Online Master's Degree in Public Administration

An online master's degree program in public administration, a 2- to 3- year degree program, is designed not only for professionals but also for students who hold bachelor's degrees in other disciplines. Read on for a program description, and discover what you'll study. Career options are also discussed. Schools offering Public Administration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Can I Earn My Master's Degree in Public Administration Online?

Online master's degree programs in public administration are offered through distance learning divisions and departments at a number of colleges and universities across the U.S. This degree program could help sharpen your knowledge of government policy and implementation. Your course of study in an online program might cover several disciplines, including economics, sociology and business administration. The curriculum is designed to give you the tools needed to understand government and public service polices and procedures, such as bureaucracies, public finance, ethics and management.

Online Availability Distance-learning programs are available
Common Courses Public management, administrative theory, public budgeting and finance, administrative theory, microeconomic theory
Potential Career Fields Social services, criminal justice, finance, government, law enforcement

What Could I Learn?

You'll typically complete the same program of study as you would in a campus-based program, but the online format offers more flexibility. While exact course offerings will vary, typical coursework for an online master's degree program could include:

  • Public management
  • Public budgeting and finance
  • Microeconomic theory
  • Economic analysis
  • Decision-making
  • Administrative theory
  • Labor relations and management
  • Ethical management

In addition to your core courses, you'll have the option to take electives, which could help you move into a specialty area of public administration, such as law, finance or urban development. Your courses can help you learn how to manage large-scale public projects, understand public finance, oversee staff members and maneuver through the intricacies of bureaucracies.

You might also have the opportunity to choose a concentration area to further specialize your degree program. Common concentrations include criminal justice administration, health administration and emergency management. Before you're eligible to graduate, you could need to complete a thesis, an internship or an independent study project.

Where Can I Find Work After Graduation?

In some jobs, a master's degree is either required or strongly recommended. For example, local governments could prefer applicants with a master's degree for city manager and urban planning positions. Though not required, a master's degree could help with advancement to other public management jobs in such industries as law enforcement, criminal justice, social services and finance. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipated that urban and regional planners would see a growth rate of six percent from 2014-2024 (

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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