Become a Public Service Leader and Policy Expert
Ranked among the top 20 public affairs programs in the nation, the Rockefeller College Master of Public Administration program prepares you to excel as a government administrator, policy analyst, information technology manager, or strategic and financial leader of public and nonprofit institutions.
As you move through the 49-credit MPA curriculum and complete your professional internship, you learn how to successfully oversee projects, support and motivate teams, improve organizational performance, and monitor policy impact to help solve complex socioeconomic problems.
Program of Study
These courses include topics in statistics and information technology.
- Institutional Foundations of Public Administration
- Public and Nonprofit Financial Management
- Principles of Public Economics
- Data Models and Decisions
- Statistics for Public Managers and Policy Analysts
- Foundations of Public Management
- Professional Applications I and II
Choose at least five courses in your area of interest. See below for details.
Career Experience/Professional Internship
Gain valuable real-world experience through internships in both the public and private sector, locally, nationally and abroad. Internships can be full time or part time and are almost always paid opportunities.
Because Rockefeller College is located in the heart of the New York State capital, you can choose from a wide variety of career-aligned internship opportunities available in the state legislature, federal agencies, public service departments, political organizations, nonprofit groups, and policy research firms.
Sample internship placements: New York State Senate Finance Committee; New York State Office of Counter Terrorism; Social Security Administration, American Red Cross; U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
If you have two years of relevant full-time employment experience or are concurrently working full-time in the Public Affairs, Administration, International Affairs or non-profit sectors, you may be eligible to waive the MPA internship requirement.
To further support your career goals, you can earn a concurrent certificate in public management, nonprofit management, or women and public policy that counts toward your MPA requirements.
Joint MPA/JD Program
Rockefeller has established a joint program with Albany Law School that enables you to earn your Master of Public Administration and Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) in only four years. See the Graduate Bulletin for details.
Choose this concentration if you want to pursue a management career, leadership on boards of directors, and advocacy in the diverse world of nonprofit organizations. Rockefeller’s Nonprofit Management concentration has been designed by university faculty in consultation with the nonprofit community to provide you with the foundation to become an effective leader of nonprofit and voluntary organizations.
Learn about a range of third sector entities, including those in human services, arts, social change, environmental advocacy and protection, and international development through course readings, case studies, guest lectures, and service learning opportunities.
If you're interested in public policy we have two main concentrations and a set of substantive concentrations in specific policy areas (e.g., health policy; education policy; criminal justice policy; women and public policy, global affairs, etc) that you might choose to design with the assistance of your advisor.
If you're interested in more applied quantitative or qualitative skills in conducting policy analysis, we recommend the Policy Analytic Methods concentration.
If you have an interest in the policy process and politics (i.e., drafting legislation, political advocacy/strategy, lobbying, etc), we recommend the Policy Process, Politics and Institutions concentration.
Learn how to analyze and report on policy issues, and how to manage information resources in the public and not-for-profit sectors.
To develop specialized skills, you can earn sub-concentrations by taking multiple courses in one or two sub-fields:
Work at a research institute or a government agency to evaluate how well policies and public programs work. Work as a legislative analyst to identify the best policy to implement. Whatever your career aspiration, the nationally ranked MPA program at Rockefeller College will prepare you for success in the field of policy analysis.
Policy Process, Politics and Institutions
Understand the role of public institutions in policies development and the administration of political systems of the United States and other countries.
Both Healthcare Management and Health Policy concentrations prepare you to be a leader for healthcare management and policy implementation issues in the new era of healthcare.
The Healthcare Management and Health Policy concentrations include:
- Specialty healthcare coursework selected by healthcare employers to ensure synergistic
- offerings with today’s healthcare demands
- An examination of issues in the health sector with tools used for policy design,
- implementation and evaluation
- Hands-on exposure to the design and operation of various reimbursement systems,
- including prospective rate setting, managed care and bundles payment systems
- Study of how policy is used to further public health goals, domestically and globally
This concentration prepares you for decision making roles related to the creation, management and use of information and information technologies as essential tools for problem solving and public management within single organizations and across multiple organizations, sectors, and levels of government.
