MPA vs MBA – Which is right for you?

MPA or MBA? Three letters that add up to a big impact on your future. Which degree you pursue comes down to your career goals. Aurora University’s online Master of Business Administration program stresses critical business topics with courses in marketing, organizational behavior, leadership, finance and accounting. Our online Master of Public Administration program features coursework in community relations, budgeting, public policy and nonprofit management. Let’s explore these programs further.


MPA vs MBA Infographic | AU Online

Embed this Image On Your Site

Infographic Transcript

Everyone is familiar with an MBA, but what do you know about an MPA? Although there is a lot of overlapping coursework for these two degrees, the main difference is in the program focus, and which one you should pursue depends on your career goals. If you aspire to help others and have a vision for a better world, then a job in public service might be for you – let’s find out.

Start Your Degree this Summer and Save

Earn $500 toward your online degree with the Summer Savings Scholarship. The scholarship is available for select programs to students who enroll by May 6, 2019.

Learn More!

At a glance

Up to $75,000

Range of most MPA programs (1)

Over $60,000

Average cost of a two-year MBA program (5)

Both the MPA and MBA degrees at Aurora University Online average under $25,000


MPA graduates work in a variety of fields, including: (2)

Local governments                                         32%

Domestic or international nonprofits       27%

National government                                    11%


Job-placement rate for MBA students (6)



Both programs require a bachelor’s degree, any of which are applicable to an MPA or MBA. (3)


Common Courses Offered (9)

MPA Courses

  • Microeconomics
  • Budgeting/finance
  • Policy process and policy analysis
  • Ethics
  • Public management
  • Leadership

MBA Courses

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Human Resources
  • Operations
  • Microeconomics
  • Business law


Career options (4,7,8)


Public sector: City manager                         $87,052

Private sector: Financial manager             $70,333

Nonprofit: Research analyst                        $53,223


Management consultant                              $85,234

Marketing manager                                       $63,124

Financial adviser                                             $58,730


So which program is right for you?


  • You want to help people and make the world a better place.
  • You are interested in a career in government.
  • You might want to run for political office someday.


  • You are interested in owning your own business.
  • You like to solve complex problems.
  • You want flexibility in your career options.