Guide to Earning Your Public Administration Degree Online

Online public administration programs prepare you for management roles in the public and nonprofit sectors. Explore your degree options, find a program that suits your professional goals, and learn more about exciting careers in public service.

Last Updated: 05/11/2022

Best Online Public Administration Programs for 2022

With so many online public administration programs now available, it can be difficult to know where to even begin your search. Our list of top-ranked schools can help. We’ve rounded up high-quality, accredited schools with online public administration programs and let you sort them by the data points that are the most important to you, whether it’s tuition cost, the number of online programs offered, or financial aid options. Find your ideal school match below.

About the ranking

Methodology for the STEPS Best Online Programs in 2022

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 subject area offered partially or fully online.

Assign Impact of Data Points

After generating the list of eligible schools, the STEPS data team then assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability. Online program availability and overall affordability received the heaviest weightings.

Online Program Availability

  • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education. When unable to verify this number, a star-based system was used to signify the number of programs relative to peers.

Affordability

  • Cost:
    Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid:
    Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

Support Services

  • Academic Counseling:
    Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement:
    Existence of this service on campus or online.

About Our Data

All STEPS rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2021

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 76%
Online Students 31,917
2
University of Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 89%
Online Students 17,100
3
Mississippi State University

Starkville, Mississippi

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 90%
Online Students 14,756
4
University of Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 76%
Online Students 17,813
5
University of Missouri-Columbia

Columbia, Missouri

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 82%
Online Students 18,312
6
Indiana University-Bloomington

Bloomington, Indiana

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 61%
Online Students 20,400

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 50%
Online Students 20,247

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 20:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 86%
Online Students 13,365
9
University of Wyoming

Laramie, Wyoming

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 75%
Online Students 5,684
10
Grand Valley State University

Allendale, Michigan

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 74%
Online Students 16,666
11

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 56%
Online Students 19,589
12
Arkansas State University

Jonesboro, Arkansas

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 77%
Online Students 4,574
13
University of Rhode Island

Kingston, Rhode Island

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 90%
Online Students 10,795
14
University of Idaho

Moscow, Idaho

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 91%
Online Students 4,979
15
Clemson University

Clemson, South Carolina

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 61%
Online Students 17,882
16
University of Illinois Springfield

Springfield, Illinois

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 12:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 91%
Online Students 1,052
17

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 90%
Online Students 9,636
18

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 82%
Online Students 12,496
19
Texas Tech University

Lubbock, Texas

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 67%
Online Students 16,489
20

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 22:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 67%
Online Students 17,806

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 22:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 77%
Online Students 16,636
22
Appalachian State University

Boone, North Carolina

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 36%
Online Students 14,997
23
Kansas State University

Manhattan, Kansas

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 79%
Online Students 10,080
24
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Charlotte, North Carolina

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 20:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 42%
Online Students 17,725
25
East Carolina University

Greenville, North Carolina

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 49%
Online Students 15,367

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 84%
Online Students 1,939
27
University of Memphis

Memphis, Tennessee

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 82%
Online Students 6,481
28
Murray State University

Murray, Kentucky

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 91%
Online Students 2,662
29
Belhaven University

Jackson, Mississippi

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 8:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 94%
Online Students 394
30
North Carolina Central University

Durham, North Carolina

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 81%
Online Students 2,413
31
Northern Arizona University

Flagstaff, Arizona

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 22:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 90%
Online Students 10,557
32
Eastern Kentucky University

Richmond, Kentucky

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 77%
Online Students 4,199
33
Morehead State University

Morehead, Kentucky

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 77%
Online Students 4,279
34

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 73%
Online Students 6,618
35
Western Carolina University

Cullowhee, North Carolina

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 61%
Online Students 6,272
36

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 59%
Online Students 8,715
37
Lindenwood University

Saint Charles, Missouri

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 99%
Online Students 2,702
38

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 100%
Online Students 903
39
Rutgers University-Camden

Camden, New Jersey

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 91%
Online Students 2,425
40
University of Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 77%
Online Students 10,057
41
Northern Kentucky University

Highland Heights, Kentucky

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 84%
Online Students 6,677
42
Adams State University

