10 Best Colleges with Online Public Administration Degrees

Written by College Cliffs Team At, our team, comprising seasoned educators and counselors, is committed to supporting students on their journey through graduate studies. Our advisors, holding advanced degrees in diverse fields, provide tailored guidance, current program details, and pragmatic tips on navigating application procedures.

Reviewed by Linda Weems I got started researching colleges and universities about 10 years ago while exploring a second career. While my second career ended up being exactly what I’m doing now, and I didn’t end up going to college, I try to put myself in your shoes every step of the way as I build out College Cliffs as a user-friendly resource for prospective students.

Updated: March 30, 2024, Reading time: 19 minutes

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Public administration is vital to the smooth functioning of societies. It’s the practice of managing and coordinating public services and programs to achieve common goals and improve the well-being of communities.

This field encompasses many areas, including policy development, public personnel management, budgeting, etc. By effectively implementing public administration principles, communities can benefit from organized and efficient services that enhance their quality of life.

Online Degrees in Public Administration - fact

The Lowdown

Enrolling in an online bachelor’s program in Public Administration offers a practical journey that enhances your understanding of effective governance.

Each aspect of public administration provides insights into policy implementation, resource allocation, and community impact. This academic path guarantees continuous learning and exploration regardless of your chosen focus.

Through online programs in Public Administration, you’ll dive into the complexities of public service. As a student, you’ll gain a deep understanding of this essential element of our society.

Additionally, you’ll sharpen your analytical and decision-making skills, crucial for your growth as you further your studies in an online Bachelor of Public Administration program. This educational journey boosts your appreciation for effective governance and refines a versatile skill set, preparing you to make meaningful contributions to community improvement.

College Cliffs is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

What will I learn in a Public Administration program?

For those interested in the world of public administration, a Public Administration bachelor’s degree offers a comprehensive educational path.

This program covers essential topics like understanding government policies, learning about ethical decision-making in the public sector, analyzing public budgets, and exploring effective communication strategies.

By acquiring knowledge in these areas, students are prepared to contribute meaningfully to managing and improving public services.

Embracing the digital era, online degrees in public administration have emerged as a flexible and accessible option for individuals seeking career advancement while juggling busy schedules.

The virtual learning environment fosters collaboration with experienced instructors and fellow students, enabling practical applications of public administration concepts and facilitating networking opportunities.


Undergraduate Public Administration degree online programs are available nationwide. To hasten your search for the perfect college, university, or learning institution to enroll in, we have meticulously compiled a collection of prominent prospects that provide exceptional online or hybrid options for Public Administration bachelor’s degree programs.

Our compilation of schools, organized in a random order, has been chosen through a meticulous evaluation process. In essence, each online Bachelor’s in Public Administration degree program offered by these esteemed educational institutions exhibits the following key attributes:

Check out our Methodology for more information.

10 Best Online Bachelor’s in Public Administration

California Baptist University

California Baptist University - Online

Online Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration

California Baptist University offers the online Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration to individuals who are passionate about serving the public.

Offered through CBU Online, the program will provide students with a comprehensive understanding of matters involving social issues, government policy, economic development, and sustainability in order to facilitate change and help build and strengthen society and communities.

CBU’s public administration bachelor’s degree program requires students to complete 48 major units and can be completed in an average of 16 months.

CBU, including all programs offered by CBU Online, is WSCUC-accredited.

What Makes this Program Unique:

Did You Know?

As a private Christian university, CBU is dedicated to delivering educational experiences rooted in Christian values, seamlessly blending academic growth with spiritual and social development chances for students.

Keiser University

Keiser University

Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration (Online)

Keiser University’s Online Division is offering a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration, a broad-spectrum program for students interested in politics, public policy, and immigration issues, among others, as well as those who want an academic foundation for public service works.

Online students are required to complete a total of 120 semester credit hours toward graduation. These include 30 upper-division major credits, 36 credits in lower-division general education courses, and 15 credits in a specialization.

The Florida-based University is approved to award undergraduate degrees by the SACSCOC.

What Makes this Program Unique:

Did You Know?

Keiser University is a military-friendly university that is committed to helping military students in reaching their academic objectives. It also takes part in the Yellow Ribbon program.

