Average Starting Salary


Average In-State Tuition


Average Student Enrollment

  • Starting salary for new MBA graduates in Public Administration is reported to be between $43,200 and $175,000 with an average of $84,147.
  • Tuition for in-person, campus MBA programs in Public Administration ranges from $7,048 to $127,032, and averages $45,484
  • Online tuition in for Public Administration MBAs ranges between $7,176 to $127,032, with an average total tuition cost of $41,455
  • A GMAT score between 450 and 730 with an average of 570 is needed for acceptance into an MBA program in Public Administration.
  • 50 Best MBA Programs in Public Administration
  • There are 64 campus and 34 online MBA Public Administration Programs.
  • Average student enrollment varies between 4 and 2,031 with an overall average of 345.
  • Student / Faculty Ratio for MBA programs offering a Public Administration concentration varies between 3:1 and 16:1 with an average of 16:1 students.
  • 76 MBA programs in Public Administration are ranked by the following institutions MBAGuide: 56, Forbes: 9, US News: 12, BW: 10, FT: 6 and Economist: 5.

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Discover information on start dates, credit transfer processes, initial salary expectations, financial aid opportunities, GMAT requirements, tuition fees, student-to-faculty ratios, and average post-graduation employment rates.

What is an MBA in Public Administration?

An MBA in public administration prepares you for management positions in government and public service organizations but also can prepare you for leadership roles in corporations and other private sector organizations. Degree holders build the foundation to become advocates for causes and implement change in their communities.

Key attributes you will learn in the program are how to motivate and inspire a team, strategic planning, goal setting and using your personal strengths to become an effective leader. Many MBA in Public Administration programs are affordable and can be completed in 12-18 months. You will develop applicable leadership skills by solving real-world problems in individual and team scenarios. Coursework provides experiential learning of programmatic implementation and developing and affecting public policy.

What is the Career Outlook for an MBA in Public Administration?

Public service positions in fields like social services and healthcare will be in continuous need for years to come. According the US Department of Labor, approximately 550,000 are in the pipeline nearing retirement.

  • Careers in community and social service management are expected to rise 16% from 2016 to 2026.
  • Careers in health and medical service management are expected to rise 20% from 2016 to 2026. There will be an increasing demand for health and medical services as the baby-boom population continues to age, people live longer and remain active later in life.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, job candidates with a master’s degree can earn 20% more than candidates with only a bachelor’s degree and almost 80% more than candidates without any higher education degree. As you further your education, you are less susceptible to becoming unemployed.

100 Best MBAs in Public Administration

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Mba Programs In Public Administration

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What are Average Salaries Among Public Administrators?

Median wage is determined by calculating the wage at which half of the employees within an occupation earned higher than that amount, and the other half earned less. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, in May 2016, the median annual wage for social and community service managers was $64,680. Within this category of workers, the bottom 10% earned less than $39,770, and the highest 10% earned more than $110,970.

The median annual wages for social and community service managers in the following top industries in which they worked were:

SectorAvg. Salary
Local government, excluding education and hospitals$79,680
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations66,170
Nursing and residential care facilities60,320
Individual and family services59,140
Community and vocational rehabilitation services58,270

In May 2016, the median annual wages for medical and health services managers was $96,540. The bottom 10% earned less than $56,970, and the highest 10% earned more than $172,240.

The median annual wages for medical and health services managers in the following top industries in which they worked were:

SectorAvg. Salary
Hospitals; state, local, and private$104,340
Outpatient care centers89,480
Offices of physicians87,540
Nursing and residential care facilities80,340

What Can I Do With an MBA in Public Administration?

