B.S. Public Administration

Change your life and serve others with a public administration degree

Service. That’s the word at the heart of meaningful work for many people. If you’re one of them, it’s likely that you’re not motivated by a paycheck as much as you are doing meaningful work. Service-oriented organizations need passionate, compassionate and capable leaders to further their missions. Franklin University’s B.S. Public Administration can help you become a better servant-leader – one who can guide government and nonprofit organizations through their most pressing issues.

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Unique Leadership Focus

Learn management and leadership skills not taught by other programs.

Finish Faster

Transfer up to 94 previously earned college credits.

Real-World Practitioners

Benefit from the experience of in-the-field public administrators.

Customizable Program

Pick exciting electives, including 20+ areas of interest.

Hands-On Experience

Learn from true-to-life management simulations.

Accredited Online University

Nearly 80% of our students take online courses.

Program Overview

Advance your career by leading mission-oriented organizations

Our transfer-friendly Public Administration Degree Program is exclusively focused on preparing you to gain entry or advancement as an administrator, manager, or leader in a government or nonprofit organization. You’ll acquire the skills needed to help organizations fulfill their missions. These skills include organizational leadership, fiscal administration, political advocacy, and program management.

Gain specialized knowledge with relevant and customizable curriculum

At Franklin, we teach what many programs do not, including how to navigate the political system, implement policy, and apply ethical management practices. We offer a balanced yet comprehensive program, giving you both a government and nonprofit perspective.

With the bachelor's in public administration, you can also choose from more than 20 different areas of subject interest to customize your curriculum.

Acquire the skills that prepare you to lead the way

Franklin's degree in public administration will also give you hands-on experience with projects and skills you can immediately put into practice. For example, you’ll participate in a budgeting simulation in which you’ll act as the fiscal lead for a local government division. Your job is to develop and seek approval for budget requests and make critical decisions while navigating politics and pressure from colleagues, elected officials, and special interest groups. Along the way, you’ll learn to use essential tools, such as process improvement and project management tools, spreadsheets, and financial analysis techniques.

Classes are taught by top working professionals, so you can learn from both their challenges and achievements. Plus, leading professionals on our Advisory Board regularly review our curriculum to ensure it meets high professional standards and increases your employability. The Public Administration Advisory Board is comprised of nonprofit CEOs, governmental officials, and community leaders, such as former Columbus Mayor Greg Lashutka.

Earn your degree from a university built for busy adults

Earn your degree on your terms by taking classes 100% online or pursue available coursework at our Main Campus. Regionally accredited and nonprofit, Franklin was built from the ground-up to satisfy the needs of adult learners. Our seamless transfer process and team of academic advisors will help ease your transition to becoming a student, while our flexible course schedules help to balance your education with work, family, and life. Get started on your future today.

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Curriculum & Course Descriptions

120 Semester Hours
Fundamental General Education Core (24 hours)
English Composition

Choose a minimum of 3 semester hours from:

ENG 120 - College Writing (4)
In this course, students acquire the writing competence necessary for conducting and presenting research. A variety of assignments, beginning with personal reflections, build upon one another, as students develop ideas that respond to, critique, and synthesize the positions of others. Students systematize and organize knowledge in ways that will help them in all of their courses. The course also emphasizes the elements of good writing style, appropriate grammar and mechanics, clarity of language, and logical and cohesive development. It culminates in submission of a documented research paper.

*If the course does not have a research paper component, ENG 130 Research Paper, two semester credits, is also required.


Choose a minimum of three semester hours from:

MATH 215 - Statistical Concepts (4)
This course introduces the student to statistics with business applications. The course covers both descriptive and inferential statistics. Topics included are: measures of central tendency; measures of dispersion; graphical displays of data; linear regression; basic probability concepts; binomial and normal probability distributions; confidence intervals; and hypothesis testing. These topics will be covered using a basic knowledge of algebra and Microsoft Excel.

Choose either MATH 140 Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning or MATH 150 Fundamental Algebra as the prerequisite. Course can count as a University Elective.

*At least one mathematics or statistics course beyond the level of intermediate algebra.


