4th in the nation for local government!

NIU's Master of Public Administration program ranks highly with U.S. News & World Report

U.S. News & World Report has named NIU's Master of Public Administration (MPA) program among the top five in the nation in the specialty field of local government management.

NIU's perennially ranked program—which produces about one-third of city managers in Illinois—jumped up two notches to No. 4 in the rankings, tied with the University of Southern California.

NIU was ranked ahead of programs at such schools as Indiana University (No. 10), Cleveland State (No. 13), the University of Illinois at Chicago (No. 14), the University of Nebraska (No. 15) and the University of Michigan (No. 19).

Additionally, NIU's MPA program was ranked No. 15 nationally in the specialty of public finance and budgeting and 37th in public management and leadership. All three of the NIU rankings were tops among public and private university programs in Illinois.

Fall 2017 class of NIU MPA studentsAlumni of NIU's program can be found throughout the Chicago area at the administrative helms of such cities as Addison, Bartlett, Carol Stream, Clarendon Hills, Deerfield, Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn, Highland Park, Hoffman Estates, Schaumburg, Tinley Park, Winnetka and Woodridge. They also hold key public-service posts across the country.

The MPA program has 95 percent job-placement record within six months of graduation. Professor Kurt Thurmaier, public administration chair, credits high quality faculty and an internship program that ensures students are well-prepared for the job market.

"We have the best MPA internship program in the world," he says.

Brandon Kowalke, 27, of Beach Park, will graduate from NIU with his MPA degree in May. He has interned for nearly two years with the City of Wheaton.

"The internship is an incredibly important piece of the program because it gives you a chance to apply what you've learned," said Kowalke, who recently won a prestigious Cookingham-Noll Management Fellowship with the City of Kansas City.

"Things like performance measurement and budgeting take on a whole new light in the classroom when you can relate them back to what's going on at work," he said.

NIU's MPA program will start a new chapter in its 55-year history this coming fall, with the launch of a fully online program. It is exclusively designed for employees working at least two years in local governments of all types.

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I researched a bunch of programs, and NIU had one of the longest and most upstanding reputations for Public Administration... It was a perfect fit.

— Juisell Lewis,
MPA degree graduate, May 2018