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Graduate programs in Public Administration seek to train future public administrators in the skills and knowledge needed for success in the field. Because public administrators manage every aspect of public service, they must understand how laws and policies affect the communities they serve. They attempt to bridge the gap between the government or businesses and the people these institutions influence. They negotiate and solve problems on behalf of the people they are chosen to represent.

Graduates of Public Administration programs work in various fields, including parks management, housing, public transportation, healthcare and other industries in the realm of public interest. In many cases, they serve as liaisons between local communities and government or big businesses by using their management, political, and business skills to help the public at large.

The graduate curriculum focuses heavily on politics and government to provide a thorough understanding of the field. Individual graduate programs will also focus on finance, economics, political science, management and statistics depending on the particular bent of the faculty’s interest. Students will learn about human behavior, management and methods of analysis.

Since most students want to work in specialized fields within Public Administration, many will bring with them a background in education, law, environmental science, urban planning, healthcare or politics. Students may opt for dual degree programs in these programs to better integrate their specific interests with public administration.

Degree Information

Most students will pursue a Master’s in Public Administration (M.P.A.). Some programs offer an option of a Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in Public Works. These programs can last anywhere from two to four years. A Ph.D. in Public Administration is also available, though less common.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Degree Program

  • What specializations, if any, are offered? Is there a dual-degree program?
  • What research are the faculty and students involved with?
  • What kinds of careers to graduates pursue? How helpful is the program in job placement?
  • If you have a specialized background, will the program provide opportunities to integrate it with public administration?

Career Overview

Since the field is so broad, there are many job options. Many graduates work as administrators for governmental agencies, large corporations in the public and private sector, community organizations, or in a number of other areas. Some become involved in the governing of tribes, or in tribal politics. Others hold jobs as grant writers, transportation managers, personnel administrators, policy analysts, and managers of various departments within cities and counties.

Excellent writing and communication skills prepare graduates to work in any number of fields, including social services, public health, law enforcement, human resources, and education.

Graduates of Ph.D. programs generally go on to careers in teaching and research, while some graduates of an M.P.A. program go on to pursue a Ph.D. or a law degree.

Career/Licensing Requirements

There are no specific licensing requirements for a career in Public Administration.

Salary Information

Starting salaries vary depending on where you work, how much experience you’ve had, and where you live, but a reasonable estimate is around $40,000.

Related Links

American Society for Public Administration
The American Society for Public Administration has a wealth of information on everything from the latest policy-making decision and resource centers to job listings.

National Academy for Public Administration
The National Academy for Public Administration is committed to monitoring and improving governance systems of all kinds.


  • Foundations Of Public Administration

  • Economic Analysis

  • Finance

  • Governmental Administration And Analysis

  • Integrated Policy And Management

  • Internship/Fieldwork

  • Policy Analysis And Evaluation

  • Program Planning And Evaluation

  • Public Policy And Economics

  • Public Policy And Law

  • Research Methods

  • Statistics

  • Strategic Planning