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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree in Public Administration

Majors Overview January 24, 2015

Students in Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree programs in Public Administration, which are usually interdisciplinary degree programs, will be prepared for entry-level roles in state, national, and local government. Those that graduate may also find managerial positions in politics and non-profit organizations.

Students can select concentrations in criminal justice, international government, labor relations, human services, business, urban planning, or environmental studies.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree Program in Public Administration

Students enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program in public administration are offered a broad liberal arts education focused on honing management skills necessary for running organizations and overseeing administration and policy development. Students are taught law, statistics, accounting, database management, grant writing, and public speaking.

Students enrolled in this program can delve into the modes of functioning of non-profit organizations and government agencies and gain familiarity with qualitative analysis, quantitative analysis, laws related to public administration, organizational design, and budgetary processes. Some schools require students to choose an area of concentration, such as health services, public finance, or criminal justice.


Students usually complete the program, which involves 120 to 132 semester hours, in about four years. University degree requirements include completion of general education courses, such as history, English, math, social science, and science.

Courses are devised to teach students how to manage personnel and business affairs in the public sector. Some schools offer internship opportunities, whereby students can gain hands-on experience in real world settings. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Economic development
•Environmental management
•Government finance
•Public policy analysis
•Organizational development
•Human resources in the public sector
•Research methods in public policy
•Labor relations

Career Choices

Those that successfully complete the program can seek jobs with numerous government agencies, including transportation, housing, parks and recreation, and public works, in addition to various others at the federal, state, or local levels.

Varying with the concentration of study, job opportunities in law enforcement, healthcare, or education are also available to graduates. Various career paths may be offered in public administration, including job titles such as:

•Healthcare administrator
•Non-profit organization manager
•Labor relations coordinator
•Budget advisor
•Community services specialist

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, social and community service managers and medical and health services managers were predicted to have job growth rates of 21% and 23%, respectively (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, labor relations specialists brought home an average annual wage of $55,640, while community service specialists and health services managers earned respective average annual wages of $43,660 and $98,460 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Graduates can seek continuing education via a master’s degree in public administration and thereby boost their career prospects with opportunities in upper-managerial positions or in research and academia.

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