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Top Public Administration Degree Program - Charlotte, NC

Students interested in studying public administration in Charlotte, North Carolina, 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.

School and Ranking Information

Students in the Charlotte, NC, area seeking a public administration education might consider schools as far as 100 miles from the city. Based on rankings, graduation rates and program offerings, the following three institutions are considered the top schools for public administration programs in the Charlotte area:

  • Winner: The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is declared the winner due to it being the only school located directly in the city with public administration programs. It's also the only nationally ranked school among the three universities. The school offers a Master of Public Administration (MPA) program as well as graduate certificates in several areas relating to public administration.
  • Runner Up #1: Its high regional ranking and graduation rate place Appalachian State University in the first runner up spot. Public administration can be studied by both bachelor's and master's degree students.
  • Runner Up #2: Because it ranks lower as a regional school than Appalachian State University, offers only a bachelor's degree program and has the lowest graduation rate, Winston-Salem State University is considered the third best option. The school does, however, rank highly among Historically Black Colleges and Universities and is located closer to Charlotte than the first runner up.

School Comparison Chart

Category University of North Carolina at Charlotte Appalachian State University Winston-Salem State University
Ranking(s) 201st among national universities (2014),
59th in the public affairs category (2012)*
9th among southern regional universities (2014),
138th in the public affairs category (2012)*
62nd among southern regional universities (2014)*
Location Charlotte, North Carolina Boone, North Carolina (82.2 miles from Charlotte) Winston-Salem, North Carolina (69.7 miles from Charlotte)
School Type 4-year, public 4-year, public 4-year, public
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $6,349 (in-state, graduate),
$18,636 (out-of-state, graduate)**
$6,059 (in-state, undergraduate),
$18,107 (out-of-state, undergraduate),
$6,557 (in-state, graduate),
$18,369 (out-of-state, graduate)**
$4,941 (in-state, undergraduate),
$14,091 (out-of-state, undergraduate)**
Public Administration Degree Levels Offered Graduate certificates and master's degrees Bachelor's and master's degrees Bachelor's degrees
Public Administration Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012 21** 37** 0**
Most Popular Public Administration Program (2011-2012) Master's degree (21 awarded)** Master's degree (37 awarded)** N/A
Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) for 2006 Entering Class 53%** 66%** 40%**

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

Winner: University of North Carolina at Charlotte

  • Active chapter of Pi Alpha Alpha, the national honor society for public administration
  • Dual degree option available
  • Acceptance rate is 6.2 percentage points higher than the national average, per the National Association for College Admission Counseling

The only public administration degree program available at UNC is the Master of Public Administration (MPA). The UNC MPA is offered with concentrations in emergency management, public finance, non-profit management, urban management and policy, and arts administration. A general MPA is also available. In addition to core and elective courses, Students complete either a thesis or a research project for a government or non-profit organization. Additionally, students may choose to receive a dual degree and graduate with an MPA and a Juris Doctor (JD) from the Charlotte School of Law.

There are scholarships and fellowships available for MPA students at UNC. The fellowships are organized through local non-profit organizations that allow some MPA students to work 20 hours per week and receive a $1,000 monthly stipend, along with receiving payment for their in-state tuition. For students uninterested in completing an MPA, graduate certificates are available in public budgeting and finance, non-profit management, urban management and policy, emergency management, and arts administration.

Runner-Up #1: Appalachian State University

  • Offers public administration degree programs at undergraduate and graduate levels
  • Most graduate-level public administration courses are offered in the evenings for working students
  • 25% of North Carolina's county and city managers completed their studies in the Appalachian MPA program

The Bachelor of Science in Political Science program at Appalachian offers a public administration concentration. This concentration has two tracks: public management and town administrator, city county management. Undergraduate students must finish 30 semester hours of public administration courses, including land use regulations, geospatial data and technology, and many others.

The MPA program at Appalachian began in 1989 and graduates around 12-25 students per year. The 42-credit program takes most full-time students 2 years to complete. Appalachian offers the MPA with concentrations in administration of justice, public management, and town, city, and county management. In order to complete the degree program, students must participate in at least 1 internship working full-time with a mentor.

Runner-Up #2: Winston-Salem State University

  • Student-to-faculty ratio is better than the national average, as reported by the NCES
  • Ranked 17th in U.S. News & World Report's Historically Black Colleges and Universities category for 2014

WSSU offers a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science degree with a concentration in public administration. This concentration includes 36 semester hours of courses in American government, state and local government, public management theory, civil rights, and constitutional law, among others. WSSU requires public administration undergraduates to pursue a minor outside of the political science and public administration fields. Students are not allowed to receive a double major in political science and public administration.

WSSU has several relevant research centers. The Center for Community Safety is where students from different degree programs, including public administration, can hone the skills necessary to react to community safety problems.

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