Public Administration Degree

Public administration and political science are often taken as the same since they both deal with governments and their functions. These disciplines are often combined as one and taught by the same department and faculty. Public administration is however the study of what the government does - implementation of public policies, managing public resources, functions of the executive, laws and regulations.

  1. What is Public Administration?
  2. Why study Public Administration?
  3. Public Administration Careers
  4. Employers in Public Administration
  5. Public Administration Skills
  6. Public Administration Degrees
  7. B.S. Public Administration
  8. Master of Public Administration (MPA)
  9. Online Public Administration degree
  10. What can you do with a Public Administration Degree

Required Education

bachelor’s degree in Public administration, master of public administration (MPA), online public administration degree

Job Requirements

  • Work experience for social and community service managers and budget analysts
  • Certified Government Financial Manager credential from the Association of Government Accountants for budget analysts

Job Growth (2012-2022)

  21% for social and community service managers
  6% for budget analysts
  21% for political scientists

Median Salary (2013)

  $61,160 for social and community service manager
  $70,110 for budget analysts
  $100,920 for political scientists

Why study public administration?

  • To pursue a management-level career
  • To contribute effectively to policy change
  • To appreciate the changing population demographics and an ever-evolving workforce
  • To promote transparency, justice and accountability in the public domain
  • To develop the necessary skills to work across public, private and non-profit sectors
  • To develop critical-thinking, problem-solving and analytical skills
  • To be a leader for the public good

Public Administration Careers

Apart from having a general interest in the discipline, many study public administration to begin a life-long career in it. Public administrators perform a variety of roles in both governmental and non-profit organizations.

Employers in Public Administration

Public Administration Skills

  • Research skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Synthesis
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Communication skills
  • Writing
  • Analytical skills

Public Administration Degrees

It goes without saying that the skills mentioned above will be of no use if you are not academically trained to apply for a job in public administration.
Public administration degrees are offered by many colleges and universities in the United States. Non-degree programs, such as certificates, are also offered in various specialized fields of public administration. You would, however, need a bachelor’s degree in public administration to be eligible for an entry-level position in the field.

B.S. Public Administration

Typically four-year, full-time, university-based program, it usually covers the following course areas, though this is not an exhaustive list:

  • Theories of management
  • Organizational dynamics
  • Statistics
  • Budgeting and financial management
  • Government and political theory

Degree requirements

Successful completion of 120 credits, including in

  • Major area courses
  • Elective courses
  • Courses meeting general requirements
  • A capstone course or internship

Admission requirements
  • A high school diploma or its equivalent
  • SAT/ACT score
  • A minimum GPA
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose or essay
  • TOEFL (if applicable)

You would however quite likely need a master’s degree in public administration to advance in this career.

Master of Public Administration (MPA)

A two-year, full-time program, it is ideally for those interested in holding leadership positions in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

Core curriculum
  • Public Administration
  • Finance
  • Organizational Governance

Elective courses
  • Policy Analysis
  • Criminal Justice
  • Information Resource Management
  • Human Resources Management
  • Government Administration

Degree requirements
  • Successful completion of the required number of credits, including
  • Core courses
  • Elective courses
  • A master’s project

Admission requirements
  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • GRE/GMAT score
  • Official academic transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Resume
  • Essay

Online Public Administration Degree

The abovementioned degrees are available online as well. In addition, some institutions may offer PhD programs in public administration as well.

The only difference between online and traditional degrees is of the mode of teaching and not the quality of the program. As the name suggests, online education would require certain technical aspects to be addressed.

Online students are expected to have the following:

  • Monitor - with 1024 by 768 resolution
  • Hard Drive Space - 20GB free disk space
  • Memory – At least 1 GB of RAM
  • Processor – 2 GHz or higher
  • OS – Mac OS X 10.4 or higher; Windows 7
  • Printer
  • Speakers, microphone, and sound card
  • Internet Connection – Broadband
  • Additional software – MS Office 2003 or later
  • Plug-ins – Apple QuickTime/Adobe Reader
  • Browser – Latest version of Internet Explorer or Firefox

What can you do with a Public Administration Degree

  • Social and Community Service Managers – They supervise and coordinate community organizations and social service programs. They also do fundraising and balance budgets. They may hold a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in public administration. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported them earning a yearly median salary of $59,970 in 2012. Their job outlook expects an employment growth of 21% faster growth than the average for all other occupations from 2012-2022.

  • Budget Analysts – They assist their employer, a public or private organization, in organizing finances. They monitor institutional spending and prepare budget reports. They may hold a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in public administration. BLS reported them earning a yearly median salary of $69,280 in 2012.

