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Public Administration Doctor of Public Administration

School of Public Service Leadership

Make an Impact on Public Policy

Capella University’s online Doctor of Public Administration degree program helps instill a commitment to public service that is grounded in leadership, ethics, and cultural awareness. Develop the critical-thinking, communication, and leadership skills needed to address human, social, and economic challenges. Prepare to serve and protect the public interest while building and maintaining public trust.

At a Glance

  • Online & In Person
  • 16 Core Courses
  • 2 Residencies
  • 1 Capstone

Reduce Your Tuition by $5,000

Enroll in a qualified program, apply for a $5K scholarship, and meet the eligibility requirements.

Apply Now »

Classes Start July 8th

Ready to get started? We’re ready for you. Chat with an enrollment counselor or apply now to take the first step on the journey toward your future.

$50 application fee (waived w/promo SPRING)

What you’ll learn

Lead in Management

Evaluate current theories and practices to make decisions that create value in diverse communities or organizations.

Make an Impact with Research

Conduct valid, reliable, and ethical public administration research to effect positive change.

Add Your Voice to Policy

Create public value through public administration policies, administrative processes, and leadership.

Listen to the Community

Integrate citizen involvement and community advocacy in public sector decision-making.

Apply Professional Ethics & Integrity

Assess social and ethical implications in decisions that affect the public sector.

Solve Community Problems

Create equitable solutions for diverse populations in the global community.

25 years of online doctoral experience

With over 25 years of experience in online doctoral education, we understand the unique needs of doctoral students, and have designed our programs to meet those needs. We've structured our programs to help you reach your goals and obtain critical skills—with our expert faculty, support teams, and online resources to help guide you every step of the way.

Program features

Our program offers additional benefits you might be interested in.

Scholar-Practitioner Faculty

The expertise, diversity, and real-world experience of our doctoral faculty can guide you in your career.

Professionally Aligned

Capella’s DPA is designed to meet professional standards. This means you’ll learn what the profession has determined is most important.

Real-World Application

Our competency-based education approach allows you to immediately apply coursework learnings to the work you do every day.

Your courses include access to RiverBend City. This interactive tool lets you apply what you’re learning in a realistic, multidisciplinary environment. You’ll develop skills as a collaborative leader, negotiator, communicator, and advocate.

Cost & learning format

Online education isn’t one-size-fits-all. We know you’re busy—you need a learning experience tailored to your life, not the other way around. Capella has learning and tuition formats to suit you, however you learn. 

Our original learning format offers extra structure for those who want it. We'll set the schedule, you meet the deadlines. 

  • Based on the quarter system; 1-3 courses per 10-week quarter
  • 1 semester credit = 1.5 quarter credits
  • Weekly assignments and courseroom discussions
  • Pay for what you take, price varies by courseload or term
$710 per credit, 74 total quarter credits, 18 max transfer credits

Get the details

Speak with an enrollment counselor to get a personalized cost estimate for what you can expect to pay.

Ways to save

At Capella, we believe your education is an investment in your future. It’s also an investment within your grasp. Your goals are achievable—there are more ways to save than you might think. 

10% military discount

If you're an active-duty military service member, spouse, or veteran, discounts may be available.

Transfer credits

We can accept many transfer credits from regionally accredited schools.

Employer & association discounts

If your employer or organization is a partner with Capella, you may be eligible for a tuition discount.

Support to Reach the Finish Line

You’ll receive continuous support throughout your doctoral journey to help you focus on completing your degree and reaching your goal of a DPA. Expert faculty, mentors, and advisors provide the right assistance at the right time, when you need it. 

Accredited & recognized

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Accreditation and recognitions provide the assurance we meet standards for quality of faculty, curriculum, learner services, and fiscal stability. See all of our accreditations and recognitions

Sample courses

In our DPA program, you'll evaluate current theories and practices in the public administration field and conduct valid research. You'll learn to integrate citizen involvement and community advocacy in public sector decision-making. This program includes professional doctorate research seminars which allow you to gain momentum toward your doctoral capstone early in your program.

Show course with description
PUAD7015 *
Theories and Concepts in Public Administration

Learners in this course investigate the structures, practices, and theoretical underpinnings of public administration. Learners acquire and demonstrate public administration knowledge and skills to provide high-quality professional services to the communities they serve. Prerequisite(s): PSL7020, completion of or concurrent registration in PSL7030. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer. 

4 quarter credits
PUAD7035 *
Public Sector Policy Analysis

Learners in this course gain knowledge of differing theories associated with organizational structure, organizational environments, and organizational leadership in public sector settings. Learners also determine ways to effectively apply theories and skills needed to collaborate with diverse populations; manage human, technological, information, financial, political, and networking resources; analyze and formulate appropriate responses to public administration, public health, and public safety issues; communicate clearly and effectively; and maintain professional ethics and integrity. Prerequisite(s): PSL7030 and PUAD7015; or PSY8002. 

4 quarter credits
PUAD8015 *
Operational Strategic Management and Planning

Learners in this course build their understanding of operational strategic management and planning concepts. Learners analyze processes as well as collaboration, cooperation, and coordination practices within and among organizational operations. Learners apply these concepts to real-life situations and organizational operations through the examination of their internal and external environments, the allocation of resources, and the translation of strategic plans into tactical operations. Prerequisite(s): PUAD7015, PUAD7025. 

4 quarter credits
PUAD8045 *
Public Administration Strategic Accounting and Finance

In this course, learners analyze and implement strategic finance and accounting concepts within public administration. Learners investigate the policies and practices associated with public organizations in conjunction with the operational fiscal climate. In addition, learners apply the skills required to construct and evaluate budget documents and assess the strategic operational financial needs. Prerequisite(s): PUAD8025.

4 quarter credits

Faculty & support

You’re never going it alone at Capella. Our dedicated faculty and support teams are waiting to guide, help, and advise you through every step of your educational journey.

Enrollment counselors

These experts will set you up for success. They’ll help you find the right degree and program, and answer all your questions about Capella.


Our courses are taught by distinguished faculty members who hold top credentials and have hands-on expertise in their fields. They know what you need to know today.

Doctoral advising

Doctoral programs are specific and challenging. That’s why you’ll have access to expert support at every step along the road to your degree.

Capstone mentors

For the culminating project of your doctoral degree, you’ll be paired with a mentor who can support and assist you along the way.

Relevant blog posts

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Move forward in your career

Here are just some of the career options you could explore with our Doctor of Public Administration degree.

Related Job Titles to Explore*

  • Management analyst
  • Executive director
  • Director of human resources
  • Budget analyst
  • Director of finance
  • Human resources specialist
  • Chief executive officer
  • Policy Analyst
  • City manager
  • Adjunct or part-time public administration faculty

Related Employment Settings to Explore

  • College or university
  • Community or technical college
  • Nonprofit organization
  • Government—local, state, federal
  • Hospital
  • Insurance carrier

*These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Some positions may prefer or even require previous experience, licensure, certifications, and/or other designations along with a degree. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title, a promotion, salary increase, or other career outcome. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals.

Other programs to explore

Is this program close to what you need, but maybe not a perfect fit? The programs below might be interesting. Check them out to find one that suits your academic and professional goals.

Ready for the Next Step?

Learning online doesn't mean going it alone. Help is here. From faculty, coaches, advisors, and more. Plus a supportive community of students who are as passionate about their careers as you are about yours.