Search Programs

2023 Most Affordable Online Master's Degrees in Public Administration

By the OnlineU team | Updated 12/9/2022
2023 Most Affordable Online Degrees Badge

An online master's in public administration is an interdisciplinary program that teaches how to better serve the public in a professional setting. Students learn about the laws that govern public-facing entities, the processes used for community outreach, and how to effectively manage an organization at the executive level. These skills are needed to enter the public sector — including government agencies, nongovernmental agencies, and nonprofit organizations.

A master's in public administration is the next step for students who have already earned a public administration degree. Once a bachelor's is achieved, students may also choose to pursue other master's degrees in management if they're uncertain about entering the public sector through a Master's in Public Administration.

View our methodology for details about rankings or learn about us. You can also check out our overall list of the most affordable online degrees for more inspiration.

Find an Online Degree:
All tuition numbers were manually collected and verified
Rank School Locations Annual Tuition
# 1 #1 Fort Hays State University Hays (KS) $4,478
# 2 #2 Wichita State University Wichita (KS) $4,620
# 3 #3 Southeast Missouri State University Cape Girardeau (MO) $5,171
# 4 #4 Columbus State University Columbus (GA) $5,418
# 5 #5 University of North Georgia Dahlonega (GA) $5,454
# 6 #6 Liberty University Lynchburg (VA) $5,500
# 7 #7 Kennesaw State University Kennesaw (GA) $5,745
# 8 #8 Arkansas State University Jonesboro (AR) $5,958
# 9 #9 Columbia Southern University Orange Beach (AL) $6,030
# 10 #10 Georgia College & State University Milledgeville (GA) $6,084
#1
#1
Annual Tuition: $4,478
Annual Tuition: $4,478
Annual Tuition: $4,478

Fort Hays State University (FHSU) is a public university offering a Master of Liberal Studies - Public Administration that requires 31 credit hours. Typically, students complete this program in around two years while studying full time.

At FHSU, students use Blackboard for their remote courses, which students can finish all online and on a flexible study schedule. The liberal studies master's program contains an interdisciplinary core of liberal studies, while the Public Administration concentration is centered on the policies, processes, and management skills needed to work in the public sector. Required classes include Policy Analysis, Administrative Process, and Public Budgeting. Graduates often explore roles in government or nonprofit organizations.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 4,411
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,453
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
#2
#2
Annual Tuition: $4,620
Annual Tuition: $4,620
Annual Tuition: $4,620

Wichita State University (WSU) is a public institution with a Master of Public Administration requiring 39 credit hours. Students studying part time while working are likely to complete the degree in three years.

WSU uses Blackboard to deliver online coursework, allowing students to finish their degrees completely online and on a schedule that meets their needs. The core curriculum is designed to develop students' analytical skills, including budgeting, finance, management, and policy. Required classes include Public and Nonprofit Governance, Research Methods in Public Administration, and Public Sector Economics. Students are also required to choose one of the following certificates: City/County Management, Economic Development, Nonprofit Management, or Public Finance. Career options for graduates include city managers, public works directors, and finance directors.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 89%
  • Average SATs: 1030 -1270
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 2,272
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 632
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
#3
#3
Annual Tuition: $5,171
Annual Tuition: $5,171
Annual Tuition: $5,171

Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) is a public university with a Master of Public Administration. This online degree requires 36 credit hours, which full-time students can complete in two years.

SEMO students use Canvas as their primary learning management system (LMS), where they can complete courses online and asynchronously. The curriculum for this program engages and promotes leadership skills in the public sector by teaching effective communication and analysis skills. Among the required classes are Fundamentals of Public Administration, Public Policy Analysis, and Research Methods for Public Administrators. Additionally, students must choose between a thesis project and an internship. Potential career opportunities after graduation include emergency management director, human resources manager, and operations research analyst.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,223
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 481
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
#4
#4
Annual Tuition: $5,418
Annual Tuition: $5,418
Annual Tuition: $5,418

Columbus State University (CSU) is a public university offering an online Master of Public Administration that requires 36 credit hours. For those who can study full time, this degree can be obtained in just two years. There are two tracks to choose from: (1) Government Administration and (2) Justice Administration. Each requires a capstone project.

CSU uses CougarView from Desire2Learn to manage its course delivery, which is 100% online and available on a flexible schedule. This degree uses hands-on learning techniques to teach students how they can effectively serve in a public-facing role. Each track contains core coursework, such as Survey of Public Administration, Public Personnel Administration, and Research Methods for Administration. Alumni may find career advancement as financial analysts, nonprofit administrators, or urban planners.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 92%
  • Average SATs: 860 -1100
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 674
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 786
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
#5
#5
Annual Tuition: $5,454
Annual Tuition: $5,454
Annual Tuition: $5,454

University of North Georgia (UNG) is a public university that hosts an online Master of Public Administration. In order to receive this degree, students must complete 36 credit hours, which is typically done within two years. However, part-time students may take three or more years to graduate.