  • Political Scientists – There are two main aspects to being a political scientist, studying and researching. They study political systems, their origins, developments and operations. Political scientists also research and analyze government policies, political trends and political ideas. They either hold a master’s or a doctoral degree in public administration, political science, etc. BLS reported them earning a yearly median salary of $102,000 in 2012. Their job outlook sees 21% employment growth, which is faster than the average for all other occupations, from 2012-2022.

Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:Which degree programs can one pursue to become public administrators?

A:To be a certified public administrator, you will need to complete your Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral degrees. There are various specializations available in the broad field of Public Administration such as Environmental Policy and Management, Public Management Administration, Health Management, International Affairs and many others. There is no compulsion to complete all three degree programs mentioned above. However, the more education attained the better are your career prospects.

Q:Which schools in the US offer the best public administration degree programs?

A:Public Administration Degree programs are offered at numerous institutions in United States. However, the top few schools are: Syracuse University, University of Georgia, Indiana University, Arizona State University, University of South California, University of Kansas and Harvard University.

Q:Which courses are offered at Public Administration Schools?

A:Typically, the courses taught at Public Administration Schools include public policy analysis, legislative processes, public institutions and organizational management, and advanced public personnel administration. Through these courses, students can get hands on industry based knowledge that is needed to pursue a lucrative career in the field of law.

Q:What are the benefits of taking the online Public Administration degrees?

A:Online Public Administration degrees allow students unlimited flexibility. Students can take their classes whenever they want and from any location. They schedule their own classes. This allows them to take up a full time job during day timings and keep up with their education after office timings from the ease of home. Online public administration degrees also save up on commuting time and costs. Online education is also comparatively cheaper and teaches students multi-tasking since managing professional lives and education together is a tough job.

Q:The different kinds of public admin degrees in United states offer a course on English Composition. What are the contents of this course?

A:The different kinds of Public Admin Degrees in United States have precisely 2 courses on English Composition. The major aim of this course is to offer a complete and comprehensive introduction to ways in which you can write compositions that are relevant and related to the academic assignments being offered. Composition of stronger expressions is also extensively studied, as well as the completion of multi paragraph essays.

Q:As I read about who is a public administrator, there was mention of the course on Aggression and Crowd Effect. What are the contents of this course?

A:The 3 credits worth course on Aggression and Crowd Effect is a mandatory course of most of the Public Administration programs. This course focuses on definition of the term word "aggression". Students get to understand the various theories on aggression and the effects it may have on human performance. There is also study of the social facilitation, crowd hostility and density of intimacy.

Q:While reading on the Public Administration salary surveys, there was mention of the course on Principles of Finance. What are the contents of this course?

A:It is quite common to get to read about the course on Principles of Finance while reading on Public Administration salary surveys. The course is of 4 credits in total. This course mainly targets making the students understand the capital management in businesses. Major emphasis is on risk, asset structure, cash flows and income.

Q:My search on is Public Administration a good degree led me to the Human Capital Development In The Public Sector course. Can you brief me about it?

A:Search on is Public Administration a good degree often leads you to courses such as Human Capital Development in the Public Sector. In this course the students get to study the concepts and theories related to development in the public sector and ways of managing human capital within political as well as public administration.

Q:What do comparative public administration courses entail?

A:Comparative public administration courses entail the study of public administration in different countries. This course represents the comparative study of public administration policies and implementations all over the world. This study gives an insight to culture, social and economical factors that affect public administration policy around the world. Students interested are advised to search our website for detailed information about this subject.

Q:While I was reading about the Public Administration training, there was mention of the course on English Composition. What are the contents of this course?

A:It is common to get to read about the course on English Composition while going through the Public Administration Training programs. This course is worth 3 credits in total. it is structured to offer students with substantial understanding of the primary level skills of writing in English. students are also provided with hands on experience.

Q:What are public administration degrees all about?

A:Public administration degrees are geared towards providing a thorough knowledge of the different models of public interaction and the different methodologies that are important in promoting good work ethics and environment. Public administration is an important field and helps people in understanding the role of government and the motivations behind various government policies.

Q:What is the benefit of a public administration degree?

A:Public administration degrees boast numerous benefits for students. In a nutshell, public administration degrees teach students about the prevailing public interaction models and educate them in team building and communication and critical thinking skills that can help them become able public administrators later on. Students get a well rounded education from accredited institutions offering public administration degrees.

Q:What will I study for a degree in public administration?

A:A degree in public administration is focused on communication and managerial skills that can equip you with necessary knowledge to help run business or organization smoothly. The subjects you will study vary depending on the degree level, but generally you will be studying subjects such as accounting, human resource management, administrative techniques, policy making, and project management.

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