Alamosa, Colorado

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 73%
Online Students 141
43
University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 84%
Online Students 6,130
44
Tennessee State University

Nashville, Tennessee

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 12:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 53%
Online Students 2,893
45

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 66%
Online Students 12,527

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 21:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 88%
Online Students 11,123
47

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 20:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 82%
Online Students 7,200
48
University of North Carolina Wilmington

Wilmington, North Carolina

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 45%
Online Students 10,206
49

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 20:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 73%
Online Students 9,677
50
West Virginia State University

Institute, West Virginia

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 12:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 58%
Online Students 917
51
Old Dominion University

Norfolk, Virginia

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 69%
Online Students 7,981
52
Liberty University

Lynchburg, Virginia

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 78%
Online Students 6,746
53
SUNY Brockport

Brockport, New York

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 78%
Online Students 4,318

Exploring Online Public Administration Degree Programs

Online public administration programs exist at every degree level and as certificates, making it easy for you to find a program that meets your educational and professional goals. Some students may start postsecondary education as a public administration major while others may come to the discipline later via graduate study. Check out the table below to get a sense of available programs, timelines, and careers you can qualify for after graduating.

Program Snapshot: 5 Ways to Get Your Public Administration Degree Online

ProgramCredit HoursTime to CompleteCommon Careers for Graduates
Bachelor’s in Public Administration120-1286 years part-time; 4 years full-time Financial Analyst; Management Consultant; Nonprofit Program Coordinator
Graduate Certificate12-189-15 monthsTraining Manager; Nonprofit Director
Master of Public Administration (MPA) 36-602-4 yearsPublic Policy Analyst; Nonprofit Fundraising Manager; Political Scientist
Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)48-603-5 yearsLegislative Affairs Director; Senior Policy Director; Regulatory Affairs Director
PhD in Public Administration68-805-7 yearsPublic Administration Professor; Senior Researcher; Senior Academic Administrator

Online Public Administration Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Bachelor’s in public administration degrees serve as gateways for careers in this field, with options available as Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BS), and Bachelor of Public Administration (BPA). These programs cover foundational topics such as policy development and implementation, public sector finance, applied research methods, and public sector administration.

Baccalaureate-level programs typically attract learners who want to secure entry-level roles upon graduation and use their skills to work in areas of policy, civil service, research, or consulting. Schools of all types provide these degrees, including public and private institutions offering both traditional face-to-face courses and distance learning programs. The format tends to vary based on school, but students should be able to find fully-online, hybrid, asynchronous/synchronous, and full-time/part-time programs to meet their needs.

Public Administration Certificate Online Options

After completing a bachelor’s degree in public administration or a related topic, some students opt to progress into a graduate-level certificate program rather than a master’s degree. Some schools, such as Indiana State University, allow these credits to count towards a graduate program if you later change your mind.

Certificates differ from degrees in that they take less time, focus solely on the given topic (e.g., no general education requirements), and usually cost less. They appeal to both career changers and those already working in the field, though some may require relevant prerequisites. Options exist both online and in person, with hybrid formats also available. Some schools only offer part-time options, while others also provide full-time paths as well.

Master of Public Administration (MPA) Programs Online

Master’s in public administration programs, typically offered as MPAs (Master of Public Administration) or Mas (Master of Arts), appeal to those who already possess a bachelor’s degree and have been working in the field for a while. These individuals have reached the point in their career where they want to further their education and increase their potential in terms of leadership roles and salary.

Online and in-person degrees exist and, given the fact that many people who undertake this degree also work, part-time and full-time learning options are available. Learn more about online Master of Public Administration (MPA) degrees, and find the right program for you.

Online Doctor of Public Administration (DPA) Degrees

This online public administration doctorate exists as a professional program for those who want to use advanced skills in research, analytics, statistics, and management to elicit social change. Learners cover topics such as public management and leadership, evidence-based decision making, and applied research funding proposal writing to help build their managerial and leadership skills along the way.

DPA programs are available fully-online, in-person, and through hybrid learning. Because many students work while completing the degree, most schools provide both full-time and part-time learning paths. Though a professional program, most departments still require students to complete a dissertation rather than taking part in a final project.

