Best Online Public Administration Degree Programs

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Contributor, Benzinga
April 29, 2020

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Do you want to play a role in the implementation of government policies at the local, state or federal level? You may be considering a career as a public administration professional. Or maybe you already work in the field and want to enhance your knowledge to transition into leadership roles.

No matter how you’ve gotten your start, an online public administration degree is a convenient way to acquire the skills and knowledge you need. Many reputable colleges and universities offer this program and you can study on your own time. 

Benzinga is here to help you find a suitable option that fits your budget and lifestyle. 

Why Choose an Online Public Administration Degree?

When you earn an online public administration degree, you’ll get the educational background needed for many roles in government, non-government and nonprofit organizations. But why choose this route? 

As a public administration professional, you can help shape future outcomes for the entities you serve. You may also play an integral role in establishing and implementing programs and collaborating with key decision-makers to ensure they’re operating effectively. 

Another key benefit of an online public administration degree is its flexibility. These programs are designed to help you earn your degree on your own terms. If you have a demanding job, family obligations or both, you’ll be in good hands. 

How to Choose an Online Public Administration Degree

Not all online public administration degree programs are the same. How do you know which is a worthwhile investment? Consider these factors as you evaluate your options.


Not all online programs offer concentrations. However, you can tailor your public administration degree by selecting an option that does. Choosing a concentration lets you take courses related to your specific career goals. This helps you stand out among the competition as you apply for jobs.

Planning to attend graduate school? A specialized degree is instrumental because it provides you with the foundational knowledge needed to excel in the program. 

Elective Course Options 

You want an online public administration degree program with several electives that pique your interest. It’s also wise to select courses that will prepare you for roles you’re considering.   

Cost of Attendance

Cost of attendance varies by institution. As you evaluate your top schools, compare fee schedules. Eliminate programs with an extremely high cost of attendance from your list.

Review the tuition and fee schedule for the past 5 years. If you notice steep increases from year to year, it may be best to avoid those options as well. 

Jobs Waiting for You with a Public Administration Degree

Here are some of the top career opportunities waiting for you with an online public administration degree.

Labor Relations Specialist 

Labor relations specialists are responsible for handling disputes between managers and workers. They also oversee grievance procedures related to employee complaints and negotiate collective bargaining agreements. 

In 2018, the mean annual pay for labor relations specialists was $70,730 per year. This equates to $32.59 per hour. 

Compliance Officer 

Compliance officers conduct examinations, evaluations and inspections to confirm compliance with applicable regulations and laws. 

The mean average annual pay for compliance officers is $72,520. 

Postsecondary Education Administrator

Postsecondary education administrators work in admission, student affairs or registrar’s offices at colleges and universities. Your job duties will vary by department but could entail encouraging prospects to apply to the school, analyzing applications for admission, scheduling courses, overseeing registration and planning graduation ceremonies. 

On average, postsecondary education administrators earn $95,410 per year. 

Best Online Colleges for a Public Administration Degree

We’ve conducted hours of research to bring you the best online colleges for a public administration degree. You’ll also find a review of each program to help you make an educated decision. 

1. Northern Arizona University 


Earn an online Bachelor of Arts in public administration and justice studies from Northern Arizona University. This program prepares students to flourish in a public service management role as an administrative specialist, executive assistant, nonprofit program manager or program coordinator. 

The courses are led by individuals experienced in the field and can provide valuable insight to aspiring public service professionals. You’ll take classes on a variety of related subjects like budgeting, ethics, leadership and management, organizational theory, public policy formation and research methods.

You need 120 credit hours to finish the program and 64 credits can be transferred from an accredited college or university.  

Enroll now

2. Troy University 


Troy University features an online bachelor’s degree in Political Science – American Politics and Public Administration. The rigorous curriculum will prepare you for an entry-level leadership position in government service, military or public management. If you aspire to work in general business, communication or journalism roles, the program may also be a good fit. 

You have the option to choose from 2 concentrations: 

  • American politics and public administration 
  • International politics

Those who select the American politics and public administration track take the following core courses: 

  • U.S. Government – Executive Branch
  • U.S. Government – Legislative Branch
  • U.S. Government – Judicial Branch

Prefer an international politics concentration? These core courses are required: 

  • International Relations 
  • International Political Economy 
  • Comparative Government 

Both tracks also require you to complete elective courses. 

Alumni work as climate change analysts, compliance managers, labor relations specialists, legislators, political science professors, public relations specialists and regulatory affairs managers. 

Enroll now

3. Central Methodist University 


Discover the most effective ways to impact communities, educational programs, healthcare and government entities. The online public administration degree program from Central Methodist University equips you with the tools to excel in a career at the local, state or national level.

You will also develop leadership skills as you dive into economics, finance, government, common issues faced by policymakers and so much more. Core classes include: 

  • Development of U.S. II
  • Economics of Public Policy
  • General Psychology 
  • Group Processes 
  • Introduction to American National, State and Local Governments 
  • Macroeconomics
  • Major Readings 
  • Principles of Public Administration
  • Public Policy Analysis
  • Social Psychology 

You need a minimum of 120 credit hours to earn a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in public administration. 

