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What is Public Administration?

Serving the Public Good

Public administration is a field of study and a profession for individuals who wish to engage in meaningful public service, which, broadly defined, includes employees of government and not-for-profit organizations, elected officials, members of boards, community activists, volunteers, and philanthropists, among others.

Public administrators and managers work in public departments and agencies at all levels of government (local, state, and federal) and nonprofit organizations in a wide range of service and interest areas. Knowledge and skills from the public administration field are easily transferrable to the private sector as well. (See Careers & Internships for more information.)

Careers in government or nonprofits can be in or relate to the following service or interest areas:

  • Administration / Management / Leadership
  • Arts and Culture
  • Community and Economic Development
  • Data Analysis
  • Education
  • Emergency Management / Disaster Response
  • Finance and Budgeting
  • Healthcare Administration / Health Policy and Management
  • Homeland / National Security
  • Housing
  • Human Resources
  • Law Enforcement / Public Safety
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Public Policy Analysis / Public Policy
  • Public Works
  • Transportation
  • Technology and Information Management

Specific job titles of a public administrator or manager in government or nonprofits can include:

  • Budget Analyst
  • Chief Executive or Operating Officer
  • City or Town Manager
  • Community Engagement Director
  • County Executive
  • Government Relations Specialist
  • Grant Writer
  • Labor Relations Manager
  • Legislative Aide
  • Performance Analyst
  • Policy Analyst
  • Public Affairs Director
  • Strategic Planning Director

(See Careers & Internships for more information.)

Rutgers SPAA: Where Service Meets Leadership

Rutgers SPAA degree and certificate programs provide students with the substantive knowledge, analytical skills, and perspectives needed to respond effectively and fairly to major contemporary social problems as they relate to the public sector. (See Academics for more information.)

How SPAA Alumni Serve

Read about what some of our alumni are doing with their public administration degrees from Rutgers SPAA.