PhD in Public Administration Online Programs

While the DPA focuses on preparing advanced practitioners, the PhD is designed for students who want to work primarily in research and/or academia. This terminal degree gives students the skills and experience needed to help shape policy through analytical research and educate the next generation of public administration professionals.

After completing coursework requirements, students begin researching and writing their dissertations. Degrees are available both online and at brick-and-mortar locations, but are more likely to require learners to visit campus for short learning intensives than a DPA program.

A Closer Look at Online Public Administration Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Completing a public administration bachelor’s degree online is a great choice for students who need the added flexibility offered by distance learning but don’t want to sacrifice program quality. Bachelor’s degrees serve as an entry to both meaningful jobs and graduate programs. Keep reading to learn more about what you can expect from this degree program.

Subjects Studied

  • Public Policy Administration
  • Research Methods
  • Financial Management
  • Project Evaluation and Management in the Public Sector
  • Nonprofit Administration
  • History of Public Administration

Key Skills Learned

  • Nuanced understanding of policy lifecycle
  • Ability to communicate effectively
  • Understanding of fundraising and financial management
  • Collaborative approaches
  • Use of data to make informed decisions
  • Understanding of how social, political, and community factors affect societal change
  • Advanced problem-solving
  • Ability to design, implement, and evaluate programs

Example Courses in an Online Public Administration Bachelor’s

Public Administration Foundations

Typically taken in the first year, this course familiarizes students with foundational writings on public administration and helps them understand how the discipline has evolved in the modern era.

Fiscal Management

This course introduces common frameworks and processes used in managing and disbursing public funds. Students consider questions of fiscal responsibility, audits, formal funding requests, and grant-making.

Policy Analysis

Students in this class gain the research and analysis skills needed to break down complicated pieces of policy and understand how factors such as political trends and public opinion influence how policy is written.

Programmatic Evaluation

This course gives degree seekers the knowledge and competencies needed to effectively design, implement, and evaluate programs to ensure efficiency and effectiveness. They also learn strategies for managing staff and volunteers.

Research Methodologies

Students learn about common and emerging techniques and frameworks for gathering quality research, with emphasis on how to complete in-depth reviews and critical analysis of raw data.

Options for Specialization

Given the variety of professional options for public administration graduates, it’s not uncommon to find both bachelor’s programs offering specialization tracks. Common concentration areas include:

  • State and Local Administration
  • Public Policy
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Policy Analysis
  • Financial Management
  • International Affairs
  • Public Management

Typical Admissions Requirements

To gain entrance to a bachelor’s in public administration online degree, students need to meet a number of admissions requirements set by the school to gauge their preparedness for higher education. Actual requirements differ by school, but usually include some or all of the following components.

  • Completed paper or online application and payment of application fee
  • Official transcripts from any school attended Policy Analysis
  • Minimum GPA
  • SAT/ACT scores
  • 2-3 letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement outlining why you want this degree and why you want to attend that institution
  • In-person or online interview (if the program is particularly competitive)
  • IELTS or TOEFL scores from international students

Average Tuition for an Online Bachelor’s in Public Administration

Costs for online bachelor’s in public administration vary significantly based on type of school and whether the institution charges online students resident or non-resident tuition. To give you an idea of what you can expect to pay, here are tuition rates at four schools that offer online bachelor’s degrees in public administration. Note: Tuition rates do not include fees, so prospective students should visit individual school websites to understand the total degree cost.

School NameNo. of CreditsCost/CreditEst. Total Tuition Cost
Florida International University120$229 (in-state)
$346 (out-of-state)
$27,480 (in-state)
$41,520 (out-of-state)
Franklin University120$398$47,760
Southern New Hampshire University120$320$38,400
University of Colorado, Denver120$330 (in-state)
$509 (out-of-state)
$39,600 (in-state)
$61,080 (out-of-state)

Looking for help paying for your online public administration degree? Check out our in-depth financial aid guide and list of scholarships and resources for public administration students.

