Online undergraduate and graduate degree programs in public administration are readily available, but students should consider the program level and time commitment when choosing a program. We discuss these considerations in more depth and look at a few of the schools that offer these programs.
How to Select an Online Accredited Public Administration School
Students considering online accredited public administration schools must make their decision based on several key factors. Public administration is a broad discipline that deals with organizing, operating and supervising government programs. Several schools offer online associate's, bachelor's or master's degree programs in public administration. Students must weigh the program level with the time commitment.
Degree programs in public administration are available at several levels. Usually, associate's degrees in public administration are designed for those who are looking for entry-level positions in the field. Bachelor's degrees programs are often for those who wish to enter the field at a higher level or gain more in-depth knowledge. Master's degree programs in public administration are usually designed for continuing education and career advancement for professionals who are already at work in the discipline.
Time Commitment and Schedule Flexibility
Prospective students who wish to earn an online public administration degree should compare the time requirements and scheduling structures of available programs. Some programs are designed for students interested in taking accelerated courses and earning their degree ahead of schedule. Others are more appropriate for working professionals who require flexibility and are not able to commit as much time to study or are not able to study at regular times.
Online Options for Public Administration Degrees
Associate of Applied Science in Public Administration
Online public administration AAS programs are normally delivered via online education software that combines e-mail, message boards and online testing functions. Students take courses covering:
- Accounting principles
- Business processes
- Program formulation
- Management and leadership
- Social science
Bachelor of Public Administration
Bachelor of Public Administration programs combine in-depth coursework in the discipline with general education courses. Accelerated or synchronous programs for traditional students are more common at the bachelor's degree level than at higher degree levels. Students take classes in:
- Human resource development
- Project management
- Public finance
Master of Public Administration
Online master's degree programs in public administration sometimes offer group coursework or scheduled class time, but are often designed for continuing education for professionals already working in the field. Students typically emphasize leadership, communication and organizational skills relevant to advanced positions in the field. Course topics include:
- Organizational dynamics
- Policy analysis
- Policy design and implementation
- Analytical tools
- Strategic planning and management
Schools With Online Programs in Public Administration
Rio Salado College in Arizona offers an online certificate and associate's program in public administration. The associate's degree program requires 61 to 64 credits, and students should work closely with their academic advisor as not all classes are offered each semester. Students take courses in communication, finance and more.
Southern New Hampshire University has an online Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration program that requires 120 credits and includes a research methods class. Other course topics include public speaking, politics, ethics and more. Students are able to transfer up to 90 credits.
Pennsylvania State University offers students an online master's program in public administration that consists of 36 credits. They also offer a few online graduate certificates in the field. Students in the master's program must complete a master's project and internship. Courses include topics in public policy, human resources and more.
When selecting an online associate's, bachelor's or master's program in public administration, students need to consider the program level that best aligns with their career goals, the time commitment of the program and any additional requirements, like internships.