Public administration can be a promising career choice, with a high demand forecasted for the future. Earning your public administration degree can prepare you to pursue positions in government agencies, nonprofit organizations and social institutions. Public administration degrees are available on both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Earning Your Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration
It typically takes undergraduate students four years of full-time study to earn a bachelor’s degree in any subject, including public administration. As an undergrad, you can expect to attend classes for two semesters per year. This schedule puts full-time students on track to graduate in four years.
Students should always check the graduation requirements for any degree program they are interested in completing. The degree requirements will likely be broken down into categories of credits. Thus, students will be responsible for earning a certain number of credits in each category.
The general education requirements are intended to develop strong communication and critical thinking skills in students. Major-specific coursework for public administration students is designed to instill a firm understanding of the framework of government. Students explore the American Constitution, political theory, public policies and comparative governments.
Lastly, students can choose from a wide selection of electives. It’s a good idea to consult your academic advisor before enrolling in an elective. You will want to make sure you are on track to graduate on time. The electives you choose can complement your public administration degree. For instance, a communications class would serve you well in your pursuit of a public administration career.
Earning Your Master’s Degree in Public Administration
Some students decide to enroll in a master’s degree program immediately after graduating with a bachelor’s degree. Others enter the workforce right away, but decide to go back to school to work toward greater career success. Either way, earning a graduate-level public administration degree will typically take about two years to complete, depending on the structure of the course load. For example, if you’re working full-time and earning your degree on a part-time basis, you may decide to only take one class at a time, so it may take more than two years to graduate.
Just like a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree in public administration has requirements you must meet in order to graduate. Always check these degree requirements before enrolling in a program. Unlike a bachelor’s degree program, master’s degrees only have a bare minimum of general education requirements. You can expect to take an introductory course designed to prepare you for graduate-level work. However, this may be the only course you will need to take that is not specific to your degree.
Accelerating Your Graduation Date
You may want to accelerate your graduation date. One strategy is to consider whether you have credits from another institution that may transfer. If you have credits from a previously-finished degree or have pursued AP or college courses in high school, you can contact your school of choice to discuss which of your completed credits will transfer to your new program. It can also be helpful to take classes year-round. Some schools offer online courses and summer classes. These can help you graduate more quickly and enable you to confidently enter the workforce.
If you aspire to pursue a career in public administration, you can begin your journey at Grand Canyon University. The Bachelor of Arts in Government with an Emphasis in State and Local Public Policy degree program enables students to develop a firm foundation of core competencies while encouraging them to refine their ethical problem-solving skills. If you already hold a bachelor’s degree, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences offers multiple graduate degrees for public administration professionals. These include the Master of Public Administration with an Emphasis in Government and Policy and the Master of Public Administration with an Emphasis in Health Care Management degree programs. Many of our programs are offered fully online for a flexible alternative to traditional education. To learn more about these degree programs, visit our website or click on the Request Info button on this page.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.