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Graduate Schools in Public Administration with Program Info

Public administration schools instruct students in a broad academic field that encompasses various subjects, such as political science, management, public finance, social welfare and policy analysis. Two public administration degrees are offered at the graduate level: the Master of Public Administration and the Doctor of Public Administration.

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A doctoral degree program in public administration is a research-based degree that takes three years or longer to complete. In contrast, a master's degree can be completed in two years of full-time study, and some schools offer post-graduate certificates in public administration that can be completed in less time.

Top 10 Public Management Administration Graduate Schools

This table indicates the levels of public management graduate degrees offered by some of the country's top institutions.

College/University Location Institution Type Graduate Degrees Offered* Tuition (2015-2016**)
Syracuse University Syracuse, NY 4-year, Private Master's, Doctoral $33,312
University of Georgia Athens, GA 4-year, Public Master's $8,492 (In-State)
Indiana University--Bloomington Bloomington, IN 4-year, Public Master's $8,442 (In-State)
Harvard University Cambridge, MA 4-year, Private Master's $41,832
University of Kansas Lawrence, KS 4-year, Public Master's, Doctoral $9,029 (In-State)
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Public Master's $39,984
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey-Newark Newark, NJ 4-year, Public Master's $16,272 (In-State)
American University Washington, DC 4-year, Private Master's $27,468
New York University New York, NY 4-year, Private Master's, Doctoral $38,592
George Washington University Washington, DC 4-year, Private Master's, Doctoral $27,810

Sources: *School website, **National Center for Education Statistics

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Selecting a Public Administration Graduate School

The following list features a few considerations to take into account for graduate programs in public management:

  • Concentrations within related policy areas are available, including nonprofit management, health policy administration and quantitative analysis.
  • Prior work experience in the public sector may be required before entering a graduate program this field.
  • Occasionally, students can elect to pursue concurrent degrees in disciplines such as international relations, medicine or business.

Master of Public Administration

Graduates of a master's degree program in public administration commonly enter into public-sector managerial positions upon completing degree requirements. Concentration areas are available and offer students an opportunity to specialize in different public administration subjects, such as policy analysis, management, public finance, arts administration and international management and policy.

While a thesis may be required to graduate with this degree, students must first complete a set of core public administration courses. Some of these classes may include topics in public management and organizations, public budgeting, human resource management, quantitative research methods and decision-making.

Doctor of Public Administration

A Doctor of Public Administration degree program prepares graduates for careers as senior-level public managers or as educators. Students must submit a dissertation to complete the requirements of the degree; however, much like a master's degree program in public administration, a student must first choose a concentration area and complete a core set of public administration courses.

Some common concentration areas at the doctoral level include health and welfare, immigration and international trade, organizational behavior, administrative law and tax policy. Once a student submits a dissertation, an oral defense is required. A committee of professors may also require a defense of a student's research design as well.

Students looking to pursue a graduate degree in public administration can complete a master's program, and may also look to earn a Ph.D. as well. It should be noted that not all schools offering a master's degree in this field also have a Ph.D. program available.

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