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Pursue a Bachelors in Public Administration Online

Public administration is a broad and rich field. It includes public policy and the tools and techniques professionals use to create, enact, and enforce public policy and

programing. It connects public, private, and nonprofit entities. Communities depend on public administration to engage citizens and promote positive government. To act as public administrators, professionals need knowledge across disciplines. Pursuing a bachelors in public administration online is a great way to study the ins and outs of the field and the many disciplines that inform it.  

bachelors in public administration online

What Is an Online Public Administration Bachelor Degree Program?

A bachelor in public administration degree program invites students to learn the basics of public policy, public administration, and government. Students study subjects across disciplines. They learn how professionals work with people, departments, and other influences to effectively run government. They also study government as a business. After all, governments, whether local, state, federal, or international, depend on financial, managerial, and other business expertise.   

Why Choose to Study Online?

A Bachelors in Public Administration Online enables students to study the field from afar.

  • Maybe you work in government and want to enhance your career. Online programs may help you balance work with studies.
  • Perhaps you want to live and work in a rural area with your pubic administration degree. Online education could help you access programs in big cities from a rural area.
  • Many students prefer the cadence and convenience of an online program. Maybe you want more time to think before participating in digital conversations. Perhaps you prefer other conveniences of programs that don’t happen in real time but rather according to your own schedule.

For all of these reasons, pursuing your public administration bachelor’s degree online might be your preference.

What Will I Study When I Pursue a Bachelors in Public Administration Online?

As part of your major in public administration, you’ll study subjects across disciplines.

Courses You May Enroll In

  • Sociology.
  • Economic development.
  • Social issues.
  • Public administration ethics.
  • Public administration policy.
  • Municipal government.
  • Public finance.
  • Local government.
  • National or international politics.
  • Research methods.
  • Comparative politics.
  • Political economy.

In many cases, you’ll study subjects like these at introductory levels. You might take advanced courses in certain areas. It depends on the program’s objectives.

Topics of Study in Public Administration

You might also study subjects that help you explore areas of public administration.

  • Public health.
  • Disaster recovery.
  • Homeland security.
  • Environmental health.
  • Land management.
  • Nonprofit administration.

You might study subjects like these to specialize your major or through electives.

How Might My Online Public Administration Bachelors Degree Program Be Structured?

Each bachelors in public administration online degree program is different. However, many include general education and major requirements. Your major might be in public administration, public policy, government, or a closely related subject. Your major will likely be divided between core and elective courses. Your core courses will cover the basics of your major. You’ll learn a lot about theory and practical application. You’ll probably also study business aspects of public administration. Your elective courses will help you focus and enhance your knowledge.

Online curricula typically incorporates multiple media to enhance learning. You might interact with other classmates and work with them on assignments. You might use case studies and interactive digital tools to explore applications. And you might use online forums to discuss theories and principles.

Other Requirements

In some programs, you might have to do an internship. Internships typically happen in students’ home communities. Programs simply have to review and approve them.

What Is the Difference between Public Administration & Public Policy

Put simply, public administration involves the mechanism of enacting and enforcing policy and programming. The government’s actions comprise public administration. Public policy involves the policies that inform governments’ actions. Policy provides a description of laws, regulations, ideas, goals, and programs that public entities use. Public administration applies, guides, and directs them.

What Degree Should I Pursue?  

Public administration and public policy go hand in hand. One informs the other. As such, you might focus on one or the other subject in a program. However, the subjects you study might be quite similar. To determine whether you want to pursue a bachelor’s degree in public administration or public policy, read a program’s intended outcomes. Also talk to a counselor in the program to determine how the degree might shape your career.

A Note on Accreditation

Accreditation helps ensure that schools and programs provide quality curricula and instruction. Agencies outside of a school provide accreditation. One common accrediting agency for public administration, policy, and affairs programs and schools is the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). To transfer your credits to another school, you’ll likely need to have credits from an accredited school. If you want to earn a master’s degree, for example, attending an accredited school is important. Check with a school or program prior to registering to ensure it’s accredited.

What Can I Do with a Bachelors in Public Administration?

Think of all the capacities of government. Picture the programs it provides. Imagine the departments in contains. Consider the human-power it requires for it to run smoothly. Then consider the entities that interact with government. Nonprofits, local businesses, and nongovernmental agencies name a few.

With a bachelors in public administration online degree, you might work in a capacity that supports any of these areas. You might work in parks and rec. You might work in public works or planning. You might work in finance or marketing. Or you might work in nonprofits or other service-based organizations. The possibilities are immense.

Each program you encounter might help you pursue distinct areas of public administration. Talk to a counselor in a program to determine if it will help you meet your goals.

A List of Professions

Otherwise, here’s a list of some professions people with public administration degrees might hold. All data, including potential salaries, comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Budget analysts earned a median annual salary of $71,590 in 2015.i
  • Administrative services managers earned a median annual salary of $86,110 in 2015.ii
  • Social and community service managers earned a median annual salary of $63,530 in 2015.iii
  • Social workers earned a median annual salary of $45,900 in 2015.iv
  • Public relations and fundraising managers earned a median annual salary of $104,140 in 2015.v
  • Management analysts earned a median annual salary of $81,320 in 2015.vi

What’s Next?

Your next step is to find a great program. Look through the ones we have listed her. You’ll notice that they have an array of titles. Upon closer inspection, you’ll notice that while some curricula might be similar, each program has its own personality. Which one fits you? Which one will help you pursue your goals? Here are some key questions to ask yourself:

  • Do I want to study public administration, public policy, or both?
  • Is there an area of either I’m most interested in?
  • Do the programs I find most interesting offer emphases and electives I like?
  • Will this program help me pursue my desired career?
  • Does the online structure meet my needs?

How Do I Pursue a Bachelors in Public Administration Online?

Once you’ve found a great program, contact the school directly to ask more questions. Then, get yourself registered. Communities need and want your contribution!


[i] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/budget-analysts.htm [ii] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/administrative-services-managers.htm [iii] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/social-and-community-service-managers.htm [iv] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm [v] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/public-relations-managers.htm [vi] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/management-analysts.htm