Online MBA Programs

5 Best Online MBA Degree Programs in Public Administration

Are you an ambitious professional seeking to make a difference in the public sector? Do you aspire to lead organizations, shape policies, and drive positive change in society? Pursuing an MBA degree with a specialization in Public Administration could be the key to unlocking your potential and achieving your goals. In this article, we will delve into the realm of online Public Administration MBA degree programs, highlighting the top institutions and shedding light on their distinctive features.

Public administration encompasses a broad spectrum of disciplines, ranging from government operations and policy analysis to budgeting, human resources, and strategic planning. Combining the principles of business administration with a focus on the unique challenges faced by the public sector, an online Public Administration MBA program equips individuals with the necessary skills to navigate complex governmental landscapes and lead effectively in a rapidly changing world.

Join us as we explore the best online Public Administration MBA degree programs available today, uncovering the advantages they offer and the opportunities they present for aspiring public sector leaders.

There are incredible benefits to pursuing an online MBA with an emphasis in Public Administration. This kind of program can open many doors for business professionals who want to make a difference in public policy. Positions in corporations, public service organizations, and the government are applicable to students who have achieved this degree. The reason why the forecasting for positions in public administration continues to look strong for years to come is that there will continue to be a need for properly trained public administrators at the public, private, and government levels.

An online MBA in Public Administration is a perfect fit for professionals who have work experience and want to be exposed to more career opportunities in the future. Most business schools today will factor in a candidate’s professional experience during the application process so those with some managerial or public service experience will be attractive to MBA programs. The benefit of not commuting to campus during the work week is a huge perk to pursuing an online MBA in Public Administration. The flexibility a student experiences in enrolling for courses at a faster pace and completing assignments at the student’s convenience saves time and money.

Professionals currently working in public service have another advantage in pursuing an online MBA in Public Administration. Traditional graduate students are forced sometimes to quit their jobs to move to another city or state for a degree. Online MBA students can remain working for their organization and often be able to apply the principles taught in the virtual classroom to their jobs in real time. This produces a feeling of purpose for the MBA student, and the organization itself benefits from the effectiveness and efficiency practiced in the workplace.

With this in mind, we have compiled a list of the nation’s best online MBAs in Public Administration. These programs vary in expense and time frame for completion, but each one packs a high-quality curriculum and is delivered in a flexible and convenient context.


MBA Central assessed all the online Public Administration MBA programs with the intent on finding the programs that offer the most value. By collecting data on Affordability (33%), Support Services (33%), and Quality of Classes (33%). We compiled this ranking to help future public administrators and leaders find programs suited to future goals and current needs.

Each Online Public Administration MBA program is listed with an Affordability Score based on the total base tuition of the degree. This figure categorizes each degree from Very Affordable to Very Expensive:

Very Affordable: under $15,000
Affordable: between $15,000 and $20,000
Average: between $20,000 and $30,000
Above Average: between $30,000 and $50,000
Expensive: between $50,000 and $100,000
Very Expensive: above $100,000

#1 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide College of Business – Daytona Beach, Florida

An online MBA with a Public Administration specialization is delivered by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide’s College of Business. This MBA earns the top spot in our ranking with their exceptional quality and online support.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide’s College of Business provides an online MBA with a concentration in Public Administration. This 33-credit hour online MBA enjoys a high score from U.S. News & World Report revealing it to be one of the nation’s very best online programs for student services. An averagely affordable tuition rate of less than $29,999 is another perk to this degree. Its prestige can also be seen in the accreditation it receives through the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. While the core courses of this Public Administration include courses like Managerial Accounting for Decision Making, Strategic Marketing Management in Aviation, Business Research Methods, Managerial Finance, Advanced Aviation Economics, and a business capstone course. The business school’s admissions office is very accessible and will direct applicants on what requirements there are for program acceptance.

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Based in Daytona Beach, Florida, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide has been a leader in distance education for over 25 years. Because of this, Embry-Riddle is the only four-year private school in the country to be awarded U.S. News & World Report’s top undergraduate online degree. The university got its start as Embry-Riddle Flying School in 1926. Talton Higbee Embry and John Paul Riddle are the school’s pioneers and the namesake as well. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide is home of the Eagles and currently oversees just over 14,500 students seeking associate through doctoral degrees. The University holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Besides the stellar concentration in Public Administration, the university’s business school also offers this Aviation MBA degree with specializations in Accounting, International Business, Finance, Leadership, Marketing, and Information Technology.

Accreditation: ACBSP, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Affordability Score: Average

#2 University of Louisiana at Monroe College of Business and Social Sciences – Monroe, Louisiana

An online Public Administration MBA can be found in the College of Business and Social Services at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. This prestigious degree is a stand out in the country and the only program like this available in Louisiana.

The University of Louisiana at Monroe offers an online MBA with a Public Administration emphasis in the College of Business and Social Services. This stellar online program combines the business school’s prestigious accreditation through the AACSB with a nod from U.S. News & World Report as the 100th best online MBA. The respected ranking entity also gives the business school high marks for unparalleled support services for non-traditional and online students. Another unique feature of this degree is its affordable tuition rate which lies below $20,000. Requirements for the school’s online distance MBA program include access to high-speed internet, a computer outfitted with a microphone, webcam, audio and video capabilities, and the Microsoft Office suite of software. There are two admissions status’ that students can pursue. Regular admission features requirements like an undergraduate degree with a cumulative 3.0 GOA or 3.0 GPA over the final 60 hours of bachelor’s coursework with some higher-level degree experience. Conditional admission includes an undergraduate degree with 2.5 GPA or a minimum formula score when considering GPA and a GMAT/GRE score. Qualifying students can opt out of the GMAT requirement. Public Administration-intensive courses for this program include Public Budgeting and Finance, Ethics and Public Administration, Analysis of Political and Administrative Data, and Foundation of Public Administration.

Core courses within this online MBA offered at the University of Louisiana at Monroe include Management Information Systems, Strategic Management, Economic Environment, Financial Analysis, Accounting Analysis for Decision Making, Marketing Strategy, Global Operations, Supply Chain Management, and Multinational Leadership and Management. ULM was founded in 1931 as Ouachita Parish Junior College and offered two-year degrees. The school became a full-fledged university in 1969 and today features a student enrollment of 9,181. The University of Louisiana at Monroe is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

Accreditation: AACSB, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Affordability Score: Affordable

#3 Concordia University Wisconsin Batterman School of Business – Mequon, Wisconsin

The Batterman School of Business at Concordia University Wisconsin houses an online MBA with a specialization in Public Administration. This prestigious program is holds a prestigious IACBE business accreditation and is committed to supporting their online students.

An online Public Administration MBA is offered by the Batterman School of Business at Concordia University Wisconsin. This program is best suited for graduate students desiring to lead the way in community initiatives through a career in government and government-related public administration. The application process begins with students submitting proof of a bachelor’s degree, completed application with application fee, resume, one-page letter of intent, transcripts, and two letters of recommendation into the admissions office. This averagely-priced online MBA can be pursued for less than $29,999 in total tuition. U.S. News has heralded this program as the 184th best in the land and gave a nod to the business school for providing excellent support services to online and non-traditional graduate students. Students can graduate in under two years, and those with previous academic experience can transfer up to six credit hours into the degree. There is no GMAT requirement for acceptance which helps to save time and money during the application process. There are 15-credits included in the Public Administration concentration, and students have the option to choose courses like Project Management, Budget in Public Agency, Admin Law and Process, Public Personnel Amin, Public Program Evaluation, MBA Internship, and Intergovernmental Relations.

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The Batterman School of Business at Concordia University Wisconsin is accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education. Other stellar specializations attached to the online MBA include Communications and Public Relations, Accounting, Finance, Health Care Administration for Practitioners, Global Health Care Administration Human Resource Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Management, International Business, Management Information Systems, and Risk Assessment. The university got its start under the name of Concordia College Milwaukee in 1881. Planted on a campus in Mequon, Wisconsin, the school became a co-ed campus in 1964 and became a full-fledged university in 1989. Nearly 7,300 students study at Concordia University Wisconsin, both on the campus and through distance learning. The university is home of the Falcons and is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Accreditation: IACBE, Higher Learning Commission
Affordability Score: Average

#4 Liberty University School of Business – Lynchburg, Virginia

The School of Business at Liberty University offers an online MBA with a specialization in Public Administration. Professionals wanting to pursue a career in public service will thrive within this 45-credit hour degree.

Liberty University offers an online MBA with a Public Administration focus through the School of Business. Liberty is able to offer this high-quality, average in affordability program for less than $30,000 in total tuition. U.S. News & World Report has recognized this online MBA as the 136th best in the United States. Students with some graduate classes already taken may be able to transfer up to half of this program’s requirements allowing them to graduate sooner and save a lot on tuition. In general, most students take two years to complete all program requirements. The ACBSP backs this degree with exceptional business accreditation. The degree’s curriculum has been shaped to sharpen a Public Administrator’s economic and political decision-making abilities and provide the professional with financial, management, and leadership skills which will help to serve the public.

While it is common for universities to raise tuition prices over the years, Liberty University has made a commitment to keep tuition prices for their bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs unchanged for the past three years. Along with this high-powered Public Administration online MBA, Liberty also features specializations like American Legal Studies, Accounting, Criminal Justice Administration, Finance, Human Resources, Healthcare Management, International Legal Studies, International Business, Leadership, Marketing, and Public Relations within this distance program. For over three decades, Liberty University has been one of the leaders in distance education, beginning in the mid-’80s when the school would offer courses videotaped on VHS cassettes students would receive in the mail. Today, this four-year Christian university with a campus in Lynchburg, Virginia still prioritizes distance learning through flexible online education apparent in the business school’s high ranking by U.S. News & World Report for offering exemplary support services.

