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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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On Site

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 one of our Midwest locations. 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
English Composition

Choose a minimum of 3 semester hours from:

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, WRIT 130 Research Paper, two semester credits, is also required.


Choose a minimum of three semester hours from:

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. Please note: A book fee will be included in your tuition charges for required course materials. Please see /e-textbooks for specific charges.

Choose either MATH 115 Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning or MATH 150 Fundamental Algebra as the prerequisite. Both courses can count as a general education or University elective.

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


Choose a minimum of 6 semester hours from:

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.
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

Choose a minimum of 6 semester hours from:

The course examines the American system of government and how government affects and interacts with individuals and organizations in society. Students learn how politics, law, and the structure and principles of American government impact citizens, public policy, and the administration of public and private organizations. Students apply fundamental political theories and administration law principles in personal and professional contexts.

Choose an additional course from the Anthropology, Economics, Psychology, or Sociology discipline.

*The six semester hours must come from at least two different disciplines

Arts and Humanities

Choose a minimum of 6 semester hours from:

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)
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.
This course orients students to effective communication through intelligent visual design. Students will gain insights about select communication theories and an overview of the discipline. Course assignments will provide hands-on learning opportunities, including creating a brochure and an event web-page or similar deliverable using current design software. Finished products from the course will be part of the student's e-portfolio.
This course focuses on using spreadsheets to solve business applications.
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.
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. Please note: A book fee will be included in your tuition charges for required course materials. Please see /e-textbooks for specific charges.
A basic public speaking course intended to improve the student's ability to think critically and to communicate orally. Theory and practice are provided in various speaking situations. Each student is required to speak before an audience, but class work also involves reading, gathering and organizing information, writing and listening.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is an advanced composition course that focuses 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 (28 hours)

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

Major Area (20 hours)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 coursework from within or across any subject area offered at the University. 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. PUAD 295 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 (WRIT 120), either Basic Learning Strategies (PF 121) or Learning Strategies (PF 321) and either Speech Communication (SPCH 100) or Interpersonal Communication (COMM 150) prior to enrolling in any other course at the 200 level or above. Either PF 121 or PF 321 must be taken prior to the first BLF course, or it may be taken concurrently with the first 15-week BLF course. Students who enroll at Franklin with 30 or fewer hours of transfer credit are required to pass Basic Learning Strategies (PF 121) in place of Learning Strategies (PF 321). 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

Chief Executives

5,337 jobs
5,537 jobs

General and Operations Managers

83,437 jobs
93,825 jobs

Administrative Services Managers

9,067 jobs
10,236 jobs

Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers

3,493 jobs
3,834 jobs

Social and Community Service Managers

5,801 jobs
6,784 jobs

Managers, All Other

11,931 jobs
12,922 jobs

Source information provided by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) - June 2016

Knowledge & Skillsets

Gain in-demand skills sought by employers with curriculum that teaches you:

Frequently Asked Questions

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