Drawing from public administration and other fields, you will learn how policies, organizational factors, information content, and information and communication technologies influence decisions and performance.
To develop specialized skills, you can earn sub-concentrations by taking multiple courses in one or two sub-fields: Information Strategy and Management, Data Analytics and Modeling, Information Policy, or Cybersecurity.
Manage the complex finances of public, nonprofit or healthcare organizations or become a policy or financial analyst in a policy research settings inside and outside government. Many top public and nonprofit managers began their careers in budgeting or finance. Training in finance and public economics can provide you with the skills you need for a successful career as a financial analyst, manager, or policy analyst.
Rockefeller’s Public Economics and Financial Management concentration will increase your understanding of:
- Government policy through the lens of economic efficiency and equity
- Analysis and design of public policy and how it relates to economics and finance
- The processes and analytical techniques involved in developing and managing public budgets
- Major government programs and examination from a theoretical and empirical viewpoint
You may pursue either or both sub-concentrations: Financial Management or Public Economics or work with your advisor to design your own.
Develop a theoretical and practical understanding of the knowledge and skills you need to be an effective manager in public and nonprofit organizations. To develop specialized skills, you can earn sub-concentrations by taking multiple courses in one or two sub-fields (Local Government Management, Organizational Behavior and Theory, Human Resources Management) or work with your advisor to design your own.
Organizational Behavior & Theory Concentration
The Organizational Behavior & Theory concentration provides you with the people management skills needed in today’s organizations. The focus is on leadership in teams, groups, and organizations. Courses cover both the process and structure of management and often involve exercises and simulations that practice the skills you need to succeed as a manager.
Local Government Concentration
The local government management concentration to prepare you for the current and future challenges local governments face. You will learn about real examples of how to manage local governments as well as the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively serve our citizens. Graduates of this concentration have gone on to become professional city, county, town or village managers.
Human Resource Management Concentration
The Human Resources Management curriculum trains you to manage organizations and their employees effectively in the public, private, or non-profit sector.
Areas in the Human Resources Management concentration include:
- The political and institutional contexts of public organizations
- Managing and appraising public-sector performance
- Public employee motivation and other employee work attitudes
- Managing workforce diversity, equality, and equity
- Negotiating and managing conflict in the workplace
Increase your understanding of the origin, nature, and impact of terrorism; intelligence analysis and information sharing; the role of intelligence, homeland security, and criminal justice agencies; and analytic, methodological, and technical skills used to analyze security and intelligence issues. Theory and Practice or Methods.
Sharpen your analytic and quantitative skills to frame policy issues in institutional and political contexts and recommend changes to policy formulation, approval, implementation, or evaluation with a focus in a Substantive Public Policy area: crime and justice policy; education policy; environmental policy & politics; global affairs; social welfare policy; urban planning and policy; or women and public policy.
Crime and Justice Policy
This area prepares you to provide guidance and strategies for an improved criminal justice system. From sentencing reform to social deviance and issues in policing, you will learn about the structure of the criminal justice system and its complex policy challenges.
This area is prepares you to influence contemporary policy issues facing education. This includes analysis to inform educational decisions and policies, administration by state and federal governments, coordination of the varied stakeholders, and to develop skills to improve education at a fundamental level.
Environmental Policy & Politics
This program provides you with the foundation you need for a career in conservation, environmental planning, or energy and climate change. You will gain skills and knowledge in environmental science, policy analytics, and the politics of environmental policy and advocacy.
The Global Affairs curriculum provides you with the foundation for a career in global policy analysis, public management outside of the United States, as well as management of international governmental and non-governmental organizations.
Social Welfare Policy
This area provides analysis of social policies and programs on the state and national levels. From strategies for advocacy and social change to inequality and public policy, this coursework prepares you to examine the current policy climate for a career aimed at improving the health and welfare of society.
Urban Planning and Policy
This area provides the foundation you will need for a career focused on improving the quality of life in communities and regions. Urban policies reflect fundamental social agreements on how cities and towns develop and include the policy perspectives for strategies aimed at economic cooperation and development.
