United States Graduate Schools For Public Administration

Some of the things students examine in Public Administration Graduate Schools include policy, economics, tactical planning, and management. Most public administration graduate programs take a close look at what leaders need to know and be able to do in public, governmental and nonprofit sector careers. Graduates may take away sharp decision skills that could make a positive impact on modern problems faced at different levels of the community.

GradSchools.com Top Schools for Campus Public Administration Degrees*

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Total Enrollments - 758+
Student / Teacher Ratio - 11:1
Start Date: 01/07/2019
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Format / Location - Online
Total Enrollments - 4,360+
Student / Teacher Ratio - 27:1
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Public Administration Graduate Schools: Overview

Public Administration Graduate Schools may offer certificates and confer degrees such as the MPA (Master of Public Administration) and DPA (Doctor of Public Administration). Programs may be housed in a university’s business, public affairs, government or justice school, so make sure to review course lists and program objectives.

Masters in Public Administration programs sometimes target mid-career students though many programs are built for those who want to launch a career. A full-time student without work experience might complete their degree in about two years.

Doctoral degrees in Public Administration generally build on a prior graduate degree and might entail a devoted curiosity to research. Full-time students who enter with a masters degree may complete their degree in about four years.

Public Administration Graduate Schools & Programs

3 Courses You Might Take as a Public Administration Grad Student

One of the unique qualities of each public administration grad school is its course list. We have narrowed down three courses that students may come across. Use them as examples, then peer inside the curricula of the schools on your list or ask them for this information.

Foundations of Public Administration: Students might look at the major questions, answers and concerns that frame the discipline today and may examine theories from political, social and cultural contexts

Strategic Management in the Public Sector: Coursework might explore modern techniques and tools for using strategic management to handle current governmental issues

Public Sector Financial Analysis: May stretch the analytical mind with forecasting methods, performance measurement, activity-based costing and expenditure analysis techniques

1 - MPA- Master of Public Administration

An MPA is a professional masters degree. It is often thought of as the public-sector equivalent to the Master of Business Administration (MBA) in that it aims to ready students with action-oriented leadership skills for modern times where leadership needs to be fiscally responsible and respectful of its diverse citizens.

DID YOU KNOW?

In 2015-16 1,065 Doctorate Degrees in Public Administration were awarded. In the same period 46,751 people were awarded Masters Degrees in Public Administration.

Topics MPA Students Might Learn

Most MPA programs highlight accountability, transparency, ethics, privacy and community involvement. In tandem, students typically take courses that relate to the nitty-gritty of strategy and smart management when it comes to finance, public policy, governance and human resources. See a sample MPA course list below.

  • Principles of Public Administration
  • Public Sector and Non-Profit Organization Budget Processes
  • Human Resource Management for Public and Non-Profit Organizations
  • Strategic Communications
  • Data Analytics and IT
  • Human Diversity and Social Justice
  • Public Policy and Law

MPA Requirements (General)

When it comes to MPA degree requirements, students may need to complete about 36 – 39 credit hours. This usually includes a solid core sequence which all participants take as well as a student-selected area of emphasis, research/internship and capstone. Thus, the MPA may be both flexible and highly-focused on all aspects of public management.

Graduates might also take away the ability to take part in and contribute to the policy process. Certain courses may be helpful to learn how to analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems, and make decisions. Others may improve one’s ability to communicate and interact with diverse groups and in diverse settings.

Apply to MPA Schools

Want to apply to MPA Schools? Here are several things an applicant might need – along with completed form and fee.

  • Bachelor's degree from any field from an accredited institution
  • Personal statement
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Professional resume

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The MPA prepares professionals to work effectively in management within public, non-profit, and service-related organizations
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Pursue an MPA Degree in One of These Concentrations

Most Public Administration Graduate Schools offer areas of emphasis though these vary from place to place. We examine several possible choices below. Pursue an MPA in an area that lines up with professional plans and personal interests.

