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International student, is MPP/MPA worth it?


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Hi all, I am an international student and applied for MPP & MPA (Masters Public Policy / Masters Public Administration) in USA. These programs are at a renowned university and the issue is not the decision between these two but rather the job options as a foreign student.


These two degrees land jobs in government sector mostly. Being an non-US citizen I would not be able to go for federal jobs (obviously) but what about state or local level of governemnt, or they are for citizens only as well?


Can I work in non-profit, private, healthcare sectors? I would need to get a reasonably good enough job to pay off my student loan.


Any tips/advice/suggestions welcome.

Edited by onyx1122
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey good question. I'm facing the same dilemma myself. 

I talked with a few current(international students) and they have shared these very concerns. 

So in my opinion, look at your options in terms of : 

a) Location of the course ~ closer to DC, NYU would be good as it will help you in networking

B) Look at Linkedin profiles of current Alums : Where do they land up, contact them

c) Cost : Look at scholarship options.


A lot many students also take up a private sector job immediately after graduating(to fend off the loan) & then plan to come back to the public sector. I don really know how that would work but this is something I heard current students telling. 


Make a good choice. 

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I think it is a bad idea. Most people I have met have returned to Mexico/home countries after getting their MPP/MPA degrees from renowned universities. Also, why do you want to get government job in a country where you are not from? Government jobs are, in general, poorly paid compared to the private sector. Also, depending on the school, many MPP/MPA offer limited skills to sell in the labor market. You could get an MA in Economics and work in policy-related issues.


If your goal is to stay in the United States, then you should pick either a STEM degree (if you are not from NAFTA area) or something that is marketable in the private sector (economics, finance, etc.).

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