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Online Master of Public Administration in Public and Nonprofit Management

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The University of Central Oklahoma’s online Master of Public Administration (MPA) in public and nonprofit management emphasizes that while change requires a collective effort, leadership creates the direction. In the nonprofit sector, effective leadership has a rippling effect—motivating employees and volunteers to strive toward the betterment of society and helping uplift the surrounding community in the process. 

Central's MPA program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). The accreditation puts UCO’s MPA in an elite group—Central is one of only two institutions in Oklahoma to be accredited, and one of 208 programs globally.

What makes a strong leader in a nonprofit or public organization? Such individuals possess holistic business and managerial knowledge and skills, an understanding of how such entities operate and a compassionate mindset to encourage societal progress through diversity and equity. Nonprofit leaders spearhead their mission through shepherding others and actively influencing policy and social programs. 

Available through UCO’s Connected Campus, the online MPA program aims to transform you into such a force. With full- and part-time options available, this fully online version of our in-person MPA helps broaden your perspective of nonprofit and public organizations’ functions, operations and impact. The curriculum blends theory with applied learning.

The combination not only expands your skills around your schedule but helps you move up in your existing organizations or switch industries. 

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Why Study at UCO? | Curriculum | J.D./MPA Program | Careers | Admission | Drive Change | Accreditation

Why Study Nonprofit Management at UCO?

Progress never stops. Yet, when it comes to supporting society’s most vulnerable members, additional assistance is needed to connect individuals with key resources, amplify their voices, and help their communities thrive.

UCO’s MPA program views all students as change agents who will go on to serve diverse communities in Oklahoma and beyond. Through this framework, this course of study starts with higher-level public administration concepts before helping you specialize your skills to advance and make a greater impression in the nonprofit sphere. 

Beyond competencies, a blend of coursework invested full-time faculty members, and experiential learning encourages you to become an ethical, transformational leader who develops creative solutions, influences public dialog and policy, and collaborates with others. In the process, UCO fosters the values of civic engagement, discipline, professional competence, cultural sensitivity, diversity, environmental stewardship, ethical leadership, global awareness, social justice, and pride in public service in and outside of the classroom. 

When enrolling in UCO’s online MPA program in Public and Nonprofit Management, you’ll:

  • Grow your understanding of research meant to influence public policy;
  • Strengthen your business and managerial skills and expand your perspective of the nonprofit world;
  • Learn to develop services that benefit your community through equity and inclusion;
  • Develop the skills to lead a nonprofit or public organization, no matter its mission or who it serves, and drive change in the process;
  • Understand how to motivate both employees and volunteers to carry out an organization’s mission; and,
  • Discover ways to help nonprofit and public organizations grow in terms of outreach, visibility and fundraising. 


The online MPA in nonprofit and public management is a 36 credit–hour program involving a 24 credit–hour core and a specialization track fulfilled through 12 credit hours of electives. All students further showcase their knowledge by researching and presenting a capstone project related to an issue present in managing nonprofit organizations.

The required core courses build upon what you’ve acquired through a related bachelor’s program or experience in policy, public administration, government, or a nonprofit environment. Elevate and refine what you know about political science research methods, organizational and management theories, revenue sources, policy analysis, executive leadership and human resources in an industry context.

Electives introduce you to topics pertaining to improving nonprofit and public organizations:

  • Examine political, social and economic institutions, the administrative and political sides of government organizations, and revenue allocation for state and local governments;
  • Strengthen what you know about the relationship among federal, state, metropolitan and local governments, from administrative structures to existing challenges;
  • Better understand how the political process influences sustainable development;
  • Prepare to lead during disasters and times of crisis by gaining a firmer grasp of emergency management theories and the roles nonprofit and government organizations play;
  • Learn more about organizational theories and their applications in nonprofits and government;
  • Contemplate and develop solutions to the ethical dilemmas many government and nonprofit leaders face and the ramifications decisions can have;
  • Explore factors specific to running a nonprofit or government organization, from citizen participation, ethics and public health to leadership, budgeting and privatization; and,
  • See how administrative law influences service delivery, government operations and collaboration between private and nonprofit organizations. 

View the courses and requirements for the online MPA in public and nonprofit management

J.D./MPA Program

Explore where the law, policy and leadership intersect by earning a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree along with your MPA. UCO’s partnership with the Oklahoma City University School of Law makes this possible. You’ll start the MPA program before applying to law school and complete both in less time than it takes to earn two separate credentials. Learn more about this dual-degree program.  


Management and leadership occur through all levels of a nonprofit or public organization, from executives who drive its direction to team leaders guiding volunteers, fundraising efforts and public relations. 

UCO’s online MPA program strives to train all students to thrive and influence local, county, tribal, state, national governments, nonprofit organizations and private entities. Beyond theories and applications, we want you to fuel change in your community, solve problems through collaboration, influence through progressive, ethical decision-making and adapt to the rapidly evolving public service industry. 

Nonprofits employ 10% of the current workforce—and that’s not including individuals who volunteer their time. Illustrating demand for leaders in the nonprofit sector, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that from 2019 through 2029, the workforce will need 7% more political scientists, 9% more public relations and fundraising managers and 17% more social and community managers.

Admission Requirements

Students interested in applying to the online MPA program must have earned:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an appropriately accredited institution in any field; and
  • An overall GPA of 2.75; OR, 
  • A 3.0 GPA in the last 60 credit hours attempted.

A student may be admitted by one of the three following methods:

  • A minimum 2.75 GPA overall or 3.0 GPA in the last 60 credit hours attempted;
  • A GRE score of 150 on the verbal portion, 145 on the quantitative portion and 4.5 on the writing portion; OR,
  • Possessing a master’s degree from an accredited university/college with an overall GPA of 3.0.

Drive Change by Earning an Online MPA in Public and Nonprofit Management from UCO

Encourage progress while advancing your career with an online MPA in public and nonprofit management from UCO. If you have any questions about the program, request additional information today.

MPA Program Accreditation

The UCO MPA is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) — the global standard for public service education. The NASPAA standard ensures programs promote public service values, bound in the pursuit of programmatic improvement and educational quality. Central is one of only two institutions in Oklahoma to be accredited, and one of 208 programs globally.