Learn to Lead with an MBA in Public Administration
- Just over $19K total tuition
- Program accredited by ACBSP
- Earn embedded credentials along the way
- Optional live webinars led weekly by faculty
- Applies business strategy to public policy
- No GRE/GMAT required
Online MBA in Public Administration Program Overview
Gain the advanced knowledge you need to navigate the public sector at a leadership level with a Master of Business (MBA) in Public Administration from Southern New Hampshire University.
There’s no denying an MBA is the ultimate business degree. It provides the expertise you need to move across industries of all kinds. And if you’re interested in using your business degree for the good of the community, an MBA specifically concentrated in public administration is ideal.
This online master’s in public administration MBA program will teach you competencies essential to impactful leadership, strategic planning, and people and idea management that you can bring to local, state or federal departments.
“There simply isn’t a better option in higher ed for students interested in pursuing a career or advancing in the field of public administration. The curriculum is designed and delivered by experienced professionals to ensure you are gaining industry-recognized knowledge and skills that you can apply right away,” says Dr. Michelle Caron, associate dean for business at SNHU.
Leadership is one of the most important skills to have when seeking a career in public administration. Through the program coursework, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of how to lead others with emotional intelligence and effective communication skills.
Strategy is another key ability. The coursework will teach you how to use business analytics to make data-driven decisions, as well as how to balance brand management and marketing strategy.
Beyond these high-level skills, you’ll learn how to guide public policy. You’ll also be provided with a holistic understanding of how business units function individually and cross-functionally, a lesson well-suited for success, as the public sector is keen on efficiency and compliance.
Each teaching will help prepare you careers that involve writing policy, governing jurisdictions and more.
This online master's in public administration is just one of 17 MBA concentration options at SNHU. Learn more about all our career-focused online MBA programs.
What You'll Learn
- Strong leadership skills to help serve the public
- Government & business relationship analysis
- Data-driven decision making techniques
- Policy development that strengthens communities
- Effective public outreach strategies
How You'll Learn
At SNHU, you'll get support from day 1 to graduation and beyond. And with no set class times, 24/7 access to the online classroom and helpful learning resources along the way, you'll have everything you need to reach your goals.
“The MBA in Public Administration program affords you many career opportunities. You will gain tools needed to be effective in a political position. You can be a city manager. You can be a city or state commissioner, a board member in your local community or on the national level, a nonprofit CEO or entrepreneur,” says Dr. Michelle Caron, associate dean for business at SNHU.
And based on data gathered by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job projections in public administration appear strong.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, career opportunities for social and community service managers are expected to grow 12% through 2031, while overall employment of administrative services and facilities managers is projected to grow 7%.1
In 2021, the median annual salary was $74,000 for social and community service managers and $99,290 for administrative services and facilities managers.1
“SNHU’s MBA in Public Administration is significant and gains attention because it links theory to practice that helps students apply lessons learned in the classroom to actual job problems that yield tangible results for corporations and public service organizations,” says Dr. Lorenzo Claxton, adjunct faculty at SNHU.
After you earn your master's in public administration online, you’ll have the background you need to pursue a career in a wide variety of public sectors and departments.
Where Could You Work?
Organize and supervise programs/government initiatives that help children and families.
Plan, direct and coordinate activities that promote a community's economic growth and well-being.
Advance the common good and effect positive change by advocating for community-supportive policies.
Colleges and Universities
Study, research and analyze the origin, development and operation of public systems.
Plan, direct or coordinate health services that support communities on a local or national scale.
Manage an organization's daily operations and overall direction to help achieve their mission.
Start Your Journey Toward an Online Public Administration Degree Concentration
Why SNHU For Your Online Public Administration MBA
With no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7.
As part of our mission to make higher education more accessible, we’re committed to keeping our tuition rates low. In fact, we offer some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation.
Prior coursework and work experience could also help you save time and money. SNHU’s transfer policy allows you to transfer up to 12 credits from your previous institution. You could also earn college credit for previous work experience.
