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Why This Matters


    Of those surveyed, 73% of political scientists working with public policy and administration said a doctoral degree is needed for a successful career in this field.


    Data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that the need for public policy analysts and political scientists should grow 6% by the year 2029.

  • EARN $125,350 PER YEAR

    According to the BLS, political scientists and public administration professionals earned an average of $125,350 annually as of May 2020. Some of the top earners in this profession earned more than $170,800 per year.

Our Research

This list focuses on doctorate programs in public administration that are available online. These programs may award a Ph.D. or a Doctor of Public Administration degree. While these programs are exclusively available online, some may require you to commit to a course schedule, which might include logging on to attend virtual lectures or study groups with peers.

Each of the programs on this list is accredited by organizations such as the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

  • 71 hours to write this article
  • 24 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 35 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Online Doctorate in Public Administration Programs

Best Online Doctorate in Public Administration Programs Badge

California Baptist University

Old Dominion University

Valdosta State University

Liberty University

West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Tennessee State University

Boise State University

The University of Illinois Springfield

National University

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What You Should Know About This Degree

While choosing a doctorate program, you might be considering the differences between a degree in public administration and a degree in political science. While both can prepare you for similar career paths, programs in public administration are more focused on policy and execution while political science provides a more general education in political influence.

Before you commit to a program, it’s important to make sure you’ve selected one that’s both right for your career goals and provided by a credible institution. You can check a program’s accreditation status by searching for the school on the U.S. Department of Education’s accreditation database.

While a public administration doctorate focuses largely on public policy, you may want to consider other career options after you earn your doctorate. Some of the professions that your degree can qualify you for include immigration officer, business administrator, and human resources specialist.

Should you choose to pursue a government job, keep in mind that you might require clean background checks and security clearances.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching online doctorate in public administration programs:

  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? While the length of time it will take you to complete this program varies depending on your schedule and dedication, most students earn their doctorate in two to three years.
  • What licensing or certifications are required? Although no additional licenses are typically needed after obtaining your doctorate, you may need to pass background checks or security clearances to work in public administration.

There are several important things to watch for as you conduct research on online doctorate in public administration programs. That includes important dates such as application and payment deadlines as well as application procedures and required documentation.

Additionally, if you need help paying for your program, set aside some time to research grants and scholarships that might be available to you. If you’ll be applying for financial aid, be sure to submit your application on time.