Public Administration, B.A.

Public Administration, B.A.


PLNU’s fully online Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration is designed to build your expertise in grant writing, policy, planning, management, and finance while equipping you to make a difference in your community. Earning your B.A. in Public Administration can help you advance your career, increase your salary, and gain greater opportunities for leadership positions. 

Whether you’re new to the field or have first-hand experience working in various degrees of government or the public sector, our degree program supports you to take the next step in pursuing your calling. 

Prepare for Leadership & Responsibility

PLNU’s B.A. in Public Administration — taught by experienced public administration faculty and leaders — will prepare you to make a positive impact in your community, and step into true leadership roles with greater responsibility and influence. 

PLNU offers one of the few online public administration programs that include a budgets and grants writing course in order to uniquely position you as a more marketable hire after graduation.  

Classroom discussions focus on topics and themes such as leading and managing public governance, addressing pressing societal issues, social stratification, state and local policy, administrative law, understanding the workings of government, and more. 

As part of the curriculum, each student completes a capstone course that weaves together what you’ve learned through a proposed partnership with organizations from other sectors to address a pressing societal issue of interest. Students will assess all aspects of their proposed partnership and produce a final project. The capstone can be used in collaboration with a current employer or it can be created with a prospective or future employer in mind. 

Community Oriented 

Our program emphasizes service to others inside and outside of the classroom. You’ll learn how to engage in the community, focus on social issues, and develop the skills and relationships necessary to step into roles that make a tangible difference. 

We believe that by pouring into those who work in the public, private, and social sectors, we’re being good stewards of the resources and connections we’ve established throughout San Diego County and beyond. 

As part of the PLNU community, students will be instructed and mentored by expert faculty and staff dedicated to shaping the next generation of public administrators and leaders. Tap into our faculty and staff’s expansive network to apply classroom knowledge to the real world. 

PLNU is committed to providing outstanding professional education rooted in a solid foundation of Christian values, the humanities, and practical application. Students will grow in knowledge and develop skills established in virtue while exploring questions of ethical application across the curriculum.

Career Support That Helps You Succeed

Receive guidance from career advisors who help you succeed while you work through the program, as well as support you in reaching your professional goals after graduation.

Learning Outcomes 

Students who complete the public administration program will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate critical skills to lead and manage in public governance.
  2. Appraise pressing problems using critical thinking, ethical thinking, and analytics to consider solutions and apply best practices.
  3. Articulate and apply a public service perspective to their role in their institution.
  4. Evaluate the role of public administration officials as participants in the public-policy-making and implementation process.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to communicate and interact productively with a diverse population with varying needs.

Convenience to Fit Your Life 

Our curriculum is designed with busy, working professionals in mind with an entirely online format. The fully asynchronous program allows you to tailor your own schedule to progress at your own pace. Coursework is designed to be flexible to your needs and help you balance your other life commitments. 

Students applying for the program can start with as little as zero college credits completed.

Online Format 

PLNU’s online public administration program offers the flexibility of online learning and the ability to set your own schedule while also providing the benefit of participating within community. Make your schedule and add the unit course load that works best for you. 

All courses are three units spanning eight weeks with the exception of the Biblical Perspectives course, which is four units.

Who is it for?Busy working adults who prefer independence.
Program StartSix start dates year-round.
Program Structure100% online and asynchronous (fully flexible).
LocationOnline, at your own pace.


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Military Tuition Discount

PLNU offers a flat rate of $250 per unit for all active-duty service members who enroll in this program.

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Application Information

Program Start Date(s):

  • Fall 2023 Quad I — August 28, 2023
  • Fall 2023 Quad II — October 23, 2023
  • Spring 2024 Quad I – January 8, 2024 
  • Spring 2024 Quad II –  March 11, 2024
  • Summer 2024 Quad I – May 6, 2024 
  • Summer 2024 Quad II – July 1, 2024
  • Fall 2024 Quad I – Sep 2, 2024 
  • Fall 2024 Quad II – Oct 28, 2024

Start Application

Please select "Adult Degree Completion" and not "Undergraduate" when completing the online application.

Application Checklist

The application is completed entirely online with the exception of transcripts, which can be submitted electronically or directly to PLNU, and test scores, which should be submitted electronically.

  1. Submit online application for admission.
  2. Submit official transcripts from each institution attended.

    Official transcripts must be sent to:
    Point Loma Nazarene University
    Office of Graduate Admissions
    3900 Lomaland Dr.
    San Diego, CA 92106

    Official electronic transcripts must be emailed to:

Note: All students are expected to have some proficiency with computer technology (email, Internet, word processing, etc.).

Career Opportunities

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, public administration careers will grow by 7% between 2021-2031, a faster pace than the average for all occupations (BLS, 2018). 