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution with over 160,000 graduates across the country. SNHU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), a regional accreditor, which advocates for institutional improvement and public assurance of quality.
Recently, SNHU has been nationally recognized for leading the way toward more innovative, affordable and achievable education:
- “Most Innovative” regional university honors from U.S. News & World Report each year since 2015
- A $1 million grant from Google.org to explore soft skills assessments for high-need youth
- Recognition as a 2017 Digital Learning Innovator by the Online Learning Consortium
At Southern New Hampshire University, you'll have access to a powerful network of more than 300,000 students, alumni and staff that can help support you long after graduation. Our instructors offer relevant, real-world expertise to help you understand and navigate the field. Plus, with our growing, nationwide alumni network, you'll have the potential to tap into a number of internship and career opportunities.
93.6% of online students would recommend SNHU (according to a 2022 survey with 17,000+ respondents). Discover why SNHU may be right for you.
Expanding access to quality higher education means removing the barriers that may stand between you and your degree. That’s why you can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials:
- Completed free application
- Undergraduate transcripts, which we can retrieve for you by submitting a transcript request form
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 5 graduate terms.
Preparing You for Success
Dr. Lorenzo Claxton, adjunct faculty
“The MBA in Public Administration program is grounded in real-world experience and context that is transferrable to federal, state and local government jobs, as well as private industry.”
Courses & Curriculum
Southern New Hampshire University’s Master of Business Administration (SNHU MBA) is designed to provide you with the knowledge you need to develop as a resourceful leader who engages in creative problem-solving. This means balancing people management, strategic thinking and operational dexterity in order to make data-driven, innovative decisions for the organization you serve. By the time you graduate, you’ll be prepared to solve sustainable, conscientious and fiscal issues using key skills that will achieve positive business results.
“Coursework is scaffolded and aligned with industry trends and standards for graduates to effectively navigate complex intergovernmental relations and challenges faced by policymakers and administrators at local, state and federal levels. Students learn how to assess policy implementation challenges and opportunities for delivery of quality public services,” says Dr. Michelle Caron, associate dean for business at SNHU.
If you're entering the MBA in Public Administration program without an undergraduate degree in a business discipline, up to two foundation courses may be required. The first course, Building Business Leaders, explores how to become a strategic business leader in alignment with an organization's mission, culture and values. The second course, Applied Business Statistics, focuses on the application of statistical techniques to analyze data as a means to making critical business decisions.
Beyond foundation courses, you'll need to earn nine total credits in concentration courses specific to public administration. These classes can be completed after MBA coursework or simultaneously.
Your required concentration courses will include:
- PAD631 - Strategic Management in Public Service: Provides an academic foundation to applied strategic management in public service. You’ll learn to identify the factors that differentiate public service from the private sector, strategic planning and the implications those differences have for managers.
- PAD633 - Intergovernmental Relations: Designed to demonstrate the challenges and strategies for governance and administration in an institutional environment of fragmented authority and dispersed power. You’ll examine the structure of American political institutions, the nature of complex policymaking, governance by networks and the consequences of competition between governments.
You can then select from either of the following courses to finish out your nine total credit requirement:
- PAD630 - Foundations of Public Administration: Introduces the foundations and constraints that form the environment of the public administration. You’ll be encouraged to view governance issues through the eyes of a public administrator and be provided with basic skills to set the context of contemporary political, social, economic and administrative realities.
- PAD632 - Foundations of Public Policy: Introduces the public policy process. You’ll develop an understanding of what "political" and "public policy" mean. You’ll also examine the complexity of policymaking at the national, state and local levels.
Instructors for these classes are experts in both business and public administration, and their lessons are designed to help you understand how the two work together.
“MBA in Public Administration students have consistent, overwhelmingly positive feedback about their instructors — how they’re engaged, responsive and available for help. Students also like how instructors share their professional expertise, because it helps them apply and retain lessons. ‘Making it stick’ is the gold standard that sets SNHU faculty apart from other schools,” says Dr. Caron.
As you move through each course in the MBA program, you’ll be offered various support tools and amenities.
