Even a very focused search for degree programs is likely to turn up several possibilities. Here are some additional questions to use for comparing among options.
What type of work would you like to do after school? Public sector, non-profit sector, private sector? Research, advocacy, program implementation? Domestic or international? If government, federal, state or local? Is there a particular issue you are interested in such as social policy, children, environment, health, or education?
What type of location would best suit or interest you? Urban, rural, suburban? East coast, west coast, midwest, south? Does the size of the program or university matter? MPA/MPP programs range in enrollment from 15 students to over 500.
Are you interested in ultimately obtaining a joint degree? Possible joint degrees include: law, public health, environmental science, journalism, urban planning, arts administration, etc. Are you interested in ultimately pursuing a Ph.D.?
What can you afford? How will you finance your education? Loans, grants, savings? Does the cost of living in the area around the school matter to you? Factors that influence program costs include whether a school at a public or private university, the availability of financial aid, and the duration of a program.
What degrees does the program offer? Is the program full-time or part-time? How long does it typically take to complete the degree? Are classes mostly offered during the day or evening or mixed? Has the program experienced any changes recently in mission, curriculum, faculty, or deans? Does the curriculum emphasize working for policy clients or is it focused more on classroom exercises? Can you take classes outside of the school? What is the balance in the curriculum between policy analysis, management, and leadership? Are there elements related to advocacy and technical specialization?
Does the program have a career placement office? What types of jobs do graduates enter? Does the school have a list where students are placed or interned? Is an internship required? Does the program let/encourage students work? How organized is the school's alumnae network?
How much financial aid is available? What is the cost of living in the area? What type of support does the school provide to students?
What is considered a successful application? How much emphasis is placed on work or other experience? What factors are used in rating applicants? What are the average standardized test scores for successful applicants?