Cornell University

Graduate Programs

No particular major is necessary for admission to a graduate degree program in public service or government. Most schools seek to enroll students who demonstrate the potential to make contributions and have a commitment to public service. Applicants also can represent a wide spectrum of age and experience, extending beyond the recent college graduate, to include mid-career professionals and those returning to the workplace.

As you consider the various degree programs and career options that are possible for you in public service, remember that career counseling and advising are available to you through Cornell Career Services. Speak also with your faculty advisor and with faculty of related Cornell programs, such as the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA).


People who wish to pursue a career in public policy or management, or who aspire to leadership roles in the nonprofit or government sectors, generally obtain a Master of Public Policy (MPP), or a Master of Public Administration (MPA) that can include a concentration in Nonprofit Management. Though less common, there are several master's degrees that are similar, such as the Master of Arts in Public Management (MPM) and the Master of Arts of Nonprofit Management.

Many other graduate degrees can be valuable in the nonprofit and government sectors. The JD (law degree) or a Master of Business Administration (MBA), with a nonprofit management emphasis, are good examples.