Community and Social Service managers can work for the government, nonprofit organizations, private for-profit social service companies. These jobs could reside in various settings, such as offices, hospitals, clinics, and shelters. In 2016, approximately 147,300 jobs were held by community and social service managers. The categories of organizations employing the largest number of social and community service managers were:

SectorAvg. Salary
Individual and family services27%
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations12
Local government, excluding education and hospitals11
Nursing and residential care facilities11
Community and vocational rehabilitation services10

In 2016, 352,200 jobs were held by medical and health services managers. The categories of organizations employing the largest number of medical and health services managers were:

SectorAvg. Salary
Hospitals; state, local, and private36%
Offices of physicians11
Nursing and residential care facilities10
Outpatient care centers7

Opportunities for Public Administration MBAs

By having an MBA in public administration, job opportunities become available to you in various sectors such as government, non-government organizations, nonprofits, higher education, finance, healthcare and public safety.

While many health and medical services managers have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, master’s degrees are more common and sometimes preferred by employers. The educational requirements of the health and medical service positions can vary by sector and role.

The following are various types of community, social, health and medical service managers:

  • Administrative services managers coordinate and plan the support services of organizations. While their specific responsibilities fluctuate, the administrative service managers typically maintain the facilities and supervise activities such as recordkeeping, mail distribution, and office organization.
  • Human resources managers coordinate and plan the administrative functions of organizations. They are responsible for recruiting, interviewing, and hiring of employees; assist top executives with strategic planning; and serve as the liaison between the employees and leadership of the organization.
  • Medical and health services managers, also known as healthcare executives or healthcare administrators, coordinate and plan health and medical services for the employees of the organization. They could possibly oversee an entire facility, a specific clinical area or department, or a medical practice for a group of physicians. It is important for health and medical service managers to stay up to date with changes in healthcare regulations and new technologies.
  • School counselors assist students with developing their academic plans and honing the social skills needed to be successful in school. Career counselors can help both students and adults decide what careers best suit them and how to obtain positions in those career paths.
  • Social and community service managers plan strategy, coordinate and supervise others that work in social service programs and community organizations for government or nonprofit organizations. Strong ability to deal with the public needs is a crucial characteristic for these positions.
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What are the Qualities of a Public Administrator with and MBA?

Analytical skillsHealth and medical service managers must comprehend and keep up to date with current and upcoming regulations. They need to process and disseminate in a digestible manner any new laws. Community and social service managers must be aware of and understand all available programs that can assist their clients.
Communication skillsThese managers must have the ability to effectively communicate policies and procedures to various people such as other health professionals, staff and clients from the community. They also need to ensure compliance with regulations and helping others to understand new laws.
Detail orientedPublic administrators must pay great attention to detail. They need to be organized so that they can perform tasks like maintaining scheduling and billing information for very large facilities, oversee staff tasks, and keep in compliance with rules and deadlines.
Interpersonal skillsEmpathy and confidentiality are key traits needed when discussing staffing problems and client or patient information with other professionals, such as physicians and health insurance representatives or the client or patient themselves.
Leadership skillsPublic administrators need to possess strong leadership skills to not only lead the organization and employees but also to promote change in policy and regulation. These managers usually need to find creative solutions to staffing or other administrative problems. They must hire, train, motivate, and lead staff. They must inspire the community.
Technical skillsHealth and medical service managers must stay up to date with advances in healthcare technology, data analytics, and data security. As the electronic health record (EHR) becomes more prevalent in all organizations, systems need to be upgraded and maintained.

What Are the Typical Classes for an MBA Public Administration?

  • Ethics, Corporate Culture, and Social Responsibility – This course teaches you concepts in corporate culture and social responsibility, building a sustainable business, and promoting ethics and values. The course will also tackle issues with group think, how to develop diversity and cultural awareness, civic engagement, and sustainable practices that have a positive global impact. The course will also help you to understand personal ethics in relationship to how they affect corporate ethics, governance, and civic mindedness.
  • Foundations of Public Policy – This course serves as an introduction to the public policy process. You will learn the definitions of “political” and “public policy”. Themes discussed include how and why some problems reach the public agenda, what makes some solutions are adoptable while others are rejected, and what makes some policies appear to succeed while others appear to fail. Complex policymaking at the national, state, and local levels is examined.
  • Human Behavior in Organizations – This course examines individuals and groups and how they interact with each other. Students learn how to motivate, communicate, leader, maintain power and facilitate change with practical examples with real world issues. The organization is studied for designing reward systems directed at improving performance and organizational efficiency through motivating employees, encouraging participation in management and collaborative decision making.
  • Strategic Management in Public Service – This course is provides the academic foundation to applying principles of strategic management in the public sector. Recognizing the aspects that distinguish public from private sector, strategic planning and the consequences those differences have for managers are key aspects of this course. Strategic planning and management concepts are demonstrated including creating a mission statement, conducting a SWOT analysis, conducting a stakeholder analysis, identifying goals and objectives, and designing, implementing and managing a way to measure performance and use that performance to reach the organization’s goals. Existing methods to strategic management currently used by federal, state, local, and non-profit organizations are examined and practiced.