Online students at UNG use Brightspace to complete their coursework online and at their own pace. The curriculum teaches a theoretical understanding of public administration and practical research skills related to various aspects of public service, including ethics and law. There are a number of required courses, such as public budgeting, public personnel administration, and foundations in public administration. Students are also required to complete a capstone seminar before they can graduate and find employment in government agencies and nonprofits.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 88%
  • Average SATs: 990 -1190
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,138
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 311
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
#6
#6

Liberty University

Lynchburg (VA)
Annual Tuition: $5,500
Annual Tuition: $5,500
Annual Tuition: $5,500

Liberty University (LU) is a private Christian institution with a Master of Public Administration requiring 36 credit hours. The average completion time for this online graduate degree is around one-and-a-half years for full-time students.

At LU Online, students use Canvas as their LMS, where courses are delivered virtually on a flexible timeline. This program teaches students the skills needed to properly analyze public policy, manage organizations, and conduct research. Here are three examples of required courses: Fundamentals of Public Administration, Community Economic Development, and Public Policy Analysis. LU also offers a Master of Arts in Public Policy - Public Administration that has similar requirements. Career opportunities for either degree include administrative officer, compliance manager, and community service manager.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
  • Average SATs: 1040 -1260
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 34,092
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 36,337
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
#7
#7
Annual Tuition: $5,745
Annual Tuition: $5,745
Annual Tuition: $5,745

Kennesaw State University (KSU) is a public university that offers an online Master of Public Administration. This degree requires 36 credit hours, which is generally completed in two years while studying full time.

Desire2Learn is the main LMS used by KSU students, allowing them to obtain their degree either entirely online or in a hybrid format. The public administration master's degree is all about developing the necessary professional skills to enter the public sector workforce. The majority of the required credits are devoted to the core curriculum, including classes such as Research Methods and Computer Applications, Governmental Relations, and Policy Analysis. Jobs for graduates may include urban planners, administrative service managers, and human resources managers.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 92%
  • Average SATs: 1050 -1230
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 3,315
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,792
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
#8
#8

Arkansas State University

Jonesboro (AR)
Annual Tuition: $5,958
Annual Tuition: $5,958
Annual Tuition: $5,958

Arkansas State University (A-State) is a public institution with a Master of Public Administration - Public Management that's available online. Students are required to finish 36 credits to graduate with this degree, which typically takes them as few as 18 months if they take two courses each semester. A-State also offers a similar Master of Public Administration - Non-Profit Management, which focuses on the nonprofit sector.

Canvas is the LMS used by A-State students, and it features asynchronous courses. The curriculum for this program is designed to develop skills for effective public administration, including the management of individuals and finances within an organization. Public Budgeting and Finance, Grant Writing and Administration, and Administrative Ethics are some of the required courses. An internship is also encouraged as part of the required capstone project. Alumni are eligible for careers as managers, directors, or executives in the public sector.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
  • Average SATs: 1013 -1220
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,064
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 3,414
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
#9
#9

Columbia Southern University

Orange Beach (AL)
Annual Tuition: $6,030
Annual Tuition: $6,030
Annual Tuition: $6,030

Columbia Southern University (CSU) is a private institution offering an online Master of Public Administration that requires the completion of 36 credit hours. Typically, students graduate within two years while studying full time.

All online courses at CSU are delivered through the Blackboard LMS, which allows students to study entirely online and at their own pace. This degree focuses on providing students with the skills needed to solve complex problems within organizations and society at large. Among the major requirements are Public Administration Ethics, Public Policy, and Strategic Planning. Upon graduation, students are often prepared to join government agencies, nonprofits, and private organizations.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 14,364
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 5,670
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: DEAC
#10
#10
Annual Tuition: $6,084
Annual Tuition: $6,084
Annual Tuition: $6,084

Georgia College & State University (GCSU) is a public college that offers a Master of Public Administration. This online program requires 36 credits, which full-time students may complete in just four semesters.

Online students at GCSU utilize GeorgiaVIEW by Brightspace for their remote learning system, which allows them to study completely online. This program is fundamentally designed to prepare students for professional work in the public sector through teaching, research, and service. Required courses include Policy Analysis, Public Financing and Budgeting, and Public Personnel Management. Students must choose between a capstone project and a thesis option. There's also an opportunity to participate in an internship or cooperative. Beyond graduation, roles may become available in human resources, community development, and health care.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Average SATs: 1110 -1260
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 15
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 888
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

ADVERTISEMENT

Start Your Online College Search:

Review schools that align with your career aspirations.