Liberty University

Liberty University - Online

Bachelor of Science in Public Administration

Virginia-based Liberty University offers a 100% online Bachelor of Science in Public Administration for students who aspire to make a positive impact on communities.

The public administration graduates from this University will be equipped with the skills and knowledge to recognize and tackle problems, draft and implement public policy, as well as proficiently communicate across various government levels.

LU’s public administration degree program requires 120 credit hours and can be completed in an average of 3.5 years.

Liberty University, a non-profit Christian university, is accredited by SACSCOC.

What Makes this Program Unique:

Students can transfer up to 75% credits of the degree total.

As an accredited evangelical liberal arts institution, LU’s program is strategically crafted to motivate and cultivate proactive students, shaping them into Christ-centered scholars, politicians, and policymakers.

Did You Know?

LU is one of the largest not-for-profit universities in the country. The University is committed to its students’ education, as reflected in the quality of its award-winning online degrees, low tuition rates, and availability of scholarships and other resources.

National University

National University

Bachelor of Public Administration (Online)

California-based National University is offering a Bachelor of Public Administration that can be completed 100% online.

Students are required to complete at least 180 quarter units in order to obtain the Bachelor of Public Administration degree.

NU is accredited by the WSCUC.

What Makes this Program Unique:

The BPA/MPA Transition Program allows qualified students in the Bachelor of Public Administration program to take two Master of Public Administration classes.

NU is the only California-based institution that provides a bachelor’s degree program specifically to mold new leaders in the waterworks industry. The University believes that there is no other resource more essential to California’s prosperity and survival than its water supply.

Did You Know?

National University is committed to addressing industry workforce needs and assisting businesses and organizations in employee recruitment and retention. This is achieved by providing customized education and training programs through meaningful educational partnerships.

NU is the largest private non-profit in San Diego and the second-largest private university in California. It is also a top educator of the U.S. military.

Park University

Park University

Bachelor of Public Administration (Hybrid)

Park University offers a Bachelor of Public Administration with blended courses that combine the convenience of online learning and networking opportunities of weekly student activities and contact with instructors.

The Missouri-based University offers five areas of concentration for its public administration degree program, namely:

Park University is accredited by the HLC.

What Makes this Program Unique:

This BPA program allows senior-level students to gain early access to Master of Public Administration courses. More specifically, qualified students in the bachelor’s degree program can take up to 12 credit hours at the graduate level. These classes are valid for both graduate and undergraduate credits.

Did You Know?

Park University’s online platform has at least 25 years of experience delivering quality education. There are over 650 courses and more than 65 degree programs available online.

Point Park University

Point Park University - Online

Online Bachelor of Science in Public Administration

Point Park University offers an affordable and fully online Bachelor of Science in Public Administration that trains students to become professionals in the public service field. The program is designed to equip learners with the skills and knowledge to make a difference in their communities.

The Public Administration bachelor’s degree program requires 120 credit hours and can be completed in two to four years. Students can transfer as many as 90 credits for this program.

The University offers two concentrations for students enrolled in the online public administration program, namely:

Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Point Park University adheres to all regulations set forth by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The University is also an approved Pennsylvania NC-SARA institution.

What Makes this Program Unique:

The curriculum is designed by veteran public servants, making the course discussions more relevant and practical for students.

The University provides opportunities for Prior Learning Assessment and Advanced Standing/Experiential Learning Credit, which essentially allows students to transfer credits from qualifying experiences, including experiential learning assessment portfolio submissions, other colleges, Advanced Placement (AP) credit, and College Level Examination Program (CLEP), among others.

Did You Know?

Excluding the School of Education program, alumni can enjoy a 25% discount on tuition for a fully online master’s program.

The University is dedicated to aiding eligible students in securing financial aid, with over 90% of its student population benefiting from various forms of financial assistance.

University of Colorado Denver

University of Colorado—Denver

Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration (Online)

University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) offers a fully online Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration degree program that prepares the next generation of professionals who are committed to serving their communities and the general public.

The Public Administration degree program requires 120 credit hours, which includes 45 credits earned in the major. Full-time online students typically finish the program in around eight semesters.

