We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are the Different Types of Public Administration Degree Programs?

By Florence J. Tipton
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Students who are considering a career in public and community relations may pursue a public administration education. Public administration degree programs include several different levels to earn academic credentials in the connection between policy and community organizations. Undergraduate public administration degree programs are typically for students beginning their career in the public sector. Graduate public administration degree programs continue academic training in this field for students interested in advancing to executive positions. Certificates in public administration are usually alternative continuing education choices for students who choose not to enroll in a graduate program.

For the most part, degree programs in public administration prepare students to work in the public sector. Employment is commonly found in local or regional government agencies that develop legislation related to public issues. Another employment area is with nonprofit organizations (NPOs) that usually provide services to communities.

To prepare for these career options, students may enroll in one or more public administration degree program. Each program could vary slightly among academic institutions in terms of curriculum, specialization, and length of study. Most academic institutions couple public policy courses with the administrative courses in organizational processes.

Typically, coursework in the undergraduate program centers on several learning objectives. In most undergraduate public administration degree programs, the coursework can serve as an introduction to public service. Some undergraduate programs may also include an internship for students to experience firsthand public policy decisions.

Another learning objective for an undergraduate degree is preparation to pursue advanced education and training. Completing undergraduate coursework typically provides a basic understanding of public policy administration in connection with community services. By having this basic understanding, students are usually prepared to study some of the more complex disciplines. Many of these disciplines, such as political science and community and economic development, are part of the graduate curriculum.

In general, graduate public administration degree programs are for current public administration professionals who want to advance in public service positions. Alternately, some students may elect to pursue this degree after completing the undergraduate program and before working in the public sector. With either scenario, some graduate public administration degrees allow students to include a specialization area that enhances their course of study.

Including a specialization area may also help to target specific public administration issues. Examples of specialization areas may include social or public health policy to understand how legislation can impact various community issues. A specialization in global economics could provide an opportunity to understand public policy implications in foreign and domestic issues.

A public administration certificate is often suitable for those who want stronger academic credentials without receiving a graduate degree. Usually, a public administration certificate allows students to by-pass a structured degree but nevertheless learn about public policy. The length of time for completing a certificate is usually similar to that of a graduate degree, although structured as a professional development program.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.