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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Public Administration (B.P.A.) Degree

Majors Overview January 23, 2015

Receive information about a Bachelor of Public Administration (B.P.A.) degree program and its education requirements, coursework, career choices, job outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor of Public Administration (B.P.A.) Degree Programs

Students enrolled in a Bachelor of Public Administration (B.P.A.) degree program are helped to hone communication, research, organizational, analytical, and leadership skills. They become adept at implementing complex public programs even as they troubleshoot governmental and public issues successfully.

Those that hold a public administration degree can seek employment in both public and private sector fields. Students enrolled in some schools are offered concentrations whereby they can focus on a single aspect of public policy, such as non-profit or law enforcement.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma, in addition to submission of ACT or SAT scores. Transfer students may have to satisfy different admission norms.


Students enrolled in schools that don’t offer course concentrations are allowed to use elective courses to customize their coursework in accordance with their planned career paths. Participation in internships to gain hands-on experience is encouraged by some schools. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Fundraising for non-profits
•Urban planning and management
•Social ethics
•Emergency management
•Public organizations
•Public policy
•Human resource management

Career Choices

Those that successfully complete a B.P.A. program may seek employment in various industries, such as for-profit businesses, research institutions, education, government, and nonprofit agencies. They can explore career options such as:

•Community services manager
•Health service administrator
•Probation officer
•Public relations specialist

Job Outlook

The employment outlook can vary by profession. For example, a 13% job growth rate has been predicted for human resource managers over the 2012 – 2022 decade. In contrast, over the same period, human resources specialists can expect to see 7% job growth (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Continuing Education Choices

Those that graduate from the bachelor’s degree program may pursue continuing education by enrolling in Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) programs, which would allow them to seek leadership positions in public administration. Coursework in these programs includes research projects and advanced classes. Additionally, students may be allowed to choose areas of concentration for specialization.

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