CU Denver offers four specializations in its BA Public Administration program, namely:

CU Denver is accredited by the HLC. The University of Colorado is also a participant in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA).

What Makes this Program Unique:

The University’s BA in Public Administration is one of the pioneering degrees in the country that acknowledges Career and Technical Education (CTE) credits.

This means that students who are working as firefighters, police, EMTs and other public service professionals may be able to obtain earned credits that can apply toward their degree completion.

The online curriculum is taught by the same exemplary faculty as the on-campus classes at CU Denver School of Public Affairs. Online students also receive the same University of Colorado diploma as on-campus students.

Did You Know?

Established in 1973, CU Denver is renowned as a leading urban public research university in the country, fostering a vibrant and diverse community that inspires collaboration and encourages groundbreaking discoveries.

CU Denver’s School of Public Affairs stands as a premier public affairs institution in Colorado, ranking among the nation’s finest.

University of La Verne

University of La Verne

Online Bachelor of Science in Public Administration

California-based University of La Verne offers a completely online Bachelor of Science in Public Administration degree program that focuses on the theories and practical applications necessary for graduates to carry out effective public sector management. The program involves a combination of research activities, class participation and projects and emphasizes the value of interpersonal, leadership and organizational skills.

The curriculum requires a total of 40 major units. It also has a 44-unit residency requirement that all students must meet.

Students generally can complete the program in around 18 months, depending on the number of transferred credits, if any.

The University is accredited by the WSCUC. It also has accreditations from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) and The State Bar of California’s Committee of Bar Examiners – College of Law and Public Service.

What Makes this Program Unique:

The online courses in this BS Public Administration program are fully asynchronous, allowing students to study and view lectures at their own pace.

The University’s extensive transfer policy allows students to have their earned credits in military experiences, previous education, and workforce training counted toward their degree.

Online students can access essential on-campus student services and programs via video conferencing and phone. These services include academic advising, financial aid resources, and library services, among others.

Did You Know?

The University’s online bachelor’s degree program is also designed to provide students with a solid academic foundation beneficial when they choose to pursue a Doctor in Public Administration and a Master’s in Public Administration in the University’s College of Law and Public Service.

University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth - Online and Continuing Education

BS and BA in Public Administration (Online)

The University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth offers two online bachelor’s degrees for those who aspire to a career in the public sector at the federal, state, or local level. These are:

Each program requires students to complete 120 credit hours toward graduation. The BS program includes 42 credits in the major and three quantitative courses. The BA program, on the other hand, includes 36 credits in the major.

A few courses are required in both the BA and the BS programs, including the following:

UMass Dartmouth is accredited by the NECHE.

What Makes this Program Unique:

The online courses at UMass Dartmouth are led by dedicated faculty members who are committed to delivering exceptional instruction and personalized support.

These courses are primarily conducted asynchronously, granting students the flexibility to learn at their preferred speed while adhering to specific assignment deadlines.

Did You Know?

UMass Dartmouth also offers advanced degrees that push public administration bachelor’s degree graduates to the next level. These programs include:

UMassD’s commitment to the military community shines through its exceptional practices in recruiting and providing for students with military affiliations.

University of Illinois Springfield

The University of Illinois Springfield - School of Public Management and Policy

Bachelor of Arts in Public and Nonprofit Administration

University of Illinois Springfield offers Public & Nonprofit Administration, B.A., a degree that students can earn completely online. As an online degree program, it’s also perfect for individuals currently working in the nonprofit, governmental, or public service sectors seeking to climb the career ladder to management positions.

This bachelor’s degree program requires a total of 120 credit hours, including nine credit hours of elective coursework and 27 credit hours of core courses. The program covers a broad comprehension of the economic, political, and social aspects of the public sector as well as develops the students’ communication and analytical skills necessary for management positions.

UIS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

What Makes this Program Unique:

The program offers three voluntary concentrations to prepare graduates for management positions addressing some of the most pressing issues in society. These concentrations are:

The Integrated BPA/MPA in Public Administration (accelerated Master’s degree) allows students to forgo the need for PAD 501 (Introductory Course) and utilize a maximum of 6 credit hours from 400-level elective courses toward the Master of Public Administration Degree.

