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Top Schools for Public Administration

Find information about programs in public administration, which teach students how to formulate and implement government policies in an efficient, economical and equitable manner. Read about study options at four top universities, and find a table with other schools in the U.S. that offer degrees for public administrators.

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Public administration programs can be found at many highly-rated schools and are typically offered at the master's degree level. Schools that offer these programs include Indiana University, Syracuse University, the University of Georgia and Arizona State University.

School Overviews

The universities below offer four top graduate programs in public management administration, according to U.S. News & World Report. Indiana University in Bloomington is the only one of the four to offer undergraduate majors in public administration; an advanced placement option is available at the University of Georgia in Athens.

Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY

School Highlight: Syracuse was ranked as the number one public administration school by U.S. News & World Report in 2016.

Syracuse University was ranked tied for 60th among all national universities by U.S. News & World Report in 2017. Their graduate program in public management administration, available at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, offers a Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.), as well as a number of unique joint master's degrees in public health, public diplomacy and documentary film and history. These programs include scholarship and applied studies.

University of Georgia in Athens, GA

School Highlight: Georgia offers a joint AB/M.P.A. program for undergraduates.

The University of Georgia, the first state-charted school in the U.S., is a research university that U.S. News & World Report ranked second among graduate programs in public management administration in 2016. The Department of Public Administration and Policy, located in the School of Public and International Affairs, offers an M.P.A., a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and an M.P.A./Juris Doctor (J.D.). Undergraduates can pursue an advanced placement program leading to an AB/M.P.A. Areas of specialization include public management and organizational theory, local government administration, nonprofit management and public personnel administration; students can also specialize in public budgeting and financial management, health policy administration, higher education or public policy analysis.

Indiana University - Bloomington

School Highlight: Indiana offers a Master of Arts in Arts Administration program.

According to U.S. News & World Report in 2016, the graduate program in public management administration program at Indiana University in Bloomington ranked third in the nation. At the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, students can pursue an M.P.A., as well as master's degrees in other related fields of study. The school also offers five different majors in public administration, including public health and arts management.

Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ

School Highlight: The Ph.D. in Public Administration offers a unique concentration in urbanism.

ASU's public administration master's program tied for 11th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report; the school also offers a doctoral program. Concentrations in nonprofit administration, emergency management and public finance are available. Students can also enroll in a hybrid online program and earn their master's degree in 16 months. Most coursework can be completed online, though students must attend two courses that are scheduled during weekends.

Top Public Administration Schools

Other top schools for public administration include:

  • The University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA, jointly offers classes at the USC State Capital Center in Sacramento.
  • The University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS, offers several professional development programs.
  • Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, combines the study of public administration with international development.
  • University at Albany - SUNY (in Albany, New York) Alumnus Joseph N. Garba is the State Legislative Representative of New York City.
  • American University in Washington, D.C., has nine research centers situated in the nation's capital.
  • Located in Newark, NJ, Rutgers University's School of Public Affairs and Administration is accredited by NASPAA.

Top schools across the nation, such as the University of Georgia and American University, have public administration programs that present unique offerings, such as online availability, multiple concentrations and dual degrees.

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