Bachelor of Public Administration

Earn a Public Administration degree and make a difference in your community

Cities, towns, and villages depend on advocates who are sensitive to the needs of their community and possess the specialized knowledge and skills to make improvements that benefit the people who live there. National University’s Bachelor of Public Administration (BPA) is designed to prepare you for an important career in a dynamic and growing field.

Our public administration degree can qualify you to pursue a wide range of professional roles and responsibilities at the local, state, and federal levels. From writing grant proposals and speaking at fundraising events to becoming a leader in waterworks management, successful completion of NU’s BPA program can prepare you for mid-level positions in government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

Public administration is an important and respected career path ripe with opportunities for advancement, and our curriculum is designed to prepare you with the industry-current qualifications to pursue them.

Why National University’s Online Bachelor of Public Administration Program?

  • Hands-On Learning in High-Demand Fields. We offer a concentration in Waterworks Management with partnerships and career pathways within the water industry in California. Students get firsthand experience and professional guidance from their instructors who also work in the field.
  • Designed for Working Professionals. Program offers asynchronous and online course format that fits the busy schedules of adult learners with convenient four-week courses, monthly starts, and year-round enrollment.
  • Career-Focused WSCUC Accredited Program. The BPA degree is broad-based and introduces students to a wide range of public administration disciplines, including management and leadership, accounting, and organizational behavior. Students interested in the public sector learn about career opportunities in government, nonprofits, agencies, and more.

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Concentration in Waterworks Management

Focus on growing career opportunities within California’s water authorities.

4-Week Courses

Balance work, life, and school with available four-week courses.

Year-round Enrollment

Our admissions team reviews applications year-round.

$30 Million in Scholarships

Explore National University’s scholarship opportunities.
Eligibility requirements apply.

Learn more about the bachelor’s degree in Public Administration at National University.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Synthesize the theories of public administration
  • Analyze the operations and procedures of public management and nonprofits
  • Develop skills in managing a public sector or nonprofit organization
  • Apply the theories and practices in program and resource management
  • Apply the theories and practices of accounting and budgeting in government and nonprofits
  • Evaluate the role of community groups in local government
  • Analyze ethical situations in the public sector
  • Utilize research processes to address a current problem in public administration
  • Collect data, conduct a literature review, analyze data, write, and explain findings, and present results orally and in writing

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National University’s unique Bachelor in Public Administration degree blends central theories of public administration with business operations and management. You’ll learn ways to apply public administration practices to program and resource management and understand accounting and budgeting for government agencies and nonprofits. NU is also one of the few universities in California and beyond to offer a Water Management concentration that focuses on the high-growth areas of management, compliance, and leadership in this critical field.According to the BLS, the median annual wage for social and community service managers was $69,600 in May 2020. Employment of social and community service managers is projected to grow 15% from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.*

Career Opportunities in the Public Administration Field

  • Administrative officer
  • City manager
  • County administrator
  • Department head
  • Grant administration
  • Financial management
  • Government community relations
  • Government office management
  • Planning/development director
  • Public policy
  • Urban planning management

Employers of Public Administration Graduates

  • Local, state, and federal government
  • Urban planners
  • Chamber of commerce
  • Business and industry
  • Nonprofit organizations

National University has always been dedicated to meeting the needs of working adult learners. While earning your degree is important to your future, you don’t need to put your life on hold to do so.The Bachelor of Public Administration (BPA) can be completed 100% online, so you can study when and where it’s most convenient for you. You will engage with faculty weekly and participate in discussions with faculty and classmates on threaded online discussion boards. Quizzes and exams are completed online, and you can submit your papers or homework directly to your professors through the online portal.

Become a Leader in the Waterworks IndustryNational University is proud to support the workforce needs of the waterworks industry. No other resource is more vital to California’s survival and prosperity than its water supply. The water and wastewater industry anticipates a rapidly growing demand for highly skilled professionals in the coming years.

As current seasoned leaders retire, the water and wastewater agencies will face increasing vacancies, many of which require a bachelor’s degree. There are numerous academic pathway opportunities available. Visit the Waterworks Concentration page for additional details.

