Public Administration Major Guide for 2011-2012

What is Public Administration

Public administration is a joint program sponsored by the Departments of Economics and Political Science. It is designed for students interested in government, namely in the formation of public policy and the practice of public sector management among many other areas of the interface between the public and private sectors. Public Administration as a discipline combines key elements of business administration, economics, and political science. Specifically, it involves the application of business administration principles in areas that are not characterized by the profit motive (government agencies and non-profit organizations), all within the context of existing political institutions. Public administration majors study such things as the management of governmental organizations, the art and science of public budgeting, and the design and implementation of effective public policies. The public administration major is ideally suited for students who enjoy economics, politics, and business administration, but who also have strong interest in public policy and public service.

Career Opportunities in Public Administration

Public administration majors pursue careers in a wide variety of areas in both the private and public sectors, the latter at the federal, state, and local levels. Examples include tax administration and budget analysis, city management, governmental relations within large corporations and industry trade associations, the management of nonprofit organizations, policy analysis in a non-governmental organization, and the functional areas of government such as education, healthcare, environment, and economic development. In addition to the Master’s of Public Administration, many undergraduate majors pursue graduate programs in law, economics, or public policy.

Salary Trends in Public Administration

For salary information by occupation in the U.S. or for individual states, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Compensation Survey website.

High School Preparation

High school students should follow a college preparatory curriculum and take their high school’s recommended courses in Math, English, and Foreign Language. Appropriate electives include any business courses, as well as courses in computer software applications and written and oral communication. The College of Business Administration further encourages all high school students to 1) explore international business issues and opportunities, 2) participate in student organizations and clubs, and 3) volunteer in their community.

How to Major in Public Administration

Freshmen are admitted directly to the College of Business Administration in the first year. Admission to the university is highly competitive and based primarily on academic achievement at the high school level and scores on the ACT and/or SAT.

Students admitted into the College of Business Administration must maintain a minimum 2.50 cumulative grade point average and earn a grade of C or better in the following tracking courses (or honors equivalents) prior to the completion of 75 hours.

  • Mathematics 123-125 or 141-142 (6 or 8 hours);
  • Written Communication (3 hours from English 255 or 295);
  • Oral Communication (3 hours from Communication Studies 210 or 240);
  • Accounting 200 (3 hours);
  • Economics 201 (4 hours);
  • Statistics 201 (3 hours);
  • Management 201 (3 hours)

Requirements for Public Administration

All majors in the College of Business Administration are required to take a total of 120 hours to graduate: 59 hours of general education courses, 15 hours of pre-business core courses, 22 hours of business core courses, and 24 hours of courses in the major. 18 of the 24 hours of major coursework must be taken in residence at the University of Tennessee. A minimum grade of C must be earned in every course counted towards the major. When students are admitted to a major in the college, they are required to have a laptop computer.

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

Public administration majors have extensive internship and volunteer opportunities at the federal, state, and local levels in government and in numerous nonprofit organizations. For more information about available programs, visit the website of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.

Highlights of Public Administration

The public administration program combines general education in business principles with specific courses in the economic and political aspects of government policies. Students choose electives to focus their interest or expertise.

Ready for the World logoReady for the World

Seeking to instill a global perspective in all of its students, the College of Business Administration challenges undergraduates to develop the requisite knowledge and skills to prosper in today’s global business environment. To help students meet that challenge, the college provides these critical tools: an enhanced core curriculum that covers international business topics in all relevant courses; extraordinary programs for international study and internships; and a unique opportunity to delve into the principles of international business through a collateral or concentration in international business.

The college requires all students pursuing a collateral or dual concentration in international business to have an international educational experience. Coursework in the international business collateral or dual concentration may be completed through a study abroad program.

Learn more about UT’s Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.

Sample Curriculum

Freshman Year Credit Hours
Written Communication: English 101, 102 6
Quantitative Reasoning: Math 123-125 or 141-142 6 or 8
Cultures and Civilizations: Intermediate Foreign Language 6
Natural Sciences 6 – 8
Social Sciences 3
Oral Communication: Communication Studies 210 or 240 3
Critical Courses: English 101 and 102, Math 125 or 141, Communication Studies 210 or 240
Sophomore Year Credit Hours
Accounting 200 3
Social Sciences: Economics 201 4
Written Communication: English 255 or 295 3
Statistics 201 3
Management 201 3
Business Administration 242 2
Arts and Humanities 6
Electives 6
Critical Courses: Accounting 200, Economics 201, English 255 or 295, Math 123 or 142, Statistics 201, Management 201, Business Administration 242
Junior Year Credit Hours
Business Administration 331-332 4
Business Administration 341-342 4
Ethics: Philosophy 244 or 252 3
Finance 301 3
Business Administration 353 3
Business Administration 361 3
Political Science 340 3
Economics 312 3
Electives 3
Critical Courses: Business Administration 331, Business Administration 341, Finance 301, Political Science 340, Business Administration 353
Senior Year Credit Hours
Business Law 301 2
Economics 371 3
Economics 472 3
Political Science 441 3
Management 402 3
*Economics or Political Science Electives 9
Electives 4-8
Critical Courses: Business Law 301, Management 402, Economics 371, Economics 472

*Any three upper-division economics or political science courses

For More Information

College of Business Administration
Undergraduate Programs
342 Haslam Business Building
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: (865) 974-5096
Fax: (865) 974-6106



The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.