Accreditation: ACBSP, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Affordability Score: Average

#5 University of Baltimore Robert G. Merrick School of Business – Baltimore, Maryland

A Public Sector Management focused online MBA is offered in the University of Baltimore’s Robert G. Merrick School of Business. This highly-accredited program shines with an excellent accreditation and robust curriculum.

The University of Baltimore provides an online MBA with a specialization in Public Sector Management at the Robert G. Merrick School of Business. Other concentrations offered with this distance degree include Data Analytics, Cyber Security and Organizational Resilience, Digital Business, Managing Financial Performance, Entrepreneurship, Global Management, Leadership and Organizational Learning, Health Care Management, Leadership and Organizational Learning, and Marketing. U.S. News & World Report gives this degree high marks for its excellent support services and has deemed the Robert G. Merrick School of Business the 96th best location in the country for an online MBA. The total tuition amount for this degree is above average at less than $50,000. The business school enjoys excellent accreditation through the AACSB. This is a 36-credit hour program which allows students who have achieved qualifying graduate level coursework to waive up to 12-credit hours. Business and Public Policy in a Global Economy, Performance Management and Accounting Controls, Financial Management, Creativity and the Entrepreneurial Mindset, Marketing Strategy, IT for Business Transformation, Leading with Integrity, and Business Analytics are some of the core topics in this MBA. The program’s flexibility is apparent in a student’s ability to complete all courses online, in the classroom, or as a hybrid experience with both.

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This online MBA with a Public Sector focus is a great choice to pursue at the University of Baltimore as the state of Maryland features such a large number of the country’s Federal civilian agencies, Federal labs, and military facilities. The university was founded by a group of Baltimore professionals in 1925 with the purpose of educating men and women for careers in industry. The school’s main campus is in downtown Baltimore in close proximity to the popular Inner Harbor region of the city. The student body of 5,565 at UB are pursuing degrees from the bachelor’s to doctoral levels. Students enrolled in the University of Baltimore’s Public Sector Management online MBA are offered classes like Innovation in Public Management, Public Program Evaluation, and Public Policy Implementation.

Accreditation: AACSB, Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Affordability Score: Above Average

What is public administration and why is it important?

Public Administration touches many areas of business, social service, and government today. At its core, public administration deals with leading and serving in government agencies, public, and private organizations. Pursuing a degree in this field is valuable for a number of reasons. First, seeking higher education takes a high level of commitment. Master’s degrees can be expensive, they require time to study and complete assignments, and they require discipline from the students. Throughout their college career, some students begin to question if they are pursuing the right degree or if they should quit school all-together and join the workforce. With so many opportunities to struggle with completing a degree, it is important to find purpose and a higher call to one’s education.

A degree in public administration is a popular choice for students who truly want to make a difference by leading people well in a number of contexts. The list of career possibilities is a long when considering what is available to you after completing an MBA in public administration. City managers, administrative officers, directors of planning, finance directors, policy advisors, and strategy consultants are just a few of the many positions that relate well to this degree. Professionals desiring to work in state and federal government can be exposed to excellent opportunities with an MBA in this field under their belt. Since most MBA programs require their students to have some work experience in their field of study, an online MBA in public administration may be a good fit. This type of degree allows distance learners the chance to remain in their current job positions and immediately apply concepts learned in the classroom to those workplaces.

What is the difference between an MPA and an MBA in public administration?

You want to make a difference. You want to choose a profession with stability and purpose. With so many uncertainties in the market, you want to keep your options open. Perhaps these thoughts and motivations have brought you to a crossroads. Down one path lies an MPA and down the other an MBA in public administration. Where will these different paths take you? Which would be a better use of your time and resources? To best understand the major differences between a master’s in public administration and a master’s of business in public administration is first to understand your professional destination.

A master’s of public administration is designed to equip students with knowledge and strategies for functioning within nonprofit management and administration within the public sector. Someone with an MPA could naturally take a position in local, state, or federal government or work for a school district or in health services.

A master’s of business administration with a focus in public administration will better equip business managers and administrators more interested in the private sector of service. As an MBA is broader in focus, it can be a smart choice for professionals who want to have more options in the future. This is also an attractive degree for an employee interested in a new career direction.

What are some jobs in public administration?

The three most common areas of professions in public administration fall under federal government positions, local or state government jobs, and professions in the nonprofit sector. However, there are also many opportunities for public administration online MBA graduates in the private sector as a graduate degree in business management encompasses many areas of leadership.

The United States government offers many positions for properly trained public administrators. Because this profession deals so much with budget and finance management, the solid accounting and economics education delivered through a degree like an online MBA sets up a professional nicely for a role as a budget analyst, financial manager, purchasing agent, or tax examiner.

Public administration jobs within local and state governments also abound. Many city managers, prison wardens, public works directors, and human services directors received training through higher education in public administration. Some of the positions are elected officials as well as appointed and hired employees.

The National Center for Charitable Statistics currently reports there are over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered in the United States. The success of each of these organizations lies in their leadership. Nonprofits that exist to serve the common good will always need to fill positions like marketing executives, program directors, and fundraising managers.

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