How to Plan for Your Master’s of Public Administration Studies

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If you’re considering whether a Master’s of Public Administration is the best choice for the next step in your career, then you’re in the right place. We love enquiring minds at MANCOSA and understand that an important decision like this requires a lot of thought and consideration.

That’s why we’ve put this article together. Read on to learn what you can expect from a Master’s Degree and how you can prepare for a Master’s in Public Administration, specifically.


What is a Master’s Degree?

Let’s define what a Master’s Degree is and why this distinguished certification could be a great investment for you.


A Master’s Degree is an advanced qualification that acknowledges a high level of expertise and exceptional knowledge in a specific field of study. They are awarded by accredited institutions to individuals at the postgraduate level. Individuals are often transformed through the intensive independent learning and personal development required to complete a Master’s Degree.


What does a Master’s in Public Administration do?

A Master’s of Public Administration would enable you to gain a wealth of advanced knowledge and skills required to manage the inner workings of federal, state, or local government processes in the public and the non-government organisation (NGO) sectors.



What You Need to Know About a Master’s Degree?

It will be no surprise to learn that such an advanced certification requires a serious amount of work and financial investment. It’s not a decision to take lightly.


Let’s look at what you can expect when pursuing a Master’s of Public Administration so you can be sure that this is the best route for you.


What is an MPA good for?

A Master’s of Public Administration will blend a traditional Master’s level qualification with the practical skills needed to excel in various positions in public or nonprofit sector environments to address the needs of a population or community.


When considering a Master’s of Public Administration you need to ask yourself:

  • What do I wish to gain from this advanced degree?
  • Is this directly relevant to the career you want to go into?
  • Does this focus on something you’re really passionate about?


What is a MPA degree salary?

According to Payscale, the expected salary range for an individual with a Master’s in Public Administration South Africa is R145k – R384k. With the average salary being R251,356.


Of course, this range covers many roles, so let’s look specifically at a Project Manager with a Master’s of Public Administration. The expected salary range is R359k – R1m, with the average salary being R784,695.


How Difficult is a Master’s Degree?

Master’s degrees are challenging and generally more difficult than undergraduate programmes. They require a deep level of critical thinking, building on previously learned concepts. You’ll also be expected to complete a substantial amount of independent study.


This is why Admission requirements are stringent, requiring you to have completed a relevant Bachelor’s Degree or have appropriate professional experience.


How Heavy is the Workload of a Master’s Degree?

The workload of a Master’s of Public Administration will vary depending on whether you plan to study full time or part-time. Both options cover the same amount of content but over different periods.


Part-time Study

A part-time MPA typically takes two years to complete, which results in a less intensive academic experience. The key benefit of this option is the flexibility, which can be especially useful to Mature Students who are working alongside their studies. This can also be helpful if you have family commitments. Studying part-time can also spread the financial commitment, making the qualification more affordable.

Full-time Study

A full-time MPA usually takes one year to complete and provides greater opportunities to connect with lecturers, socialise and network with peers. It would require a larger proportion of your time every week compared with part-time, which means less opportunity to work or balance family requirements.

The MANCOSA MPA Programme Structure
The MANCOSA MPA Programme lasts for 1.5 years, with six modules covered in the first two semesters and one elective module plus a dissertation in the third semester.


What are the Admission Requirements for a Master’s Degree?

Minimum admission requirements for most MPA programmes is a relevant Bachelor of Honours Degree (often a 2.1 or above) or a relevant Postgraduate Diploma at NQF level 8.


There may also be an option for individuals over 30 to gain entry based on Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

Some postgraduate programmes may require you to have professional experience in the area you intend to specialise in.


How much does a Master’s Degree Cost?

Tuition Fees


There is no fixed fee for a Master’s Degree, so tuition fees can vary depending on the institution. The total cost of the MANCOSA MBA Master’s programme ranges between R73,000 and R83,780.

We have flexible payment schedules available to suit your financial situation.


How to Prepare for Your Master in Public Administration

By now you have a greater understanding of what a Master’s of Public Administration is and are in a better position to consider embarking on this challenging but rewarding academic journey.


You might be wondering how to best prepare yourself for what lies ahead. Below are some ideas to get you on the right track:

  • Get clear on your goals: Be sure about why you want to further your education in the Public Administration field.
  • Gain work experience: Some MPA courses will require you to have work experience in the field you wish to go into. LinkedIn can be a great tool to help you gain experience, start networking, and learn about job opportunities available to graduates.
  • Develop time management skills: You will be responsible for managing your time while studying, so practice self-discipline in advance to ensure you can juggle multiple life commitments alongside strict deadlines.
  • Get ahead on your reading: Keep up to date with the latest trends in the public administration space and subscribe to relevant journals or publications. Why not find out the reading list for your chosen MPA so you can get a head start?
  • Research further-education institutions: Speak with past graduates. What are other graduates saying about the MPA programme and the support provided? What insight do they have about the workload, the connections and career opportunities?


Register Your Interest for a Master’s in Public Administration

Deciding to further your education and advance your career can be both exciting and confusing. You want to be sure that you’re making the right decision, especially when such substantial time and financial commitments are required.


This article helped to remove some of the uncertainty by explaining what you can expect from a Master’s Degree, and how you can prepare for a Master’s in Public Administration.