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Online Diploma and Certificate Programs in Public Administration

Get info about online programs in public administration. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, and check out continuing education options.

Essential Information

A graduate certificate program in public administration is a good choice for students already employed by a public or nonprofit organization who want additional training in leadership skills. It could also benefit individuals who want a graduate-level introduction before continuing on toward a relevant master's degree. Furthermore, an online option benefits professionals who need flexible and convenient study options. Programs in this field are available in both asynchronous and synchronous formats; the difference lies in whether students follow the coursework on their own time or on predetermined dates and time. A public sector background may be helpful prior to pursuing these programs.

Certificate Programs in Public Administration

Online graduate certificate programs in public administration typically consist of 12-18 credit hours. Students may need roughly 1-2 years to complete the entire course of study, depending on part-time or full-time enrollment and course availability. Courses cover topics such as:

  • Managing finances
  • Leading a team
  • Popular and recent trends in public administration
  • Professional ethics
  • Personnel law

Online Learning

Students may be able to complete studies in an asynchronous format, though some colleges also offer synchronous class options. For example, students might login to a virtual learning platform a certain day and time each week to take part in a live class.

Professors may opt to teach their public administration classes via a webcam or a chat room medium. This gives students an opportunity to ask questions to professors in a real-time environment; most other correspondence is made via email.

Coursework can be completed on a student's own time as long as assignments are submitted by the deadline. In addition, all the information a student needs to complete a class is posted to the web and can be accessed at his or her own pace.

Admission Requirements

An online graduate certificate in public administration program requires that a student have completed a bachelor's degree in any field. Students must typically send a Common Application form to their school of choice, usually completed online, and submit transcripts from all undergraduate institutions they have attended. While a background in the public sector is also not required, this can improve a student's chances of admission.


Continuing Education

Courses completed in an online graduate certificate program in public administration often count toward a Master in Public Administration (MPA). The MPA program typically takes an extra year after the completion of the certificate program, and many schools also offer the MPA program online.

Graduate certificate programs in public administration are aimed at working professionals seeking to expand their leadership skills. As such, they can be pursued completely online on the student's own time.


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