  • Nonprofit Management – Explore elements such as fundraising and finance
  • Emergency Management – Understand the specifics of leadership, risk and disaster response
  • Global Affairs – Examine the structures, policies and management issues in international relations
  • Public Policy – Add an element of analysis to assess problems and craft solutions
  • Public Management – Study how to assess an organization’s performance and employee relations
  • Health Care Management – Look more deeply into

In some schools, each emphasis may entail about four courses.

2 - DPA - Doctor of Public Administration

A Doctor of Public Administration (DPA) is a terminal degree for practitioners. The themes of analysis, strategy, leadership and research methods are central to many DPA degree course plans.

DPA programs may ask students to evaluate modern theories and practices in public administration. Students usually conduct their own research and may work to develop an action-oriented approach to resolve a gap in the field. This may be presented in a final dissertation.

Topics DPA Students Might Learn

In terms of courses, doctoral students might hone their leadership style as they study topics such as public-sector policy analysis and various administrative processes. Some examples of topics are listed below. Make sure to scan course lists to see other requirements.

  • Public Administration Strategic Accounting & Finance
  • Operational Strategic Management and Planning
  • Ethics in the Public Sector
  • Organizational Leadership and Theory
  • Survey of Research Methods
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis

DPA courses may be delivered in-person as seminars with small class sizes to facilitate student-faculty interactions. To accommodate students' busy schedules, some graduate schools for Public Administration might offer courses on a cycle and/or on weekends.

While it is possible for this to vary, a Doctor of Public Administration could entail about 48 credits. The curriculum may largely be geared to at-work public administration professionals, senior-level public managers and prospective faculty.

Apply to DPA Schools

Want to apply to a DPA Program? Applicants may need to meet specific requirements, set by individual schools per their standards. The minimum educational requirement is a bachelors degree and a master's degree, from a regionally accredited college or university. Some schools may specify a background in a major such as public administration, public affairs, policy analysis, public health or nonprofit management.

Alternatively, one may be able to substitute their years of significant public management or related work experience. If this sounds like you, there may be some coursework to make up and plan out. Applicants may need to send completed form and fee with the following material.

  • GRE Scores
  • Letters of Reference
  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae

Explore Degree Programs for Public Administration

3 - Graduate Certificate in Public Administration

Some Public Administration Graduate Schools may allow non-degree students to work towards a graduate certificate. A graduate certificate in public administration usually just targets a single theme – similar to a concentration in credit weight.

Students who want to build a fresh set of skills might find this useful, and it may be possible to transfer credit(s) towards a graduate degree later. These policies are set by individual schools as are admission requirements.

While not of the same academic weight, certificates entail a sequence of graduate-level courses which could provide both instruction and practical skills. For instance, students who want to understand persuasion and social influence might pursue a Certificate in Public Service Communication.

This type of program might ready graduates to create persuasive, effective, and ethical messages that reach diverse audiences in the nonprofit and public sectors. Graduates might take away a solid grasp of how to craft and deliver information in times of crisis or convey key points about new policies in the public sphere.

NASPAA Accreditation

Graduate schools for public administration may be regionally accredited. Regionally accredited Public Administration graduate schools may be members of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). NASPAA Accreditation is a peer review and quality assurance process for graduate-level, masters degree programs in public policy, affairs, and administration.

Why Pursue a Public Administration Graduate Degree on Campus?

Many Public Administration Graduate Schools aim to provide students with a personalized, practical, hands-on educational experience. Sometimes classes are described as ‘small’ which may mean students do not feel lost in the crowd, but rather encouraged to learn and grow.

There may be different levels of participation to look forward to both in and outside the classroom. In class, students might take part in team projects or learning experiences that add flavor to textbook theory. Outside of class, many universities offer robust co-curricular activities and student resources.

Plus, many of today’s universities strive to attract at-work professionals and may offer courses in the evenings and weekends. Interested searchers could look for a local university or narrow down a specific city and state to study public administration there.

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