Public Administration Online Degree Info

Why a Master's Degree or Graduate Certificate in Public Administration?

There are many careers that exist under the umbrella of public administration. Among them are jobs in law enforcement, policy making, management in both non- and for-profit organizations, civil servitude, human resources, education, government, and budget analysis, just to name a few. Jobs in public administration are competitive; however, in the public sector, especially, the demand is high as an increasing number of employees are on the cusp of retirement. Those with successful careers in public administration are creative problem-solvers, conversant in public policy and its issues, and able to effectively implement policies.

Both a master's degree and a graduate certificate are great for those looking to advance or change careers, with both degrees available through online course. Whereas a graduate certificate offers a strong foundation in a specific area of public administration, such as human resources or financial management, a Master of Public Administration offers a broader course range, allowing students to become experts in the multi-faceted world that is public administration.

What are the Benefits of Having a Master's Degree or Graduate Certificate in Public Administration?

A Master of Public Administration or graduate certificate in the field is beneficial for those seeking leadership positions. Those with upper-level degrees in public administration earn considerably more than their baccalaureate counterparts and engage in coursework that allows them to immerse themselves in how to successfully and adeptly manage organizations with the public's best interest in mind.

What Skills Will I Learn While Studying for the Public Administration Master's Degree or Graduate Certificate?

While studying for a master's degree or graduate certificate in public administration students will be exposed to and prepared for important field-related competencies, including:

  • Efficient organization and management skills
  • Encouraging positive change at the global, organizational, and local levels
  • Analytical and research skills
  • Effective leadership
  • Ethical management practices
  • Financial best practices and budgeting
  • Policy evaluation
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Complex problem-solving

How are Public Administration Courses Taught?

Master of Public Administration courses include a combination of required and elective coursework. Some schools require a thesis or master's project, completion of a research course or portfolio. Since Master of Public Administration degrees are often acquired by those seeking career advancement or to deepen their knowledge of public policy, analytics, ethical leadership, and organizational best-practices, a large number of programs are geared toward working professionals, with courses offered either completely online or at night.

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How Long Does It Take to Earn a Master's Degree or Graduate Certificate in Public Administration?

A Master of Public Administration degree can be earned in two to three years if attending full-time. This can be done either on-campus or through an online degree program.

A graduate certificate can be completed in less time than a master's degree and does not require the completion of as many courses. However, courses taken at the graduate certificate level can often be applied to a master's program should students decide to pursue an upper-level degree at a later point in time.

How do Online Master's Degrees or Graduate Certificates in Public Administration Work?

An online master's degree in public administration is a great option for those with full-time jobs. Most online master's programs offer flexible course schedules and allow students to select courses tailored to the area of public administration they are most interested in pursuing, such as non-profit management or law enforcement.

What if I Have Questions about the Online Public Administration Master's Degree Format and Process?

Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration is an essential resource to help find an accredited school.

When exploring an online program of interest, a strong student community and student support are vital toward having a successful academic experience. Some other things to consider:

  • Does the school offer financial aid or work study?
  • Is there twenty-four-hour access to technical support?
  • Is an internship or thesis project required and what sort of time commitment will that require?
  • Does the school assist with post-graduate job placement?
  • What type of academic and career counseling is available?

What Will I Need to be Successful Studying Online?

Choosing to obtain a master's degree online is ideal for working professionals who are not able to enroll in a full-time degree program or who are only able to attend classes at night. With any online degree program, self-discipline and self-sufficiency are key. Students must be organized and implement effective time management in order to be successful.

Public Administration Online Master's Degree or Graduate Certificate Course Examples

Courses taught online at the graduate level toward a degree or certificate in public administration include:

  • Intro to Policy Analysis
  • Human Rights Theory and Practice
  • Social Policy
  • Budgeting and Financial Analysis
  • Human Resources in the Public and Nonprofit Sectors
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Police Administration
  • Alternatives to Incarceration
  • Government Relations
  • Psychological Foundations of Leadership

Tuition and Costs for an Online Master's Degree or Graduate Certificate in Public Administration

An upper-level online degree or certificate in public administration will cost anywhere from $5,000 to $55,000, depending on the school.

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What Kinds of Jobs Can I Do with a Public Administration Master's Degree or Graduate Certificate?

Those with a master's degree in public administration have many job options, including:

  • Parks and Recreation Director
  • Police Commissioner
  • Data analyst
  • School Administrator
  • Urban planner
  • Criminal investigator
  • City manager
  • Journalist/News reporter
  • Public relations manager

How Can I Get More Information on Public Administration?

More information on both a Master of Public Administration degree, as well as a Graduate Certificate in the subject can be found at: