2017 Top Online Schools for Public Administration

Scroll down to see the top not-for-profit colleges offering public administration degrees online.

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Advertisement This search widget accesses a list of schools that help sponsor this site by paying a small fee for student inquiries. They are all accredited not-for-profit institutions. Some may be included in our rankings but it is not related to their participation as an advertiser. In general, evaluating as many schools as possible will help you find the best fit.

Evaluating Online Public Administration Degrees

Online MPA programs can be a godsend for busy working professionals. They come with flexible schedules, few or no on-campus requirements and – providing you attend an accredited school with a solid reputation – the same benefits as a traditional degree. Schools now offer online programs in public management, human services, public safety administration, community development and public administration.

If you’re considering distance learning, establish your education goals early, research the program carefully, talk to alumni and make sure your qualification will be accepted by your colleagues and superiors.

You should also look for:

  • Regional accreditation
  • NASPAA accreditation (optional)
  • AACSB, ACBSP or IACBE accreditation for the business school
  • Strong “brick and mortar” reputation (e.g. top school rankings, excellent research centers and distinguished alumni)
  • Programs that arrange real-world internships, practicums and/or capstone projects in your local area
  • Great online rankings in U.S. News & World Report
  • The same experienced faculty who teach on-campus courses teaching online
  • Dedicated distance learning support services
  • Verifiable job placement figures and low attrition rates

School Rankings

1

National University

Students who want a career in public administration can earn an undergraduate or graduate degree in online programs offered by National University. The university also has a B.P.A. to M.P.A. program that accelerates a master's degree for students who are currently in the bachelor's program. Undergraduates are required to take 12 core courses in the major and four upper-division electives in related subjects. The program ends with a senior research project in public administration. The master's program allows students to choose a specialization in human resource management or organizational leadership. Earning the master's requires students to complete 12 courses, including eight core requirements, such as urban planning, financial management, and a master's project.

2

University of Southern California

The Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California offers a Master of Public Administration program online, which is a unique program in that it is multidisciplinary and combines public policy and management. Graduates of the M.P.A. degree typically become administrators of public services, particularly within the government. However, a professional with this degree could work in the private sector as well. The online M.P.A. program prepares students to be leaders and innovators in the field. The Price School has recognition throughout the globe, and their Master's in Public Administration program is ranked in the top M.P.A. programs in the nation.

3

Central Michigan University

The Global Campus of Central Michigan University offers a Master of Public Administration online. This degree is ideal for students who wish to pursue leadership positions within the public and private sectors, and the program will provide students with increased skills in legal and constitutional frameworks, policy analysis, collaboration, and ethical decision solving. The M.P.A. at CMU is accredited by the Network of Schools for Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA), and it focuses on the areas of fiscal management, organizational governance, best practices, strategic planning, and research methods. Students in this program will take such courses as Public Service Competencies, Strategic Leadership, Foundations of Public Administration, and Public Policy Processes and Evaluation.

CAG Score 94.5

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

26,879 Students

4

Northwestern University

For students seeking online degrees, the School of Professional Studies at Northwestern University offers a Master's in Public Policy & Administration entirely online. This program is unique because it includes both the administrative and the analytical sides of the discipline whereas most degrees in public policy only focus on one or the other. Four different specializations are available: a Public Administration Specialization, a Public Policy Specialization, a Global Policy Specialization, a Global Health Specialization, and a Health Services Policy Specialization. Many graduates of the program go on to become city administrators, regional planners, federal workers, health services managers, and emergency managers. Students in the program will take such courses as Public Finance and Budgeting and Fundamentals of Public Administration.

5

Barry University

Barry University offers a Bachelor of Public Administration (BPA) and a Master of Public Administration (MPA). The bachelor's degree is an undergraduate degree that is most accepted for professional employment in general public administration. For many professions such as fire, police, and planning, the degree is highly desirable. The Master's degree program is geared towards adult learners who want to focus on professional development within public, not-for-profit, and other organizations that serve a public purpose. Barry University applies the Judeo-Christian ethical framework to the field of public policy, and the online degree programs are ideal for adult learners, including active-duty military. Students in the public administration program take courses such as Values and Ethics in Public Administration and Non-Profit Administration.

6

California Baptist University

California Baptist University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration, a Master of Public Administration, and a Doctor of Public Administration entirely online. All degree programs in public administration will provide students who wish to serve the public with professional development. Students pursuing a public administration degree at CBU will gain the knowledge and the skills to address issues in a global context through the lens of a Christian heritage. CBU Online is well respected, and the school has received many awards and recognitions, including ranking in the top 40 best online bachelor's degrees by U.S. News & World Report for four years in a row.

7

DePaul University

The School of Public Service at DePaul University offers a Master of Public Administration online, and it is available in three specializations: Public Management, International Public Management, and Metropolitan Planning and Urban Affairs. The goal of this program is to ethically educate future leaders and employers of local, state, and federal government. In this program, students will learn to alleviate poverty, build responsive government, and connect global and domestic issues. The degree includes an experiential component and requires students to have a professional experience within a government setting. The program takes at least two years to complete though many students finish in three or four years. Students will take such courses as Cross-Sector Analysis and Policy Design and Analysis.

8

Anna Maria College

Anne Maria College offers a Master of Public Administration online with five different specializations: General Track, Criminal Justice, Emergency Management, Fire and Emergency Services, and Homeland Security. These specializations offer students the necessary information to prepare for a variety of positions including human resources manager, emergency management specialist, fire chief, city planning & management, nonprofit management, emergency management operations, financial management, economic development, chief of police or detective, public works director, emergency services director, or chief development officer. There is also a mid-career track, which allows students to waive up to two courses if they have at least four years of work experience in public administration or one of the specialization areas.

9

University of Hawaii-West Oahu

University of Hawai'i - West O'ahu offers a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration online. This degree prepares students for leadership roles in the public sector. The B.A.P.A. offers concentrations in Health Care Administration, Justice Administration, Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, and General Public Administration. The General Public Administration track prepares students for careers in administration and management with all levels of government, and the other concentrations prepare students for careers in each respective field. Students in the B.A.P.A. program will take courses such as Principles of Public Administration, Public Communication Campaigns, and Administrative Decision.

10

Indian River State College

For students who wish to pursue an online degree, Indian River State College offers a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration - Public Policy and Leadership. This degree prepares students to effectively manage people as well as projects, ensure efficient use of resources, and provide high-quality service. The degree also will prepare students for graduate studies in public administration or for law school. Students in this degree program will take courses such as Organizational Behavior and Administration, Urban and Regional Planning, Public Relations for Public Managers, and Policy Development and Implementation.

CAG Score 94.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

17,665 Students

11

Norwich University

Norwich University offers a Master of Public Administration online. The program is specifically geared towards students who wish to pursue careers in leadership roles in government or serving the public, and it helps them to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to advance their careers. The M.P.A. program is available in eight concentrations: Criminal Justice and Public Safety, Fiscal Management, International Development and Influence, Municipal Governance, Nonprofit Management, Public Works and Sustainability, Policy Analysis and Analytics, and Public Administration Leadership and Crisis Management. The program can be completed online, but there is a final academic requirement that students come to the Norwich University campus for a week-long residency.

12

Florida International University

Florida International University offers a Bachelor in Public Administration as well as a Master in Public Administration entirely online. These degrees prepare students for fulfilling and satisfying careers in nonprofit organizations or government. Additionally, the B.P.A. degree prepares students who wish to pursue the M.P.A. degree. Online students are provided with a personal success coach who will offer guidance and motivation throughout the program. Students pursuing a B.P.A. will take such courses as Public Sector Budgeting and Personnel Skills for Public Administrators. Additionally, the M.P.A. program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs, and it was ranked the #1 M.P.A. program in South Florida by U.S. News and World Report in 2012.

CAG Score 95.1

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

49,610 Students

13

Bellevue University

Bellevue University offers a Master of Public Administration degree entirely online. The program offers a foundational and professional education for those who wish to serve the public in leadership roles in nonprofit organizations or the government. Graduates of this program will be prepared to hold senior level roles which necessitate a comprehensive understanding of public organizational issues, align policy with budgets and funding sources to complete a funding project, communicate effectively in written and oral communications, and evaluate the potential effectiveness of theories and models that are relevant to public organizations. Students in the M.P.A. program will take courses such as Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness as well as Finance for the Public Administrator.

CAG Score 95.5

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

9,879 Students

14

University of Missouri-Columbia

The Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri offers a Master of Public Affairs, which is a 33-hour degree program that is available entirely online. This program is geared towards public service professionals at all levels and from all backgrounds. The program will prepare students to be exceptional leaders in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors that will bring about positive change. The goal of the program is to give students a comprehensive understanding and knowledge in the areas of social entrepreneurship, public policy strategy, financial management, ethical leadership, organizational dynamics and leadership, collaborative governance, economic analysis, and research methods.

CAG Score 94.4

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

35,425 Students

15

Nova Southeastern University

The Huizenga College of Business at Nova Southeastern University offers a Master of Public Administration program online. The goal of the M.P.A. program is to add to the positive value of local and state governance in addition to nonprofit organizations through research, service, and education. The program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration, and it is available in four specializations: State and Local Administration, Criminal Justice, Non-Profit/Non-Governmental Organizations, and Disaster and Emergency Management. Students in the program will take such courses as Evaluation of Public Policies and Programs, Public and Non-Profit Strategic Management, and Sustainable Community Development.

16

Texas Southern University

Texas Southern University offers an Online Executive Master in Public Administration program, which focuses on public policy. Graduates of the eMPA program will have a new array of professional, conceptual, and quantitative skills as well as the ability to utilize information technology and also systems for effective communications and decision making. The online program provides students with more flexibility, affordability, and accessibility than a program on campus. Students in the eMPA program will take such courses as Public Administration Theories and Practices, Research Methods in Public Administration, Leadership and Decision Making, and Government Budgeting and Financial Management.

17

Wayland Baptist University

The School of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Wayland Baptist University offers a Master of Public Administration, which is specifically designed to prepare both non-public and public employees for a successful career and/or promotion in the field of administration. The program has three specializations: justice administration, homeland security/emergency management, and government administration. The program is 36 hours, and it can be completed in 18 months. Students in the M.P.A. program take such courses as Legal Environment, Public Administration, and Research Methods.

18

Golden Gate University-San Francisco

Golden Gate University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Management with a Public Administration Concentration, a Bachelor of Science in Business with a Public Administration Concentration, a Master of Business Administration with a Public Administration Concentration, an Executive Master of Public Administration, and a certificate in Public Administration Leadership. The B.A. in management, and the B.S. in business, and the M.B.A. are all more general business degrees with a concentration in public administration. This allows students to gain more generalized business skills while also learning a great deal about public administration. The E.M.P.A. program is offered in an accelerated format in as little as 18 months.

19

Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis

Indiana University offers an online program leading to a Master of Public Affairs with no on-campus requirement. The program uses an interdisciplinary approach to prepare graduates for careers in public administration, nonprofit management or policy analysis. The program requires students to complete 48 credits, including an experiential component, which can be fulfilled by an internship, research project, or possibly through prior experience. Required core courses cover topics such as public management, statistical analysis, public finance, and law and public affairs. Students also take at least six electives to tailor the program to their career goals. Several related certificates are also available online, including certificates in public management, public budgeting and financial management, and nonprofit management.

CAG Score 95.5

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

30,690 Students

20

Marist College

Marist College offers a Master of Public Administration entirely online. The program is geared towards those who wish to take on leadership positions in the public, private, or non-profit sector, and here are three different concentrations available: Ethical Leadership concentration, Healthcare Administration concentration, and Public Management concentration. The ethical leadership concentration focuses on making positive decisions in preparation to become effective and ethical leaders, the healthcare administration concentration centers around understanding the big picture about the healthcare industry, and the public management concentration focuses on effective and successful management of organizations. The program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).