Choose a minimum of 6 semester hours from:

SCIE 210 - Understanding Science: Principles, Practice, & Theory (2)
Understanding Science: Principles, Practice & Theory is a two credit hour course that introduces students to the major themes, processes, and methods common to all scientific disciplines. Students will develop critical thinking skills necessary to analyze and evaluate all kinds of phenomena, scientific, pseudoscientific, and other. The focus is on the nature of science so students will develop an understanding of how science works and develop an appreciation for the process by which we gain scientific knowledge.
SCIE 211 - Introduction to Scientific Analysis & Reasoning (4)
Introduction to Scientific Analysis and Reasoning is a four credit hour course consisting of three credit hours of lecture and one credit hour of laboratory. This course is an introduction to critical thinking on statistical and scientific claims. The student will develop the critical thinking skills necessary to analyze and evaluate popular sources of (mis)information and to better understand and evaluate all sorts of scientific claims and arguments. The focus of the course is on students developing thoughtful and critical use of scientific information and research to be able to separate truth from deception and make decisions that affect their personal lives and roles as informed and engaged citizens.

*Two science courses, with one having a laboratory component.

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Take a minimum of 6 semester hours of Social & Behavioral Sciences coursework. Courses must be from at least two different disciplines.

POSC 204 - American Government (3)
An overview of the structure and function of the American governmental system, including the roles of the President, Congress, the Supreme Court, the news media, public opinion, and public interest groups in the political system.

Choose additional course from Anthropology, Economics, Psychology, or Sociology disciplines.

Arts and Humanities

Choose a minimum of 6 semester hours from:

HUMN 211 - Intro to Ethical Analysis & Reasoning (2)
The goal of this course is to help you improve your ethical analysis and reasoning skills. You will be introduced to the art of formulating and assessing ethical arguments according to the standards of logical thinking and critical analysis. In this course, you will discover how to apply the following questions to your job and everyday life. Why do we need ethics if we have laws to govern our behavior' Does the majority view determine what is ethical and what is not' Are feelings, desires, and preferences reliable ethical guides' Is it ever appropriate to criticize another individual's (or culture's) ethical judgment' Are people always responsible for their actions' Do human beings have a natural tendency to good, a natural tendency to evil' both' neither' Is there a single moral code that is binding on all people, at all times, and in all places'

Choose additional coursework from the Humanities discipline.

