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2021 Best Public Administration Schools

285 Colleges
$48,859 Avg Salary
$42,077 Avg Student Debt

Finding the Best Public Administration School for You

In 2018-2019, 17,444 people earned a degree or certificate in public administration, making the major the #71 most popular in the United States.

With all the programs available today, it can be tough to choose which one is the best for you. As online education oppotunities continue to grow, you're not restricted to just schools in your local area anymore. Even some of the 'big name' schools are offering online courses. Also, there are a number of trade schools with offerings that you might find attractive.

To assist you in seeing some of the education options that are available to you, Course Advisor has created its Best Public Administration Schools ranking. Our analysis looked at 285 schools in the United States to see which programs offered the best educational experiences for students.

View our full ranking methodology.

2021 Best Public Administration Schools in the United States

Check out the public admin programs at these schools if you want to get the best education that money can buy.

Top 25 Top Schools in Public Admin

#1

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

Our analysis found Harvard University to be the best school for public administration students who want to pursue a degree in the United States. Located in the midsize city of Cambridge, Harvard is a private not-for-profit college with a very large student population.

Public Admin majors at Harvard take out an average of $35,839 in student loans while working on their egree. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $418.

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You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend University of Virginia - Main Campus. The school came in at #2 on this year’s Best Public Administration Schools list. University of Virginia is a fairly large public school located in the suburb of Charlottesville.

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#3

Anna Maria College

Paxton, MA

The excellent programs at Anna Maria College helped the school earn the #3 place on this year’s ranking of the best public administration schools in the United States. Located in the rural area of Paxton, Anna Maria is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

After completing their degree, public admin graduates from Anna Maria carry an average student debtload of $20,525. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $239.

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#4

Georgetown University

Washington, DC

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend Georgetown University. The school came in at #4 on this year’s Best Public Administration Schools list. Located in the large city of Washington, Georgetown is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population.

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#5

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, VA

A rank of #5 on this year’s list means Virginia Tech is a great place for public administration students. Virginia Tech is a fairly large public school located in the small city of Blacksburg.

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Winona State University came in at #6 in this year’s edition of the Best Public Administration Schools ranking. Located in the distant town of Winona, Winona State is a public school with a medium-sized student population.

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#7

Villanova University

Villanova, PA

Villanova University came in at #7 in this year’s edition of the Best Public Administration Schools ranking. Located in the suburb of Villanova, Villanova is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population.

Public Admin majors at Villanova take out an average of $37,290 in student loans while working on their egree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $435, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#8

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

With a ranking of #8, Northwestern University did quite well on this year’s best schools for public administration students. Northwestern U is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the small city of Evanston.

The average amount in student loans that public admin majors at Northwestern U take out is $40,605. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $473, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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With a ranking of #9, Minnesota State University - Mankato did quite well on this year’s best schools for public administration students. Minnesota State University - Mankato is a large public school located in the small city of Mankato.

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#10

George Washington University

Washington, DC

George Washington University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for public administration students. It came in at #10 on the list. GWU is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Washington.

The average amount in student loans that public admin majors at GWU take out is $49,847. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $581, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#11

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

University of Pennsylvania landed the #11 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best public administration programs. Located in the large city of Philadelphia, UPenn is a private not-for-profit school with a very large student population.

On average, public admin graduates from UPenn take out $63,453 in student loans while working on their degree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $739.

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#12

University of San Francisco

San Francisco, CA

With a ranking of #12, University of San Francisco did quite well on this year’s best schools for public administration students. USFCA is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of San Francisco.

Public Admin majors at USFCA take out an average of $49,417 in student loans while working on their egree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $576, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#13

Marist College

Poughkeepsie, NY

Marist College ranked #13 on this year’s Best Public Administration Schools list. Located in the suburb of Poughkeepsie, Marist is a private not-for-profit school with a moderately-sized student population.

