Your browser does not support JavaScript! or JavaScript is currently disabled.

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.

What to Expect

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

Classes Start April 9th

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.

Admissions Requirements » | $50 Application Fee

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.

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
$697 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

Military service members and their spouses could be eligible for a discount.

Transfer Credits

We can accept many transfer credits from regionally accredited schools. 

Employer & Association Discounts

Many employers and organizations partner with Capella to offer tuition discounts. Talk to an enrollment counselor to learn more. 

Student Success Story

“Everything I did at Capella was amazing in terms of content, and it also made me a better teacher in terms of technique.”

Lance Robert, DPA*
Professor, Los Angeles Southwest College

*Actual Capella students who agreed to appear in Capella promotional materials.

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 & Respected

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. 


Enhance the skills you develop in your program coursework through these intensive, onsite experiences with students and faculty.

Doctoral Capstone

Develop your project, write your findings, and demonstrate your use of evidence to improve outcomes or resolve a gap in the field.

Doctoral Research Seminar

Allows you to work extensively on your capstone topic, methodology, application to current theory, and overall project plan from the beginning of your program.

Some of the courses you will take:

Courses Number Courses Title
PUAD7015 Theories and Concepts in Public Administration
PUAD7035 Public Sector Policy Analysis
PUAD8015 Operational Strategic Management and Planning
PUAD8045 Public Administration Strategic Accounting & Finance

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 folks are superstars. We hear it from our students (and grads). They’re here to help find a program fit and set you up for success.  


Our distinguished faculty members hold top credentials in their fields. They’re here to teach the knowledge and skills you’ll need, now.

Doctoral Advising

A doctoral degree takes special effort. It's why we offer expert support at every step to keep you moving forward toward your goal.

Capstone Mentors

You’ll be paired with a knowledgeable mentor early in your program to help you move toward completion of your capstone project.

Relevant Blog Posts

Whether you’re considering a return to school, exploring new career paths, or seeking ways to improve your job performance, the Capella Blog has relevant articles to support your goals.

PhD in Nonprofit Management vs. Doctor of Public Administration

Nonprofit management and public administration are similar. So which doctoral program is right for you?

When Disaster Strikes, the World Depends on Public Service Professionals

It takes a range of public service professionals, from law enforcement to case managers, to respond to a crisis.

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 examples are intended to serve as a general guide.  Many factors determine what position an individual may attain, and Capella can’t guarantee a graduate will secure any specific job title.

You May Also Be Interested In

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.