21

University of North Carolina at Pembroke

The Department of Political Science and Public Administration of University of North Carolina - Pembroke offers a Master of Public Administration, which trains students for leadership roles within the non-profit, public, and private sector. The program does not require students to have a particular background, and students with undergraduate degrees in other fields may still excel in the program. Students enrolled in the program can take such courses as Leadership and Administration in Public Affairs, Principles of Budget and Finance, Health Administration and Organization, and Sustainability and Hazard Resilience.

CAG Score 94.6

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

6,269 Students

22

Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University offers a Master of Public Administration online. The program can be completed in as little as 18 months, and it consists of 36 credit hours. The program includes courses that center around the skills that are necessary to manage people, resources, and programs effectively. The program is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administrations (NASPAA). Students enrolled in the program will take courses such as Administrative Behavior, Public Policy Analysis and Evaluation, Administrative Leadership, and Public Information Management.

23

Belhaven University

Belhaven University offers an online Master of Public Administration and an online Master of Public Administration - Human Resources Concentration. The program prepares graduates for management responsibilities and leadership roles. The online program is designed for the working adult, and it consists of manageable eight-week sessions. The human resources concentration allows students the chance to focus on the study and the application of human resource principles in areas such as compensation and benefits and employee relations. Students enrolled in the program may take such courses as Advanced Organizational Behavior, The Legal Environment of Business, Managerial Economics, and Principles of Executive Leadership.

24

University of Colorado Colorado Springs

University of Colorado - Colorado Springs offers a Master of Public Administration entirely online. The degree prepares students for leadership roles within the nonprofit and the public sectors. The program is specifically designed for professional individuals who would like to pursue policy or administrative related careers in nonprofit organizations, the public sector, the criminal justice system, national security, and more. The program consists of 36 - 39 credit hours, and the online classes are taught by the same highly qualified faculty that teaches the classes on campus. Students enrolled in the program will take courses such as the Policy Process and Democracy, Nonprofits and Public Policy, and Collaboration Across Sectors.

CAG Score 95.7

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

11,761 Students

25

Southern University and A & M College

The Department of Public Administration at Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College Online offers an Executive Master of Public Administration degree. The department is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration, and it is specifically geared towards individuals who already have public sector work experience. To enroll in the program, students must have at least three years of work experience in a managerial, supervisory, or upper level context. At least two of those years of experience need to be with nonprofit organizations or government institutions.

26

Southern Utah University

The Department of Political Science & Criminal Justice of Southern Utah University offers a Master of Public Administration degree online. The program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration. The program is 36 hours, and it's geared towards students who are interested in pursuing management positions within the non-profit or public sectors. Classes in the program will focus on analysis of important aspects of public service, the development of the ability to reason critically, and forming coherent ideas and positions on key policy and public administration issues. Students enrolled in the program may take such courses as Public Sector Economics, Research Methods for Public Administration, and Critical Thinking and Ethics in the Public Sector.

CAG Score 93.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

7,656 Students

27

Jacksonville State University

The Department of Political Science & Public Administration at Jackson State University offers a Master of Public Administration entirely online. The degree is offered in seven concentrations, but only five of the concentrations are available entirely online: Administrative Management, Criminal Justice, Education, Emergency Management, and Geographical Information Systems. The Master of Public Administration program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). This program will prepare students for employment in leadership roles in the non-profit or public sector, and each concentration focuses on a different aspect of public administration.

28

Old Dominion University

The School of Public Service in the Strome College of Business at Old Dominion University offers a Master of Public Administration entirely online. The M.P.A. program is specifically meant for students who wish to pursue leadership roles within the public or non-profit sectors. The program focuses on five central areas of study: organizational design processes as well as behavior, policy evaluation and program analysis, both qualitative and quantitative analysis techniques, public management processes, and political and ethical concepts of public administration. The M.P.A. program at ODU is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration. Students will take a combination of core concentration classes and electives.

CAG Score 95.6

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

24,932 Students

29

University of Baltimore

The University of Baltimore offers an online Master of Public Administration degree program. The program is one of only 23 degree programs that is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). Students in the M.P.A. program may specialize in Public and Nonprofit Management, and it is a 42-credit program. Students in the program may take courses such as Public Management, Public Personnel and Human Resource, Public Budgeting and Fiscal Administration, and Bureaucracy and the Political Process.

