Online Schools with a BS in Public Administration: How to Choose

Students interested in earning an online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Public Administration can find programs that are either hybrid or entirely online. Check into how to select the right school for you and what you'll likely have to study.

Several schools across the country offer online bachelor's degree programs in public administration. Here we will explore a few of these schools, as well as examine in detail the different degree options.

How to Select an Online Public Administration School

A bachelor's degree program in public administration prepares students for work in the public sector, including non-profit organizations and government agencies. Programs are available at some 4-year schools in hybrid and online form. Other online options include Bachelor of Public Administration and Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration degree programs. Students should then weigh the program type and length with its concentrations.

Program Type

Students seeking an online B.S. in Public Administration program should consider whether the program is fully online or a hybrid program that requires some on-campus visits. Online courses generally require a computer with Internet access, e-mail, Adobe Reader, a recent Web browser and a word processing program to complete assignments. Course materials may be delivered via audio and video files, live chat, discussion boards and e-mail. There may be designated due dates for completing all the course requirements.

Program Length

Another option to consider is an accelerated program that allows students to finish their degree faster by earning credits outside of the classroom. For example, credits can be earned by taking the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) or Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) exams, or students can request credits for applicable professional or military experience. Students who pursue this option may be able to complete a B.S. in Public Administration program online in a minimum of two years. Otherwise, programs can generally be completed within four years of full-time study.

Program Concentrations

While most online B.S. in Public Administration programs do not have specific areas of concentration, some online Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) programs do. Depending on the program, students can choose such concentrations as sports and recreation management, health care administration or logistics management. Online B.S. or Bachelor of Public Administration (BPA) programs generally only focus on the areas of government and non-profit management.

Overview of Online Public Administration Programs

Online Bachelor of Science in Public Administration

Online B.S. in Public Administration and BPA programs are very much alike. Students completing either program must satisfy general education requirements in humanities, mathematics and natural sciences. Seniors usually incorporate all the knowledge and skills they learned in the program into a capstone project that is supervised by a faculty member. Most online classes are delivered via a course management system such as Blackboard. Core coursework covers topics such as local and state government, organizational development and public policy. Additional topics include:

  • Ethics in government
  • Statistics
  • Business systems in a sustainable society
  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics

Online Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration

The core curriculum requirements for online B.A. programs in public administration are similar to the B.S. and BPA programs; however, students enrolled in B.A. programs can typically choose a concentration. For example, a concentration in logistics management prepares students for supply chain, transportation or warehouse management careers. Students focusing on health care administration gain the office and management skills required in the health care field. The sports and recreation management concentration teaches students marketing and business skills for that industry. Online courses are conducted similarly to the B.S. and BPA programs. Other course topics might include:

  • American politics
  • Public fiscal management
  • Community economic development
  • Municipal government operations

Schools With Online Bachelor's Programs in Public Administration

Students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts in public administration from Southern New Hampshire University. This online program looks at various social issues and how to make policies that facilitate actual change. Students have access to their classes anytime and are able to transfer up to 90 undergraduate credit hours to the program.

Florida International University offers a Bachelor in Public Administration (BPA) completely online. Their program provides students with extra support as online learners by pairing them with their own success coach. Students will learn about different public, governmental and nonprofit organizations and their policies.

Liberty University offers a unique Bible-oriented online Bachelor of Science program in government-public administration. This program is ideal for students interested specifically in studying the policies and administration issues in the different levels of government.

Online students can earn a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Public Administration from several different institutions. When choosing a school, students should consider degree type, areas of specialization and program length.

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