Public Policy & Administration

Masters in Public Policy & Administration Careers

Professional opportunities for graduates of Northwestern's MPPA program are as broad and varied as the field of public policy and administration itself. With four concentrations to choose from, MPPA graduates set their sights on leadership roles in government at the local, regional and federal levels, in nonprofit organizations or in private enterprise.

MPPA Potential

Employment in state and local governments is projected to increase 8% between 2006 and 2016, with job growth stemming from the rising demand for services, an increasing population and the retirement of baby boomers. According to the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), the largest "replacement talent gaps" will be in public sector managerial and administrative ranks.

Average Salaries

  • City Administrator, $150,000+
  • Health Services Manager, $80,000 
  • Regional Planner, $59,800
  • Emergency Manager, $53,400
  • Federal Worker, G5-15 Level, $93,000

Additional Information

Job growth in other areas of public service will be faster than the average for all occupations. Careers include health services managers, urban and regional planners, community service managers, government IT managers, emergency management, political science research, and foreign affairs.  Whatever focus they choose, MPPA graduates take satisfaction in helping to shape the policies that affect our lives.


Internships taken in conjunction with an Independent Study course are available to students who have completed four courses in the MPPA program. Students may find their own internships. Once a student accepts an internship they must formulate a project with an MPPA instructor and sign up for an MPPA 499 Independent Study. The course will count as an elective. Only one Independent Study/Internship per student is allowed. Instead of an internship with an outside organization, students may use their current job for the Independent Study/Internship on the condition that a research project and data, specifically developed at your job, are used and the appropriate faculty guidance is secured.

An organization hosting a student internship must submit guidelines for SPS to review. The intern's supervisor must contact the student's independent study instructor three times during the term to report on progress. Before the end of the 10-week independent study term, the intern's supervisor must submit a written evaluation of the student's performance to the instructor. This evaluation will factor into the 499 Independent Study grade the student receives from the instructor.