10 Best Online Doctor of Public Policy/Administration Degrees

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Updated: March 11, 2024, Reading time: 17 minutes

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The modern world needs qualified persons who are prepared to act on behalf of the public, demonstrating their knowledge of all facets of public administration. As a result, online doctor of public administration/policy is one of the degrees gaining more popularity.

Despite being online, these degrees still provide academic excellence that will help aspiring public administrators excel in the field.

People pursuing public administration or public policy are in for an exciting, rewarding, and impressive career path. 

Quick audio summary:


The discipline of public administration/policy is made up of numerous specialties and subspecialties, such as education systems, health care, the criminal justice system, and much more. It primarily involves working in organizations and governments to manage budgets, legislation, policies, social programs, and other issues impacting local communities.


Doctor of Public Policy/Administration students receive academic training for becoming inventive, talented, and successful public administration leaders! 

The best online doctorate programs in this field are offered by some of the leading graduate schools! These are the academic features that make them stand out:

Please visit our Methodology page and find out more about our online doctorate ranking process.

Grad School Center is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

The 10 Best Online Doctor of Public Policy/Administration Programs

Walden University

Walden University
Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration

Walden University offers an online Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration degree. Students are required to complete 53 credits, in addition to a doctoral writing assessment, research courses, dissertation, and residency with team-based experiences, which can be completed with up to eight years of part-time study.

Because this degree is a professional doctorate designed to forge future public administration leaders, students will develop outstanding management abilities and find solutions to urgent issues in government and allied fields.

Applicants to the online doctorate are required to hold a master’s degree or higher in any related field. Students can transfer up to 41 credits of graduate or doctorate coursework earned from other regionally accredited institutions.

Walden University helps doctoral students prepare and pass dissertation research requirements through four residencies and full support from the school. Each student has a personal academic advisor or academic coach beginning of classes until graduation.

Additionally, students can expect to receive federal financial aid.

Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University - Public Administration and Public Service
Ph.D. in Public Administration and Policy

Old Dominion University’s online Doctor of Public Administration and Policy. Students are required to complete 49 credit hours of coursework, including 37 hours of online courses and 12 hours for student dissertations.

The curriculum was created to emphasize the value of teamwork and problem-solving skills in leadership and policy-making by allowing students to explore challenges faced by businesses, nonprofits, governments, communities, and even individuals.

Applicants should be master’s degree holders in a related field with a minimum of 3.25 GPA from any regionally accredited institution or comparable foreign institution. GRE/GMAT taken within the last five years are also required and must have scored at the 25th percentile for verbal and quant.

Doctoral coursework includes strategic planning, public administration research, and advanced policy analysis. Professors at ODU’s public administration and policy degree program have years of experience in various fields, including economic development, public and nonprofit organizations, citizen participation, and partnerships between public and private organizations. This gives students a wealth of knowledge of the diverse areas of the field.

Tennessee State University

Tennessee State University
Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration

Tennessee State University offers an online Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration. Students are required to complete 48 credit hours of coursework, including core courses and dissertations, all of which can be completed up to six years of full-time study.

Because this doctorate degree was aimed at working professionals and designed to allow students to work full-time while studying, the program’s synchronous core courses and asynchronous elective classes provide a unique feature for public administration/public policy research doctorates.

Master’s degree holders in any related field may apply. No minimum GPA and GRE/GMAT score are required. Students can transfer credit hours earned from graduate coursework.

TSU’s online Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration should not be taken lightly to help students reach their full potential as researchers, leaders, or professors in the social sector.

Students develop and demonstrate knowledge of the primary literature in the subfields of public administration, such as organization theory, policy implementation, public budgeting, and financial management, through the core curriculum, benchmark test, prospectus, and dissertation stages.

Boise State University

Boise State University
Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration

Boise State University offers an online Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration. Students are required to complete 67 credits, including core courses, methods sequence, elective credits, and dissertation credits of culminating activity. Students must move to candidacy for the Ph.D. and pass the comprehensive exam before submitting a dissertation proposal.

