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Public Administration & Policy

Public administration is the creation, implementation and study of organizational policy, usually governmental policy, at the federal, state or local level. Public administrators are often required to address broad or difficult societal issues or to provide essential daily services to the public. The field often requires administrators to acquire a broad set of skills, such as policy analysis, budgeting, ethics, human resources and organizational theory. This is because administrators may be tasked with bringing diverse groups of people together to achieve a goal, or to create a multi-faceted public program. Broad, flexible and diverse skills are often necessary to bring all the different parts of a project together.

University Degree Offerings

  • New England College Master of Arts Public Policy

    The New England College Master of Arts in Public Policy program provides training for highly motivated and talented individuals to become leaders at the local, state, national, and international level in the development and management of policies that lead to a more effective public sector, a more productive private sector, and more vibrant communities.

  • Norwich University Master of Public Administration

    The Norwich University Master of Public Administration program is uniquely poised to meet the needs of an expanding population and government through training and community development. Our dedicated faculty strives to provide students with management skills to lead public and community agencies, as well as to understand the social, economic, and political context in which public decisions are made.

  • University of San Francisco Master of Public Administration

    The USF Master of Public Administration program recognizes that the field of public administration has never been more important than it is today, and the demand for leaders who hold a unique blend of business, management and human resource skills has never been greater. With applications across both private and public sectors, this degree prepares people to work effectively in management positions within public, non-profit and services related organizations.

  • University of Southern California Master of Public Administration

    USC’s Master of Public Administration program is designed to provide students with the education, skills, and access to research centers to become a leader in the public or private sector. Our graduates can be found in nearly every realm of public administration: harbors, airports, and public transportation networks. They manage our environmental protection systems, community centers, schools, and universities. They are leaders in healthcare, urban revitalization, and welfare reform.

Public Administration & Policy

A public administration degree prepares students for a leadership position working for a public entity, health administration or a nonprofit organization. Jobs for public administration degree graduates are available at the city, district, county, state, or federal level. Better paying jobs are available to the graduate who obtains a masters degree in public administration, but a bachelors degree in public administration allows the student to get an entry-level position. Many colleges and universities offer a public administration degree, and some even offer online public administration degrees.

Why a Public Administration & Policy Degree

A Master’s in Public Administration, or MPA degree, is a degree that prepares students for a public service career, usually–but not exclusively–in an area of government. A public administration program teaches students governance, administration and finance, as well as analytical skills. Core coursework usually includes the study of public administration, administrative decision making, ethics, organizational theory, strategic planning, microeconomics, financial management and managerial statistics. The field of public administration is very broad, and students have a wide variety of tracks available to them. They may choose one of several possible concentrations, such as administration, organizational leadership, human resources management, city and county leadership, public service leadership, criminal justice, homeland security or health care administration, among others.

Public Administration & Policy Courses & Areas of Study

Business majors who specialize in public administration usually take courses that will give them the skills needed to work in both the government and non-government sectors. Such skills include: policy development, managerial skills, critical thinking skills, and problem solving skills.

Public Administration & Policy Career Opportunities

Public administrators have transferable managerial skills that can be used for the government, for private corporations or for non-profit groups. There are many potential employers waiting for those who have completed an advanced public administration program. MPAs work for federal institutions, agencies and commissions such as the Environmental Protection Agency, The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. House and Senate. MPAs may work as fundraisers for nonprofit organizations such as the Red Cross or the ALS Association. They may also work for any number of private sector corporations in managerial, human resource or budgeting positions.

Demand for workers with a public administration degree is expected to be higher than average in the next decade, especially for chief executives, public relations specialists, general and operations managers, surveying technicians, financial examiners and climate change analysts. These jobs are expected to grow especially quickly and offer large numbers of job openings. Most of these jobs are in governance, rather than other areas of public administration, such as national security, planning or revenue.

Online Public Administration & Policy Degrees

A public administration degree has very broad applicability. A masters in public administration prepares a student to create or implement government policy or programs, manage people or resources, perform policy analysis, manage human resources or organizational assets, and manage budgets—skills that may be utilized in any number of managerial careers. A public administration masters may be used as a springboard to an executive job in a large corporation or a managerial job at a nonprofit organization. It may result in a career as an urban planner, government policy analyst, lawyer, hospital executive or human resources manager. Graduates with a public administration masters are equipped with desirable skills that transfer easily from one sector to another.

Public Administration & Policy Education & Admissions Requirements

Though the MPA degree doesn’t require a specific kind of undergraduate training, a bachelor’s degree and several years of work experience in a relevant field are usually prerequisites for a Masters in Public Administration. Some MPA programs also give course credits to students who have a certain number of years of public service work experience. MPA programs are available both on-site and online, and often take two years of full time study. Many schools offer dual degrees in which a public administration degree is combined with another degree, such as law. These programs offer students the opportunity to earn two degrees in a shorter time than they could otherwise.

Public Administration & Policy Accreditation

Your Public Administration & Policy degree should come from an accredited school. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, better than 1,000 institutions of higher learning offer formal Public Administration & Policy courses yet only around 270 of the programs are accepted and approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). Make sure you choose an accredited program.

Top Ranked Public Administration & Policy Degrees

Earning a Public Administration & Policy degree from a top-ranked institution makes the degree more credible and prestigious due to name recognition, as well as excellence in the academic program itself. Renowned institutions with Public Administration & Policy degree programs also receive high ranks by such organizations as U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review.

Public Administration & Policy Professional Organizations

There are two main professional organizations for Public Administration & Policy:

  • THe American Society for Public Administration (ASPA)
  • The National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA)