Public policy plays a major role in everyone’s life. And because it concerns the decisions made by governments to address issues brought before them by the people they represent and serve, public policy is not only important, it’s constantly evolving. If you’re interested in how those decisions are made and want to influence the decision-making process — or maybe even make decisions yourself — then you should consider a career in public policy.
A variety of affordable online programs can help you make that dream into a reality. An excellent online public policy master’s degree program can teach you the analytical, financial, interpersonal, and communication skills necessary to pursue such a career. Budget or policy analyst, research scientist, legislative aide, and urban planner are just a few of the many careers you can pursue with an online master’s of public policy. According to Payscale as of 2017, data analysts averaged salaries of $55,750, while nonprofit program manager salaries averaged $63,673, two of many potential master’s in public policy job options.
If you’re considering pursuing a master’s in public policy online program, be sure to read the list below first. You’ll our list of the top 50 programs that award the degree, ranked by tuition price and value of education. This list favors schools which combine low tuition with high quality education, allowing you to get the most out of every dollar you spend. All schools on our list are also accredited by the Department of Education and other organizations. In turn, you can be sure that the schools listed here provide the skills you’ll need to enter the market for jobs in public policy.
50 Affordable Online Master’s Degrees in Public Policy
|Value Score 8.90||
Based in Virginia, Christian institution Liberty University has been at the forefront of distance learning since 1985, and strives to keep their courses affordable. The school offers over 250 degree programs, including its master of arts in public policy with four concentrations: campaigns and elections, international affairs, Middle East affairs, and public administration. The program consists of 12 courses (36 credit hours), including thesis proposal, research, and defense. Incoming students may meet up to half of these requirements by way of credits transferred from another institution. Application requirements include an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution with at least a 3.0 GPA.
Most courses at Liberty University are presented over eight weeks, and all utilize a virtual classroom environment. Their online public policy master's program is entirely virtual, allowing students to complete assignments on their own schedule. The school bases tuition on credit hours and provides a discount for students who attend full time.
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New England College
|Value Score 6.78||
Based in Henniker, New Hampshire, New England College was founded in 1946 and today offers 44 different degree programs from the bachelor's to doctoral level. The school offers an affordable and quick master of arts in public policy program, which students can complete in under two years, and rolling admissions allow students to enter the program every seven weeks. NEC do not require applicants to submit GRE or GMAT scores. Incoming students can transfer up to eight credits from another institution, but must complete their last 30 credits at NEC.
NEC online public policy masters courses are entirely virtual and available 24/7. Taught in seven week terms with students taking up to two classes per term, the school designs its courses to elicit discussion and collaboration between students and faculty. This interaction helps students develop communication and leadership skills alongside the analytical, critical thinking, and decisions making skills necessary for success in public policy.
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|Value Score 6.15||
Regent University has offered a wide variety of degree programs to thousands of students since its founding in 1978. The school makes over 128 graduate and undergraduate fields available both at its campus in Virginia and online. Regent's affordable programs are taught by experienced faculty with a 19-to-one ratio of students to faculty while the school's online public policy masters boasts a 14-to-one ratio, setting the stage for plenty of meaningful interactions and increased mentoring opportunities.
Regent's master of arts in government with a concentration in law & public policy program consists of 30 credit hours taught over the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Students may enroll during any of these semesters, and can complete their degree in only 18 months. The online version of the program is completely virtual, allowing students to learn from faculty with extensive public policy experience anywhere with an internet connection.
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University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth
|Value Score 4.33||
The University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth offers an affordable master of public policy degree entirely online. Students who seek to pursue the school's master’s of public policy online can do so by completing 36 credits, including an internship. The university’s online master’s of public policy offers three concentrations: environmental policy, education policy, and public management, which can help prepare students for a variety of career paths. Beginning with enrollment and running through graduation, UMass Dartmouth offer one-on-one advising, as well as free online tutoring and writing consultation.
Courses such as research methods for public policy and organization behavior in education settings teach students the skills they need to succeed in government, NGO, or private sector employment. Students present a professional portfolio during their final semester. UMass Dartmouth makes a variety of scholarships and financial aid available for students who qualify. Learners who complete a public policy online certificate through the university can waive the GRE score admission requirement.
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