Evergreen Degree Spotlight: Master of Public Administration

March 22, 2020
Student in graduation cap and gown stands at podium at the  2019 MPA commencement

A Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from The Evergreen State College can help you on the path to a fulfilling career in nonprofit and public management that promotes positive change in the world. Evergreen’s MPA program emphasizes a social justice approach to governing through its three main concentration areas. Check out some examples of careers you can pursue with this degree:

Public and Nonprofit Administration Concentration

The public and nonprofit administration track of Evergreen’s MPA program will prepare you to either start your own nonprofit or to help existing organizations reach their goals. This concentration is great if you’re looking to take on a leadership role, like the co-leaders of Olympia’s youth-support nonprofit TOGETHER!, who both graduated from the program. MPA graduates from this concentration at Evergreen have gone on to careers such as:

  • Capital campaign manager: This role develops fundraising strategies to support the work of nonprofit organizations. They are crucial for many nonprofits working for the public good.
  • Education and outreach specialist: People in this role explain what a government agency does and advocate for that work to the public. After all, if the public doesn’t understand why your work is important, they’re less likely to support it.
  • Executive director: Executive directors lead and manage nonprofits. Gaining leadership skills from a program like Evergreen’s can be invaluable in this line of work.

Policy Concentration

Government agencies and nonprofits need lots of people to both analyze the work that’s happening and to suggest how things might happen differently. If you enjoy measuring the impacts of policies and advocating for your organization to decision makers, this is the concentration for you. For example, 2018 graduate Brandon Anderson was recently hired as the legislative director for the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace. MPA graduates from this concentration at Evergreen have gone on to careers such as:

  • Legislative analyst: In this role, you’ll analyze proposed policies to evaluate the impact they may have on the state and the community. This can be crucial to help avoid poor decisions that would affect a lot of people.
  • Lobbyist: Lobbyists advocate for the interests of an organization to state and local governments. Getting that kind of support can offer security for your organization and reinforce the important work it’s doing.
  • Senior policy analyst: These people analyze the nature and causes of public problems in order to identify policy solutions. They’re essential to guiding decision makers down the right path.

Tribal Governance Concentration

Evergreen is the only school in the country that offers a tribal governance concentration for their MPA program. By pursuing this track, you’ll prepare yourself to work with tribal nations as well as state and federal government agencies. If you want to help tribal governments with the important issues they face, this concentration will give you the tools you need. Current MPA student Mary Wahpat even became an associate judge while she was sitting in class. MPA graduates from this concentration at Evergreen have gone on to careers such as:

    • Tribal council member: Council members serve tribal members as a part of the tribe’s governing council. They are part of the decision-making body for Native American tribes.
    • Tribal liaison: People in this role work with the state or local government and collaborate with tribal officials to solve a range of problems. Issues like land rights, hunting, fishing, and more are front-and-center for them.
    • Tribal court judge: Tribal court judges adjudicate cases that come before the tribal court and manage judicial staff. These judges deal specifically with matters within the tribal nation.

    These are just some examples of where you could land with your MPA degree. Evergreen’s MPA program is an affordable option, especially if you’re looking to switch careers. Financial aid options for Master’s degrees are available.

    Applications for Evergreen’s MPA program are open now. The deadline to apply is Monday, April 27.

    at MPA 2019 graduation, student is given her hood while holding her two children
    With all classes meeting in the evenings or on weekends, Evergreen’s MPA program is a convenient and flexible option for working adults.