PLNU’s Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration program offers a dynamic curriculum designed to prepare students who want to serve and/or seek promotion in a variety of fulfilling careers relating to public administration through:

  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Leadership
  • Public service in state, local, or federal government
  • Public health
  • Transportation 
  • Disaster and emergency management 
  • Sustainability and conservation 
  • Urban development 
  • Housing programs 
  • Regional planning  

What Can I Do With a Degree in Public Administration? 

Graduates in public administration are valued in nearly every organization based on their ability to use critical thinking, ethical thinking, and analytical skills to be stewards of resources and connections in the community. 

Graduates from PLNU are in further demand due to the focus on ethics, value, and mission they bring to their organizations.

The following are a few career options for those with a Public Administration B.A.:

Urban Planner
Median salary: $78,500
Projected growth: 4% (average growth rate)

Urban planners develop plans and programs for land to help connect communities, accommodate population growth, and revamp facilities in cities, counties, or towns. They’re instrumental in helping improve and sustain the resources of cities by attracting homeowners and businesses, and expand services available to all members of the community. They think about the future of a space in order to create or modify the existing infrastructure to support future improvement and growth. 

Nonprofit Director 
Average salary: $75,599
Projected growth: 10% (faster than average)

A nonprofit director guides their nonprofit organization to meet its goals, mission, and outreach. They serve in finding the right talent for the organization, connecting with the community, and using resources and tools to ensure the program is running well. Other elements of the job include developing strategies, speaking at events, establishing policies, communicating with other directors, developing partnerships, fundraising, and more. 

City Manager
Average salary: $93,062
Projected growth: 10% (faster than average)

City managers support local governments, elected officials, and city workers by carrying out administrative duties and tasks. Part of their role includes developing city budgets, advising council members, implementing legislation, appointing department heads, coordinating projects, ensuring city services are running efficiently, and more. 

Community Health Specialist 
Median salary: $48,860
Projected growth from 2021-2023: 12% (faster than average)

Community health specialists assist with providing basic health services, public education, and strategic development for communities to implement healthy behaviors and patterns. Part of their role is also researching and using marketing and outreach skills to devise health-promoting programs like informational campaigns that provide educational resources for communities. They typically work for nonprofit organizations or government agencies, and are available to serve during public health emergencies.

Financial Aid and Student Support

We take seriously the role of providing you with financial, academic, and career support so you have the tools you need to be successful at PLNU and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

Financial Aid and Student Support

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I work while completing the program?

Yes! This program is designed with busy working professionals in mind.

Do I have to complete any prerequisites before applying to the program?

No, our program doesn’t require any prerequisites to apply.

What scholarship and financial aid opportunities are available to me?

You'll have the option to apply for a number of scholarships through PLNU's Student Financial Services. This program qualifies for state and federal financial aid options. Contact your enrollment counselor for more information.

Do you accept transfer credits into your program?

Yes! Contact your enrollment counselor for details.

How long do I have to complete the program?

The expected completion time will vary depending on how many units you enter the program with and how many classes you choose to take at a time.

How many days a week do classes meet?

The public administration program does not have synchronous classes, meaning there will not be a time where you’re required to be online.

What’s the difference between this bachelor’s degree completion program and a traditional undergraduate program?

The program provides greater flexibility and affordability than most traditional undergraduate programs while maintaining high academic quality by integrating evening or online courses. The program is ideal for students looking to advance in their careers while balancing work and family life. You can also enter our program and build on previously earned credits. Contact your admissions counselor to learn more.

PLNU is a Christian university, but I am not a Christian. Would I feel out of place in this program?

We welcome and encourage people of all backgrounds as students in our programs. Issues that relate to faith may be discussed in some classes, and engaging in discussion with individuals with alternative points of view will be encouraged as learning opportunities. Students will work within a learning community that is supportive academically, spiritually, and emotionally.

How many hours of transferable college credit are required for admissions to the program?

You can start our program with as little as 0 units completed. PLNU offers general education, electives, and upper-division program coursework.

What types of benefits or aid do you have for military members?

  • PLNU offers a tuition discount flat rate of $250 per unit for all active-duty service members who enroll in one of the following PLNU Adult Undergraduate Degree Programs: Bachelor of Business Administration, Organizational Leadership, B.A; Child Development, B.A.; RN to BSN; Criminal Justice, B.A.; Computer Information Technology, B.A.; Strategic Communication, B.A.; Integrated Studies with an Emphasis in Education, B.A.; and Public Administration, B.A.
  • PLNU accepts VA educational benefits, including the Post-9/11 GI Bill®.
  • PLNU also participates as a Yellow Ribbon School, which means in most cases you can pursue a private education without having to pay out of pocket, not even for fees or books.
  • Because you’re a person who has provided military service to our country, we will also waive your application fee.

Are international students eligible to apply?

Unfortunately, international students are not eligible to apply for our online programs. You are only eligible if you reside in one of our authorized states. Visit our disclosures page to learn more.

If you are a military spouse or serving overseas, contact military services.

Course List

For information about the courses required for the Public Administration, B.A. program, view the PLNU Catalog. 

Course Information

Department Faculty