SPEA to offer Master of Public Affairs degree


The IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs is launching a Master of Public Affairs degree through SPEA Connect, an online initiative between IU Bloomington and IU-Purdue University Indianapolis. The degree will allow off-campus students to earn a degree without having to relocate.

The online degree, approved in early June by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, will be marketed to students looking to continue their careers while learning new skills and furthering their education.

The current MPA program has an applied focus that teaches students from an interdisciplinary perspective. Students are taught by faculty members with backgrounds in political science, economics, policy analysis, management science, law, international affairs, environmental policy and other significant public policy areas. The online curricula will follow a similar program.

“Online education enables SPEA to effectively reach working professionals and allows us to help fill a critical need in their professional development and careers,” SPEA Dean John D. Graham said in a press release. “Our MPA program produces graduates with strong problem-solving and analytical skills and is additionally coupled with a sound interdisciplinary approach. Our online MPA students will meet the same standards for quality and academic rigor as their on-campus peers.”

The initiative will make the MPA program at SPEA Connect the highest-ranked master’s program to make its degree completely available in an online format. In 2011, SPEA’s graduate programs were ranked second in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

“We believe our online MPA is an ideal opportunity for mid-career professionals, whether they are located in Washington, D.C., or Kinshasa, Congo, to further their knowledge and career prospects without having to leave their families and jobs,” said James Perry, distinguished professor at SPEA, in a press release.

Perry is the director of online education at SPEA and helped design and deliver the online curricula.

David Reingold, executive associate dean of SPEA, said that both the online initiative and tuition are competitive with the current campus degree.

“As a top-ranked public affairs program, SPEA is highly sensitive to the potential debt burden that graduate education can bring, and SPEA Connect’s tuition levels have been set to reflect the public nature of our school,” Reingold said in a press release.

In addition to the online MPA degree program, SPEA Connect also allows students the opportunity to pursue online graduate certificates in public and nonprofit management.

According to a June press release, SPEA Connect also plans to offer an online graduate certificate in public budgeting and financial management in the near

— Nona Tepper

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