The online master of public administration program within the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs ranked 15th nationally as the best value for that degree by Value Colleges.

Value Colleges ranked online master of public administration degree programs based on four criteria: U.S. News and World Report public affairs ranking, Niche student reviews, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System tuition rates and average alumni salary from College Scorecard. According to the Value Colleges website, the cross section of factors help prospective students choose a program based on quality, convenience, return on investment and impact on their career.

A degree in public administration includes the study of public policy in urban institutions, according to the CAPPA website. UTA’s master of public administration program has three degree routes that cater to a variety of students. It offers the on-campus program, an accelerated online program and the city cohort program.

“What’s really good about that particular rating is it does look at a number of factors,” said David Coursey, master of public administration program director and public affairs associate professor. “It looks at a number of productivity factors in the department.”

The accelerated online program is structured to make education available to potential students with busy lives, Coursey said.

Alumnus Julius Moss said during his time as a graduate student in the accelerated online program, he had more access to his professors compared to in-person courses with scheduled class times.

Moss said online programs and courses also increase access to higher education for marginalized groups because of their flexibility.

While the accelerated online master of public administration program is credited with the ranking, Coursey said all three degree programs contributed to the ranking. The accelerated online program uses most of the courses offered within the on-campus program and is taught by the same professors.

Lisa Sack, graduate student in the accelerated online program, said even though she prefers in-person classes, the online program exceeded her expectations.

“I’ve gotten a ton out of the program,” Sack said. “The fact that it’s so flexible and manageable while working full-time is obviously very helpful.”

Although the program is conducted online, Sack said she’s connected and maintained connections with other students from her online classes.

“We keep in touch, ask each other how we’re doing, how our classes are,” she said. “We stay connected.”


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