Online PhD in Public Administration

A PhD in public administration online program does a deep dive into the management tools used to effectively run communities. Convenient online courses first examine methods and policies that are currently in place to help communities address their needs. This could include classes in program planning, human resource management, and more. Then, research courses instruct how to test the effectiveness of these programs. In addition, students may be encouraged to construct their own research experiments to try out new public policies to aid certain groups. While students may be able to access to the majority of the classes online, they may also take advantage of hands-on research opportunities.

Online Public Administration Programs

A PhD in public administration online program may be one of the more popular offerings in this field. The program teaches techniques to manage community resources such as finances and employees. These methods could help students better focus towns’ and cities’ materials to address key areas of concern. In a PhD in public administration program, students could have the chance to study:
  • Program Planning & Evaluation
  • Public Organizations
  • Environmental Compliance
Some of these courses overlap with business degree classes. This is due to the fact that the PhD in public administration online program also uses business tactics to better oversee things like management efforts. For example, courses may stress business leadership tactics to help organize committees. In addition to the classes above, students may also study some of the following:
  • Human Resources Management
  • Administrative Law
  • Urban and Regional Planning
  • Public Budgeting
  • Public Affairs Research Methods

Areas of Specialization

Speaking of business, some schools may offer a “public administration specialization” as part of a PhD in business programs. Both programs may offer a similar curriculum. Check with potential schools for more information about their curriculum.

Length of Program

PhD in public administration online programs typically require students to complete around 60 credit hours. Knowing this, students could potentially earn an online PhD in public administration degree in 4 years.

Online Public Policy Programs

A PhD in public policy program covers how to shape policies or laws to better handle community resources. While the PhD in public administration program instructs on methods to manage parts within a community, the PhD in public policy is aimed at creating public systems that govern an entire community. Therefore, students may study current regulations that are in place, and then do some research to test the effectiveness of those same policies. Within a PhD in public policy online program, you could have the chance to further concentrate your studies. In these cases, you could focus your courses on a specific area of public policy. Classes in these subjects focus more on the unique challenges faced by specific communities, as well as methods in which people can overcome them. You could potentially pursue a concentration in some of the following fields:
  • Crime & Drug
  • Environment
  • Health
  • Urban
  • Emergency Services
  • Education
These are only a sample of concentrations you could pursue. Ask your intended school for more information about available degree options.Best Online PHDs in Public Administration

Online Government Policy Programs

A PhD in government policy online program may be similar to a political science degree. First, classes teach about governmental policies and legislative agencies. The goal of this is to highlight how overarching government decisions could potentially affect cities across the nation. In addition, courses may also address practices regarding international relations. This could include managing teams overseas or enhancing policies such as treaties. Much of the international curriculum revolves around conflict resolution and crisis management.

Online Labor & Industrial Relations Programs

Online PhD programs in labor and industrial relations are concerned with the interactions between companies and their employees. Courses may focus on some of the following points.
  • Creating a distinct and supportive company culture
  • Supporting workers’ morale
  • Recruiting & hiring competent workers
By splitting courses between company and employee assistance, labor relations programs could help enhance the day-to-day functions of the company. Classes could be further concentrated to include national and international working environments.


To graduate, many PhD in public administration online programs may require students to complete a dissertation. The dissertation usually includes students researching their preferred topic in public administration. Usually, schools might have students devote an entire semester to writing and researching their chosen topic.This could include evaluating the effectiveness of a new law or collecting data to demonstrate a recent trend. As part of this, they may also offer solutions and recommendations based on their data findings. Then, students present their findings in a formal paper. Students may also be required to present their findings to department faculty. It’s important for online students to know that they may be required to come onto campus to defend their dissertation. In some cases, the faculty may allow video conferences. Be sure to speak with your department about the dissertation process. Dissertation requirements may vary by institution.


Prospective students may be asked to provide a GPA of 3.0 or higher when applying to a PhD in public administration online program. Additionally, they may also be required to submit GRE scores. This may allow schools to judge your past academic performance. PhD programs are often rigorous, and faculty want to see if you’re up to the challenge. Also, you may be asked to submit a research essay outlining your intended research projects in the program. Usually, this could consist of a topic in your intended concentration. Doing this allows schools to assess if they have faculty to support your endeavors. Also, it could help you decide if a school has resources to help you follow your passion. It’s a great way for both you and the school to see if you’re a perfect fit for each other.

Why Earn Your PhD in Public Administration Online?

Many students who pursue a PhD in public administration online program may be concerned with missing out on the “traditional” campus experience. Or, more importantly, they may feel as if they are losing out on face-to-face interaction with professors and access to university facilities. But, many PhD in public administration online programs focus on bringing as much of the classroom to you as they’re able. This could include streaming lectures, providing digital class forums, and making library databases available to you. An online PhD in public administration might also be a good choice for you if you’re a current working professional. Depending on your career, your hours may conflict with typical class times. By taking your courses online, you could have the chance to log into classes as your busy work schedule allows. This could be a great way to work towards your professional and educational goals at the same time!

Potential Careers

Many students who earn a PhD in public administration degree online may decide to pursue a managerial position in their chosen concentration. For example, a student with a labor relations concentration might choose to pursue a career as a human resource manager. This position pulls from the same knowledge pool you probably have already studied during your degree program. For instance, you may be called upon to help companies recruit, interview, and hire new employees.i And, you may be responsible for overseeing those employees’ satisfaction with the company. HR managers earned a median salary of $104,440 in 2014. While this position may require entry-level applicants to have already earned a bachelors degree in a related field, employers may look for doctoral degrees for more advanced positions. This is just an example of managerial positions you could pursue with a PhD in public administration. For more information, speak with your university’s career center. offers 8 Online Public Administration & Policy Doctorate – 7 Degree Programs

Earning a PhD in public administration online degree could be a convenient way to better understand what goes into community planning. To continue your search for a perfect program, browse the list of programs on this page. To find out more about a program, click its link. This provides you with a brief description about the program. While you’re there, you could also request more information about a program. To further refine your list, you could also select your preferred degree specialty from the menus on this page. Good luck!
  • Northcentral University

  • Walden University

  • Liberty University Online

  • Saybrook University

  • Union Institute and University

  • University of La Verne

  • University of Nebraska at Omaha

  • American Global University