Public Admin majors at Marist take out an average of $37,485 in student loans while working on their egree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $437, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#14

Kansas State University

Manhattan, KS

Kansas State University ranked #14 on this year’s Best Public Administration Schools list. Located in the small city of Manhattan, K - State is a public school with a very large student population.

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#15

University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, ND

University of North Dakota landed the #15 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best public administration programs. Located in the small city of Grand Forks, UND is a public college with a large student population.

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#16

Boston University

Boston, MA

Boston University came in at #16 in this year’s edition of the Best Public Administration Schools ranking. Located in the large city of Boston, Boston U is a private not-for-profit college with a very large student population.

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#17

San Jose State University

San Jose, CA

San Jose State University came in at #17 in this year’s edition of the Best Public Administration Schools ranking. Located in the city of San Jose, San Jose State is a public college with a very large student population.

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University of Southern California came in at #18 in this year’s edition of the Best Public Administration Schools ranking. USC is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Los Angeles.

On average, public admin graduates from USC take out $69,754 in student loans while working on their degree. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $813.

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#19

University of Northern Iowa

Cedar Falls, IA

University of Northern Iowa came in at #19 in this year’s edition of the Best Public Administration Schools ranking. Located in the small city of Cedar Falls, UNI is a public college with a large student population.

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#20

American University

Washington, DC

American University came in at #20 in this year’s edition of the Best Public Administration Schools ranking. Located in the city of Washington, The American University is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population.

The average amount in student loans that public admin majors at The American University take out is $55,500. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $647.

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#21

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA

Carnegie Mellon University ranked #21 on this year’s Best Public Administration Schools list. Carnegie Mellon is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Pittsburgh.

Public Admin majors at Carnegie Mellon take out an average of $31,392 in student loans while working on their egree. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $366.

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Columbia University in the City of New York landed the #22 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best public administration programs. Columbia is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of New York.

On average, public admin graduates from Columbia take out $71,273 in student loans while working on their degree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $830, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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University of Michigan - Ann Arbor ranked #23 on this year’s Best Public Administration Schools list. U of Michigan is a very large public school located in the medium-sized city of Ann Arbor.

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#24

Metropolitan State University

Saint Paul, MN

With a ranking of #24, Metropolitan State University did quite well on this year’s best schools for public administration students. Metropolitan State University is a medium-sized public school located in the large city of Saint Paul.

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University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh landed the #25 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best public administration programs. UW Oshkosh is a large public school located in the city of Oshkosh.

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Rest of the Top Best Public Administration Schools

#26

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX
#27

University of Delaware

Newark, DE
#28

National University

La Jolla, CA
#31

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY
#33

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY
#34

New York University

New York, NY
#36

Drake University

Des Moines, IA
#38

University of South Dakota

Vermillion, SD
#40

Barry University

Miami, FL
#42

Westfield State University

Westfield, MA

Additional Noteworthy Schools

Here are some additional great schools for Public Administration students that almost earned our Best Public Administration Schools award.

Rank College Location
43 California State University - Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
44 Brandman University Irvine, CA
45 California State University - Stanislaus Turlock, CA
46 Mount Vernon Nazarene University Mount Vernon, OH
47 Hamline University Saint Paul, MN
48 Ball State University Muncie, IN
49 West Chester University of Pennsylvania West Chester, PA
50 James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA
51 Plymouth State University Plymouth, NH
52 Pennsylvania State University - World Campus University Park, PA
53 Bowling Green State University - Main Campus Bowling Green, OH
54 Bridgewater State University Bridgewater, MA
55 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
56 California State University - Sacramento Sacramento, CA
57 University of Wyoming Laramie, WY

Public Administration by Region

View the Best Public Administration Schools for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

Public Administration is one of 5 different types of programs to choose from.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Social Work 57,499
Human Services 13,768
Public Policy 6,021
Community Organization & Advocacy 2,832
Other Public Administration 971

Notes and References

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • Read more about our ranking methodology.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to The Official CTBTO Photostream.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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