MPA vs. MPP Degrees: 5 Core Differences

There is a lot of confusion surrounding a Masters of Public Administration degree and a Masters in Public Policy degree. On the outside, both degrees appear interrelated and there is very little that differentiates them from one another. While these two degrees might appear similar they have dramatic differences that set them apart from one another. The following five items are major differences between a MPA degree and a MPP degree.

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#1 MPP is Research Intensive

A Masters in Public Policy tends to focus more upon the research that is required to make public policies than implementing them. People who hold an MPP degree will conduct extensive research that allows them to create programs and policies that are used in the public sector. It is up to a person who holds a MPA degree to implement these polices and make sure people are following them.

#2 MPA Creates Programs and Implements Them in the Public Sector

People who have successfully completed an MPA program will take the information that is processed by those with an MPP degree and use it to create various successful programs. They do not have to analyze the data or determine the impact of might happen by implementing such a program as that is reserved for those with an MPP degree.

#3 MPP Degrees are Academic Heavy

Masters in Public Policy degrees are considered very academic heavy degrees. Academic heavy degrees require a lot of studying, classroom time, and learning to analyze data. People who hold an MPP degree must understand the basics of microeconomics and be able to make predictions about what might or might not happen financially and socially should certain programs be implemented and used.

#4 MPA Degrees Involve Social Interaction and Group Management

Implementing programs and operating programs on an executive level requires interaction between various groups of people. People pursuing a degree in Public Administration like communicating with people, wish to achieve a supervisory role, and have the ability to dictate and manage groups of people.

#5 MPA Degrees Involve Developing Leadership Skills

A difference between the MPA and MPP degrees is that an MPA degree’s curriculum will involve classes in developing leadership skills. Leadership skills are important for a Masters of Public Administration because individuals will be leading and managing large groups of people. A Masters in Public Policy has a focus on analyzing data and interpreting it, therefore leadership skills are not relied upon as heavily.

There are very few differences between a MPP degree and a MPA degree. One degree relies upon analyzing and interpreting data, while the other takes that information and implements it by managing programs that are used in the public sector.

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