Interested students are required to hold a master’s degree in any related field with a minimum of 3.0 GPA on all graduate coursework and a minimum score of 300 (verbal and quantitative; 1,000 for the older scoring system). Master’s degree graduates of any regionally accredited school may be exempt from the GRE requirement.

The degree program is intended for full-time students and working professionals who want to improve their methodological training and policy analysis skills. BSU offers graduate research assistantships for full-time students. This opportunity will help doctoral students worry less about financing their Ph.D. studies since they’ll get a stipend and tuition waiver for working as a research assistant for a professor.

Liberty University

Liberty University - Online
Doctor of Public Administration

Liberty University offers a Doctor of Public Administration program that is available online. Students are required to complete 48 credit hours, including core public administration courses, research-focused courses, and a capstone sequence in approximately 2.5 years.

The public administration online doctoral degree is designed for those who desire to improve the quality of life in small and large communities, including teachers and professionals working in government agencies who want to start or advance their careers.

Applicants are required to be master’s degree holders, with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA for all graduate-level coursework.

Liberty’s doctorate in public administration will prepare students to lead, manage, and solve problems in the realm of governance. Students can learn how to effect change in governmental, nonprofit, and other groups that formulate public policy during this degree program.

Additionally, students will understand the political, ethical, and legal frameworks that govern public administration.

California Baptist University

California Baptist University
Doctor Of Public Administration

California Baptist University offers an online Doctor of Public Administration degree. CBU’s online doctoral program is one of the fastest accelerated public administration degree programs, which allows students to graduate as early as 36 months in an eight-week online format in addition to residency and dissertation.

The program’s curriculum and coursework are designed to satisfy the demands of professionals tasked with addressing organizations’ problems at the local, state, and federal levels.

To be admitted, students must have earned any master’s degree in a related discipline from an accredited graduate school with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. Applicants with only a 2.75 on graduate-level coursework can still apply for conditional admission.

CBU’s online doctorate in public administration is one of the best for financial aid opportunities. Doctoral students have higher chances of being eligible for financial aid opportunities from donors and investors of the school. Students will receive multiple assistance to meet their academic and professional goals.

West Chester University

West Chester University
Doctor of Public Administration

West Chester University offers a Doctor of Public Administration degree that is available online. Students are required to complete 45 credits, including doctoral study, administration core, methods sequence, electives, comprehensive examination, and dissertation that can be completed in five years.

Graduate social work, geography and planning, public policy and administration, and criminal justice are all available concentrations for students pursuing an online doctor of public administration degree at West Chester.

Doctoral candidates must hold a master’s degree from an accredited institution. Students with high GPAs, at least one year of related professional experience, and more remarkable aptitude will be prioritized.

When it comes to graduate assistantships, doctoral students at West Chester University have better opportunities. Two of the most in-demand graduate assistantships in the online degree are the Frederick Douglass Graduate Assistantships and the Institute for Women Graduate Grant.

To be eligible, doctoral students must have satisfactory performance in their academic schedules and good academic standing (minimum GPA of 3.0).

University of Maryland-Baltimore County

University of Maryland-Baltimore County - School of Public Policy
Ph.D. in Public Policy

The University of Maryland offers an online Ph.D. in Public Policy. Students are required to complete 48 credits plus a dissertation to gain administrative knowledge and practical skills necessary for for-profit and nonprofit organizations within public and private sectors.

Because the doctoral program was created with working professionals in mind, students can fully customize their degrees to meet their current schedules.

Applicants must hold a master’s degree from an accredited institution and GRE scores. Those with high GPAs on all graduate-level coursework can waive GRE score submissions.

In addition to learning about organizational structures and profit and nonprofit management, students in this Ph.D. program will also learn how the political climate can influence or restrict methods of administration and implementation.

Furthermore, all students will receive financial aid from the state and be guided for other private financial aid opportunities. The university will also provide one-on-one academic counseling to help students deal with their studies and professional lives.

Valdosta State University

Valdosta State University
Doctor of Public Administration

Valdosta State University offers a Doctor of Public Administration that can be completed online.

