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Top Ranked Public Administration Degree Program - Bakersfield, CA

Only one school in Bakersfield, California, has top ranking public administration programs, though more schools are located within a 100-mile radius. Read on to find out more about what these top schools have to offer for public administration, as well as tuition and degree information.

School and Ranking Information

There is only one school in Bakersfield, CA, that offers public administration degree programs, though over 15 schools are located in a 100-mile radius of the city. The next-closest school options are over 80 miles away. Based on their locations and their rankings from U.S. News & World Report (USNWR), the top three picks are California State University - Bakersfield, California State University - Northridge and California Lutheran University.

  • Winner: Cal State - Bakersfield is the winner, since it's actually located within Bakersfield. It is regionally ranked by USNWR. It offers certificate, bachelor's and master's programs.
  • Runner-Up #1: California State University - Northridge is the nearest school to Bakersfield with a ranked graduate program in public affairs. It offers certificates, bachelor's degrees and master's degrees.
  • Runner-Up #2: California Lutheran University is also regionally ranked, offering a master's degree program.

School Comparison Chart

Category California State University - Bakersfield California State University - Northridge California Lutheran University
Rankings 90th among top regional universities in the West (2014)*
37th among top regional public schools in the West (2014)*
166th among top graduate public affairs schools (2012)*
60th among top regional universities in the West (2014)*
19th among top regional public schools in the West (2014)*
18th among top regional universities in the West (2014)*
Location Bakersfield, CA Northridge, CA (83.9 miles from Bakersfield) Thousand Oaks, CA (81.5 miles from Bakersfield)
School Type 4-year, public 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit
Tuition and Fees (2012-2013) $6,709 (undergraduate, in-state),
$18,367 (undergraduate, out-of-state);
$7,948 (graduate, in-state),
$17,494 (graduate, out-of-state)**
$6,296 (undergraduate, in-state),
$17,954 (undergraduate, out-of-state);
$7,770 (graduate, in-state),
$17,316 (graduate, out-of-state)**
$16,422 (graduate)**
Public Administration Degrees Offered Certificate, bachelor's and master's Certificate, bachelor's and master's Master's
Public Administration Degrees Awarded in 2011-2012 51** 350** 31**
Most Popular Public Administration Program (2011-2012) Master's degree (27 awarded)** Master's degree (314 awarded)** Master's degree (31 awarded)**
Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) for 2006 Entering Class 39%** 48%** 60%**
Noteworthy Master's degree program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPA) Largest provider of Master of Public Administration degrees in California*** Offers a fast-track option for the master's degree program

Sources: *U.S. News & World Report, **NCES, ***California State University - Northridge.

Winner: California State University - Bakersfield

  • Undergraduate students can also minor in public administration
  • Internship is required for graduate students who don't have leadership experience in the public sector
  • According to the school, more than 90% of its tenured faculty have doctoral degrees or the terminal degree in their field

CSUB offers undergraduates a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration program that requires 180 units of coursework; this curriculum incorporates a minor in public administration, which is beneficial to students who plan on advancing to a master's degree program in the field. Course topics in the B.A. program include public administration data management, the policy-making process, statistics, and public bureaucracy. An internship option is available. Undergraduate students may also want to consider the Certificate in Public Administration or Certificate in Nonprofit Management programs.

At the graduate level, CSUB has a Master of Public Administration (MPA) program. The MPA requires 25 units of core coursework, 15 units of electives, 1-5 units of an internship (unless the student has prior experience), and a 5-unit master's research paper. Specialization options are available in nonprofit management and health care management. A graduate-level Certificate in Nonprofit Management is another option in the School of Business and Public Administration.

Runner-Up #1: California State University - Northridge

  • CSUN's Tseng College has on-time graduation rates over 80%, according to the school's website
  • According to the College Board, 100% of freshman with financial need received aid in 2013
  • 3rd largest provider of Master of Public Administration degrees in the United States, according to the school

California State University - Northridge offers a bachelor's degree in public sector management and master's programs in public administration and public policy at its Tseng College. The bachelor's program is a degree-completion program that requires students to have a minimum of 2 years of previous college coursework. The program combines courses in business, economics, communications and behavioral sciences.

The Master of Public Administration program is offered in flexible formats, including on-campus, online and at off-campus sites. Concentrations in public sector management are available for all three program formats; online students can additionally focus on health administration, and on-campus students can also focus on nonprofit sector management or urban studies and planning. The Master of Public Policy program is offered in a fully online format and requires 36 units of coursework. Rounding out the graduate-level offerings at CSUN is a certificate in nonprofit sector management.

Runner-Up #2: California Lutheran University

  • Student-faculty ratio was 15:1 in 2012, according to NCES
  • 97% of full-time, first-year students received financial aid in 2011-2012, according to NCES
  • Offers the Sacramento Policy Institute course, in which students observe state policy in action in the capital

A Master of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) program requiring 39 credits of study is available through CLU in both regular and fast-track formats. Students complete core courses in public administration ethics, theory and research methods, as well as public policy analysis and law. Electives are offered in topics such as strategic planning, inter-governmental relations, nonprofit management, negotiation and public budgeting. A unique elective option at CLU is the spring-term Sacramento Policy Institute, during which students travel to the California State Capital to interact with policy committee members, lobbyists and lawmakers and observe real-world policy-making in process. The capstone of the MPPA program is either a comprehensive examination or a thesis.


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