District of Columbia Government, Public Administration, and Public Policy Graduate Programs

Whether at the local, state, federal, or international level, ours is a complex government. Countless people work together to provide services, manage communities, address complex social, economic, and political problems, and provide concrete solutions. Because of its complexity, government depends on professionals who have knowledge, skills, and aptitudes in public service, public affairs, and other areas critical to governmental success. Keep reading for more information on Government Graduate Programs

Government, public administration, and public policy graduate programs may help professionals develop their abilities to contribute to governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, nonprofits, social enterprises, private businesses, and other organizations through advanced and interdisciplinary curricula. Through their graduate programs, students commonly learn how to act as public servants, provide effective governance, administer programs and services, navigate public policy, conduct research in the field, and more. Learn more about graduate programs in government, public administration, and public policy below.    

What Government, Public Administration, and Public Policy Graduate Degrees and Certificates Might I Pursue?

There are numerous graduate programs in public policy, public administration, and government through which you can pursue a certificate, master’s degree, or doctorate degree in a variety of topics. You may find these graduate programs in on-campus, online, and in hybrid formats. Read on to learn more about your Government Graduate Programs options.

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

There are several types of master’s degrees in public policy, public administration, and government. Four common ones are the Master of Arts (M.A.), the Master of Science (M.S.), the Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.), and the Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.). Any of these degree programs might focus on one or a number of areas of government such as administration, public policy, public affairs, homeland security, diplomacy, politics, governmental management, governmental leadership, and others.

Students typically complete M.A., M.S., M.P.A., and M.P.P. graduate programs through two years of fulltime study. Students commonly complete core coursework and choose a concentration or elective coursework to specialize their knowledge. Evening and weekend courses, online courses, and part-time options might be available for students who work fulltime or depend upon flexible scheduling or distance education. To earn a master’s degree in public policy, students might have to write and defend a thesis, take a comprehensive exam, do an internship, or complete a capstone project in addition to completing coursework. Requirements like these depend, of course, on the program so be sure to check with the schools that interest you most.

Government, Public Administration, and Public Policy Doctoral Programs

There are also numerous types of government, public administration, and public policy doctoral programs. Some popular degree programs include the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in public policy, public administration, or another area of government such as political economy, health policy, or social policy. Another popular degree program is the Doctor of Public Administration (D.P.A.).

Students typically pursue a D.P.A. or a Ph.D. in public administration, public policy, or another area of government over the course of four to six years of fulltime study. They commonly complete core and elective coursework and classes designed to learn how to research and write a dissertation. In addition to doing a dissertation, students might have to take a comprehensive exam, do an internship, do student teaching, or work as a research assistant to conclude their programs. Most doctorate programs are research-intensive. The specific requirements of a doctorate program depend, of course, on the program.

Government, Public Administration, and Public Policy Graduate Certificate Programs

Graduate certificate programs typically include four to six courses in subjects that give students basic theoretical and practical knowledge of government, public administration, public policy, and other related areas. Students typically pursue a graduate certificate over the course of six months to one year of fulltime study (which, in the case of a certificate program, might mean two to three classes per semester). Programs like these are typically designed to enhance students’ existing bachelor’s degrees or give them some knowledge in an area of personal or professional interest. 

What Might I Study in a Government, Public Administration, or Public Policy Graduate Program?

In graduate certificate programs in government, public administration, and public policy, you’ll typically study foundational theories, concepts, and applications in public policy, administration, and governance or in areas of public policy, administration, or governance (such as homeland security, justice administration, or diplomacy). Some common core subjects in certificate programs include foundations of public administration or policy, strategic management, intergovernmental relations, the public sector, and economics.

In M.A., M.S., M.P.P, and M.P.A. programs, you’ll typically study subjects that help you develop a broad perspective of government or an area of government. Some subjects you might study include:

  • Economics
  • Ethics
  • Management and leadership
  • Negotiations
  • Politics
  • Public policy
  • Public administration
  • Quantitative and qualitative research methodologies
  • City, country, state, and federal governance
  • Political theory

Depending on your Government Graduate Programs, you might do advanced core coursework in subjects such as public administration (including financial management, program evaluation, community planning, and elections) public policy (including decision analysis, modeling, and quantitative methods), homeland security, diplomacy, or other subjects central to the program.  

As you’re pursuing your M.A., M.S., M.P.P., or M.P.A. degree, you might have the option to concentrate or specialize your studies in a particular area as well. Some examples of areas for concentration and specialization include business and government policy, democracy, politics, institutions, international affairs, political economy, social policy, urban policy, local government, nonprofit management, health, and public finance.

In many master’s degree programs, students can pursue a dual degree and combine their program in public policy, public administration, or government with one in an area such as social work, nonprofit management, law, and management. Check with your preferred school to learn more about your options.

Finally, in D.P.A. and Ph.D. programs in public policy, public administration, and government, you might study subjects similar to those in a master’s degree program but in greater depth and breadth. You might also study subjects such as micro- or macro-economics, specific areas of public administration and policy (many times through independent research that culminates in a dissertation), and advanced courses in evaluation techniques and research methodologies.

Students in doctorate programs might have the option to concentrate or specialize their knowledge in areas such as healthcare administration, program administration, administration of justice, and areas of policy such as social, globalization, health, and environmental policy. 

Government Graduate Programs​: What’s My Next Step?

You can begin your search for government, public administration, and public policy graduate programs now. Below you’ll find several options for programs ranging from graduate certificates in public administration to Ph.D. programs in public policy. You can also refine your Government Graduate Programs search using our search tool on the left. There you can browse by program level (certificate, master’s, or doctorate), format (hybrid, online, or campus), or location (city, state, and country). Who knows? You just might find perfect Government Graduate Programs for you in government, public policy, or public administration. Good luck! 

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