This 54-credit online degree program strongly emphasizes honing crucial leadership, management, communication, and problem-solving abilities to help students produce original research in the future. The program’s flexible and accommodating scheduling was created with working students in mind: the nonsynchronous style and 24/7 accessibility to the coursework.

Applicants to Valdosta State must have a master’s degree and a good GRE score to get admitted. There is no required minimum GPA; however, students with outstanding GPAs will have higher chances of admission.

Students at Valdosta State are strong contenders for a range of leadership positions beyond those they have already held. The program expands on students’ current information on the subject and is designed to broaden their understanding and applied research skills.

National University

Doctor of Public Administration

National University’s Doctor of Public Administration online degree through online education. Students should complete 60 credit hours in 45 months, which gives students a thorough understanding of the principles of organization and management, administrative law, public management theory, and the values that govern the conduct of public administration.

Additionally, it addresses important subjects, including public personnel management, the importance of information technology in public administration, and budgeting.

Applicants must hold a master’s in business administration or any business-related degree from an accredited institution.

National University offers endless financial aid opportunities to its Ph.D. students. One of the biggest financial aid opportunities of the school is the Pursuit of Knowledge Scholarship, which grants three doctoral students a full tuition and two 50% scholarships.

In addition to financial aid opportunities, students can also expect full support from the school’s academic counselors.

Common Courses of Doctor of Public Policy/Administration

Public Policy/Administration Foundation Courses

Learning online can be challenging, especially for those who don’t fully understand how online education works. To help online students, most schools offer foundation courses to help students evaluate how the school’s mission and vision relate to their professional aspirations and create best practices and online success strategies.

This course allows students to review the program’s curriculum and work on assignments that emphasize critical thinking, the promotion of academic and professional quality, and the practical application of scholarly and professional writing to the practice of public policy and administration.

Finance and Budgeting for the Public Sector

This course helps students understand organizational finance and budgeting principles, rules, procedures, and the monetary environment in which they function. Topics under this course include tax systems, financial management, auditing procedures, budgetary reform, dashboards for financial reporting, the effects of globalization on finance and the budget, financial technology systems, and theories for guiding important fiscal policy discussions. 

Leadership and Organizational Change

This course helps students understand the ethical concerns and norms and the opportunities and difficulties associated with leading diverse companies through transformation. Students evaluate ways to apply these skills to advance good changes inside an organization or their community as they look at how contemporary leaders use leadership and organizational change to support social change.

Governance and Public Policy

This course teaches students to analyze in-depth how societies run and how public policies are developed, assessed, decided upon, and carried out. Topics cover governance and public policy from theoretical and practical angles using more contemporary and critical literature and ancient and classical voices. Students also consider how they will fit into the future public administration and policy world.

Research Courses

Research courses teach students the proper research methods used in the field, including quantitative and qualitative research methods. 

Quantitative research methods teach students accurate data-collection methods, inference logic, statistical testing, and the associated ethical concerns. The qualitative research and analytical techniques utilized in both academia and public sector research are introduced in this course.

Online Doctorate in Public Policy Administration - fact

Common Career Paths for Doctor of Public Policy/Administration Graduates

Graduates with a master’s in public policy have numerous career and employment options. Here are the most common and top career paths for public policy/administration graduates.

Academia Jobs

PhDs are designed to train students for academia. Graduates of public policy/administration doctorates are well-prepared to become effective postsecondary teachers/university professors and researchers. Both professors and researchers publish unique research and analysis in books and scholarly journals.

They participate in administrative and academic committees that study and recommend departmental policies, recruiting practices, promotions, and budgetary considerations.

City Manager

A city manager is comparable to a company’s CEO. City managers control the everyday operations of municipalities. These experts are in charge of creating and managing the city’s budget, among many other duties.

Budget Analyst

A budget analyst is a financial expert who evaluates budgets and offers suggestions on managing funds for initiatives, divisions, or entire organizations. Budget analysts may work alone or with a group of financial experts, depending on their duties.

Human Resources Director

To ensure legal compliance and the effective execution of the organization’s mission and talent strategy, the Human Resource Director will plan, lead, direct, develop, and coordinate the HR department’s policies, operations, and staff.