Enroll now

4. California Baptist University 


Get a bachelor’s degree in public administration from CBU Online. This program teaches you how to develop strategic and innovative problem-solving skills and devise creative solutions to public service issues. You’ll also learn how to create policies, implement programs in a public service role and advocate for change through government systems.

Public administration majors take the following core courses: 

  • Administrative Law and Bureaucracy
  • Contemporary Issues in Public Administration  
  • Constitutional Law II
  • Executive Leadership and Management in the Public Sector 
  • Organizational Theory and Design
  • Policy Process and Analysis  
  • Political Economy 
  • Principles of Public Administration 
  • Public Personnel Management 
  • Research Methods in Political Science

There’s also a capstone course on career and professional development.

Upon completion of the program, you will have what it takes to work at the local, state or federal level. You will also have the foundational knowledge needed to pursue graduate education in public administration or a related field. 

Enroll now

5. National University 


Want a program that features short courses to help you reach the finish line faster? Consider the online Bachelor of Public Administration from National University. 

It features 4-week courses that dive into practical ways to analyze operations and procedures of public management and nonprofit leadership. This program also explores the central theories of public administration and how to implement them into program and resource management practices. 

Students are required to successfully complete these core courses:

  • Adaptive Leadership in Change
  • Ethics in Law, Business and Management
  • Government and Nonprofit Accounting  
  • Government Relations 
  • Introduction to Organizational Behavior 
  • Introduction to Public Administration
  • Management Science
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Public Policy Development 
  • Team Building an Interpersonal Dynamics 
  • Urban Environments

You need 180 quarter units to finish the program. 

Enroll now

6. University of LaVerne 


The University of LaVerne offers an online Bachelor of Science in public administration. The curriculum covers applications, theory and best practices related to public sector management. 

As a public administration major, you will collaborate with peers in insightful forums, complete special projects and compile research reports. You will be required to complete these core courses: 

  • Administrative Processes 
  • Management of Change and Conflict 
  • Policy-Making Process 
  • Public Administration 
  • Senior Seminar 
  • Statistics 
  • Urban Environments 

Alumni work in both the public and private sectors. Many are employed in roles at foreign service entities, nonprofits and non-governmental organizations. 

Enroll now

7. Columbia College 


Columbia College features both a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in public administration. It caters to individuals who seek careers in city management, clinic or hospital administration, fundraising, international relief or urban planning. 

Core coursework covers several essential topics, including management, political science and psychology. There’s also an internship requirement that allows you to gain real-world experience in the field. 

Both online programs require 120 credit hours to reach the finish line. 

Enroll now

8. Point Park University 


The online Bachelor of Science in Public Administration from Point Park University is designed for individuals who have demanding careers and personal obligations. You can take advantage of a flexible learning environment and other valuable resources that will help you meet your education goals. 

Faculty members are seasoned public administration professionals. They provide valuable insights to help you succeed through instruction in the following core courses: 

  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Policy and Decision Analysis or Methods of Public Management 
  • Principles of Management  
  • Public Administration
  • Public Budgeting and Finance I

The program spans 4 years and requires 120 credit hours for successful completion. However, you can transfer up to 90 credit hours from an accredited college or university and earn your degree in as little as 2 years. 

Enroll now

9. University of Maine at Augusta 


Offered by the University of Maine at Augusta, the online Bachelor of Science in public administration is a good fit for students who want to work in nonprofit or government organizations. It’s also ideal for public administration professionals who wish to hone their skills and land a more rewarding career opportunity. 

Public administration majors are required to take the following core courses: 

  • Accounting for Nonprofit Organizations
  • American Government 
  • American State and Local Government 
  • Computers and Culture or Management Information Systems  
  • Financial Accounting for Decision Making 
  • Geographical Information Systems 
  • Grant Writing 
  • Human Resource Management 
  • Macroeconomics
  • Municipal Administration 
  • Principles of Management 
  • Public Budgeting and Finance Administration
  • Research Issues in Public Methods 

The program boasts a high job placement rate. With hard work and strategic networking, you can land a role in the public or nonprofit sector. 

This 4-year program requires 121 credit hours. 

Enroll now.

10. Indian River State College


Indian River offers an online Bachelor of Science in Public Administration. You’ll acquire foundational knowledge in leadership, public personnel management and strategic planning. 

Choose from the following tracks: 

  • Emergency Planning and Management is designed for students who seek a career in emergency planning. 
  • Policy Leadership helps students develop the knowledge and skills needed to be effective leaders and managers in the public sector. 

Course material and assignments can be accessed 24/7 so you can view video lectures and complete assignments when it’s most convenient for you.

Graduates of this program find success in many fields, including emergency management, fire/emergency services, law enforcement and the nonprofit sector. You can pursue a role at the local, state or national level. 

Enroll now

Find the Best Online Public Administration Degree Program for You

Begin your journey toward an exciting career in public administration today by enrolling in an online program. You can also level up your skills and position yourself for career advancement. Explore our recommendations and select the option that best suits your needs.

Southern New Hampshire University Online

SNHU Online Offers:

  1. Flexible schedules
  2. Affordable tuition
  3. Online tutoring
  4. Access to electronic research materials
  5. Specialized academic advising
  6. Supportive online community

Learn more at SNHU.