Did You Know?

Custom UIS license plates are acquired by the alumni, faculty, and staff and alumni as a way to support student scholarship funds. The University receives $25 for student scholarships with every issuance, renewal, or transfer of these distinct license plates.

Public Administration Bachelor of Science vs Bachelor of Arts: What’s the Difference?

Bachelor of Science (BS) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees in Public Administration are distinct pathways offered by academic institutions. The specific school, college, or department that typically handles each program can vary among universities.

However, a Bachelor of Science program might often be housed within a school of public affairs, administration, or similar departments with a focus on practical, applied knowledge. A Bachelor of Arts program, on the other hand, might be found in a school of social sciences, political science, or departments with a broader academic approach.

The differences in coursework and topics covered between a BS and a BA in Public Administration lie mainly in the depth and breadth of studies. A Bachelor of Science program tends to emphasize more technical and quantitative skills, including data analysis, research methods, and policy evaluation.

Coursework might delve into public finance, statistics, and management techniques. In contrast, a Bachelor of Arts program often provides a more holistic understanding of public administration, covering a wider range of topics such as ethics, social issues, and public policy.

The curriculum might explore political science, history, and economics to provide a well-rounded perspective.

In terms of skill sets, a graduate of a Bachelor of Science program often emerges with strong analytical and data-driven abilities, well-suited for roles involving policy analysis, budgeting, and data management within government agencies or research organizations.

On the other hand, a graduate from a Bachelor of Arts program tends to develop well-rounded skills in critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving, which are valuable for public relations, community outreach, and advocacy positions.

The career options for graduates of each program can differ based on the acquired skill sets. Bachelor of Science graduates might excel in roles such as budget analyst, program evaluator, or research associate. Their proficiency in data analysis and quantitative methods makes them attractive candidates for government agencies and research institutions.

Bachelor of Arts graduates, on the other hand, may find opportunities in community engagement, nonprofit management, or public relations. Their broader understanding of societal issues and effective communication skills equip them for roles involving community development, policy advocacy, and public outreach.

In conclusion, while both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts programs in Public Administration share core principles, their differing coursework, skill sets, and career pathways provide students with versatile options tailored to their academic interests and future aspirations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Bachelor’s in Public Administration, and what does it involve?

A Bachelor’s in Public Administration is a degree program that focuses on preparing students for careers in the public sector. It involves the study of various aspects of governance, policy-making, and public service management. Students learn about government structures, budgeting, public policy analysis, and ethical decision-making.

The program also emphasizes communication skills, leadership, and problem-solving abilities, all essential for effective administration. Through coursework, projects, and potential internships, students gain a comprehensive understanding of how government and public organizations operate.

Overall, a Bachelor’s in Public Administration equips graduates with the knowledge and skills needed to contribute meaningfully to the management and improvement of public services and policies.

How can I gain practical experience in the field of Public Administration while pursuing my degree?

While pursuing your Bachelor’s in Public Administration, gaining practical experience is essential. Many programs offer internships, co-op placements, or fieldwork opportunities in government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or community service projects.

These experiences allow you to apply classroom knowledge to real-world situations, develop valuable skills, and build a network within the field.

Additionally, participating in student organizations related to public administration, volunteering for local initiatives, or attending workshops and conferences can provide hands-on exposure and enhance your understanding of the field.

These practical engagements not only enrich your learning but also strengthen your resume and prepare you for a successful career in public administration.

How does a Bachelor’s in Public Administration differ from other related degrees like Business Administration and Political Science?

While related, a Bachelor’s in Public Administration stands distinct from degrees like Political Science and Business Administration. Public Administration focuses on managing public services, policy implementation, and governance within government agencies and nonprofits.

On the other hand, Business Administration centers on management, economics, and business operations. Meanwhile, political Science delves into political systems, international relations, and policy analysis, often with a broader political context.

While all three fields intersect in areas like policy and management, a Bachelor’s in Public Administration uniquely equips you for roles in public service, nonprofit management, and community development, setting it apart from the political and business-oriented perspectives of Political Science and Business Administration.

Summary Points