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Bachelor of Arts in Public Service Administration

This major can prepare you for leadership roles in the public service and nonprofit arena. A degree in public service administration is a perfect fit for those who already work in the public sector or who may be interested in government. And you'll learn to recognize and make connections between government roles and faith-based values to help inform ethical decisions in a professional work environment.

You'll gain an understanding of the development and administration of legal policies affecting local and state government; how to lead sustainable organizations and adapt to social change; and how faith-based values can help inform ethical decision-making in a professional work environment. 

"I was surprised by how much I could apply every class to my job. The classes gave me a better perspective in my everyday work, and applying the knowledge helped me retain the information. I was excited to complete my degree and become the first in my family to have a bachelor’s degree."

Brian-Keith Jennings '19

The Bachelor of Arts in public service administration program also serves as an alternative for individuals who may be interested in the Criminal Justice Administration Program but who do not yet have the work experience necessary to enter the program.

Course Format Online or in person; one evening per week and occasional Saturdays
Locations Online
North Spokane
Average Completion Time 2-2.5 years with A.A. or applied associate degree (A.A.S. or other)
4-5 years with no transfer credits 
Cost Per Credit $565* per credit (financial aid & scholarships available)
Application Deadline Four weeks prior to start date 

*anticipated tuition rate for the 2023-24 academic year

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What will I study?

Public service administration majors will learn:

  • The various functions of public service organizations
  • Professional writing and public speaking
  • How to lead and contribute positively to teams
  • A respect for the common good
  • Personal and professional ethics in public service

Transfer Information

Already have an Associate of Arts (A.A.) or Applied Associate Degree (A.A.S. or other)?

With an A.A. or applied associate degree from a community college, you may transfer to Whitworth's public service administration program as a junior, receiving 60-64 semester credits toward your bachelor's degree. You can complete your degree in as little as two to three years. Check out our generous transfer policy here.

Credit for Prior Learning

If you've obtained knowledge through experience outside of the traditional classroom, you may earn up to 32 semester credits of electives through subject tests, certifications, licenses, self-directed study, work-related trainings, and more. For more details about credit for prior learning, click here.

Degree Requirements

Courses for the major may be completed in less than two years. Time to degree completion varies, depending on courseload and transfer credits. Please speak with one of our academic advisors and receive a complimentary transcript evaluation.

For course descriptions and learning outcomes of this major, please view the course catalog.

Public Service Administration Major - 39 credits

LS 305 Introduction to Public Service Leadership 3 credits
PO 302 Legal Issues in Social and Behavioral Studies 3 credits
PO 371 Introduction to Public Administration 3 credits
COM 311 Public Relations and Communication 3 credits
SO 466W Ethics in Public Service 3 credits
COM 352 Conflict Management 3 credits
SO 303 Globalization and Social Change 3 credits
EC 345 Economics of Social Issues 3 credits
BU 373 Human Resource Management 3 credits
PO 360 Leading Sustainable Organizations 3 credits
BU 330 Fund Accounting and Budget Management 3 credits
SO 315 Funding and Grant Writing 3 credits
LS 470W Strategic Leadership in Public Service Organizations 3 credits

Graduation Requirements & Electives

All adult education programs from Whitworth must include Whitworth Inq (shared curriculum) and elective coursework to complete degree requirements. Some of the requirements may be met by courses offered in the major. Check with an advisor for details.

Minimum Credits Needed to Graduate - 126

Total credits needed at Whitworth will vary depending on credits transferred from other institutions and/or earned via credit for prior learning.

What type of job can I get?

  • Financial administration
  • Legislative
  • Project management
  • Directing social services
  • Elected office
  • Leadership and management roles in government and nonprofit organizations
  • Community organizer

Our grads get great jobs at places like...

  • State and federal government
  • Nonprofit agencies
  • Small businesses
  • City and county offices
  • International organizations
  • Political offices
  • State agencies
  • School districts