CAG Score 94.6

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

6,422 Students

30

University of Alaska Southeast

The University of Alaska Southeast School of Management offers a Master of Public Administration entirely online. The program is geared towards non-profit and public managers who are seeking to enhance their credentials and expand their potential within their field. The program is an Institutional Member of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration. The M.P.A. program is available with a rural development concentration as well as a natural resource concentration, and students in the program will take such courses as Organizational Theory and Behavior, Law for Public Managers, and Human Resource Administration.

31

University of Illinois at Springfield

The University of Illinois - Springfield offers a Master of Public Administration degree online, and it is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration. The online program offers the same high quality educational experience as the program on campus including the same highly experienced faculty. They also offer a nonprofit management certificate, a certificate in homeland security, and a joint Master of Public Administration/Master of Public Health degree. All of these are available entirely online as well. Students enrolled in the program may take such courses as Human Resource Management, Organization Dynamics, Analytical Tools, and Public Policy for Managers.

32

University of La Verne

The Department of Public and Health Administration in the College of Business and Public Management at University of La Verne offers a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration online. This degree program is both professional and academic in nature, and it prepares students for management positions within the non-profit or public sector. Students will take a combination of general education classes, core concentration classes, and electives, and the electives are offered in two areas: The Organizational and Management Context of Public Sector Administration and The Policy and Institutional Context of Public Administration. Core concentration classes include courses such as Urban Environments, Administrative Processes, and Management of Change and Conflict.

33

Villanova University

Villanova University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Public Service and Administration as well as a Master of Public Administration, and both degrees are available entirely online. In these programs, students will gain knowledge in the areas of leadership ethics, public policy and budgeting, organizational effectiveness, strategic planning, and more. Graduates of the bachelor's degree program often work in the career fields of public administration, non-profit management, criminal justice, city planning, and more. The M.P.A. program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA), and many M.P.A. graduates have become successful leaders in both non-profit organizations and public service.

34

Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University offers a Master of Public Administration entirely online, and it is taught by the same highly qualified, experienced professors that teach the on-campus courses. Whether you are a seasoned professional or you are just beginning your career in public service, the M.P.A. will be a beneficial degree. The degree is available in a customizable general track as well as a community development track, and certificate options are available in emergency management, homeland security, fire and emergency services, and occupational safety. The program is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration, and it is committed to the high standards set by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.

35

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers an online program for students who want to earn a Master of Public Administration. The program, known as [email protected], requires students to complete 45 credits. The program offers a choice of focus areas: community and economic development, international relations, public health, local government, and nonprofit management. Students take up to five electives in the focus area to gain a depth of knowledge about the subject. Candidates are also encouraged to gain experience through a professional work experience practicum, and some students may devise a project at their workplace that qualifies. Some students complete the program is as little as 18 months, although candidates may take up to five years.

CAG Score 97.1

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

29,135 Students

36

Park University

The Hauptmann School of Public Affairs at Park University offers a Bachelor of Public Administration online with five different concentrations: Public Service, Business Relations, Criminal Justice, Homeland Security, and Fire Service Management. The program is specifically geared towards students who wish to pursue entry-level positions, continued professional development, and graduate studies. Students Public Management and Leadership, American National Government, Public Service Values, and Capitalism and Societal Issues. B.P.A. students who wish to pursue an M.P.A. may be able to gain early access to courses in the M.P.A. program if they have a 3.6 GPA or higher as well as the approval of the Dean of the Hauptmann School of Public Affairs and the Director of the M.P.A. Program.

37

The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas - Arlington offers a Master of Public Administration program online. It is certified by the Network of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA), and it was rated in the top 75 M.P.A. programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. This program centers around management and leadership roles in public services at all levels of government, in non-profit organizations, and in businesses like consulting firms. Students will take courses such as Foundations of Urban Research and Analysis, Ethics in Public Service, and Financial Management in the Public and Non-Profit Sectors.

CAG Score 95.4

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

39,740 Students

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