Cost of Tuition for MBA Programs in Public Administration

Tuition for an MBA in Public Administration can vary greatly. This can be due to the length of the program which can go from one year up to four years. Usually the higher the number of credits, the greater the length of the program, the higher the cost of the program. It is also dependent upon if the program requires GMAT scores or not.

The programs that require GMATs to be taken tend to have a higher tuition rate. As you might guess, the institutions with the higher costs also tend to be the institutions where their degrees carry a higher prestige. The difference between in state and out of state/country tuition tends to be about $10K higher for out of state or out of country.

Depending on the area you want to work in, the geographical location that has the jobs available, and the notoriety of where you received your degree from, it may be worth the added cost to go out of state or out of country. However, if you want to work in a local company, organization or government office, it would probably be best to stay in state and save the money on the tuition. Added costs to be considered not covered by your tuition are: books, project materials, parking, transportation, required student fees, and room and board.

The average in-state tuition for on-campus programs in Public Administration is $45,484.00 compared to the average out-of-state tuition of $55,875.80.

The average in-state tuition for an online MBA in Public Administration is $41,454.58 compared to an average out-of-state online tuition of $53,589.34. With a tuition range hovering between Lowest In-State Tuition: $7,048.00 and $164,000.00, it may be worthwhile to attend a highly reputable in-state program instead of attending an out-of-state school.

GMAT Scores for MBA Programs in Public Administration

GMAT scores can be an important indicator of the likelihood a student will be successful in the program. Score requirements for online programs tend to be a bit higher than in person programs. This is because the online student must be organized and diligent in order to allocate study time on their own without procrastinating.

Not all schools require a GMAT score. The longer, full-time programs tend to require GMATs while shorter, accelerated programs may not. It can save you time to seek out what programs you are interested in and research what is required to attend that school. If you are unsure where you would like to take your program, then you should take the GMAT sooner than later so you don’t lose time meeting the score requirement of a program.

Besides a solid GMAT Score, admissions also reviews a candidate’s undergraduate GPA, professional experience, letters of recommendation, CV, and personal statement. A strong undergraduate career could help a less than desirable GMAT Score.

The average GMAT Score for on-campus MBA programs in Public Administration is a 569.95 compared to an average online MBA program score of 558.14. It is recommended that each B-School applicant take a GMAT diagnostic test in order to determine whether or not further study and/or a prep course is needed to boost your score.

Student / Faculty Ratio for MBA Programs in Public Administration

Faculty to student ratio is an important factor in the quality of education you will receive. The lower the ratio, the more individualized attention you will receive. You will also be able to better network with professors and classmates. The more individualized attention you receive, the greater the odds you will understand the material better.

The ratios provided are based off all MBA programs regardless of concentration. To discover what the ratio is for the program you are interested in, you should research the faculty pages of the school and average size of the programs. Faculty could be part or full time. Many also work in the concentration and can provide the students with real-world examples.

A low Student/Faculty ratio for any MBA may have more of an impact on students wanting smaller classrooms and greater networking opportunities with professors and fellow classmates. The best MBA Student/Faculty ratio for on-campus programs in Public Administration is 3.00 compared to the worst Student/Faculty ratio of 63.00.

The best MBA Student/Facult ratio for online programs in Public Administration is 8.00 compared to the worst Student/Faculty ratio of 29.00. Once again, this is truly a matter of preference and a prospective MBA students should analyze their optimal learning style prior to making a decision to enroll in their MBA program.