Additional General Education Requirements (12 hours)
PF 321 - Learning Strategies (2)
This course prepares students to be successful lifelong learners both academically and in their chosen careers. Franklin courses require a high level of self-directed learning and focus on skills required in the workplace and the classroom that are easily transferable between the two environments. The course includes strategies for advancing communication skills, including the use of electronic tools to participate in virtual environments. The assignments and activities in the course are created to closely simulate teamwork found in the workplace.
PF 106 - Introduction to Spreadsheets (1)
This course focuses on using spreadsheets to solve business applications.
OR PF 116 - Computer Applications (3)
A course designed to acquaint students with the computer and its capabilities as they relate to business situations. Students will learn computer basics and how to use the computer for various applications including word processing, spreadsheets, internet usage, and presentation software.
COMM 107 - Intro to Web Presentation & Publishing (1)
This course is an introduction to the use of Open Source Content Management Systems (CMS) for creating Web sites. It will provide students with the basic knowledge required to design, build, and maintain an informational Web site.
OR COMM 205 - Communication Design (1)
Students learn about effective communication through intelligent visual design by creating a tri-fold brochure, a Video-CV, and a professional portfolio using a free webpage builder. All products are customized based on the student's major and professional interests. This hands-on approach to learning message development and communication product design for a range of platforms helps students develop in-demand skills.
COMM 150 - Interpersonal Communication (4)
By using applied critical and creative thinking, students in this course will develop a set of communication skills that will enhance their personal and professional relationships and endeavors. This course will focus on skill development in key areas such as self, perception, listening, verbal messages, conversations, relationships, conflict management, persuasion, and public speaking.
OR SPCH 100 - Speech Communication (4)
This public-speaking course emphasizes the fundamentals of extemporaneous speaking. Skill-building activities and assignments focus on research, organization, reasoning, style and delivery of presentations as well as listening and audience engagement.
ENG 220 - Research Writing: Exploring Professional (4)
This is an intermediate course focusing on the composition of research papers. Students in this course prepare to be active participants in professional discourse communities by examining and practicing the writing conventions associated with their own fields of study and work. By calling attention to the conventions of disciplinary writing, the course also prepares students for upper-division college writing and the special conventions of advanced academic discourse. Course activities include three extended research papers, semi-formal writing addressing interdisciplinary communication, and readings fostering critical engagement with disciplinary conversations.
Professional Core (20 hours)
ACCT 215 - Financial Accounting (4)
An introduction to accounting emphasizing how general purpose financial statements communicate information about the business corporation's performance and position for users external to management. Approximately one third of the course emphasizes how the accountant processes and presents the information and includes exposure to recording transactions, adjusting balances and preparing financial statements for service and merchandise firms according to established rules and procedures. The balance of the course examines major elements of the statements such as cash, receivables, inventory, long-lived assets, depreciation, payroll, bonds, and other liabilities and stocks. Concepts of this course are applied to Managerial Accounting (ACCT 225). Students are advised to avoid any time lapse between these courses.
COMM 321 - Organizational Communication (4)
The course examines the role of communication in organizations. Students will learn the major theories of organizational communication, identifying and defining primary concepts, and applying them to discussions of real-world situations. The role of technology, corporate culture, leadership, teamwork, ethics, and diversity in communication is examined. Effective communication in global organizations and critiques of organization communication systems and structures are also presented.
OR COMM 335 - Communication in Groups and Teams (4)
The course examines current theories and best practices of working collaboratively in professional contexts. Students apply these concepts to analyze their own work experience, generating strategies for how to improve their performance in work groups. Students will learn basic project management skills and work in online virtual teams to complete a final communication project.
HRM 300 - Human Resources Management (4)
An introduction to the human resources function and related elements and activities. The course outlines the roles and functions of members of the human resources department, as well as educating others outside human resources, in how their roles include human resources-related activities. The student will learn about the evolution in human resources management as we know it today. Emphasis is placed on the modern day importance of HRM and the new "corporate view" of the function. Additionally, the student will be exposed to the view of HRM from the perception of both management and subordinate employees. The importance of maintaining fair and equitable compensation and benefit programs will be discussed. The student will be exposed to practical situations and problem solving regarding areas of employee counseling, discipline and termination. Equal Employment Opportunity will be discussed in order for the student to understand its need, importance and the legal issues surrounding it. Other critical areas of training and development, staffing and strategy will also be explored.
MIS 200 - Management Information Systems (4)
The purpose of this course is to provide the fundamentals associated with the management of information technology in a business enterprise. These fundamentals are business concepts in which the influence of information technology has caused change or brought about new concepts. Special emphasis will be placed on understanding the managerial issues that are relevant to usage of computers. The student will be given problems isolating these issues and will be asked to propose solutions with alternatives.
ENG 205 - Business & Professional Writing (4)
This is an intermediate composition course focusing on writing for business and professional purposes. Students will review the writing conventions commonly expected within business and professional environments, as well as strategies for analyzing rhetorical situations within those environments. Coursework includes analysis, revision, and research exercises, as well as substantial practice in composing business correspondence. The final project is an extensive, researched business proposal developed in stages and presented to the class. Students will be encouraged to relate course materials to their major programs and workplace experiences.
University Electives (22 hours)

Any undergraduate courses offered by the University except developmental education courses.

