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Grad Program: Public Administration

Basic Information

Graduate programs in Public Administration seek to train future public administrators in the skills and knowledge needed for success in the field. Because public administrators manage every aspect of public service, they must understand how laws and policies affect the communities they serve. They attempt to bridge the gap between the government or businesses and the people these institutions influence. They negotiate and solve problems on behalf of the people they are chosen to represent.

Graduates of Public Administration programs work in various fields, including parks management, housing, public transportation, healthcare and other industries in the realm of public interest. In many cases, they serve as liaisons between local communities and government or big businesses by using their management, political, and business skills to help the public at large.

The graduate curriculum focuses heavily on politics and government to provide a thorough understanding of the field. Individual graduate programs will also focus on finance, economics, political science, management and statistics depending on the particular bent of the faculty’s interest. Students will learn about human behavior, management and methods of analysis.

Since most students want to work in specialized fields within Public Administration, many will bring with them a background in education, law, environmental science, urban planning, healthcare or politics. Students may opt for dual degree programs in these programs to better integrate their specific interests with public administration.

Degree Information

Most students will pursue a Master’s in Public Administration (M.P.A.). Some programs offer an option of a Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in Public Works. These programs can last anywhere from two to four years. A Ph.D. in Public Administration is also available, though less common.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Degree Program
  • What specializations, if any, are offered? Is there a dual-degree program?
  • What research are the faculty and students involved with?
  • What kinds of careers to graduates pursue? How helpful is the program in job placement?
  • If you have a specialized background, will the program provide opportunities to integrate it with public administration?
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