National University is currently the only institution in California that offers a bachelor’s degree specifically designed to prepare new leaders for the waterworks industry. This accelerated program allows students who have completed their associate degree to work toward a bachelor’s degree with minimal time and expense.

Students who are currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Public Administration program, have a GPA of at least 3.0, and are within six courses of graduation may register for the BPA/MPA transition program by taking two MPA classes as electives during the BPA program. To be eligible, students must apply for and begin the MPA program within six months of completing their BPA program. Students may choose up to two of the graduate-level public administration courses (with the exception of PAD 631 and PAD 644).For students in the BPA/MPA transition program, the university will waive up to two graduate-level public administration courses taken as part of the bachelor’s degree, but these students must still meet the residency requirements for the MPA. Students must complete graduate-level coursework taken as part of the BPA degree with a grade of “B” or better.

Preparation for the Major

  • (3 courses; 13.5 quarter units)
Course Description
MNS 205 Intro to Quantitative Methods
ECO 203 Principles of Microeconomics
ACC 201 Financial Accounting Funds

Requirements for the Major

  • (12 courses; 54 quarter units)
Course Description
ODV 420 Intro to Organizational Behavior
PAD 400 Intro to Public Administration
PAD 401 Public Policy Development
PAD 402 Urban Environments
MGT 400 Ethics in Law, Business & Management
PAD 403 Government Relations
MNS 407 Management Science – Prerequisite: MNS 205 and MTH 210
PAD 404 Nonprofit Management
ACC 434 Government and Nonprofit Acct – Prerequisite: ACC 201
MGT 422 Team Building, Interpersonal Dynamics
LED 420 Adaptive Leadership in Change
PAD 405 Senior Research Project – Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of 36qu of BPA major coursework

Upper-Division Electives

  • (4 courses; 18 quarter units)

Students are encouraged to take any minors or electives in the following prefix areas: CJA, MGT, HRM, ODV, LAW, ACC, FIN, BKM, HUB, LED, and ECO.

Requirements for the Concentration

  • (4 courses; 18 quarter units)
Course Description
PAD 410 Waterworks Management in CA
PAD 415 CA Water Law & Compliance
PAD 420 HR & Labor Relations
PAD 425 Leadership in Water Management

Erika Torres

Erika Torres., 2021 Graduate

“The BPA program at National University has been a profound experience, expanding my understanding of topics relating to urban environment, government operations, and even social justice. The program encompasses the foundations of the public sector while also empowering students with the knowledge to make positive contributions in their future endeavors.”

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Take the first step by starting your application online today.
To speak to an enrollment advisor about this program, please email [email protected].

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The public sector is always in need of professionals with the rigorous training to meet the complexities of the management of public programs and assets. Your career path could include teaching or training assignments, research, or a variety of roles within government and nonprofit organizations including business administrators, government relations managers, accounting, budgeting, and many others.

The general education program consists of a minimum of 70.5 quarter units. Of the 70.5 units, students must complete at least 4.5 units at the upper-division level and 4.5 units in diversity-enriched coursework. To prepare for the major, students must complete:

  • MNS 205* Intro to Quantitative Methods
  • ECO 203* Principles of Microeconomics
  • ACC 201 Financial Accounting Funds

* May be used to meet a General Education requirement.

Public administration is a high-growth career field offering a diverse range of opportunities for professionals who have a strong foundation in public management, ethical leadership, and local, state and federal procedures and practices.

Why Choose National University?

We’re a veteran-founded, San Diego-based nonprofit. Since 1971, our mission has been to provide accessible, achievable higher education to adult learners. Today, we educate students from across the U.S. and around the globe, with over 180,000 alumni worldwide.

Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements in a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

*Positions may require additional experience, training, and other factors beyond successfully completing this degree program. Depending on where you reside, many positions may also require state licensure, and it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all licensure requirements are met. We encourage you to also review program-specific requirements. Any data provided on this page is for informational purposes only and does not guarantee that completion of any degree program will achieve the underlying occupation or commensurate salary.

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