Online DPA Degree Programs and Schools
A PhD in Public Administration represents the pinnacle of academic achievement in the field of public administration. The Doctor of Public Administration (DPA degree) is considered an equivalent degree, and the U.S. Department of Education does not discriminate between them. Both types of public administration doctorate programs require an extensive amount of graduate-level study and completion of a doctoral dissertation. Possible specializations include civil rights, education policy, nonprofit management, policy making, program evaluation and public management.
Click on the "request info" button next to an accredited school listed below to receive information on specific on-campus and online DPA degree and PhD in public administration programs.
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Programs of Interest (Alpha Sort)
Alaska Pacific UniversityUndergraduate
Alderson Broaddus UniversityUndergraduate
Anna Maria CollegeUndergraduate
Baldwin Wallace UniversityUndergraduate
Ball State UniversityUndergraduate
Ball State UniversityOnline
Bard College at Simon's RockUndergraduate
Great Barrington, MA
North Newton, KS
Chestnut Hill, MA
Mount Vernon, GA
California State University--FullertonUndergraduate
California State University--Long BeachUndergraduate
Long Beach, CA
California State University--Monterey BayUndergraduate
California State University--SacramentoUndergraduate
California State University--San BernardinoUndergraduate
San Bernardino, CA
California State University--San MarcosUndergraduate
San Marcos, CA
California State University--San MarcosOnline
Calumet College of St. JosephUndergraduate
Central Michigan UniversityUndergraduate
Mount Pleasant, MI
Central Michigan UniversityOnline
Central Washington UniversityUndergraduate
Central Washington UniversityOnline
Chestnut Hill CollegeUndergraduate
College of St. JosephUndergraduate
College of St. MaryUndergraduate
College of the AtlanticUndergraduate
Bar Harbor, ME
Concordia University--St. PaulUndergraduate
St. Paul, MN
Concordia University--St. PaulOnline
New London, CT
Coppin State UniversityUndergraduate
St. Bonifacius, MN
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DPA Degree and PhD in Public Administration Job Outlook
Completing a DPA degree or a PhD in public policy can qualify you for the most prestigious jobs in the field: executive roles in nonprofit organizations, policy-making positions in government and university professorships.
In 2014, the median annual salary was $173,320 for top executives and $62,330 for postsecondary teachers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, salaries and other compensation in both fields range considerably higher with experience.
While the BLS does not break out public administrator's salary, other sources - inlcuding PayScale - place salaries average $66,000 for the first 20 years of work, and $140,000 with two decades of experience. BLS also does not break out public policy, but Payscale places salaries in that area of public administration in the $75,000 during the first decade work.
Salaries will vary based on the organization and the location, so it's important to research the specifics of the job you hope to attain.
PhD in Public Administration or DPA vs. PhD in Public Policy
While related in many ways, public administration and public policy differ significantly.
Earning a DPA degree or completing a DPA program will place you in line for the top jobs in the public administration field. This can lead to directing large organizations or departments within this organizations. Jobs are available in this field at the federal, state, county and city levels of government, as well as within nonprofit organizations. A PhD in Public Administration essentially prepares you to be a CEO, but within the public and nonprofit sectors.
Jobs for those with a PhD in Public Policy are also available in the public and nonprofit sectors. However, those who work in public policy tend to focus on policy analysis, including how efficient public policies are and how budget cuts can affect services. They may also navigate the often complex world of regulations and help write policy propsoals, among other duties.
Top Public Administration Graduate Programs
U.S. News & World Report, which ranks colleges in many different categories, ranked the best Public Affairs schools in 2012. The Top 5 schools in the list are:
There are more than 150 schools in the Public Administration Graduate Program rankings. For the complete list, click here.
Syracuse University (The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs)
Indiana University - Bloomington
Harvard University (John F. Kennedy School of Government)
University of Georgia
Princeton University (Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
Choosing a Public Administration PhD or DPA Program
There are many factors in choosing the right school and the right degree program in all areas, and the same is true for public administration. If you have a area of specific interest within public administration and public policy, find a school that specializes in that area. Location can also be important, although many schools have degree programs - or at least some portion of the program - online. Such distance learning helps make going to school more flexible.
Accreditation is also key. As with the schools listed on this page, all of which are accredited, the process of attaining accreditation means that the program has been reviewed and found to meet high standards for, among other things, faculty, curriculum and student services.
Public Administration Information and Resources