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Online Masters Degree in Public Administration

An accredited online public administration masters degree prepares students for a career in public service. This degree is best suited to students who have already earned a campus-based or online bachelor’s degree in public administration, political science or a related field. Graduates of online master’s degree programs in public administration provide vital human and social services for nonprofit organizations, consulting firms, private organizations and government agencies, both in the U.S. and abroad. Most online masters degree public administration programs take two years of full-time study to complete, and include a capstone project as part of the core curriculum. Upon completion, graduates may choose to pursue an online PhD in public administration.

What are the admission requirements for an online master’s in public administration?

For admissions purposes, students applying to top online masters degree programs in public administration may be required to submit the following:

  • Application form
  • Undergraduate transcripts
  • Personal statement or Essay
  • Letters of recommendation

These programs generally prefer candidates that have either a bachelors degree in public administration from an accredited school or a bachelors degree in a related field such as:

  1. Political Science
  2. Public Policy
  3. Economics
  4. Business
  5. Social Science

What types of online master’s degrees in public administration can students pursue?

A variety of online masters degrees in public administration are offered by accredited online schools.

And, because public administration is a broad field, in order to become an expert in a specific field, students often pursue specialties or concentrations.

Popular online areas of focus include:

  • Public Policy: Online master’s degree students specializing in public policy develop critical conceptual, analytical and quantitative skills in this specialization. They will learn to apply social science theories and methods to the analysis of public policies.
  • Human Rights: Taking a human rights concentration as part of a public administration masters degree online program familiarizes students with the work that governments, corporations and community organizations do to ensure the health, shelter, education and livelihood of at-risk citizens. Students will learn about issues such as social justice, inequality, human fairness and human dignity.
  • International Security Policy: Online master degree in public administration students interested in conflict management, defense, military strategy, terrorism intelligence and peacekeeping can specialize in international security policy. Students will learn about and analyze global security issues.
  • Management: A management specialization allows students to develop strong managerial and leadership skills applicable to most public policy arenas. Students will gain the skills needed to lead and manage public and nonprofit organizations around the world.
  • Regional Specialization: A regional specialization is designed for online master in public administration students who have a keen interest in one area of the world, such as the Middle East or Southeast Asia. Students with a regional concentration are often required to master one or more languages from the region as part of their core curriculum.

What can students expect to learn in an online public administration master’s degree program?

The best online master’s degrees in public administration produce graduates with a strong understanding of public policy implementation and management , economic and political development and international relations and security. Students learn economic and political analysis, critical management skills and quantitative analysis techniques.

Top online masters programs in public administration offer students a variety of courses, including:

  1. Public Policy and Administration: This online master's degree public administration class teaches students the basic skills of public administration. Students learn practical public administration skills, including management strategies, ethical decision-making skills and public policy-making strategies.
  2. Administrative Law: This course focuses on the legal aspects of public administration. Students study both national and international laws that affect public, private and non-profit administration.
  3. Community and Economic Development: In this class, students focus on the economic and social aspects of urban development. Students learn about urban growth, public and mixed enterprise planning and real estate finance.

What careers can students pursue after graduating from public administration masters programs online?

Public administration online masters programs graduates can consider a wide spectrum of careers.

Some popular career choices for graduates are:

  1. Political Scientist: Public administration masters degree graduates can work as political scientists for government, nonprofit institutions and think tanks. They use the skills gained in their degree program to analyze public policy and political trends. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, political scientists earn $107,420 annually on average. Job growth in this sector is projected at 8% over the decade ending in 2020.
  2. Human Resources Manager: Public administration graduates can also work as human resources managers for both public and private organizations. Using their communication and administrative skills, they oversee the strategic planning for an organization and the hiring of new staff. On average, human resources managers earn a salary of $99,180. Job growth is expected to be about 13%.
  3. Social and Community Service Manager: Social and community service managers oversee social service programs and community organizations. According to the BLS, social service managers make $57,950 per year on average. Over the next decade, job growth is projected at 27%, which is almost twice the economy-wide average.
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