Public Administration and Policy Programs In America
Areas of Study
work placement/ internships
The growing and increasingly diverse population of the United States means a career in public administration and policy is a good choice that's also good for society.
Entering direct from high school into university or 4-year college, you can find specific Colleges or Schools of Public Administration where you can take a competitive Bachelor of Science (BS) or Arts (BA) in public administration. However, not all universities have Colleges, Schools or Departments devoted to public administration and policy; in fact, you may have to hunt around to find what you want. So be sure to look in Colleges, Schools and Departments of Political Science, Business, Humanities, Social Science, Management, Government, Sociology, Professional Studies, Public Affairs, Urban Studies, and more. And some programs actually require that applicants have prior work experience in the field, so check their requirements carefully.
Whether you're interested in the theoretical or practical application aspects of public administration and policy, all students usually complete a core set of courses in their first year before choosing a major. A typical core curriculum includes courses in economic and political analysis, management, statistics, political science, history and ethics. When it comes to declaring a major there are a number of possibilities, such as criminal justice studies, public policy and administration, public policy and management, public sector management, non-profit management, social and health/ human services administration and urban affairs. Some schools may offer regional or culturally-specific programs as well, and honors degrees may also available. Because public administration and policy affects almost every other area of study, there is a lot of flexibility in this field: by nature interdisciplinary, public administration and policy programs often allow you to combine your studies with other disciplines. This can be done through by taking a minor in any of a wide choice of other fields, by taking public administration itself as a minor, or by taking an interdisciplinary degree such as the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) in Public Administration.
Universities and community colleges also offer associate's degrees such as the Associate of Science (AS) or Arts (AA) in Public Administration, with a multitude of specialization options. One- to two-year certificates are also offered at both the university and community college level in many of the above-mentioned areas of study, including specialized certificates in public administration designed for students studying in other disciplines.
Undergraduate degrees in public administration and policy can give you the skills you need for employment or can serve as the foundation for further studies, whether they be graduate studies in public administration or another discipline such as economics, law, business or environmental management.
At all levels, study generally combines classroom theory and learning with practical work and discussion. Internships-whether local or elsewhere in the country--are often part of the curriculum, and a number of program-specific scholarships are available.
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