School and Ranking Information
There are about six schools within 125 miles of Orlando, FL, that offer graduate-level public administration programs. Based on school rankings, school type and location, the top three schools that offer master's degree programs in public administration are:
- Winner: The University of Central Florida (UCF) has a nationally ranked graduate program in public affairs. It is the only school on the list that offers public administration programs at both the bachelor's and master's degree levels, and it awarded the most master's degrees in this field during the 2011-2012 school year.
- Runner Up #1: The main campus of the University of South Florida is located 70 miles from Orlando; however, it still makes this list since it has a nationally ranked graduate program in public administration.
- Runner Up #2: University of North Florida (UNF) is located more than 100 miles from Orlando and also has a nationally ranked graduate programs in public affairs. It offers a NASPAA-accredited Master of Public Administration program.
School Comparison Chart
|Category||University of Central Florida||University of South Florida - Main Campus||University of North Florida|
|Rankings (2012-2013)|| 5th for Up-and-Coming Schools, nationwide;
59th for Graduate Public Affairs, nationwide;
98th for Top Public Schools, nationwide;
174th for National Universities*
| 94th for Top Public Schools, nationwide;
121st for Graduate Public Affairs, nationwide;
170th for National Universities*
| 16th for Top Public Schools (South);
41st for Regional Universities (South);
149th for Graduate Public Affairs, nationwide*
|Location||Orlando, FL||Tampa, FL (71.5 miles from Orlando)||Jacksonville, FL (122.2 miles from Orlando)|
|School Type||4-year, public||4-year, public||4-year, public|
|Graduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)||$8,817 (in-state);
| $10,415 (in-state);
| $10,144 (in-state);
|Public Administration Degree Levels Offered||Bachelor's and master's degrees||Master's degrees||Master's degrees|
|Public Administration Degrees (all levels) Awarded in (2011-2012)||108**||21**||26**|
|Most Popular Public Administration Program 2011-2012||Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Public Administration (63 awarded)**||Master of Public Administration (21 awarded)**||Master of Public Administration (26 awarded)**|
|Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2005 Entering Class||63%**||52%**||50%**|
|Noteworthy||In 2011-2012, the school improved its U.S. News & World Report rank from 90th to 59th for graduate public affairs programs***||Ranked 40th for 'Top 100 Best Buy Colleges' by Forbes in 2012***||Ranked 57th out of the top '100 Best Values in Public Colleges' by Kiplinger in 2013***|
Sources: *U.S. News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator, ***Schools' websites.
Winner: University of Central Florida
- For full-time graduate students, the graduation rate for the UCF School of Public Administration is 100% within three years
- 75% of UCF faculty have a doctoral degree
- For the fall 2012 semester, the Master of Public Administration program had a 57.7% acceptance rate
- For the 2011-2012 academic year, 97% of first-time undergraduates received financial aid, according to the NCES
The University of Central Florida School of Public Administration awards degrees in public administration at the bachelor's, postbaccalaureate certificate and master's levels. Undergraduates have the option to pursue a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science. Though both programs prepare students for careers in government administration and similar fields, the Bachelor of Arts includes a language course requirement, while the Bachelor of Science includes additional technical courses.
Graduate students can pursue a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration or a 30-credit Master of Public Administration (MPA). The MPA program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). Additionally, students can join the Organization for Public Administration, a UCF student organization, or the UCF Chapter of Pi Alpha Alpha, the National Honor Society for public affairs and public administration.
Runner-Up #1: University of South Florida - Main Campus
- Graduates of the MPA program include a past Florida Secretary of State, a City of Tampa Council member, and a State Senator
- 86% of UCF faculty have a terminal degree
- For the 2011-2012 academic year, 97% of first-time undergraduates received financial aid, according to NCES
The University of South Florida School of Public Affairs awards a Master of Public Administration (MPA). Graduate students have the option to complete the MPA on campus or online. Both options are accredited by the NASPAA. However, the online program requires 36 credits, while the on-campus program necessitates 42 credits. Some of the available courses in both programs cover public service ethics, policy analysis, and budgeting for the public. Qualified students are eligible to apply for a scholarship designated for students within the Department of Government and International Affairs. Additionally, students may choose to join the USF Chapter of Pi Alpha Alpha.
Runner-Up #2: University of North Florida
- In 2013, UNF was ranked in the Top 75 Best Value Public Colleges by the Princeton Review
- 75% of UNF faculty have a terminal degree
- For the 2011-2012 academic year, 96% of first-time undergraduates received financial aid
The University of North Florida Department of Political Science and Public Administration awards a NASPAA-accredited Master of Public Administration (MPA). This 42-credit-hour program allows students to select from six concentrations, some of which include non-profit management, health administration, national security, and health administration. Department faculty include members of the City of Jacksonville Ethics Committee and the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission. Qualified public administration students may apply for multiple scholarships. Additionally, they may choose to join the UNF Chapter of Pi Alpha Alpha.