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Difference Between MPP/MIA/MPA Programs and Career Prospects

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Hello all! 

There are many online posts on the difference between these three programs, but I'm more curious about all your opinions on the difference among all the MPP/MIA/MPA programs in general?

For admissions, seems like some MPA programs require more years of working experience, like HKS. Well, WWS is the opposite. 

For the courses,  MPP and MPA share very similar courses. Some MPP is more structured with mandatory courses. Also, maybe more workload and quant heavy. Whereas MPA has more of an emphasis on leadership and management? And MIA is more theoretical and qualitative? Just from my understanding, could be wrong or over-generalized. 

And I don't know much about career prospects, great if people can offer some insights?




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To me, it's just different names for the similar programs. Policy schools aren't standardized like, say, business or law schools where an MBA or JD is the universally recognized degree program. 

The one-year MPP at WWS is almost identical in its flexibility and entrance requirements as the MC/MPA at HKS; whereas MPP at HKS is a two-year program. So, don't read too much into the titles of the degree and choose a program that aligns with your learning priorities. 

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Guest ke7312

As a rule of thumb, it seems like Master of Public Administration programs are more specifically oriented towards jobs as an administrator whereas Master of Public Policy programs tend to be oriented more towards jobs as an analyst. (Obviously, a lot of jobs are a combination of both of those, but some jobs are specifically geared towards one or the other.) Master of Public Affairs programs seem to have a little of both. It seems like Public Administration is the best one if you want to head a government agency or start/run an NGO, Public Policy is best if you want to work at a think tank or conduct some type of policy research, and Public Affairs is somewhere in between. But the names might just be arbitrary, as @PaoloC said. there's clearly a ton of overlap between MPAdmin/MPP/MPAffairs programs, and there are probably plenty of exceptions to the above rule. MIA, I have no idea about.

Edited by ke7312
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