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25 Best Public Administration Degrees 2020

By the GradReports team | Updated 4/1/2020

These are the 25 best schools with degrees in public administration based on alumni earnings in the year after graduation. The top two — Barry University and University of La Verne — have median salaries of $58,000 and $55,500, respectively, for public administration graduates. CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice has the lowest median student debt of all the ranked schools on this list, at $11,500.

Tuition, median salaries, and median debt were reported by the U.S. Department of Education in November 2019. View our methodology for more details about these rankings or read more about the top-ranked schools.

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Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Rank School Location Annual Tuition Median Debt Median Salary
#1 #1 Miami Shores (FL) Miami Shores (FL) $32,500 $32,810 $58,000
#2 #2 La Verne (CA) La Verne (CA) $47,000 $32,757 $55,500
#3 #3 Nationwide Nationwide $9,552 $43,447 $52,700
#4 #4 Chandler (AZ) Chandler (AZ) $11,960 - $12,110 $38,844 $50,600
#5 #5 Fairfax (VA) Fairfax (VA) $38,983 $21,763 $43,500
#6 #6 Bloomington (IN) Bloomington (IN) $39,120 $20,963 $41,900
#7 #7 Carson (CA) Carson (CA) $18,940 $18,869 $40,800
#8 #8 Lawrence (KS) Lawrence (KS) $28,035 $22,250 $40,200
#9 #9 Harrisonburg (VA) Harrisonburg (VA) $30,152 $19,500 $39,900
#10 #10 New York (NY) New York (NY) $15,420 $11,500 $39,200
#11 #11 St. Augustine (FL) St. Augustine (FL) $23,760 $13,285 $38,900
#12 #12 Indianapolis (IN) Indianapolis (IN) $32,582 $24,267 $38,300
#13 #13 Fullerton (CA) Fullerton (CA) $18,887 $14,458 $37,700
#14 #14 Columbus (OH) Columbus (OH) $36,722 $21,000 $35,800
#15 #15 Miami (FL) Miami (FL) $18,963 $20,973 $35,000
#16 #16 Pearl City (HI) Pearl City (HI) $20,544 $17,493 $34,800
#17 #17 Fort Wayne (IN) Fort Wayne (IN) $21,573 $25,780 $34,600
#18 #18 Boca Raton (FL) Boca Raton (FL) $17,324 $17,625 $34,500
#19 #19 Green Bay (WI) Green Bay (WI) $16,091 $21,355 $34,100
#20 #20 Auburn (AL) Auburn (AL) $32,960 $18,740 $34,000
#21 #21 Tucson (AZ) (and 1 other) Tucson (AZ) (and 1 other) $11,800 $21,750 $33,400
#22 #22 Union (NJ) Union (NJ) $20,364 $25,000 $33,200
#23 #23 New York (NY) New York (NY) $15,414 $12,500 $32,300
#24 #24 Eugene (OR) Eugene (OR) $41,700 $19,407 $32,000
#25 #25 San Antonio (TX) San Antonio (TX) $21,253 $24,627 $30,600

2020 Best Colleges Highlights

Learn more about the top colleges for a Bachelor's in Public Administration degree. You can also read student reviews of each school by clicking on the stars. Although student reviews were not used as a ranking factor in this list, we provide ratings and reviews so students can consider the experience of alumni in their decision-making process.

Miami Shores (FL)
Median Salary $58,000
Median Debt $32,810
Annual Tuition $32,500
Graduation Rate 39%

The Bachelor of Public Administration at Barry University is tailored to adult learners with full-time jobs and/or family responsibilities. Students in this program are instructed in theories and practices used throughout the public administration field, with coursework in managing public finance and creating budgets at the state, county, and municipal levels. Students also gain an understanding of public policy and the ways in which it is planned and executed with both political and administrative outcomes in mind. Graduates of Barry’s public administration degree program are prepared to look for employment in both the public and non-profit sectors, including the fire department, police department, and public planning.

