Public Policy/Administration personnel implement and analyze whether policies are successful and how they can be improved. Working in non-profit, often government positions, policy and administrative leaders provide public services in areas such as:

  • criminal justice,
  • advocacy groups,
  • climate change,
  • homeland security and terrorism,
  • healthcare administration,
  • as well as food and water safety and supply. 

Your Doctor of Public Policy/Administration degree program will prepare you for an executive position in management and leadership, no doubt!

Additional Resources:

Table of Contents

Methodology:

Are you ready to earn a doctoral degree? Please consider the following 7 Best Online Doctoral Degree Programs in Public Policy/Administration that we have compiled for you! We’ve listed them below in random order so you can choose an online degree program that best fits your personal needs and schedule, based on the following components:

  • 100% Online or hybrid availability; utilizing collaborative learning and support through asynchronous coursework, online resources and close communication with advisors and faculty,
  • Has obtained proper Accreditation,
  • Prepares students for advancement/management positions in Public Policy and Administration,
  • Concentration coursework in many options, such as Criminal Justice, Social Work or Geography, and more,
  • Scientific Research/Capstone project designed to create a significant change in government and policy,
  • Financial Aid Options; Grants & Scholarships,
  • Positive student reviews with student satisfaction retention rates no lower than 50%.

If you would like to learn more, see our Methodology page.


Best Online Doctoral Degrees in Public Policy / Administration

NORTHCENTRAL UNIVERSITY

public policy/administration

Program Standouts: Northcentral University’s Ph.D. in Public Administration is a research degree that seeks to enhance the knowledge and competencies needed for leadership roles in business, administration, and technology management. This degree program provides a broad knowledge base of business and technology management, while students further specialize in public administration.

Through coursework and the researching and writing of a dissertation, graduates from this degree program will demonstrate originality and methodological and scientific rigor that advances the theoretical knowledge in the public policy context.

Campus Location: San Diego, California

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission

Admission Requirements:

  • Completed application
  • Master’s in business
  • Transcripts

Sample Course Options:

  • Business Leadership and Strategy
  • Public Administration
  • Administrative Law
  • Urban and Regional Planning
  • Technology in Public Administration

Degree Outcomes: This degree prepares students in the specialization in public administration through a focus upon government and public policy, budgeting, government relations, public personnel management, political systems, and urban planning.

Graduates from this degree program will be proficient in strategic planning in a variety of public policy contexts intended to implement policy in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations.

LEARN MORE ABOUT NORTHCENTRAL UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE PH.D. IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION


CALIFORNIA BAPTIST UNIVERSITY

public policy/administration

Program Standouts: The online DPA from California Baptist University trains forward-thinking public leaders who make an impact. Geared towards working adult learners, this degree is designed to be completed in as few as three years.

Whether one hopes to work in the public or private sector, the curriculum of this degree program gives public administrators the versatility to successfully engage in a wide variety of administrative settings as well as the focused specialization to excel in a particular context.

In response to the complex challenges organizations face, this degree is just the ticket for public administration in:

  • planning,
  • criminal justice,
  • governance,
  • policy,
  • health management,
  • and social service.

Campus Location: Riverside, California

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission

Admission Requirements:

  • Master’s degree from a regionally accredited university with the following GPA:
    • 3.0 for unconditional admission
    • 2.75 for conditional admission
  • Two recommendations from professional sources that can attest to the candidate’s potential for scholarly and professional success.
  • Comprehensive Essay of at least 500 words that include:
    • Purpose for entering the program
    • Long-term professional goals including how a doctoral degree will influence those goals
    • Reasons for choosing California Baptist University
  • Professional resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Interview with Program Director

Sample Courses:

  • Performance Management and Evaluation
  • Collaboration and Networked Governance
  • Public Policy, Advocacy and Economics
  • Professional Residency

Degree Outcomes: CBU graduates have demonstrated knowledge and facility to take active roles in leadership. They have shown the ability for creating innovative and sustainable solutions to problems that arise in the various spheres of governance, social problems as well as criminal justice and social services.

LEARN MORE ABOUT CALIFORNIA BAPTIST UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE DOCTOR OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION DEGREE


LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

public policy/administration

Program Standouts: Although not strictly a DPA degree, Liberty University merits inclusion in this list of top public administration doctorates, because its online DBA-Non-profit management instills the same skills one gains from DPA degrees. This 100% online program gives public policy administrators the knowledge and tools to be successful leaders.

This 60-credit hour degree includes a dissertation requirement and will prepare graduates for public administrative positions in lead management, organization director, and regulatory affairs.

