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Online Degrees in Public Service

Interested in dedicating yourself to a career in public service, but not sure exactly how to get there? This guide covers what type of public service degree is right for you and the best online programs. Read until the end for tips and tricks to be a successful online student.

Author: STEPS Staff
Editor: STEPS Staff

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The Best Online Degrees in Public Service: STEPS 2024 Rankings

Online degrees remain one of the fastest-growing learning options out there. Thousands of colleges across the U.S. have added both fully online and hybrid programs to their catalogues, making them commonplace in just about every subject. Online programs in social work, education, criminal justice, and more than a dozen other disciplines have made it easier for students to earn degrees and start careers focused on public service and community impact. But which schools offer the best combinations of flexibility, availability, and cost? Follow STEPS as we rank schools with the top online degrees in public service disciplines, using meticulous data collection and analysis from talented data scientists. Select a ranking below, read the methodology, and see who stands out in 2024.

Best Online Degrees by Subject

Best Online Degrees in Public Service – Overall Winners

About the ranking

College Ranking Methodology

Generate List of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least one program in the subject area offered partially or fully online.
  • Career placement and academic counseling services.

Assign Weightings

After generating the list of eligible schools, the STEPS data team then assigned weights and ranked schools based on their performance in a variety of key categories. Affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings, followed by online learning and academic quality metrics (equally weighted).


  • Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on in-state tuition for undergraduate students per academic year.
  • P