Top Public Administration Degree Program - Austin, TX

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

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School and Ranking Information

There are few schools within a 30-mile radius of Austin that offer degrees in public administration. The following schools are considered the top three based on school rankings, number of public administration degrees awarded and available degree levels in the field:

  • Winner: The University of Texas in Austin is in first place for its highly ranked public policy management graduate programs and the number of public administration degree levels available. This school also awarded the most degrees in this field of study among the area schools in 2011-2012.
  • Runner Up #1: Texas State University has the lowest tuition rates among the three schools and offers multiple program in the field; however, it is the first runner up due to its location in San Marcos, 30 miles from Austin.
  • Runner Up #2: Saint Edward's University in Austin takes third place with its top-15 regional ranking from U.S. News & World Report, location in Austin and online course availability.

School Comparison Table

University of Texas at Austin Texas State University at San Marcos Saint Edward's University
Ranking Ranked #14 in the nation for public policy management programs (2012)* Ranked #51 among regional universities in the West (2014)* Ranked #15 among regional universities in the West (2014)*
Location Austin San Marcos (about 30 miles from Austin) Austin
School Type 4-year; public 4-year; public 4-year; private not-for-profit
Tuition (2013-2014) $10,684 (graduate, in-state),
$20,534 (graduate, out-of-state)**
$9,150 (undergraduate tuition and fees, in-state),
$19,970 (undergraduate tuition and fees, out-of-state),
$7,240 (graduate tuition and fees, in-state),
$14,320 (graduate tuition and fees, out-of-state)**
$33,220 (undergraduate)**
Public Administration Degrees Offered Master's and doctoral degrees Bachelor's and master's degrees Bachelor's degrees
Public Administration Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012 95*** 68*** 2***
Most Popular Public Administration Degree (2011-2012) Master of Public Affairs (91 degrees awarded)*** Master of Public Administration (35 degrees awarded)*** Bachelor of Liberal Studies in Public Administration (2 degrees awarded)***
Graduation Rate in 150% of Normal Program Time for 2006 Entering Class 79%*** 55%*** 69%***
Noteworthy Participates in Peace Corps Master's International Program** Hispanic-Serving Institution** Accelerated and online courses available**

Sources: *U.S. News and World Report, **Schools' websites, ***NCES College Navigator

Winner: The University of Texas at Austin

  • Six research centers in School of Public Affairs
  • Multiple dual-degree options
  • 'Portfolio programs in arts and cultural management and entrepreneurship as well as in non-profit studies can deepen and broaden master's degree program studies
  • Ranked #16 among public national universities by U.S. News and World Report (2014)

Located in Austin, the capital city of Texas, the flagship campus of the University of Texas system was founded in 1883. The university houses the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, proposed in 1965 by the 36th president of the United States. The school offers four graduate degree programs, including the Master of Public Affairs (MPAff), the Master of Global Policy Studies, the Executive Master of Public Leadership and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Public Affairs.

The 48-credit hour MPAff program includes courses in public management and policy research, with courses offered in one of seven specializations, including international affairs, socio-economic policy and urban affairs. The school also houses six research centers, with the opportunity to conduct advanced research in areas such as international energy and the environment, health and social policy as well as philanthropy and community service.

Runner-Up #1: Texas State University at San Marcos

  • Undergraduate internship opportunities
  • Public administration graduate program offers conditional admission for qualified students who don't meet GPA minimum for standard admission

Located in San Marcos, approximately 35 miles from Austin, Texas State University was opened in 1903 as Southwest Texas State Normal School. The College of Liberal Arts is home to the Department of Political Science, offering a Bachelor of Public Administration (BPA) with optional support areas that include local government, international public administration, social services and health services. The BPA program also includes a required internship.

At the graduate level, students can pursue a Master of Public Administration (MPA) with career support areas that include government information systems, social policy and human resources for public administration. Several workshops are offered to assist graduate students in preparing the required thesis.

Runner-Up #2: Saint Edward's University

  • Accepts credit for life experience and credit by exam
  • During the 2011-2012 school year, 77% of all undergraduates received an average award $14,638 in grants and scholarships, according to the NCES
  • Smart classrooms available through the New College

At Saint Edward's University in Austin, students can pursue a Bachelor of Liberal Studies (BLS) in Public Administration through the New College, offering programs designed for working adults. Although the college has 35 years of academic history, courses are now offered through the North Austin Campus, which opened in 2001. The BLS program offers accelerated, blended and online courses covering topics such as public policy, organizational leadership, emergency management, intergovernmental relations and public finance.

Students will select an area of study that includes either non-profit and human services management, public safety management or organizational communication. Other program courses include selections from political science, economics, finance and management.

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