Campus Location: Lynchburg, Virginia

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; Commission on Colleges

Admission Requirements:

  • Completed application
  • $50.00 application fee
  • MBA, MSA or MS in Information Systems or earned MS in Management Information Systems
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required for entrance into the program from any of the acceptable degrees

Sample Courses in Specializations:

  • Workforce Planning and Employment
  • Strategic Communication Campaigns for the Digital Age
  • Grant Acquisition and Management
  • Non-profit Management

Degree Outcomes: Liberty graduates will have gained specialized administrative knowledge and skills needed for administration and management at the highest levels of the profession.

Based upon Liberty’s strong biblical ethic, graduates from this degree will have demonstrated advanced knowledge in accounting, finance, healthcare management, leadership, and many other administrative contexts.

LEARN MORE ABOUT LIBERTY UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE DOCTORAL IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (DBA) DEGREE


WEST CHESTER UNIVERSITY

public policy/administration

Program Standouts: WCU’s online DPA teaches leaders in the core disciplines of strategic management, public sector economic and financial decision-making, and policy advocacy and leadership. Students in this program choose from departmental courses focusing on:

  • public policy,
  • criminal justice,
  • geography,
  • and planning or social work.

WCU’s program keys in on the practice, and students complete a variety of seminar courses that apply the scholarship to real-life policy decisions. The degree culminates in students offering a solution to some actual organizational or public situation that needs to be addressed.

Campus Location: West Chester, Pennsylvania

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Admission Requirements:

  • Master’s degree, from a regionally accredited college or university
  • GRE Requirement: Needed for all individuals with a master’s GPA lower than 3.85
  • Three letters of recommendation from education professionals
  • Professional writing demonstration at the time of application (waived for applicants who present a GRE analytical writing score of 4.5 or higher)
  • Resume or CV
  • Interview (upon Committee request)

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Pre-doctoral Seminar in Public Policy and Administration
  • Advanced Practice and Applied Theories of Public Policy and Administration
  • Strategic Public Management and Governance

Degree Outcomes: This degree is designed to prepare graduates in high-level public programs and policy evaluation and methodological expertise.

LEARN MORE ABOUT WEST CHESTER UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE DOCTOR OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION DEGREE


UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND-BALTIMORE COUNTY

public policy/administration

Program Standouts: Organizational systems and political environment have an important bearing on policy administration and implementation. The online Ph.D. in Public Policy offered through UM-Baltimore County gives students the administrative knowledge and practical abilities drawn from public professionals in the spheres of profit and non-profit organizations in both the public and private sectors.

Through courses in management, organization, leadership, budgeting, and program evaluation, these 48 credits plus dissertation degree programs prepare effective administrators to be ready to lead and contribute.

Campus Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Admission Requirements:

  • Complete application
  • $50.00 application fee
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Official transcripts
  • Official GRE scores
  • Current resume

Possible Degree Concentrations:

  • Educational Policy
  • Environmental Policy
  • Emergency Services
  • Evaluation and Analytical Methods
  • Health History
  • Policy History
  • Public Management
  • Urban Policy

Degree Outcomes: Graduates from this degree program are prepared to analyze and develop appropriate strategies that allow for the effective implementation of organizational policies.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND-BALTIMORE COUNTY’S ONLINE DOCTOR OF PUBLIC POLICY DEGREE


WALDEN UNIVERSITY

public policy/administration

Program Standouts: This degree program is a professional doctorate, emphasizing extended and careful focus upon putting problem-solving skills into practice. With the option of 13 special concentrations, this degree program prepares its students to be leaders in an incredibly wide variety of public administration jobs.

If you’re looking to advance your administrative career, Walden’s DPA will help you achieve your goals by developing effective management skills and practical problem-solving skills in government and governance.

Campus Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Admission Requirements:

Sampling of Concentrations:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Homeland Security Policy and Coordination
  • International Nongovernmental Organizations
  • Local Government Management for Sustainable Communities
  • Nonprofit Management and Leadership
  • Policy Analysis

Degree Outcomes: This degree is designed to equip its graduates in how to effectively evaluate leadership/management principles. Graduates from this program will be able to evaluate and develop solutions to concrete public policy and administrative problems.

Graduates will be instructed in terms of high ethics that are sensitive to varying social systems and situations. This degree will prepare its graduates to contribute to the profession through research, presentations, and publications.

