Business Majors: Public Administration

Public Administration Education and Careers

public administration student

What Is Public Administration

Public administration is the study of government policy structure and implementation. This field of study is often pursued by students who want to work in public service positions. Well known scholars in the field of public administration include Donald Kettl and John A. Rohr.  

Public Administration Degrees

A public administration degree is very similar to a non-profit management degree.

Business majors in these specializations will take almost the same courses, but those who earn a public administration degree sometimes have more career opportunities available to them. Public administration degree holders can work in both non-profit management and government/non-government sectors. 

Public Administration Coursework

Business majors who specialize in public administration usually take courses that will give them the skills needed to work in both the government and non-government sectors. Such skills include: policy development, managerial skills, critical thinking skills, and problem solving skills.

Educational Requirements

For most people, a degree is an absolute necessity to get a job in the public administration field. Although a public administration degree can be earned at the associate level from some schools, job applicants in this field often need at least a bachelor's degree for most entry-level positions.

Those who want to take their career to the next level will do well to consider a a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree

Public Administration Programs for Business Majors

Business majors who choose to specialize in public administration should have no problems locating bachelor and master's programs.

Associate degree or certificate programs, however, may be harder to find. The best programs are often those that allow students to specialize in one or more areas of public administration.

Choosing the best public administration program can be tricky. It is important to find a program that offers a curriculum that balances public administration theory, methods, and practice. Programs that allow you to gain hands-on experience while you are completing your education can better prepare you for careers after graduation. Some of the best programs also offer global experiences so that students can gain an understanding of the structures and operations of governments and government policy around the world. 

Working in Public Administration

There are many different job opportunities for public administration graduates. Public administration degree holders have great career flexibility and can work in almost any area of interest. As mentioned earlier, job opportunities are available in both the non-profit and government/non-government sectors. Grads can work for urban planning firms, national security organizations, and advocacy groups. Many choose to work as consultants or in research and data analysis for public or private businesses.

Learn more about career outlook and wages in the public administration field.

Additional Career and Education Information

To learn more about public administration education and careers, explore some of the following resources:

  • American Society for Public Administration - The ASPA promotes the teaching and practice of public administration and is a good source of networking and professional development opportunities.
  • Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration - NASPAA, a membership organization of graduate education programs in public administration, provides a range of career resources and education information for prospective and current public administration students
  • Southern Public Administration Education Foundation - The SPAEF has a large article database featuring scholarly papers on public administration and management.