Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy (MPA)

Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy (MPA) Website

Program Description

This innovative interdisciplinary program prepares you for a transformative public service career in any sector.

How will you be making your impact in public service in five or ten years? It's almost impossible to say. The boundaries between roles and sectors are blurring—to be effective, you'll need a broad education and a firm grasp of how skills and ideas translate in different real-world contexts. With NYU Wagner's interdisciplinary MPA-PNP coursework in finance, policy, and management, and NYC as your urban laboratory, you'll be prepared to address the most pressing issues of our time in the many fields, sectors, and policy arenas that your career will span.

Program Highlights

  • Engaged and influential faculty members who encourage you to test the skills and ideas you develop in the classroom against your real-world professional experiences—and vice versa.
  • Critical analytic skills and frameworks in management, finance, and policy that you'll need to successfully make an impact across sectors, fields, and policy arenas.
  • A powerful community whose members can connect you to key organizations, contacts, and career opportunities worldwide.
  • The option to pick electives by issue, as well as by specialization.
  • Flexibility for full- or part-time students, with options to switch between the two. Earn your degree in two years full-time, or 3-4 years part-time.


The Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy MPA offers the following specializations:

Advocacy and Political Action

The Advocacy and Political Action specialization prepares you to magnify your impact and create meaningful change in the civic engagement, political, and advocacy arenas. Whether your passion for social justice and human rights is in immigration, criminal justice, food security, the environment, or any other issue, you’ll need to expand your skillset and learn the strategies and tactics to successfully mobilize people, organizations, and systems.

You’ll jump right into studying advocacy and organizing, while building on your strong foundation in management, finance, and policy from your core coursework. You can develop deep knowledge in the specific issue area you most care about through a variety of electives, and understand how to apply your learnings to issue campaigns, grassroots organizing, lobbying, and political campaigns. You’ll hit the ground running, bringing your skills to the field through Advocacy Lab and Capstone—working with real-world organizations.

You’ll graduate prepared to organize members of your community, lead a nonprofit issue advocacy campaign, run for elected office, and be a catalyst for positive change around the world.

Financial Management and Public Finance

The Finance specialization prepares you for a career planning and managing organizational resources across the nonprofit, public, and private sectors. The program combines theory with skill-based tools and frameworks so that students graduate with the knowledge and experience that are prerequisites for a successful career.

In public service organizations, finance is practiced though both a management and policy lens. That's why in this specialization you’ll study the field of finance from both an internal managerial perspective (financial management) and an external policy perspective (public finance). Students interested in a deep dive into one or the other are encouraged to explore a focus area. You’ll learn an array of analytical tools: economics, budgeting, financial accounting, capital financing, investment management, debt management, and financial statement analysis. When you graduate, you'll be ready to fill a wide range of roles—our graduates are budget analysts, consultants, finance directors, grants managers, program auditors, hospital administrators, bond raters, and more.

International Development Policy and Management

A career in international development or other global fields requires a broad understanding of international institutions, economics and politics, but some people with specific interests or career aspirations may wish to gain a deeper understanding of particular sub-fields.  Accordingly, there are a number of relevant areas that Wagner offers greater depth in through regular course offerings, including economic growth and inequality, organizations and management in international contexts, international public and social finance, environment and sustainability, human rights and humanitarian aid, global health and food security, and global governance.  A few of these areas cover broad territory and are further organized into more refined clusters of courses.

Management and Leadership

The specialization in Management and Leadership gives you the practical knowledge and applied skills necessary to effectively lead and manage organizations from nonprofits and public agencies to global institutions and private corporations with a social mission.

Today's complex and interconnected world demands that public service leaders ignite innovative thinking, initiate transformational change, and drive collective action. From strategically positioning your organization to managing its day-to-day footprint, you’ll need a unique blend of both management and leadership skills to make an impact.

Public Policy Analysis

Which public policies are doing what they're designed to do, and which could do their job better? The Public Policy Analysis specialization gives you tools to make these evaluations and play a leading role in evaluating and creating policy that better serves the public good.   

You'll learn the analytical and quantitative skills you’ll need to create and assess policy responses to important public issues and urban problems. And you’ll graduate ready to address big questions: How can cities create and implement policies for growth and development? What are the next steps to solving global poverty? Which policies are most effective at minimizing racial disparities? How can education policy improve the performance and equity of US educational systems?

Social Impact, Innovation, and Investment

The Social Impact, Innovation, and Investment (SI3) specialization provides students with the training to practice across sectors (private, nonprofit and public) as agents of social change. By learning the language and tools of both business and policy, you will be able to innovate products, services, delivery systems, enterprises, and investment approaches necessary to improve lives and solve major domestic and global challenges. You will also be uniquely qualified to assess and measure the social impact that arises from these innovative approaches. Students in the specialization are provided a foundation with required courses traversing ideation, entrepreneurship, and social finance. 

Graduates will be prepared to enter the burgeoning social innovation sector as social entrepreneurs, impact investors, impact measurement specialists, corporate social responsibility managers, and a variety of consultant or for-profit and nonprofit management roles where the combined tools of seeking both financial return and social impact are becoming increasingly important.


Admission to the MPA program requires the following:

  • Online Application
  • Essays
  • Resume
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcripts
  • Interview (by invitation only)
  • Standardized Test Scores
  • Application Fee

See MPA Application Checklist for admission requirements and instructions specific to this program.

International Applicants should review the International Applicant Checklist for a complete and comprehensive list of application requirements and instructions.

Dual-Degree Options

You can earn the Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy MPA alongside a second NYU graduate degree in one of the dual-degree programs listed below. Please note that entry to a dual-degree program requires separate application and admission to each participating school.