The world today is different from the world that past generations entered. The levels of complexity, interdependence, and systemic risks are extraordinary. An MPA or graduate certificate in public affairs prepares SPEA graduates to confront the challenges of tomorrow with the knowledge and skills to solve problems and lead. Our graduates are using what they know across all sectors of society—public, nonprofit, and private.Learn more out our degrees and certificates
Beth Gazley, director, Master of Public Affairs (MPA) Program and SPEA-Connect Online MPA Program, answers some common questions about SPEA Connect.
- Why does a top-ranked school like SPEA offer an online MPA and certificates?
We believe high-quality programs like ours should be available online. Professionals in public affairs and many other fields routinely turn to online education like SPEA’s because of its flexibility and rigor. We are fortunate that we are among the first schools to bring a quality curriculum and faculty together for students who might be unable to access our residential programs.
- What makes SPEA’s online programs noteworthy?
The programs are noteworthy for many reasons. Students interested in acquiring an internationally recognized degree or certificate can do so from anywhere in the world with SPEA Connect. Students have the latitude to construct a curriculum that meets their professional goals. Students will also become part of two networks of professionals, one united by the online experience and another, larger group with connections to SPEA. And, our distinguished faculty helps make all these other things possible.
- What kind of students do you attract?
Diversity is a hallmark of our online student body. We plan for cohorts of students across demographic and geographic spectrums. This diversity alone presents many opportunities for learning and networking. Our students do share some characteristics—among them experience, a clarity of purpose, and an interest in making a difference in their lives and the lives of others as a result of their SPEA education.
- What do students to gain from SPEA’s online programs?
The big-picture outcome for many students will be the doors their new degree can help them open as they build careers of increasing responsibility and challenge. Given their commitments to public service, students will take a great deal of satisfaction from mastering the knowledge and skills that permit them to better solve problems and lead their organizations.
- What are the courses and learning environment like?
Our courses are taught by our world-class faculty and experienced professionals who bring a wealth of knowledge to the virtual classroom. Students will typically complete a class over a 16-week semester. They will be able to complete a certificate in a year and the MPA in three years, but they will also have opportunities to move at a faster or slower pace to fit their personal situations.
- How do these programs fit into students’ daily lives?
At SPEA, we know from years of teaching working professionals that balancing work and education can be challenging. An advantage of online education is that students can better fit their course participation into their work and family lives. The format does not eliminate the need to invest time, but it makes the experience easier to manage.