Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs

Option: Political Science
Option: Public Administration
   Focus: Accounting and Budgeting
Girl smiling   Focus: General Management
   Focus: Human Resources Management
   Focus: Media Communications
   Focus: Research and Analysis

The Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs is an interdisciplinary, professional degree for individuals who desire to work in, lead, and manage public organizations. Specifically, the program endeavors to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary:

  • to plan and implement programs that address the vexing problems confronting American communities;
  • to think critically, ethically, and practically about the purposes of public policy and how those policies can be improved;
  • to develop the understandings needed to work collaboratively with multiple sectors and diverse interests.

Public administrators implement and oversee policies at all levels of city, county, state and national governments. They are committed to creating innovative programs, delivering efficient and equitable services, and improving the lives of the people in their communities. Public administration is the work of developing and managing programs in government and nonprofit organizations and combines the skills of management with the ideals of American democracy.

Careers in Public Affairs

Graduates of the public affairs program will be well prepared to begin careers in public and nonprofit organizations at all levels of society.

The future of public affairs is represented by an expanding job market. Skills developed qualify students to enter many of the fastest growing employment opportunities in this region. 

A career in public administration is enhanced when matched with other fields of study available at RSU: Justice AdministrationCommunity Counseling, Business Administration, Business Information Technology, Environmental Conservation, and Organizational Leadership.

Some career options in public administration include:

  • Administrative Management: City Management, Executive Assistant, Policy Analyst, County Management, City Planning, Financial Officer, Government Affairs, Nonprofit Management, Program Administration, Organizational Research, and Fiscal Analysis.
  • Personnel Management & Labor Relations: Personnel Management, Labor-Management Relations, Employee Development, Industrial Relations, Dispute Resolution, Employee Relations, Mediation, and Position Classification.
  • Investigations & Inspections: Consumer Protection, Workplace Safety, General Investigation, Criminal Investigation, Internal Security, and Tax Law.
  • Social Services: Recreational Management, Social Services Analysis, Corrections, Social Work, Volunteer Service, Management, and Community Research.
  • Public Health: Health Services Management, Health Communications, Research and Planning, Outreach and Education, Public Relations, and Program Analysis.

Internships in Public Affairs

Internships constitute an essential part of the public administration program. They allow students to work in the realistic environment of a public service agency, explore career options within their fields of study and integrate classroom learning with work-related experience. Other benefits include earning academic credit, establishing personal and professional contacts and building future employment opportunities.

Internship placements may be in agencies of city, county, state or federal government as well as nonprofit or public service oriented organizations. Specific areas of possible internship work include budgeting, human resources, public relations, law enforcement, infrastructure management, recreation, taxation, and education.

Placements in community-based settings might involve legal or public advocacy, youth mentoring, or protective shelter management. Students may also create their own internships. Internships are generally reserved for upper-division students. Adaptations can be arranged for students with current or prior public service experience.

Public Affairs Professional Organizations

Radio Program

Public affairs students participate in producing a radio program called “Making Oklahoma Work: Community Problems and Solutions”. The program focuses on current challenges facing the state’s citizens and their public managers. It is the only radio program in Oklahoma that centers on state and local public administration. The students recommend and evaluate topics, engage in original and secondary research, conduct interviews, and write and edit copy. The radio program is sponsored by the Department of History and Political Science in cooperation with the Department of Communications.