Online Public Administration Degrees

A bachelor's in public administration can lead to new and exciting career opportunities. Here, we list the most affordable online public administration programs for 2021.

Updated August 24, 2023

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Public administration positions involve overseeing public policy implementation, operations, and personnel in government or nonprofit organizations. Public administrators usually value public service and possess advanced skills in policy analysis, implementation, and evaluation.

Public administration degrees often include courses in management, budgeting, ethics, and policy. Many graduates of bachelor's programs in the field pursue a master's in public administration degree. Public administration degree graduates often work in government and nonprofit organizations. Other degree-holders secure positions in compliance-assurance and consulting services. This guide explores the benefits of earning a public administration degree, along with typical curricula and scholarship opportunities.

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Questions to Ask About Public Administration Degrees

Q. What is public administration?

The public administration field encompasses research, policy work, leadership, and management.

Q. What kinds of jobs can you get with a public administration degree?

Public administration degrees prepare students for careers as policy analysts, compliance officers, public relations and fundraising managers, and social and community service managers.

Q. What can you do with a bachelor's in public administration?

A public administration bachelor's degree can lead to entry-level public service administration roles. However, many graduates enroll in MPA programs to qualify for more advanced positions.

Q. What is the difference between public administration and public policy?

The broad public administration field emphasizes personnel management and policy implementation skills. Public policy focuses more closely on policy creation and evaluation. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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What Are the Goals of a Public Administration Degree?

Public administration degrees help students cultivate leadership, management, research, and communication skills. Curricula vary by school, program, and concentration. However, most public administration programs feature coursework on public administration management, ethics, research, and public policy. Specialization options may include criminal justice, healthcare, urban development, and homeland security.

Students can pursue a BA or BS in public administration. Bachelor of arts programs typically include more liberal arts coursework. Bachelor of science programs usually feature more focused public administration classes. Learners can also earn a bachelor of business administration with a concentration in public administration.

Why Get a Public Administration Degree?

Earning a public administration degree can lead to various personal and professional advantages. Graduates often qualify for promotions and salary increases, and degree-holders often benefit from the professional connections they make during their studies.

  1. 1


    Working professionals often pursue a bachelor's degree to qualify for promotions. Many public administration jobs require a four-year degree.
  2. 2

    Salary Increase

    According to PayScale salary data from March 2021, professionals with a BS in public administration earn an average salary of $65,760 per year.
  3. 3

    Professional Networking

    Online students often receive access to networking opportunities such as internships, mentorship programs, and group projects.
  4. 4

    Rewarding Career Paths

    Individuals with a public administration degree often pursue rewarding careers as public servants.
  5. 5

    Qualify for MPA Programs

    After earning a bachelor's in public administration, many graduates pursue graduate studies. An MPA can lead to advanced, high-paying positions in the field.

Courses in Public Administration

A bachelor's degree in public administration usually requires about 120 credits. Learners complete major coursework, general education requirements, and electives. Graduates of associate programs in the field often enroll in affordable online bachelor's in public administration programs. Associate degree-holders typically complete 45-60 additional credits and graduate in about two years.

Major coursework usually covers topics including public administration research methods, ethics, and management. During an internship, enrollees gain practical experience at an approved site.

Specialized public administration course topics may include justice administration, nonprofit resource development and management, project management, and nonprofit accountability. The courses below appear in many public administration bachelor's programs.

Career and Salary Outlook for Public Administration

Graduates of public administration bachelor's degrees often pursue leadership careers in government and nonprofit organizations. Common nonprofit roles include program coordinator, community outreach coordinator, outreach specialist, and social and community services manager. Potential government positions for public administration graduates include policy coordinator, policy analyst, and public administrator. Graduates can also work as public relations, fundraising, and training and development managers.

The table below includes salary data for a few common public administration careers.

Career and Salary Outlook
Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029)
Social and Community Service Managers $67,150 17%
Public Relations and Fundraising Managers $116,180 9%
Training and Development Managers $113,350 7%

Source: BLS

Scholarships for Public Administration Students

Learners pursuing an online bachelor's degree in public administration may qualify for scholarships. Many schools, governments, and nonprofits offer public administration scholarships. Candidates typically qualify based on factors such as financial need, academic excellence, interest in public service careers, and membership in an underrepresented group. The following list highlights scholarships for public administration bachelor's students.

Scholarships for Public Administration Students
Scholarship Amount Who Can Apply

Robert R. Robinson Scholarship

Up to $1,000 The Michigan Townships Association offers this scholarship to undergraduate juniors and seniors and graduate students in the public administration field. Applicants must attend a Michigan college or university and demonstrate a commitment to working in local government after graduation. Candidates submit a recommendation letter and a short essay.

Jeffrey L. Esser Career Development Scholarship

$5,000-$15,000 The Government Finance Officers Association awards this scholarship to part-time undergraduate students. Applicants must be studying public administration or government-related business administration, accounting, or finance. Candidates need at least three years of work experience in state or local governments and must submit a recommendation letter from their employer.

Most Affordable Online Bachelor's in Public Administration Programs

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