from Duke University.

Gilbert Michaud

Gilbert Michaud

Dr. Gilbert Michaud is a Cluster Analyst and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University. In this role, he conducts economic impact and feasiblity studies, industry cluster analyses, program evaluations, and other research associated with Ohio University’s US Economic Development Administration University Center and the Consortium for Energy, Economics & the Environment.

Holly Raffle

Holly Raffle

Dr. Holly Raffle is an Associate Professor at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. She serves as a research methodologist for qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research projects including program evaluation. Dr. Raffle primarily works in the disciplines of K-12 education, post-secondary education, and public health. Additionally, she is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist and has taught health in the public school system as well as health, kinesiology, psychology, public administration and education courses at the collegiate level.

Jason Jolley

Jason Jolley

Dr. G. Jason Jolley is an Associate Professor of Rural Economic Development and MPA Director at the George V. Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University. At Ohio University, he also serves as a Research Fellow in the Center for Entrepreneurship and directs Ohio University’s portion of the US Economic Development Administration University Center (joint with Bowling Green State University). His applied research portfolio includes serving as principal investigator on a subcontract with the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth to support a Regional Innovation Cluster (RIC) project with the U.S. Small Business Administration. He also leads the Voinovich School’s portion of the Ohio Economic Development Institute, an Ohio Economic Development Association initiative, in partnership with JobsOhio and Ohio University’s Voinovich School, to provide state-level certification to Ohio economic development practitioners.

Dr. Jolley previously worked at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as Senior Research Director for the Center for Competitive Economies, an applied economic development research center in the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, and as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Kenan-Flagler Business School. At UNC, he led the Center’s research activities in economic development incentive policy evaluation and development, strategic planning, impact analysis, and industry cluster characterization to address issues of economic competitiveness. In addition to teaching MBA, BSBA, and undergraduate policy courses at UNC, Dr. Jolley’s adjunct teaching experience includes serving as a Teaching Assistant Professor at North Carolina State University where he taught MPA courses in economic development and public policy and as a Lecturer at Duke University in the Duke Center for International Development’s executive education program for visiting international government officials. In 2011, he was named a Faculty Fellow for NC State University’s Institute for Emerging Issues and in the same year received The Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award from the Carolina Center for Public Service for his applied economic development research in Chatham County, NC.

Dr. Jolley’s research focuses on economic development, entrepreneurship, and tax policy. Secondary research interests include public-private partnerships, public engagement in decision-making, non-regulatory governance, and corporate social responsibility. Dr. Jolley has authored/coauthored over 25 scholarly articles and 50 monographs/professional reports. His research has been published or is forthcoming in Economic Development Quarterly; Business Strategy and the Environment; Review of Policy Research; Journal of Economic Development in Higher Education; Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy; State and Local Government Review; Journal of Public Affairs Education; Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting, & Financial Management; Municipal Finance Journal; and Economic Development Journal, among other scholarly outlets. Dr. Jolley writes a semi-regular column, “Practical Views from the Ivory Tower,” for State Tax Notes, a professional tax publication. He received a Ph.D. in public administration from North Carolina State University, where he specialized in economic development and research methods, an M.A. in political science from the University of Tennessee and an A.B. in economics from UNC-Chapel Hill. Dr. Jolley current serves as President of the Mid-Continent Regional Science Association and on the editorial boards of Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy and Coastal Business Journal.

Jay Ryu

Dr. Jay E. Ryu is Professor of Public Policy and Administration in the Department of Political Science. He has his undergraduate degree in political science from Seoul National University, Korea in 1986. He has his MPA degrees from Seoul National University (1988) and the George Washington University (1998). He has his Ph.D. from the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia (2003).

His areas of specialization are public policy and administration and public finance. His current research areas have been focused on the political economy of public budgeting.

Judith Millesen

Judith Millesen

Dr. Judith Millesen is a professor at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University. She is also the founder of the Regional Nonprofit Alliance, an organization dedicated to strengthening nonprofit organizations in rural Appalachia by providing online resources, affordable workshops, and hands-on help. Millesen teaches classes on public administration, nonprofit management, and nonprofit fundraising. Her research makes a strong link between theory and practice and focuses on nonprofit administration and capacity building in the sector with a special interest in board governance. She has produced research reports on the strategic decision making behavior of community foundation boards, nonprofit capacity-building in the Pittsburgh region, the evaluation practices of nonprofits in New York and Ohio, board motivation in Maine, and most recently work on philanthropy and community economic development in central Wisconsin. Her work has appeared in such journals as Nonprofit Management and Leadership, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Nonprofit Quarterly, Public Integrity, and Voluntas.She was also a co-editor of Participatory Partnerships for Social Action and Research, which won the 2012 Distinguished Edited Book Award from the Applied Communication Division of the National Communication Association. Millesen is a member of ASPA, the Academy of Management, and ARNOVA. Nationally, she serves on the board of directors for ARNOVA and the board of editorial advisors for BoardSource. Locally she serves on the board of directors for the Athens Foundation. Millesen received her MPA from the University of Hartford and her Ph.D. in public administration from the University at Albany (SUNY).

