Online Government, Public Administration, and Public Policy Graduate Programs

Our local, state, federal, and international governmental systems can be quite complex. For communities to run smoothly and to successfully address dynamic social, economic, ...

and political issues, numerous people must work together efficiently and effectively. Governments and organizations impacted by government—such as non-governmental organizations, nonprofits, businesses, and social enterprises—rely on the knowledge and skills of professionals to navigate governments’ many twists, turns, and complexities and to cultivate success. Read below for more information on Online Government Graduate Programs.

Professionals might develop their advanced knowledge and skills in government and related areas through online government, public administration, and public policy graduate programs. By studying subjects such as history, political science, sociology, philosophy, and others, professionals may learn how to serve the public and work with governments in multiple capacities. They may develop their skills to act as public servants, navigate public policy, provide effective governance, administer programs and services, conduct research in the field, and otherwise contribute to the field.    

What Degrees in Public Policy, Public Administration, and Government, Might I Pursue Online?

Graduate certificate, master’s degree, and doctorate degree programs in government, public policy, and public administration are available online. For many students, online education makes pursuing an advanced certificate or degree convenient and accessible. Online programs typically enable students to access coursework at times convenient to them and to communicate with professors and classmates through digital interfaces. In many cases, students can access school and program resources—such as libraries, study groups, and advising appointments—online. Not to mention that online programs may enable students to attend the schools of their choice no matter where the school is located. Read on to learn more about your Online Government Graduate Programs options. 

Online Government, Public Administration, and Public Policy Master’s Programs

Master’s programs might be wonderful for professionals who want to develop advanced knowledge and skills or guide their careers in particular directions. There are many types of master’s degrees in public policy, public administration, and government. Four popular ones are the online Master of Public Policy, the Master of Science (M.S.), the Master of Arts (M.A.), and the Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.). M.S. and M.A. programs typically emphasize public policy, public administration, or an area of government such as diplomacy, homeland security, political science, governmental management, governmental leadership, or international governance. M.P.P. and M.P.A. programs typically emphasize policy and administration but may also emphasize a subtopic of either one.

Online M.S., M.A., M.P.P., and M.P.A. programs commonly require two years of fulltime study. Some Online Government Graduate Programs might offer part-time or accelerated options. In their online master’s degree programs, students commonly complete core and elective coursework and conclude their programs by writing a thesis, taking a comprehensive exam, doing an internship, or doing a capstone project. Of course every program is different, so be sure to contact your preferred schools for specifics.

Online Government, Public Administration, and Public Policy Doctoral Programs

Two popular online government, public administration, and public policy doctoral programs include the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and the Doctor of Public Administration (D.P.A.). The Ph.D. might be in public policy, public administration, or an area of government such as health policy, political economy, or justice administration. The D.P.A. might focus solely on public administration or delve into other areas of government such as public policy or politics. 

Students typically earn a Ph.D. or D.P.A. over the course of four to six years of fulltime study.  Doctoral programs commonly include core and elective coursework and conclude with students writing and defending a dissertation, taking a comprehensive exam, doing an internship, student teaching, or working as a research assistant. Many doctoral programs in government, public policy, and public administration are interdisciplinary and research-intensive. They may be a great option for professionals who want to develop highly specialized knowledge in a particular area of government or skills in conducting research and analyzing data.

Online Government, Public Administration, and Public Policy Graduate Certificate Programs

Over the course of six months to one year, students in online graduate certificate programs typically complete four to six courses that cover key theories, principles, and applications in government, public administration, and public policy. In some programs, students might also learn about specific topics such as diplomacy, political economy, or international governance. Students can typically access these online programs from the comfort of their own desks and without having to drive to campus or attend class at regular times. This may make earning a certificate to enhance an existing degree or career quite convenient.  

What Might I Study If I Pursue a Graduate-Level Government, Public Policy, or Public Administration Degree or Certificate Online?

If you pursue a graduate certificate in government, public policy, or public administration online, you’ll likely study a specific area of government (such as political economy, justice administration, or homeland security), or government, public administration, and public policy’s key concepts, theories, and applications. Some examples of topics you might study include public policy and administration foundations, strategic management, elections, governmental leadership, intergovernmental relations, international affairs, and public affairs.   

If you engage in an M.A., M.S., M.P.A, or M.P.P. graduate program online, you’ll likely study foundational areas of public policy, administration, and affairs as well as subjects such as governance, economics, ethics, management, leadership, negotiations, politics, political theory, and quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. Some specific topics you might study as part as your core curriculum include:  

  • Financial management
  • Program evaluation
  • Community planning
  • Decision analysis, modeling, and quantitative methods
  • Homeland security
  • Diplomacy
  • Politics
  • Elections

You might also pursue a concentration or specialization in your online M.A., M.S., M.P.P., or M.P.A. degree programs. Some common areas of concentration and specialization include

  • Business and governmental policy
  • Politics and political theory
  • Democracy
  • Governmental and other institutions
  • International affairs
  • Political economy
  • Social policy
  • Urban policy
  • Local government
  • Nonprofit management
  • Health
  • Public finance

Some Online Government Graduate Programs may allow you to pursue a “dual degree” and combine your online master’s of public policy, public administration, or government with a master’s program in another area such as management, social work, nonprofit administration, or law. You might also be able to take classes through another online program as part of a multi-school partnership. Check with your preferred schools to see what options might be available.

If you pursue your D.P.A. or Ph.D. online, you’ll likely study many of the same subjects as you would in a master’s program but in greater depth and breadth. You might also study micro- and macro-economics and study research methodologies and evaluation techniques in great depth.

In your doctorate program, you’ll likely also pursue a concentration or specialization. Some common areas in which to do so include healthcare administration, program administration, administration of justice, social policy, globalization policy, health policy, and environmental policy. Through the research you conduct for your dissertation, you might delve into one of these or another area in great depth.    

How Can I Find Public Policy, Public Administration, or Online Government Graduate Programs?

If you want to earn a graduate degree in public policy, public administration, or government, you can begin your journey here! Just below you’ll see a list of online certificate, master’s degree, and doctorate degree programs in various areas of government. Alternatively, if you already know what type of degree or certificate you want to earn, you can refine your Online Government Graduate Programs search and browse by program level (certificate, master’s degree, or doctorate degree). Good luck on your Online Government Graduate Programs search!