Enrollment for MBA Programs in Public Administration

When reviewing how the student population is spread across program formats, you will find the highest concentration of students are online, then part time, then full time. The concentration is spread based on flexibility. The higher the flexibility (aka the least amount of scheduled class time), the higher the number of students. There are pros and cons to small cohorts versus large cohorts. Small cohorts can become very cohesive and encourage each other to make it through the program.

However, if the personality dynamic is off, it is hard to find new group members in a smaller pool of students. The large cohorts cultivate a variety of approaches to solve the same problem, help others to think outside of the box and foster creativity. However, you could feel like just a number and desire more individual attention. When researching schools, try to reach out to current students and ask about the culture to help you decide which type of culture best suits you. Also seek out on campus job fairs, relevant student organizations and mentors. Making and maintaining these connections through your academic career will help your studies and your job prospects.

The average full-time MBA enrollment for on-campus programs is 345 compared to the average enrollment of 281 students for online programs.

The average part-time enrollment is 357 compared to the average part-time enrollment for online MBA’s of 305. With the technology around eLearning platforms and Blackboard courses drastically improving, the collaboration between students and faculty has reached an all-time high online. The traditional on-campus MBA program provides its students with the option of taking online classes. There is no quality lost taking a traditional on-campus MBA course versus an online MBA course. It’s more of a matter of one’s individual learning preference.

Global Enrollment for MBA Programs in Public Administration

Most MBA students are from the United States. Since many programs are two years or less, it is not worth the travel, boarding and visa work for an international student to pursue an MBA in the US. Most likely they have a comparable program in their home country which is recognized by the organizations you would want to work in.

There is a very large pro to having more international students in your program. They bring other ways of thinking to group work, exposure to how business is conducted in other countries that could be used in your organization, and networking opportunities. Working with international students also helps those seeking to be economists to work with exchanges, foreign currency and investment banking in other countries. Having a diverse student population aids economists as they learn how to enter, maintain and grow in a market outside the US. Also, exposure to other countries can assist those social service managers wishing to making impacts on a global level.

The average number of MBA students from the U.S. is 75.75% for on-campus programs compared to 83.42% for online programs.

Faculty Information for MBA Programs in Public Administration

Take note of the number of faculty the program you are interested has. The more faculty, the more likely you will be exposed to various instructors with different backgrounds. Both full time and part time faculty can bring different viewpoints to the curriculum they teach. Having diversely experienced faculty provide you with opportunities to experience a variety of real-world experience along with in-class lessons.

The higher the number of the faculty that have doctorate the degrees, generally the better quality the program. And the more faculty available, the more individualized attention you will receive. The quality of the available faculty will also impact the strength of the program. The best type of faculty for this kind of program is the faculty who have robust real world and teaching experience.

The average number of full-time faculty for on-campus MBA in Public Administration programs is 77 compared to 5,815 part-time professors.

The average on-campus MBA in Public Administration program has 84 professors with doctorate degrees. This number is similar (83) to the average number of doctorates in online Economic programs. Knowing that your professor is an industry influencer and has exensive teaching experience in the field of Public Administration is a clear sign that a progam delivers high quality education.

Research the Best MBA Programs in Public Administration – GMAT Scores, Salaries & Rankings

  • The number of on-campus MBA Public Administration programs offered: 76
  • The number of online MBA Public Administration programs offered: 34

There are many MBA programs to choose from, however, a specialty in public administration limits your options. If you are interested in online, you currently have 5 options. If you are willing to attend class in person, you will have 12 options. You could also see hybrid programs to limit your need to travel to campus. There are some general MBA programs than can touch on public administration if you do not have an MBA in Public Administration geographically close to you and you are not interested in an online program.

You would need to research the program to decide if enough public administration topics are covered to meet the needs of your career path. Be honest with yourself when deciding your preferred learning style, need for in classroom or online experiential learning, and full or part time programs. Cost and prestige of the program should also be determining factors when deciding what school and format you choose.

50 Best MBA Programs in Public Administration

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