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Public Administration


Public administration programs prepare people to manage state, local, and federal government agencies. These programs are sometimes called public affairs, public policy, or public management.

Students learn to set public policy and plan budgets. They also learn to work with staff and people elected to serve in office.

Public administration programs include topics such as:

Students can also take courses on their specific interests. These include environmental issues, the effect of technology on government, and health care finance.


Community colleges and other two-year schools offer associate degree programs in public administration. An associate degree usually takes two years to complete. After earning an associate degree students can transfer to a college or university for further study.

Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in public administration. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Most universities offer graduate degrees in public administration. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree, good grades, and good test scores.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

This undergraduate program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

In addition, students take different courses depending on the kind of public administrator they want to be. Some examples of courses are:

Graduate Program Courses

Graduate programs that lead to a master's or doctoral degree typically include:

Things to Know

Many public administration programs at the graduate level are offered part time, with day and evening classes.

Many schools have internship or employment programs set up with private organizations or government agencies, either locally or in Washington, DC. In a few cases, international internships are offered.

Most graduates from public administration programs work for government agencies and nonprofit groups. However, you can also work for private businesses, prisons, schools, and international think tanks.


East Side Area

Central Washington University

King-Snohomish Area

Bastyr University

Columbia College - Naval Station Everett/Marysville

Northeastern University - Seattle

Northwest University

Seattle Pacific University

Seattle University

University of Washington - Bothell

University of Washington - Seattle

Kitsap Area

Olympic College

Spokane Area

Eastern Washington University

Eastern Washington University (Spokane Campus)

Gonzaga University

Park University - Fairchild AFB

Whitworth University

Tacoma Area

Evergreen State College, The (Tacoma Campus)

University of Washington - Tacoma

West Side Area

Columbia College - Whidbey Island

Evergreen State College, The

Northwest Indian College