Lesli Johnson

Lesli Johnson

Dr. Lesli Johnson, after a successful clinical career in mental health, joined Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs in 1997 to lead the Planning, Evaluation, Education and Research team, one of the two teams providing services to public and nonprofit organizations throughout the region and beyond. In 2007, Dr. Johnson joined the School’s faculty. Dr. Johnson holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Ohio University and a Master in Social Work from the University of Oklahoma. She has 20 years of experience working in community programs, including mental health, health, education and child welfare. Dr. Johnson enjoys working on interdisciplinary teams both as a researcher and as a project leader. As an evaluator, she has conducted evaluations on school-based programs, mental health and health interventions, community development and community readiness. She is currently serving as lead evaluator on Project Launch, a five-year SAMHSA funded program that includes a partnership between state policy makers and local service providers and the integration of services for children, birth through age eight. She is also the lead evaluator on a four-state initiative to create local coalitions dedicated to the prevention and self-management of diabetes. She teaches courses in the Master of Public Administration program on research methods, public policy analysis, implementation science, and program evaluation.

Marsha Lewis

Marsha Lewis

Dr. Marsha Lewis currently teaches in the MPA program and manages applied research projects related to education and public sector strategy development. She also serves as a senior data analyst for research and evaluation projects. Marsha helped develop the Ohio University Executive Leadership Institute and served as the Institute’s managing director for five years. She holds a Ph.D. in educational research and evaluation with concentrations in statistical analysis and psychometrics. Marsha is one of Ohio University’s lead researchers in the Ohio Education Research Center.

Natalie Kruse

Natalie Kruse

Dr. Natalie Kruse is an Associate Professor of Environmental Studies in the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. Kruse holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering and Geosciences from Newcastle University, and a B.S. in Civil Engineering with a minor in Geological Sciences from Ohio University. She completed her post-doctoral research for the Sir Joseph Swan Institute for Energy Research at Newcastle University. A winner of the British Marshall Scholarship, Kruse won the Best Paper award from Mine Water and the Environment in 2009. She also won the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and the Morris K. Udall Scholarship. Alongside her collaborators, Kruse has completed research funded by the American Electric Power Foundation, the US Department of Energy, the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America, the UK Coal Authority, the European Union and Coal India with a focus on mining, oil and gas and industrial water pollution.

Ross Alexander

Dr. Ross Alexander currently serves as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost for University of North Alabama. Prior to that, he was the Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences for three years, and Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of Graduate and Continuing Studies for three years at Indiana University-East, where he was also a Professor of Political Science. Previously, he served as Department Head of Political Science and Criminal Justice at the University of North Georgia, where he also was an Associate Professor of Political Science. At North Georgia, Dr. Alexander won several teaching and advising awards. A university professor since 1999, Dr. Alexander has taught myriad classes at the graduate and undergraduate levels in the fields of public administration, American politics, and political theory. At North Georgia, Dr. Alexander routinely taught Leadership and Organizational Theory, Public Budgeting, Public Personnel Administration, Political Leadership, and State and Local Government in the MPA program. He possesses a Ph.D. in Political Science with emphases in public administration, American politics, and political theory from Northern Illinois University in addition to an MPA from Arizona State University. He has written several book chapters, peer reviewed journal articles, and a book on various topics in public administration and American politics.

Sarah Davis

Sarah Davis

Dr. Sarah Davis is an ecosystem ecologist with expertise in energy bioscience, biogeochemistry and eco-physiology. She quantifies ecosystem-level carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas fluxes in managed landscapes using experimental and modeling approaches. Dr. Davis received her PhD in Biology from West Virginia University in 2007 where she studied the long-term response of forest carbon sequestration to common harvesting practices. She continued her study of forest carbon balances and began researching bioenergy agro-ecosystems while in a post-doctoral position at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and was then appointed in 2010 as a Bioenergy Analyst for the Energy Biosciences Institute, an interdisciplinary research program at UC Berkeley and UIUC. Dr. Davis contributes to the nascent field of energy bioscience by exploring opportunities for bioenergy development that will simultaneously enhance ecosystem services. Her work describes the environmental impacts and benefits of novel second-generation bioenergy production systems that include temperate perennial grasses, desert plants (Agave spp.), and woody feedstocks.

Dr. Davis also has a broad teaching background. Prior to her graduate research, she worked as the Assistant Director for the Regional Math/Science Center in Frostburg, MD, an alternative education program for underprivileged high school students, where she developed curricula for hands-on environmental science projects. She taught a variety of undergraduate biology and ecology courses while in graduate school and also as postdoctoral research assistant, and continued to lecture and advise graduate students as an Adjunct Assistant Professor even after being appointed as a Bioenergy Analyst at UIUC. Dr. Davis joined the Voinovich School faculty in the January of 2013.

Great Ideas Start with Great Administrators.