Houston Public Administration Graduate Programs & Graduate Schools

Hoping to pursue a politically-impactful career path in the field of public administration? Then you may be asking a common question: “What is a great public administration graduate programs for me?” The answer may be different for everyone, but below, you’ll find helpful information to assist you in navigating various degree types and formats – like pursuing an MPA degree program, or earning a public administration certificate. It’s a good place to start if you want to learn more about potential paths that could help you pursue your career goals!

Who might pursue a public administration graduate program?

Depending on your professional ambitions, pursuing a graduate degree in public administration – like an MPA or a PhD in public administration – may be a rewarding move. Perhaps you are hoping to enhance your preparation for an existing career path, or pursue a completely new opportunity! Here are some stats on a couple of political science professions where earning a graduate degree may be recommended or required:

  • 17% of political scientists (like International Affairs Vice Presidents, State-Federal Relations Deputy Directors, and Technical Directors) said they needed to earn a master’s degree for their current roles.[i]
  • 78% of political scientists said they needed to earn a doctorate degree, like a PhD in public administration. i
  • 19% of postsecondary political science teachers (like Associate Professors of Political Science and Government Professors) earned a master’s degree for their current roles.[ii]
  • 74% of postsecondary political science teachers said they needed to earn a doctoral degree, and 7% pursued post-doctoral training. ii

Note: The typical entry level educational requirement for a political scientist is a master’s degree. The typical entry level education for a political science teacher at the postsecondary level is a PhD.[iv]

What public administration graduate degree programs might I consider?

It can be overwhelming to choose from the many types of programs that may be available – from graduate certificate programs to doctor of public administration programs. For a little guidance, check out the breakdown below:

Master’s in public administration[v]Often abbreviated as MPA, a master’s in public administration program may be a perfect path for those hoping to enhance their professional readiness in the field of political science. MPA programs may be multidisciplinary in nature, while potentially allowing students to focus on an area of interest – like public sector management. You may take courses in areas like program evaluation, policy formation, and statistics. And in addition to learning about public management and leadership, you may even study fascinating topics like philanthropy, nonprofit management, ethics, and other subjects critical to making a positive difference in the communities you hope to serve.

Who might earn an MPA? Political scientistsi, future public and nonprofit leaders, or those who hope to teachii political science. Have a busy or nontraditional schedule? You may even be able to pursue an MPA online!

Doctor of public administration programs iiiEarning a doctorate degree, such as a PhD in public administration, may be another path worth considering. These programs typically call for several years of study, in addition to researching and writing an original dissertation. Keep in mind that different types of doctoral programs may offer different approaches or areas of focus; for example, a DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) in Public Administration program may focus on the theory and practice of leadership in government, advocacy, and philanthropy, whereas a PhD in public administration may emphasize research. It all depends on the program!

Who might pursue doctor of public administration programs? Political scientistsi, those who wish to conduct original research in their fieldiii, postsecondary political science teachersii, or future administrative leaders. And pursuing a doctorate public administration online may be the perfect choice for those who work full-time or live far from campus.

Public administration certificate – Earning a graduate certificate could potentially be the perfect choice if you have already earned a graduate degree, or if you’re hoping to brush up on your professional knowledge. For example, you might explore areas like public sector service, nonprofit management, and others. Earning a public administration certificate is not the same as earning a degree; however, you may find you learn a lot, in addition to potentially updating your career readiness. 

Who might pursue a public administration certificate? That depends! Certificate programs may be of interest to professionals or future-professionals in public and nonprofit management, public-service organizations, and other areas. Can’t make it to campus? Pursuing a public administration certificate online may be the way to go!

Campus vs. online vs. hybrid learning

Choosing your Public Administration Graduate Programs format may depend on many factors:

  • How far you live from schools offering MPA, doctoral, or certificate programs in public administration
  • Whether you’re willing to relocate to pursue a graduate degree
  • Your child-care needs
  • Whether you work full time
  • Your schedule – for example, if you work long or nontraditional hours
  • Your learning style and preferences
  • Disabilities, or mobility considerations
  • And other needs or lifestyle factors

In short, it’s up to you to decide whether you prefer to study on campus, or whether online or hybrid learning could be a perfect choice. Online MPA programs and other potential options may make it possible to study at a university on the other side of the country, from the comfort of your home. And pursuing a doctorate public administration online just might make sense, given the amount of time you may spend on independent research! On the other hand, some students prefer traditional, campus-based learning, since it may afford more opportunities to be social and participate in campus events. Hybrid learning may feature the best of both worlds, potentially allowing students to take some or most courses online while also participating in residencies or on-campus courses.

Public Administration Graduate Programs: What’s my next step?

Gather information on Public Administration Graduate Programs you are interested in! You may want to evaluate Public Administration Graduate Programs based on criteria like academics, reputation, student outcomes, and school accreditation by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.[vi] Below, you’ll find some Public Administration Graduate Programs listings that may interest you. Use the left sidebar to sort by program type (masters, doctoral, certificate) and format (campus, online, hybrid) to find the programs that may fit your needs!


Sources: [i] onetonline.org/link/summary/19-3094.00 | [ii] onetonline.org/link/summary/25-1065.00 | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/political-scientists.htm#tab-1 | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm#tab-4 | [v] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/political-scientists.htm#tab-4 | [vi] studentaid.ed.gov/sa/prepare-for-college/choosing-schools/consider

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