Top School in Pittsburgh for a Public Administration Degree

Six schools in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, area have public administration programs. Read about the top schools' degree programs, tuition and ranking info to find the right one for you.

School and Ranking Information

Of the six schools in and near Pittsburgh offering public administration programs, four are located directly in the city. The following universities are considered the top three schools for public administration programs based on rankings, graduation rates and number of degrees granted:

  • Winner: Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) appears in the top spot because its public administration graduate program is highly ranked and it awards the most degrees in this area of study, by far, of the three schools listed here. Students can choose from between two master's degree options in public management.
  • Runner Up #1: Earning second place is the University of Pittsburgh. Its public administration program ranking and graduate rate are also high, though they're below those of CMU. It is the only one of the three schools to offer a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree.
  • Runner Up #2: The third best option is Duquesne University, due to its national ranking and because its graduation rate is just below that of the University of Pittsburgh. It has a master's degree in the related area of social and public policy.

School Comparison Table

Carnegie Mellon University University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus Duquesne University
Ranking #9 among public affairs graduate schools (2013)* #33 among public affairs graduate schools (2013)* #120 among national universities (2013)*
Location Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh
School Type 4-year; private not-for-profit 4-year; public 4-year; private not-for-profit
Tuition and Fees (2012-2013) $38,614 (graduate)** $20,076 (in-state, graduate),
$32,398 (out-of-state, graduate)**
$19,044 (graduate)**
Public Administration Degrees Offered Master of Public Management (MPM),
Master of Science in Public Policy and Management (MSPPM)
Master of Public Administration (MPA),
Master of Public and International Affairs (MPIA)
Master of Arts in Social and Public Policy (MASPP)
Degrees Awarded (2011-2012) 31 (MPM),
135 (MSPPM)**
58 (MPA),
24 (MPIA)**
17 (MASPP)**
Most Popular Program (2011-2012) Master of Science in Public Policy and Management (135 degrees awarded)** Master of Public Administration (58 degrees awarded)** Master of Arts in Social and Public Policy (17 degrees awarded)**
Graduation Rate (150% of Normal Program Time, 2005-2012) 87%** 79%** 76%**
Noteworthy Track options available in Washington, D.C. or Adelaide, Australia Four affiliated research centers Cross-registration available

Sources: *U.S. News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator

Winner: Carnegie Mellon University

  • Six specialized master's programs
  • Undergraduate degree available
  • Joint degree options
  • Specialized research opportunities

Founded by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1900, Carnegie Mellon University is a private research institution. At the undergraduate level, the Department of Social and Decision Sciences offers a Bachelor of Science in Policy and Management. For graduate students, the H. John Heinz College houses the School of Public Policy and Management, founded in 1968. Graduate students can pursue a Master of Public Management (MPM) with concentration options in health systems management, management or human resources. The MPM program can be completed in as little as 12 months through full-time coursework.

Students may also choose to pursue a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management (MSPPM), available through 2-year or three semester track options, as well as study options in Washington, D.C. or Adelaide, Australia. This program also features several dual degree options, including a combined MS/Juris Doctor (JD) and MS/Master of Business Administration (MBA). Other master's programs include areas of study such as arts management, health care policy, entertainment industry and biotechnology. Research opportunities include the Program of Research and Outreach on Gender Equity in Society, known as PROGRESS, or the Center for Economic Development.

First Runner-Up: University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus

  • NASPAA accredited MPA program
  • Joint degree options
  • Study abroad opportunities
  • Undergraduate degree available

The University of Pittsburgh is a public institution that was originally chartered as an institution of higher learning in 1787. Undergraduate students can earn a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies with a concentration in urban policy and administration. The Graduate School of Public and International Affairs offers a Master of Public Administration (MPA) program accredited through NASPAA. This 48-credit program features major options in public and nonprofit management, urban and regional affairs or policy research and analysis. Students will also complete a required 300-hour internship.

Along with the MPA program, students may also choose to pursue joint degrees leading to an MPA/JD, MPA/Master of Public Health (MPH), MPA/Master of Science in Information Sciences (MSIS) or an MPA/Master of Social Work (MSW). Other programs offered through the school include the Master of Public and International Affairs with major options in political economy, human security, as well as a major in security and intelligence studies. Students can combine their master's degree with a certificate in area studies, take advantage of study abroad opportunities and participate in research through one of four research centers, including the Johnson Center for Responsible Leadership or the University Center for Social and Urban Research.

Second Runner-Up: Duquesne University

  • Master of Arts or professional master's available
  • Joint degree options
  • Cross-registration available at local universities

Founded in 1878, Duquesne University is a private Catholic institution housing the Graduate Center for Social and Public Policy. Students can pursue a Master of Arts (MA) in Social and Public Policy with concentrations in either policy analysis and administration or conflict resolution and peace studies. This 36-credit program offers courses that cover topics such as population, terrorism, city building and civic problems. Students can also earn a graduate certificate in either of the concentration options.

Program requirements in the MA program include a thesis or enhanced research paper. Students can complete limited coursework through cross-registration at other Pittsburgh universities, including Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh, as well as Carlow University, Chatham University and Park Point University. Duquesne University's School of Leadership and Professional Advancement also offers a Master of Science in Leadership with a concentration in community leadership.


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