MBA in Public Administration: Degree Overview

Oct 20, 2021

Essential Information

Choosing a public administration focus within a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree can prepare individuals for management in professional settings such as government, corporate, and public service organizations. However, graduates can also work in the private sector. In addition to the general business concepts of economics, accounting, management, and finance, students in this track learn about the principles of public administration and the management of public policy.

To enroll in an MBA degree program, students must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited university or college. Some programs require independent research projects or a final thesis.

MBA in Public Administration

Schools prefer applicants who hold an undergraduate degree in business, but many schools have special admissions procedures for those who hold other majors. Such procedures may include the completion of prerequisite business courses.

Foundation coursework in business topics, such as international business, business law, human resource management, and marketing, are typically required as part of an MBA program. A specialization in public administration requires students to take additional courses in executive-legislative relations, public budgetary processes and financial management. Courses may cover topics including:

  • Public service ethics
  • Enterprise management
  • Business relations
  • Public budgeting
  • Legal aspects of public service
  • Public service personnel management

Popular Careers

Generally, an MBA program with a specialization in public administration can prepare students for advanced criminal justice careers, public administration teaching positions, business management positions. Possible job titles include:

  • Tax assessor
  • Court clerk
  • Police chief
  • Prison warden
  • Fire Chief

Employment Outlook and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in May 2018, tax examiners and collectors earned a mean annual salary of $60,500. The BLS also reports that the median annual salary for court, municipal and license clerks was $41,100 ( PayScale reported in September 2019 that the median annual salary for police chiefs is $72,281 and for prison wardens is $89,701 (

Continuing Education Information

Graduates of an MBA public administration degree program may consider continuing their education in a public administration doctoral degree program. A doctoral degree program is typically designed for individuals who are already working in advanced public service positions. Programs are designed to help those individuals advance their careers into executive positions through research projects and intern experiences in various public administration positions.

Students interested in earning an MBA in public administration will learn about the principles of business administration such as public service ethics, enterprise management, and legal aspects of public service to prepare them for the professional sector. Students may pursue a doctoral degree after graduation.

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