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Best School for a Degree in Public Administration - Cleveland, OH

Students interested in studying public administration in the Cleveland, OH, area have only a few schools to choose from. Read about the top schools' degree programs, tuition and ranking info to find the right one for you.

School and Ranking Information

There are a few colleges and universities within a 50-mile radius of Cleveland offering programs in public administration. The following two public schools and one private nonprofit school are considered the top three institutions in the Cleveland area based on such considerations as rankings, tuition rates and degree levels offered:

  • Winner: Cleveland State University, located in Cleveland, is at the top spot for its national ranking from U.S. News & World Report in 2013, tuition rates and location.
  • Runner Up #1: Kent State University in Kent is in second place for its various offerings in the field, including a Master of Public Administration as well as undergraduate specialization and accelerated program options. In addition, the university offers online program delivery, which also weighs in on this school's ranking.
  • Runner Up #2: John Carroll University, located in University Heights, came in third place for its high regional ranking from U.S. News & World Report in 2014, degree levels available and number of degrees awarded in the field.

School Comparison Table

Category Cleveland State University Kent State University John Carroll University
Ranking #42 in U.S. among public affairs graduate schools (2013)* #121 in U.S. among public affairs graduate schools (2013), #201 in U.S. among national universities (2014)* #7 among Midwest regional universities (2014)*
Location Cleveland, OH Kent, OH (30 miles from Cleveland) University Heights, OH (6 miles from Cleveland)
School Type 4-year; public 4-year; public 4-year; private not-for-profit
Tuition and Fees (2012-2013) $9,244 (graduate, in-state),
$17,344 (graduate, out-of-state)**
$10,290 (graduate, in-state),
$17,806 (graduate, out-of-state)**
$33,180 (undergraduate),
$10,425 (graduate)**
Public Administration Degrees Offered Master of Public Administration (MPA),
Master of Nonprofit Administration and Leadership,
Master of Urban Planning, Design and Development
Master of Public Administration Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - concentration in Public Administration and Policy Studies,
Master of Arts in Nonprofit Administration
Degrees Awarded (2011-2012) 40 (MPA)** 14 (MPA)** 42 (Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, public administration not specified),
10 (Master of Arts)**
Graduation Rate (150% of Normal Program Time) for 2006 Entering Class 34%** 52%** 75%**
Noteworthy Public Management Academy for professional development opportunities Center for Public Policy and Health Undergraduate government internship requirement

Sources: *U.S. News & World Report, **National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Winner: Cleveland State University

  • Graduate public policy and related administration programs
  • Related undergraduate programs
  • Professional development academies

Cleveland State University is a public institution housing the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. The college offers undergraduate programs leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in urban studies, nonprofit administration, public safety management and environmental studies. The urban studies major offers courses in urban data analysis, policy analysis and conflict management, as well as elective topics covering diversity management and social welfare policy.

At the graduate level, students can pursue an MPA through a NASPAA-accredited interdisciplinary program offered with cooperation from the Ahuja College of Business and the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Core MPA courses cover public finance, public human resources management and quantitative reasoning, with specialization options in public management, nonprofit management, public safety and justice, economic development, city management and health care administration. Related graduate programs include the Master of Nonprofit Administration and Leadership and the Master of Urban Planning, Design and Development.

Runner-Up #1: Kent State University

  • Online delivery option
  • Accelerated undergraduate/MPA program available

Opened in 1910 as a teacher's college, Kent State University is a public institution offering public administration programs through the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Political Science. Undergraduate students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a concentration in public policy. Undergraduates can also pursue an MPA through an accelerated program that allows them to complete up to 12 graduate credits as part of their bachelor's programs.

Kent State's MPA program is available through either on-campus or online program delivery with concentrations in public management or public policy. Internship placements are available at either the state capital of Columbus or Washington, D.C. Students may also choose elective concentration options in an approved interdisciplinary field or nonprofit management. Dual degree options are available with a Master of Science in Nursing as well.

Runner-Up #2: John Carroll University

  • 100% of all first-time undergraduates received some kind of financial aid in 2011-2012, according to the NCES
  • Non-profit administration students can qualify for 40%-tuition-reduction scholarships

John Carroll University was founded in 1886 as St. Ignatius College, a private Jesuit Catholic institution. Through the John M. and Mary Jo Boler School of Business, undergraduate students can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a 36-hour concentration in public administration and public policy. The program is offered in conjunction with the Department of Political Science, and government internships are available. Nonprofit internships are also available through the Ginn Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility.

Graduate students can enroll in a Master of Arts (MA) in Nonprofit Administration program that covers leadership skills, nonprofit accounting and advocacy, nonprofit policy analysis and strategic planning, as well as quantitative and qualitative research analysis. Undergraduates can also earn the MA as part of a fith-year program option. Professionals with a Master of Business Administration or its equivalent may also choose to earn the Certificate of Nonprofit Management.


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