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.
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 scientists[i], future public and nonprofit leaders, or those who hope to teach[ii] political science. Have a busy or nontraditional schedule? You may even be able to pursue an MPA online!
Doctor of public administration programs iii– Earning 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 scientists[i], those who wish to conduct original research in their field[iii], postsecondary political science teachers[ii], 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
The PhD in Business Adminstration degree with a specialization in Public Administration focuses on research that correlates...
- Riverside, CARiverside, CA
California Baptist University
The most recognized degree in the public service field, an online Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree program increases not only your value within an organization, but the value you bring to society as a whole.
- West Long Branch, NJWest Long Branch, NJ
Monmouth's Public Service Communication Specialist certificate prepares you for community relations, advocacy, and social justice work in the public sector...
Want a career in management for a government, nonprofit or community organization? The public administration program can help you achieve just that.
Seton Hall University
The online M.P.A. from Seton Hall University provides the foundation students need to turn theory into practice as a leader or manager of non-profit or government organizations.
Johns Hopkins University
The Johns Hopkins MA in Public Management will empower you to become more strategic, and provide you with the fundamentals of public management: policy analysis and evaluation, financial management, economics and fiscal policy, and public policy.
- Bristol, RIBristol, RI
Roger Williams University
Offered online or in a hybrid model (online and on-ground) at our Providence Campus. Special tracks in Health Care Administration and Public Management.
Purdue University Global
Purdue Global’s Master of Public Administration could help you gain the edge to become more marketable and advance in a career in public service.* Career-driven curriculum is aimed at building your skills and knowledge in areas such as ethics and leader...
- Belmont, CABelmont, CA
Notre Dame de Namur University
The Master of Public Administration offered at Notre Dame de Namur University is offered on campus or 100% online. Additionally, the program has long been recognized for our faculty's dedication to preparing professionals to work effectively in manage...
Southern New Hampshire University
Combine a graduate certificate in Public Administration with your MBA. Students choosing the elective option for their MBA have the ability to take courses from the Public Administration graduate certificate as MBA electives.
Colorado Technical University
Interested in public administration and policy? Explore business management, finance, IT, marketing and more in Colorado Technical University’s Master of Science in Management with a concentration in Public Administration. Learn more...
- Fairfield, CTFairfield, CT
Sacred Heart University
The Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree at Sacred Heart University will provide you with the skills to thrive in the 21st century public and non-profit workplace.
Liberty University Online
Liberty University’s Master of Public Administration – Healthcare, 100% online program, prepares you to manage and deliver healthcare education, products and services to the public.
Develop professional competence in a world of rapid change with a Master of Arts in Organizational Management degree from Ashford University. Study organizational change, marketing, decision-making, strategic thinking, and innovation while learning t...
Sam Houston State University
Learn from professors who have real-world experience in public and nonprofit organization...
- San Luis Obispo, CASan Luis Obispo, CA
California State University, Cal Poly
The Master of Science in City and Regional Planning (MCRP) is an applied, comprehensive, and professionally-based program that is open to students with high standards of academic achievement who wish to pursue careers in city and regional planning.
- Hamden, CTHamden, CT
The master of science in public relations program offers students the opportunity to pursue an advanced degree in a highly competitive and growing field.
- South Orange, NJSouth Orange, NJ
Seton Hall University
The Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) degree offered by the Department of Political Science and Public Affairs serves students interested in careers in the public and nonprofit sectors.
- Victoria, BCVictoria, BC
University of Victoria
The School's current list of offerings include programs that are available to full time and part time students, such as the M.P.A. and Concurrent LL.B...
- Bozeman, MTBozeman, MT
Montana State University - Bozeman
- El Paso, TXEl Paso, TX
University of Texas at El Paso