Top 10 Careers for Your Online Degree in Public Administration

Regardless of whether they get their undergraduate or graduate degree, graduates of public administration online programs may qualify for myriad professional positions. The amount of responsibility tends to increase along degree lines – as do salaries. Some students may find they want to work in an entry-level position for a few years to ensure they enjoy the field before completing a master’s degree. Others may already know they aspire to these types of roles and move straight through both degrees before finding a professional role.

Political Scientist
Minimum Education

Master’s Degree

Work Experience Needed

None

Graduates of master’s programs use their skills to better understand political systems and trends. They may use this information in an academic setting or they might work for an elected official to create policies.

Emergency Management Director
Minimum Education

Bachelor’s Degree

Work Experience Needed

5 years +

Working with local, state, and federal governments, these professionals create response plans for dealing with natural disasters and emergencies. They liaise with other public safety workers, develop training programs, and share resources.

Social and Community Service Manager
Minimum Education

Bachelor’s Degree

Work Experience Needed

Less than 5 years

Social and community service managers frequently work in government agencies or nonprofit organizations to provide local neighborhoods with the services they need. Aside from developing and overseeing programs, these professionals collect data to assess the effectiveness and apply for governmental and private funding.

Legislator
Minimum Education

Bachelor’s Degree

Work Experience Needed

Several Years

Legislators work in local, state, and federal governments to create legislation that is then voted into law or rejected in their corresponding political body. They work with their teams to develop proposed legislation based on communal needs, work with fellow legislators to garner support and review other legislation up for votes.

Political Science Professor
Minimum Education

PhD Degree

Work Experience Needed

None

Legislators work in local, state, and federal governments to create legislation that is then voted into law or rejected in their corresponding political body. They work with their teams to develop proposed legislation based on communal needs, work with fellow legislators to garner support and review other legislation up for votes.

Fundraising Manager
Minimum Education

Bachelor’s Degree

Work Experience Needed

5 years +

Fundraising managers may work for political campaigns, nonprofits, research facilities, or educational organizations. They use their skills in campaign development, persuasion, and donor relations to bring in new donors while managing existing relationships.

City Manager
Minimum Education

Bachelor’s Degree

Work Experience Needed

5 years +

City managers work in local government to oversee all the administrative functions needed to keep the municipality running smoothly. They liaise with the mayor and other leaders to set budgets, oversee staffing needs, and make decisions about local investments and projects.

Management Analyst
Minimum Education

Bachelor’s Degree

Work Experience Needed

Less than 5 years

Management analysts find work with government agencies, political campaigns, nonprofits, and corporations alike. They use their consulting skills to help identify issues around management deficiencies and make recommendations for improvements.

Budget Analyst
Minimum Education

Bachelor’s Degree

Work Experience Needed

None

Budget analysts work in-house or as consultants to help state and local governments, corporations, campaigns, and companies better administer finances. They help department heads develop budgets, make company-wide recommendations, and create income and spending projections.

Postsecondary Education Administrator
Minimum Education

Bachelor’s Degree

Work Experience Needed

Less than 5 years

Working in public and private university settings, these master’s degree graduates typically manage specific areas of programming. They may apply to governmental grants, handle fundraising initiatives, oversee personnel needs, or manage the costs associated with ongoing projects.

Understanding Accreditation for Online Public Administration Degrees

As part of finding the right school and program, students must ensure that any university they select maintains proper accreditation. Accreditation exists in two forms: institutional and programmatic. The former refers to the type of accreditation given to a school as a whole and includes regional and national accreditation. Regional accreditation is considered the most prestigious; however, as long as the accrediting organization is recognized by the Department of Education, attending a school with either type will help avoid issues with transferring credits, finding a job, and/or receiving licensure.

Programmatic accreditation exists for specific degree programs and academic departments. The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) accredits master’s degree programs in public administration and has a roster of more than 300 accredited schools. It does not accredit programs at other degree levels however, so students looking into non-master’s programs should make sure their degree program holds institutional accreditation.

Prospective students can learn about the accreditation status of their school by searching the U.S. Department of Education’s database.

10 Key Resources for Online Public Administration Students

Plenty of professional, academic, and research resources exist to help students build their expertise in the field and learn more about what a public administration education and career entails.