LEARN MORE ABOUT WALDEN UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE DOCTOR OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION DEGREE


VALDOSTA STATE UNIVERSITY

public policy/administration

Program Standouts: VSU’s online Doctor of Public Administration is practitioner-oriented. This means that students in this degree program receive instruction that develops the necessary skills in leadership, management, communication, and problem-solving to succeed in the professional environment.

This degree requires 54 credits to complete along with minimal on-campus requirements: perfect for working professionals and adult learners.

Campus Location: Valdosta, Georgia

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Admission Requirements:

  • Master’s degree, from a regionally accredited college or university
  • A satisfactory GRE score
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • An acceptable cumulative undergraduate GPA
  • A statement on goals for advancing intellectual abilities
  • A comprehensive resume

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Capstone Seminar
  • Final Project/Organizational Analysis

Degree Outcomes: Graduates from this degree program will possess a comprehensive understanding of the career field. Graduates will have the skills and a broadened perspective needed for managers and administrators. With sensitivity to diverse groups, graduates from this degree program will be effective oral and written communicators.

LEARN MORE ABOUT VALDOSTA STATE UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE DOCTOR OF PUBLIC ADMIN DEGREE PROGRAM


NORTHCENTRAL UNIVERSITY

public policy/administration

Program Standouts: Northcentral University’s Ph.D. in Public Administration is a research degree that seeks to enhance the knowledge and competencies needed for leadership roles in business, administration, and technology management. This degree program provides a broad knowledge base of business and technology management, while students further specialize in public administration.

Through coursework and the researching and writing of a dissertation, graduates from this degree program will demonstrate originality and methodological and scientific rigor that advances the theoretical knowledge in the public policy context.

Campus Location: San Diego, California

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission

Admission Requirements:

  • Completed application
  • Master’s in business
  • Transcripts

Sample Course Options:

  • Business Leadership and Strategy
  • Public Administration
  • Administrative Law
  • Urban and Regional Planning
  • Technology in Public Administration

Degree Outcomes: This degree prepares students in the specialization in public administration through a focus upon government and public policy, budgeting, government relations, public personnel management, political systems, and urban planning.

Graduates from this degree program will be proficient in strategic planning in a variety of public policy contexts intended to implement policy in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations.

LEARN MORE ABOUT NORTHCENTRAL UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE PH.D. IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION


Frequently Asked Questions

What is Public Policy/Administration?

Public Policy and Public Administration is an essential component in creating principles that lead, guide, and direct government agencies who are required to protect policies that affect the public. 

Through the scientific study of the politics involving organizations and institutions, said policies are analyzed for efficiency and protection of the people’s interest.  

What are the differences between Public Policy and Public Administration?

Public Policy and Public Administration positions work together although there is a difference. Public Policy demonstrates the creation of just that… the policy itself. These policies often include:

  • environmental,
  • health,
  • transportation,
  • scientific research,
  • and economic issues that affect everyone’s day-to-day lives.  

Public Administration, therefore, suggests the administrative or enforcement aspect of the policies already established, perhaps by implementing the business management and controlling portions of public policy. Public Administrators see that policies are carried out, enforced, followed, and done so within the ethical side of the law. 

What is the job outlook for those entering the field of Public Policy and Administration?

Public Policy and Administration jobs are growing at an average to the above-average rate of 6%-30%; all depending on the position you pursue and job location. 

How much money can I earn in the field of Public Policy/Administration?

As the field of Public Policy and/or Public Administration can cover a wide array of job opportunities, the consensus of Ziprecruiter.com states salaries can typically range between the average of $57,827 per year to upwards of $109,000 annually. 

They also indicate that the wide range of pay may suggest that there is plenty of room for career advancement depending on your experience and job location. 

What can I do with a Doctor of Public Policy/Administration degree?

At the doctoral degree level, many have worked in the field previously for a while and are now interested in conducting original research in government agencies, non-profits, or academic institutions.

Also, the program will prepare students for leadership roles in the field of Public Policy and Administration. If you would like to teach at the college level, you will be qualified to do that, too! 

The following careers are the ideal way to use your knowledge in Public Policy/Administration:

  • Civil Service Administrator
  • Urban Planner
  • Education Administrator
  • Labor Relations Specialist
  • Charity Officer
  • Officer in Local Government
  • Public Affairs/Administration Consultant
  • Budget Analyst
  • Healthcare Administrator

What will I learn in an online Doctor of Public Policy/Administration degree program?

Are you prepared to be a leader? If so, this degree program will assist you in your quest for career advancement through a leadership or management position. You will learn about proper research techniques, public policy theory, and law and ethics related to the field.