Major Area (26 hours)
AMGT 450 - Organizational Supervision (4)
This course is designed to provide the framework and foundation of what it takes to be a first line manager or supervisor. Students will be introduced to the many skills required of a supervisor such as planning and controlling activities to accomplish organizational goals. Areas such as communication, ethical decision-making, conflict management, interpersonal relations and employee development will be explored.
HRM 400 - Performance Management (4)
This course uses a systems perspective to identify, select, develop, and evaluate solutions to document and improve the performance of individuals, groups, and organizations. Students will learn how to analyze performance problems and make recommendations at the employee, job, and organizational level that will assist the organization and its employees in achieving organizational goals and managing change. Students will also learn how to bridge the gap between organizational strategy, individuals, and departments.
POSC 206 - State and Local Government (3)
An introductory course concerning the structure and function of state and local government in the United States. Special attention is focused on the relation between governmental structure, citizen access to government, political resources, and political outcomes.
POSC 405 - Constitutional Law (3)
This course focuses on those areas of constitutional interpretation involving civil rights and liberties and the powers of government. Theories of constitutional interpretation will be reviewed in conjunction with pivotal cases defining the nature of citizenship and the exercise of governance.
PUAD 305 - Introduction to Public Administration (4)
Students are introduced to the field and profession of public administration. Students learn to think and act as ethical public administration professionals by developing a broad understanding of the political and organizational environment in which public administrators work and by applying fundamental analytical, decision- making, and communication skills. The professional knowledge and skills explored in the course provide a foundation for subsequent public administration courses.
OR PUAD 701 - Foundations of Government & Nonprofit Administration (4)
Students examine fundamental public service values that differentiate the mission and purpose of government and nonprofit organizations from those of private, for-profit, organizations. The course focuses on applying public administration and organizational theories to analyze administrative problems faced by leaders and managers implementing government and nonprofit programs. Students learn to think systematically about selecting alternative options for delivering programs and improving organizational performance. Finally, students develop fundamental information literacy, computing, writing, and presentation skills required for effective academic and professional communication.
PUAD 420 - Government & Nonprofit Budgeting (4)
Students learn fundamental budgeting, accounting, and financial management concepts and techniques necessary for planning, analysis, and decision making in government and nonprofit organizations. Students also examine the competing values and politics that underlie and impact the budget process and financial decisions. Finally, students apply skills for effectively communicating financial analysis methods and conclusions with colleagues, elected officials, the media, and the public.
OR PUAD 740 - Financial Management & Budgeting (4)
Students learn to use fundamental budgeting, accounting, and financial management concepts and tools necessary for leading and managing government and nonprofit organizations. Students learn to use analytical techniques for making administrative and policy decisions with significant financial implications. Students also examine the competing values and politics that underlie and impact financial decisions in the government and nonprofit organizations. Finally, students develop skills for effectively communicating financial analysis methods and conclusions with colleagues, elected officials, the media, and the public.
PUAD 495 - Public Administration Capstone (4)
The capstone course is a practicum in which students analyze an important administrative problem relevant for a government or nonprofit organization. Students create an administrative action plan for addressing their chosen administrative problem by integrating concepts and skills learned in the public administration program and the student's specialization area.
Major Electives (16 hours)

Select 16 hours of any courses from within or across the suggested pathways listed.

Criminal Justice
CJAD 210 - Intro to Criminal Justice Administration (4)
This is an introductory course designed to expose students to the various Major elements of the criminal justice system (police, courts, and corrections). Students will learn about the ways in which the various systems interact, the processing of offenders, the various forms of punishment and the alternatives to punishment. The future of the criminal justice system will also be discussed.
CJAD 240 - Introduction to Criminology (4)
This course will focus on theories of crime and types of offending. Topics related the causation, control and prevention of criminal behavior will be addressed in this course.
CJAD 450 - Criminal Justice Management & Admin (4)
This course will examine the basic concepts of management and administration as applied to agencies in the criminal justice system. Emphasis will be placed on issues related to the effective management and administration of criminal justice agencies. Topics covered will include environmental influence; conflict, power, and ethical issues; motivation, leadership, and communication. The concept of the service quality approach will also be considered.
CJAD 455 - Ethics in the Criminal Justice System (4)
This course will address the topics of ethical and moral values as they pertain to the criminal justice system. Topics covered will include ethics and the police, racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, the purpose of punishment, ethics in corrections, and the ethics of criminal justice policy making.
ENG 406 - Advanced Composition (3)
This course is a study in academic and professional writing, with an emphasis on designing and reporting primary research. Students will also examine and produce professional documents such as CVs, personal statements, and research agendas.
HUMN 210 - Intro to Logic & Critical Thinking Skill (2)
The goal of this course is to help you improve as a critical, logical thinker. You will be introduced to the art of formulating and assessing arguments according to the standards of logical thinking and critical analysis. You will discover how to apply these valuable skills to your studies and everyday life, learning how to overcome obstacles to critical thinking, and how to avoid being deceived by means of misleading reasoning.
BSAD 220 - Business Law (4)
A study of the everyday legal problems encountered in business with emphasis on the areas of legal procedure, contracts, agency, employment law, business organizations and torts, with cases relating to these and other areas.
CJAD 310 - Courts and Criminal Procedure (4)
This course addresses the requirements for processing criminal offenders through the court system. Topics include structure of the court system in the U.S., evidentiary standards, constitutional protections, the role and importance of case law, and the role of the prosecutor and defense attorney in the courts.
CJAD 455 - Ethics in the Criminal Justice System (4)
This course will address the topics of ethical and moral values as they pertain to the criminal justice system. Topics covered will include ethics and the police, racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, the purpose of punishment, ethics in corrections, and the ethics of criminal justice policy making.
Recreation & Sport Management
EXS 140 - Foundations/Principles/History Sport (3)
Students become familiar with the nature, scope, history and philosophy of physical education; changing concepts of physical education; and scientific foundation of physical education.
EXS 203 - Sport and Society (3)
Designed to look at sport and its role in society and the influence of society on sport in the areas of preparation for life, deviance in sports, coach's role, gender, race and ethnicity, class relations and social mobility, sports and the economy, sports and the media, sports and politics, sports and religion.
EXS 423 - Organization/Admin of Sports Programs (3)
Covers the changing nature of administration of health, physical education, and recreation programs; administrative relationships, administrative setting; physical plant; purchase and care of supplies and equipment; legal liability; insurance management; and professional and public relations.
SPM 207 - Principles of Sport Management (3)
This course provides an introduction to the sports management field including career opportunities. Topics covered include knowledge and skills related to planning, organizing, directing, controlling, budgeting, and leading a sports related organization.
SPM 306 - Sports Marketing (3)
Through this course, students will gain an understanding of the special nature of the sports market. The course includes a combination of knowledge and skills related to the promotion, selling, and advertising of services and/or products within sports and physical activity industries.
SPM 450 - Managing Athletic Programs (3)
This course provides the student with the knowledge and skills necessary to manage athletic programs in schools, colleges, community centers, and other venues. It explores ethical, legal, and social issues relating to following the various standards such as NCAA, NAIA, OHSAA, and others. The course will also explore such areas as specific organizational management and structures, communication techniques, insurance and transportation issues.