These offerings include 24/7 access to tutoring support and optional live webinars led weekly by faculty. These webinars can greatly boost student success, as they provide an opportunity to discuss previous coursework and future assignments with faculty. They also allow the chance to ask questions on the spot and better understand the context of lessons within the greater MBA.
Along the way to your MBA, you’ll also earn embedded credentials. Built directly into your required coursework and included within course resource costs, embedded credentials will test your knowledge of industry platforms and tools, as well as technical and soft skills. Many of the embedded credentials are provided through the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), a leading professional organization in accounting and business. Once a credential is completed, you’ll typically earn a badge or certificate, which can then be shared to your resume or social accounts, like LinkedIn.
Embedded credentials include:
- AICPA Certificate in Human Intelligence - Coaching vs. Mentoring
- Wiley Finance & Accounting Badge: Microsoft Excel© for Accounting
- AICPA Certificate in Human Intelligence - Time Management
- AICPA Power BI Series
- IBM Badge - Statistics 101 - Cognitive Class
- AICPA Certificate in Human Intelligence - Leading vs Managing
- AICPA Certificate in Human Intelligence - Emotional Intelligence
- AICPA Certificate in Human Intelligence - Critical Thinking
- AICPA Certificate in Human Intelligence - Strategy Development & Implementation
- AICPA Certificate Course in Robotic Process Automation Strategy for Business Leaders
- AICPA Certificate Course in Power BI Series
- AICPA Data Analytics Core Concepts Certificate
- HubSpot Inbound Marketing Badge
- Managing Change & Strategy Development and Implementation Certificate
- AICPA Building Personal Resilience
You can work with your academic advisor to establish a class schedule that works around your commitments and create a timeline that allows you to reach your goals at your desired pace.
|View Full Curriculum in the Catalog|
|MBA - Public Administration|
|Courses May Include|
|MBA Public Administration|
|PAD 630||Foundations of Public Administration||This course is designed to introduce students to the foundations and constraints that form the environment of the public administration. It will encourage and enable the view of governance issues through the eyes of a public administrator. The course is structured to provide basic skills and set the context of contemporary political, social, economic, and administrative realities. It explores responsive, equitable, effective, efficient, and accountable governance processes, public policies, and institutional-based programs. It also examines, from a multidisciplinary perspective, those essential competencies, values, and issues important to public service organizations and the importance of public policy at the local, state, national and international levels.|
|PAD 631||Strategic Management in Public Service||This course is designed to provide an academic foundation to applied strategic management in public service. Identifying the factors that differentiate public service from the private sector, strategic planning and the implications those differences have for managers. Emphasis is placed on applied strategic planning and management including how to create a mission statement, conduct a SWOT analysis, conduct a stakeholder analysis, writing goals and objectives, and how to design and implement a performance measurement and management system. Current approaches to strategic management used by federal, state, local, and non-profit organizations are emphasized.|
|PAD 632||Foundations of Public Policy||This course is an introduction to the public policy process. Students will develop an understanding of what "political" and "public policy" mean. Topics discussed include why some problems reach the public agenda, why some solutions are adopted, why others are rejected, why some policies appear to succeed while others appear to fail. The course also examines the complexity of policymaking at the national, state, and local levels.|
|PAD 633||Intergovernmental Relations||This course is designed to demonstrate the challenges and strategies for governance and administration in an institutional environment of fragmented authority and dispersed power. It defines the balance of shared powers between the layers and institutions of government poses and the considerable challenges to policymakers and administrators. Major dimensions of intergovernmental relations: the vertical dimension of federal, states, and local governments, that cooperate, coordinate, and compete for shares of power, and the horizontal dimension in which sub-governments interact with one another. The course examines the structure of American political institutions, the nature of complex policymaking, governance by networks, and the consequences of competition between governments.|
|Total Credits: 30|
Minimum Hardware Requirements
PC (Windows OS)
Apple (Mac OS)
Currently supported operating system from Microsoft.
Currently supported operating system from Apple.