Women and Policy
Despite the many legal, political and programmatic changes that have taken place over the past few decades, women continue to experience conflicting expectations about their roles, their status, and the legitimacy of their demands in the political process. Questions of gender are often entangled with issues such as race, class, sexuality, nationality and ethnicity. This program provides you with an in-depth understanding of the complexity of these issues for a career in the policy process - whether in political, bureaucratic, research or advocacy positions.
Through its MPA program, Rockefeller College partners with Bocconi University to offer a dual degree program. The first year is completed in Albany and the second year is completed in Milan (UAlbany tuition and fees). Degrees will be awarded from both programs: Masters in Public Administration from the University at Albany, and Laurea Specialistica in Economia e Management delle Amministrazioni Pubbliche e delle Istituzioni Internazionali (CLAPI-LS). Coursework is taught in English.
Rockefeller MPA students may study at Fudan University for one semester as a non-degree student (UAlbany tuition and fees). Courses completed may be applied to graduation requirements. Fudan offers you the opportunity to take courses on the topic of global affairs while studying and living in an exciting area of the world. Some coursework is available in English; Chinese language coursework is also available.
Note: In addition to existing study abroad opportunities and dual-degree programs within Rockefeller College, the University’s Center for International Education and Global Strategy’s Education Abroad can connect you with many established programs abroad. Several faculty members also lead students on short-term trips abroad. To learn more, visit UAlbany’s Education Abroad website.
Career Paths in Public Administration
98% of Rockefeller MPA graduates are employed within one year of graduation.
Alumni job titles include: policy director, program analyst, finance manager, grant writer, health program coordinator, budget examiner, lobbying associate.
Recent graduates have held internships or found full-time jobs in the following organizations:
Homeland Security Jobs: New York State Office of Counter Terrorism; NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services; Central Intelligence Agency, New York State Intelligence Center, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Intelligence and Policy), National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Drug Enforcement Administration, Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center, U.S. military intelligence.
Local Government Jobs: City of Springfield, Massachusetts, Downtown Albany Business Improvement District; Schenectady County Government.
State Government Jobs: New York State Assembly Ways and Means Committee; New York State Department of Civil Service; New York State Senate Finance Committee.
Federal Government Jobs: Government Accountability Office; Social Security Administration; U.S. Housing and Urban Development.
Public Finance Jobs: Moody’s; New York State Division of the Budget; Public Financial Management Group, NYS Assembly Ways and Means Committee, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, U.S. Agency for International Development.
Health Care Policy Jobs: New York State Association of Health Care Providers; U.S. Department of Health & Human Services; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Nonprofit Management Jobs: American Red Cross; Community Builders; Hope International, Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless, Adirondack Council, Habitat for Humanity, Neighborhood Preservation Coalition, Family Planning Advocates of New York State.
Policy Analysis Jobs: Business Council of New York State, United University Professions - Legislation and Research Department, Rockefeller Institute of Government, Booz Allen Hamilton, Congressional Research Service.
Information Management Jobs: U.S. Department of State, U.S. Government Accountability Office, U.S. Veterans Administration, NYS Governor's Office of Employee Relations, NYS Comptroller, NYS Office of the Attorney General, NYS Education Department, NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, Center for Technology in Government, National Center for Security & Preparedness, SUNY Research Foundation.
U.S. News and World Report
U.S. News and World Report: Specialty Rankings
Learning objectives that UAlbany students are expected to attain through their course of study within their academic program.
- The ability to understand that public policies shape, and are shaped by, the institutional, legal, political and economic contexts in which they occur.
- The ability to critique and formulate public policies by collecting and analyzing qualitative and quantitative information.
- The ability to identify factors that influence the political support for a policy and that help or hinder its successful implementation.
- An expertise in a chosen field of public policy that is developed by taking at least three courses in that policy field.
- Effective written and oral communication skills and professional skills such as working in teams and understanding the need for tradeoffs in pursuing multiple objectives.