In addition to the suggested pathway options above, students can select 16 hours of coursework from within or across any subject area offered at the University. Please see your academic advisor to discuss as other major area elective options will require program chair approval. Suggested pathways are to take the courses listed for any one of Franklin’s undergraduate academic minors. Please note that these courses will only count toward the Public Administration major and not towards a minor. POSC 204 and PUAD 305 must be completed before taking any major area elective courses, and any prerequisite requirements must be honored.

Additional Requirements

All students are required to pass College Writing (ENG 120), and either Basic Learning Strategies (PF 121) or Learning Strategies (PF 321) prior to enrolling in any course at the 200 level or above. Students who enroll at Franklin with 30 or fewer hours of transfer credit are required to pass PF 121 Basic Learning Strategies in place of PF 321 Learning Strategies. Interpersonal Communication (COMM 150) or Speech Communication (SPCH 100) must be taken prior to enrolling in any course at the 300 level or above. Students must also meet the University algebra competency requirement.

Program Details

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Career Opportunities

Administrative Manager

Administrative Managers support smooth running operations by providing leadership and decision-making support to clerical personnel and administrative functions.

Administrative Specialist

Administrative Specialists provide clerical and operational support to other employees or managers, including scheduling meetings, arranging travel, preparing reports, and handling correspondence.

Budget Analyst

Budget Analysts produce accurate and timely analysis and evaluation of economic data to determine trends, make forecasts, and prepare annual budgets.

Community Relations Specialist

Community Relations Specialists plan, execute, and manage outreach programs to promote organizations, bring awareness to intended audiences, and create positive community connections.

Deputy Assistant Director

Deputy Assistant Directors oversee an organization’s fiscal and administrative work, supporting the development and implementation of strategic plans and policies.

Development Coordinator

Development Coordinators support executive leadership in the creation and implementation of short- and long-term fundraising plans, including writing grants, cultivating supporters, and coordinating activities.

Environmental Supervisor

Environmental Supervisors oversee the planning and implementation of environmental health and safety policies and manage associated personnel to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and limits.

Field Supervisor

Field Supervisors hire and manage employees, analyze outcomes, and develop corresponding programs and activities to ensure productivity.

Parks and Recreation Program Supervisor

Parks and Recreation Program Supervisors assist in planning and coordinating community recreational facilities, personnel, programs, policies, and activities.

Volunteer Coordinator

Volunteer Coordinators recruit, train, and supervise volunteers, including scheduling and recording activities, responding to requests, and resolving issues.

Employment Outlook


From 2018-2029 jobs in Public Administration are expected to increase by 11%

All Occupations

4,218,288 jobs
4,687,641 jobs
Show Details >

General and Operations Managers

2,380,133 jobs
2,655,788 jobs


58,778 jobs
62,446 jobs

Administrative Services Managers

294,644 jobs
328,853 jobs

Social and Community Service Managers

175,659 jobs
208,490 jobs

Managers, All Other

901,022 jobs
1,011,150 jobs

Source information provided by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI).

Knowledge & Skillsets

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Frequently Asked Questions

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