8GB or higher
8GB or higher
100GB or higher
100GB or higher
Required for campus students. Strongly recommended for online students.
Required for campus students. Strongly recommended for online students.
SNHU Purchase Programs
5 Mbps Download, 1 Mbps Upload and less than 100 ms Latency
5 Mbps Download, 1 Mbps Upload and less than 100 ms Latency
- Laptop or desktop? Whichever you choose depends on your personal preference and work style, though laptops tend to offer more flexibility.
- Note: Chromebooks (Chrome OS) and iPads (iOS) do not meet the minimum requirements for coursework at SNHU. These offer limited functionality and do not work with some course technologies. They are not acceptable as the only device you use for coursework. While these devices are convenient and may be used for some course functions, they cannot be your primary device. SNHU does, however, have an affordable laptop option that it recommends: Dell Latitude 3301 with Windows 10.
- Office 365 Pro Plus is available free of charge to all SNHU students and faculty. The Office suite will remain free while you are a student at SNHU. Upon graduation you may convert to a paid subscription if you wish. Terms subject to change at Microsoft's discretion. Review system requirements for Microsoft 365 plans for business, education and government.
- Antivirus software: Check with your ISP as they may offer antivirus software free of charge to subscribers.
Master of Business Administration (MBA) Technical Requirements
Video Communication Platform:
- Mac or PC desktop or laptop (not a mobile device or tablet)
- Required: At least 1 Mbps upload/download speed
- Learn more about our detailed technical requirements
Internet Connectivity for Virtual Labs:
- Recommended: 5Mbps upload/download speed with less than 40ms latency
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.
Tuition & Fees
Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer a 25% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.
|Online Graduate Programs||Per Course||Per Credit Hour||Annual Cost for 15 credits|
(U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)*
Tuition rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.
*Note: students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.
Course Materials ($ varies by course). Foundational courses may be required based on your undergraduate course history, which may result in additional cost.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I do with an online master’s in public administration?
Government is an obvious choice for those with an online master’s in public administration. However, many businesses can benefit from the help of someone with a degree in public administration. Why? Because degree holders can expertly interpret the elements of policy, law and intergovernmental relations the business may be governed by.
That said, jobs across many fields may be available to those who earn an MBA in public administration. Some of these careers include:
- Social and community service manager
- Administrative services and facilities manager
- Public administrator
- Public policy manager
- Policy analyst
- Political scientist
- Health services manager
- Nonprofit executive
Is an online master’s in public administration worth it?
Yes, it simply depends on what your career goals are.
“If you aspire to be a change agent in the public or private sector, this program is the right fit for you,” says Dr. Lorenzo Claxton, adjunct faculty at SNHU.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for one of the most common jobs in this field, social and community service managers, will grow by 12% — much faster than average.1
The BLS also reports a positive job outlook for other public administration positions through 2031, including administrative services and facilities manager, a role predicted to grow as fast as average at 7%.1
Is an MBA or MPA better?
That all depends on what you're looking for.
An MBA is a true business degree that offers a specialization in public administration. For those who want to break into public administration or advance their career in public administration, an MBA can provide a competitive edge thanks to its holistic, business-focused approach.
An MPA, on the other hand, is a master’s degree devoted to public administration. Curriculums vary, but some MPAs draw more heavily on economics, political science, law and sociology. MPAs are well-suited for government agencies of all kinds, in addition to emergency management, urban planning and more.
How long does it take to get a master’s in public administration?
Earning a master’s in public administration typically takes about two years from start to finish. However, if you want to fast-track your degree, you can take two courses per 10-week term — without any breaks — and earn an MBA in as few as twelve months.
Is this an accredited program?
Yes, SNHU’s MBA in Public Administration is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). “This holds exceptional value for graduates as employers and regulatory agencies recognize the standard of quality the SNHU curriculum offers,” says Dr. Michelle Caron, associate dean for business at SNHU.
Sources & Citations (1)
1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the internet, at:
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/social-and-community-service-managers.htm (viewed October 11, 2022)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/administrative-services-managers.htm (viewed October 11, 2022)