Administrative Services Manager

Administrative services and facilities managers organize, lead, and coordinate tasks that make a company work smoothly. These managers’ specific duties vary, although they frequently oversee operations, including recordkeeping, mail distribution, and facility maintenance.

Nonprofit Program Director

A professional who manages the activities and projects for a nonprofit organization is known as a nonprofit program director. They are aware of the program’s purpose and ensure that it is supported by the workers and activities under their control.

Professional Associations in Public Policy/Administration

When studying for a doctorate, it’s important to have all the possible support you can get. By joining professional organizations in your field, you can outsource resources, including financial aid opportunities, yearly conferences or meetings, journals and bulletins, and recent research that will help you advance your academics and career.

Here are the top public policy/administration organizations:

American Society for Public Administration

ASPA, the leading professional association for public administration, encourages the practice of nonprofit and public administration. It links all those interested in the field and aids in developing initial responses to societal problems.

The association promotes results-driven management through outreach, education, advocacy, training, and information exchange.

Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management

At its annual research conference, the APPAM provides multidisciplinary research on diverse policy management challenges, intending to enhance public policy by fostering excellence in research, analysis, and education.

Additionally, it produces a peer-reviewed journal that features highly regarded management and public policy research. It also commits to “respecting and developing racial, ethnic, gender, disciplinary, and other types of diversity” among those engaged in Association operations.

National Academy of Public Administration

The NAPA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works on numerous initiatives to improve communications between citizens and national leaders about complex management and policy issues, as well as to provide resources and information to those considering a career in public administration and policy.

National Forum for Black Public Administrators

The NFBPA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group created to promote Black public leadership. The group works to improve Blacks’ standing in the area of public administration, raise the number of Blacks in executive positions in public service organizations, and develop and train younger aspirant administrators for senior public management roles in the coming years.

Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration

NASPAA maintains excellence in public service education and training professionals while advancing the concept of public service. It establishes a hub for exchanging knowledge on public affairs education and collaborates with public administration educational programs in other nations through joint projects and conferences.

Public Policy vs. Public Administration

From the word itself, you’ll know that there’s a difference between public policy and public administration. But these degrees work hand-in-hand. Regardless if the degree is only a public administration or public policy, both will have similar coursework and requirements.

But to be more precise, public policy is, well, the policy itself. Governmental agencies use public policies to coordinate their varied activities and programs. On the other hand, public administration is the administrative or enforcement component of the already established policies.

How can I finance my online Public Policy/Administration Doctoral degree?

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I finance my online Public Policy/Administration Doctoral degree?

There are three primary ways to finance your online public policy/administration doctorate:

Are online doctorates legit?

Yes, several universities are offering online public policy/administration doctorates. To ensure that you’ll receive a high-quality education, make sure that the university you’re applying to has national, regional, or specialized accreditation. 

Why should someone study Public Policy/Administration?

Public policy/administration degrees are one of the most exciting fields today. Through this degree, you’ll be able to understand how public policy influences the daily lives of individuals.

Additionally, this will help you recognize effective public policies and create plans to enhance society.

Is Public Policy/Administration a good career?

Doctoral-level public policy specialists can work in academia and other prospects that involve establishing policies. Although experience differs by industry, these jobs tend to be prestigious.

What are the most common admissions requirements for a Ph.D. in Public Policy/Administration?

Competition may be fierce when applying to graduate programs. The most common admission requirement for a Ph.D. in Public Policy/Administration includes a master’s degree, transcripts, GRE or GMAT, resume or CV, letters of recommendation, and statement of purpose.

It would be best to start your graduate school applications four to eight months in advance. This can entail sending out transcripts and recommendation letters six to twelve months in advance because it will take time to compile your admissions materials.

Key Takeaways

The study of public policy/administration focuses on the policy process, implementation, management, organization, and government administration. Public policy/administration also focuses on how a government impacts its citizens and community.

Candidates for doctoral studies in public policy/administration are prepared for demanding occupations that require both a passion and drive for advocacy and a mind capable of meeting organizational and bureaucratic hurdles.

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