Top School for a Degree in Public Administration - Fort Lauderdale, FL

Students interested in studying public administration in Fort Lauderdale, FL, have many 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

Public administration programs are available from roughly 28 schools within a 25-mile radius of downtown Fort Lauderdale. Based on school rankings and program offerings, the top three schools offering public administration programs are: Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton, Barry University (Barry) in Miami and Nova Southeastern University (NSU) in Fort Lauderdale.

  • Winner: Florida Atlantic University takes the top spot since it is the only one of the three schools to have nationally ranked undergraduate and graduate programs. It's also the only school to offer public administration programs at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels.
  • Runner-Up #1: Barry University features public administration programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate certificate level. It also offers an online master's degree. This school earns second place since it awarded the most public administration degrees in 2011-2012.
  • Runner-Up #2: Nova Southeastern University has master's and doctoral degree programs in public administration. It also offers an 18-credit public administration minor.

School Comparison Chart

Category Florida Atlantic University Barry University Nova Southeastern University
Ranking(s) 267th for Best Undergraduate Business Programs, nationwide*, 97th for graduate public affairs programs in 2012, nationwide* N/A N/A
Location Boca Raton, FL (18 miles from Fort Lauderdale) Miami, FL (16 miles from Fort Lauderdale) Fort Lauderdale, FL
School Type 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, private not-for-profit
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $4,789 (in-state, undergraduate), $17,234 (out-of-state, undergraduate); $6,657 (in-state, graduate), $17,885 (out-of-state, graduate)** $28,160 (undergraduate), $16,290 (graduate)** $24,414 (undergraduate), $15,070 (graduate)**
Public Administration Degree Levels Offered Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees** Bachelor's and master's (online) degrees** Master's and doctoral degrees**
Public Administration Degrees (all levels) Awarded in 2011-2012 68** 186** 60**
Most Popular Public Administration Program in 2011-2012 Bachelor's degree (48 awarded)** Bachelor's degree (104 awarded)** Master's degree (59 awarded)**
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2005 Entering Class 43%** 35%** 43%**
Noteworthy 49% of school's student body are minority or international students which ranks FAU as the most diverse institution in Florida's state university system 2nd largest Catholic university in the Southeast Associate Professor of Public Administration received 2013 public administration educator of the year award

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

Winner: Florida Atlantic University

  • Diverse student body
  • FAU as a research center designated a 2010 'High Research Activity' university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
  • Total cost is $3,122 lower than the national average for public, 4-year in-state schools

FAU's school of public administration offers a selection of programs: bachelor's degrees in public management (BPM) or public safety administration; master's degrees in public administration (MPA) or non-profit management; a doctoral degree in public administration; and minor degrees in public management and non-profit management. The undergraduate and graduate programs are designed for professional practitioners interested in pursuing public sector organization programs. Besides public management electives coursework, the BPM program core curriculum includes public management and public administration; public budgeting and finance; quantitative inquiry for public managers; and research methods for public management. The 42-credit MPA program has 10 courses, or 30 hours, of core curriculum, such as democratic values and public administration; managerial leadership in state and local government; and decision making in the public sector.

The Ph.D. offering in public administration has concentration selections of administrative theory & inquiry; public policy studies, organizational studies, and public budgeting and financial administration. For the 45-unit doctoral program, candidates package their concentrations as they wish, but need to satisfy specific criteria, including passing exams in 3 of the 4 concentration areas, and completing and defending a qualifying paper.

Runner-Up #1: Barry University

  • Barry offers more than 100 academic programs, including master's degrees in their schools of business, law, and education
  • Barry has an overall student-faculty ratio of 14:1
  • Alumni include Carlos Gimenez, Mayor, Miami-Dade County; Laurent Lamothe, Prime Minister of Haiti; and Shaquille O'Neal, Former NBA Champion

Barry offers a bachelor's of public administration (BPA), as well as specialization and post-baccalaureate certificate programs. Further, the university's school of adult and continuing education offers an online master's of public administration (MPA). BPA coursework addresses principles and applications to manage a public agency, with core curriculum including concepts and issues in public planning; public policy and administration; public budgeting and finance; human resources in the public sector; and methods and techniques for public administration. The 21-credit specialization and certificate programs are primarily for working professionals and not-for-profit organizations.

The MPA program is a development program for adults to learn administration of public and not-for-profit organizations. Core curriculum for the 36-credit program utilizes graduate versions of BPA core curriculum, and adds coursework in theories, principles and practice of public administration; leadership in public purpose organizations; and public planning and change management. A completed applied capstone project is also required. Upon program completion, students have the skills and theoretical foundation to address the rule of law in public administration and possibly plan for change in the public sector.

Runner-Up #2: Nova Southeastern University

  • Among the 28,457 student body in 2009, 78%, or 22,060, were graduate students, according to the NCES
  • Three-year cohort default rate is 9.9 percentage points lower than and nearly one-quarter of the national average
  • Total cost is $4,588 lower than the national average for private, 4-year in-state schools

NSU operates 11 different schools and colleges, including schools for law and business. NSU through its H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship offers to approximately 6,000 students 7 undergraduate, 8 MBA, 7 graduate and 1 doctoral degree programs. An 18-credit public administration minor is also offered, as is a master's of public administration (MPA) among the master's degree program offerings. The 40-credits MPA program can be completed in 18 months, on alternating weekends online or at the main campus. The curriculum covers public affairs theory and budgeting; management of technology in public affairs offices; emergency management; administrative law and ethics; strategic planning; and finance and public policy creation. Students need to complete a week-long, on-campus, research-filled capstone project in order to graduate. For MPA admission, NSU desires students with some prior public administration employment. A public administration associate professor at NSU recently received the 2013 'Public Administration Educator of the Year Award' from the South Florida Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration.

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