With classes offered once a week in the evenings or on Saturdays, the bachelor of public administration program at Barry University is designed to be accessible for adult learners. Up to 30 credit hours may also be waived by relevant past work experience, and further credit hours can be transferred from another accredited college. Public administration can be studied at one of eight different Barry University campuses throughout Florida, including Miami, Orlando, and Jacksonville.

Visit Barry University's website.

La Verne (CA)
Median Salary $55,500
Median Debt $32,757
Annual Tuition $47,000
Graduation Rate 63%

The University of La Verne’s Bachelor of Science in Public Administration is referred to by the university as a CAPA, or Campus Accelerated Program for Adults. This program is designed with working professionals and nontraditional students in mind. The public administration program instructs students on the core principles and theories of the discipline, with coursework in statistics, business ethics, urban environments, and organizational behavior. Students in the program also gain skills in labor and management negotiation and conflict management in a business setting. Graduates of the bachelor’s program will study to work in local, state, and federal government positions. This public administration degree program also gives graduates the opportunity to pursue a career with a non-profit organization or foreign service.

The public administration CAPA offers a streamlined schedule that students can change and adapt as needed. Small class sizes offer students the chance to form supportive relationships with peers and the opportunity to interact one-on-one with professors.

Visit the University of La Verne's website.

Median Salary $52,700
Median Debt $43,447
Annual Tuition $9,552
Graduation Rate 17%

The online Bachelor of Science in Public Administration at the University of Phoenix aims to provide students with the education and opportunities to begin careers in the industry upon graduation. Students participating in the public administration program receive instruction in all elements of the discipline, with coursework in administrative management, risk management, governmental law, ethics, and civil leadership. Students also gain skills beneficial to working with and leading others, including critical thinking, organizational problem solving, and effective communication. Graduates of the public administration degree program are qualified to work as operations managers, program managers, and regulatory managers in the public administration sector.

The university provides support through the PhoenixLink Career Services platform, personal career coaching, and the university's networking partnerships. Current students are also provided the opportunity to meet alumni and potential employers through career fairs and mixers hosted by the university.

Visit the University of Phoenix's website.

Median Salary $50,600
Median Debt $38,844
Annual Tuition $11,960 - $12,110
Graduation Rate 10%

The online Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration at the University of Arizona Global Campus offers students the opportunity to specialize their plans of study in tracks specific to their academic and career interests. All students are instructed in the fundamentals of public administration, with coursework in management theory, political and legal analysis, and ethics in public responsibility. Students also gain an education in public policy and administration and learn how to understand, develop, and implement these fundamentals in real world scenarios. Graduates of the University of Arizona Global Campus’s public administration program can begin careers in political analysis, urban planning, non-profit management, and social service administration.

Students can personalize their public administration degree program by choosing either the logistics management track or sports and recreation management track. Students of the logistics management track gain an understanding of the principles and practices of supply chain management in both domestic and international supply chains. The sports and recreation management track instructs students on accounting, marketing, and sports finance.

Visit the University of Arizona Global Campus's website.

Fairfax (VA)
Median Salary $43,500
Median Debt $21,763
Annual Tuition $38,983
Graduation Rate 70%

George Mason University offers a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration that allows students to specialize in either a department-recommended or individualized track. Students in the public administration program are instructed in economic and political coursework, including the American government, democratic theory and practice, and money, markets, & economic policy. Graduates of the public administration program have the necessary education and qualifications to pursue a career in politics at the local, state, or federal level or to work in administration or finance in the public or non-profit sector.

The public administration degree program can be adapted in multiple ways for students to achieve their academic and professional goals. The university offers specific tracks, including U.S. government institutions and non-profit management. Students can also tailor their education with coursework to best match their career aspirations. Students interested in furthering their education can pursue the accelerated master’s program in which they begin graduate-level coursework in their final year of undergraduate study.

Visit George Mason University's website.