Public Affairs: Online Master’s Degree

I think there’s a fear and maybe a misconception that an online program leaves students very isolated and I can tell you that that’s not case in our program at all. The Masters of Public Affairs program is a program that focuses on public affairs and public administration. Our online program is part of our mid-career program, so this is a program designed for individuals with three to five years of work experience. Students come to this program from a variety of backgrounds. Currently, I am a middle school choral director for Columbia Public Schools. I am a police officer for the University of Missouri. I have been in the nonprofit world for about the past eight years. Students might choose to focus on public management in seeking jobs in the public sector, local government and state government. It was an opportunity for me to step outside of the music education world, and to step into a world of public policy and understand how music education is legislated, how education is legislated, and how communities are formed. We also have students in law enforcement and the military and other diverse backgrounds. As a young officer, we just kind of think about going out in society and helping with problems but we don’t really think about how that works in the political realm. The program has really helped me to understand kind of where I fit in, in the bigger picture. With our faculty teaching our courses, we have a combination of traditional professors within the Truman School of Public Affairs as well as practitioners in the field. So particularly with working individuals, we think it’s very important for students to get that hands-on understanding of what’s currently happening in the field as well as a more traditional academic point of view. They really understand that we’ve spent many years in different fields and we have different backgrounds so a lot of the assignments that we’re given are encouraged to share our experiences and to kind of build on each other’s skill sets a little bit. Students can apply the skills learned within this program in such a broad array of careers and settings that it really does provide them a great background. As I was reading through it, as we were talking about it, it applied to a situation that I was dealing with. I feel one hundred percent prepared for the world of public affairs right now.

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