graduateshotline logo - Home
Last Updated: May 20, 2021

Studying Public Administration in the US

Taking up a course in Public Administration is one of the pathways that let people serve communities for the betterment of the community and bringing positive changes to them. The courses in this field are designed to let the student micromanage systems in the different levels of the government and also in non-profit organizations to create a change in the world. It is one of those courses which provides the students a way of reaching out to the public, being a part of them, and solving their problems emphatically.

There is an increasing need for leaders in the public sector as approximately 550,000 federal employees prepare for retirement. This transition is energizing the already strong demand for trained public administration professionals in the nonprofit and nongovernmental sectors. This field of study is available both in the online format and on-campus format where the former is used mostly by experienced professionals to create a stronghold in their career through the addition of the degree and the latter is taken up by students after their high school.

In the year 2019, around 17,444 students graduated in the field and their average in-state public tuition amounts to $7,158 whereas their average out-of-state private tuition fee is estimated to be around $31,606 by Data USA. Though it is understood that one can possess necessary skills in the field without focusing on the course, having a degree is always considered to be a way of proving one’s competence.

Benefits of Studying Public Administration

Students who have graduated from the field of Public Administration will be able to work both in the public and private sectors and equally create an impact on the world around them. In the public sector, they will be able to work at the three different levels of the government which are federal, state, and local. They have to deal with the six different fields like human resources, organizational theory, statistics, budgeting, ethics, and policy analysis as a part of their study.

Irrespective of the level of degree the student holds, they will always be able to find careers in respectable positions of power. Their duty is to ensure the implementation of plans and policies and most of the time they will also be a major part of the law development. They might have to work on fields as different as environmental regulations or tax regulations but at the end of the day, they will be creating an impact through their actions.

Undergraduate Programs in Public Administration

While taking a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration, students have to ensure that the program they have chosen is either regionally accredited or nationally accredited. Regional accreditation comes from the 6 different organizations under the US Department of Education and the Council for High Education Accreditation whereas the national accreditation comes from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration. The six regional accreditation agencies are the MSCHE, NECHE, HLC, NWCCU, SACSCOC, and WSCUC.

The undergraduate program generally takes around 4 years to complete and requires 120 credits in all. The program often includes subjects from different disciplines that can aid them in the career of policy implementation like economics, sociology, political science, statistics, etc. People who have taken this degree will be able to become a Budget Analyst, Mayor, City Manager, Fundraising Manager, Development Worker, etc.

Courses Taught for BA in Public Administration/ BPA

The common courses that are provided to students during their undergraduate study in Public Administration are-

Graduate Programs in Public Administration

A Master’s Program in Public Administration focuses on public services and is the second step people take in order to climb up the tiers of government offices for better career options. People who have completed this degree will be able to work as managers and executives in their field of specialization, in public offices, in non-profit organizations, and also in non-governmental organizations.

Like the undergraduate course, it has a multidisciplinary approach and includes subjects from psychology to anthropology which can aid them in the different policy implementations they will have to eventually deal with. The course takes a total of 2 years to be completed.

Courses Taught for MA in Public Administration/ MPA

The core courses that are generally taught for a Master’s program in Public Administration are-

Concentrations offered in Public Administration

Students are free to choose a field of their choice during their Master’s degree which will be seen as their specialization. They will be able to work in jobs related to this field and excel in it due to the specific training they receive from the course. It is important that students cross check with the universities about the different concentrations they offer since not all courses will be offered in all universities. The different concentrations that are offered in the field are-

Doctoral Programs in Public Administration

The terminal degree in Public Administration is called a D.P.A. and it is identified to be an equivalent to a Ph.D. by the US Department of Education and the US National Science Foundation. The course has a theoretical as well as a practical dimension to it and it requires the student to submit a dissertation for the course to be completed.

Having a DPA provides the candidates with the opportunity of taking up senior level positions at governmental organizations. The course structure involves coursework combined with examinations after which students will be required to specialize in any particular field of study. These fields of study are-

Career Opportunities after Public Administration

Out of the different career opportunities that students from Public Administration can have, the most popular are-

Top Universities for Public Administration