17+ Awesome Free Online Public Administration Courses

cte-governmentPublic administration has long been a popular career choice for aspiring professionals. Working in public administration means usually that you will work in the local, state or federal government, or possibly for some type of nonprofit organization. Working for these types of entities means that you have the chance to make a difference in people’s lives, and you also can enjoy strong job security, pay and benefits.

Today, getting an education in public administration is easier than ever – there are many online sources where you can take public administration classes for free. Below are 17 of the most popular and interesting free public administration classes on the Internet.

Featured Programs:

MIT OpenCourseware

  1. Fundamentals of Public Policy – MIT – This is an introductory public administration and policy class that deals with policy making as a political and problem solving process. It will look at the making of policy from many perspectives, such as legislation, courts, the public, interest groups, and administrative agencies.

  2. Resolving Public Disputes – MIT – This will teach you some of the real world dynamics that are involved in public policy problems. You will deal with national, state and local policy issues, including smoking, abortion, gun control, hazardous waste, and education.

  3. Poverty, Public Policy and Controversy – MIT – You will learn what poverty is, how it is defined and measured, and what are the different designs of programs in other countries that relieve poverty. This class will study the major public policy frames that deal with the theory, research, policy and practice in poverty and public policy.

  4. Human Rights in Theory and Practice – MIT – This class will give you a very rigorous introduction to the structure of the international human rights movement. It deals with the latest human rights issues, such as race discrimination and gender, terrorism and national security.

  5. Solving Complex Problems – MIT – This will give students the chance to work online as part of a team to come up with solutions to complex problems. Each class deals with an important and controversial public policy problem. This particular series deals with what to do about global warming.

  6. Industrial Organization and Public Policy РMIT РThis class in public policy and administration  will give you a strong introduction to industrial organization and how organizations perform in markets. You will analyze the acquisition of power in companies, and how firms can interact strategically.

  7. Microeconomic Theory and Public Policy – MIT – This class will provide you with an introduction to microeconomic theories and how to understand consumer and producer behavior in the marketplace. You will study standard competitive models, and also standard deviations, asymmetric information and imperfect rationality.

  8. US Social Policy – MIT – This online public administration class deals with how social policy develops in the US. It will deal with the risks that people face over their lives and why some are helped by social policy and some are not. The class also will look at why some policies work and others do not.

  9. Urban Design Politics – MIT – This public administration and policy class discusses how urban design affects how political power is distributed in cities. You will learn about the nature of relations between built forms and political strength. Both developed and developing countries will be explored.

  10. Modeling and Assessment for Policy – MIT – This class explores how quantitative models and scientific information is used to make intelligent public policy decisions. You will understand important quantitative modeling methods, and how they play an important role in the policy process.


  1. The Laws of the European Union – An Introduction – Coursera – This online class in public policy and administration will give you a strong insight into EU law. You will study the development of the EU, its structure and the specific sources of law in the EU. You also will learn how the law in the EU affects the lives of the people in the 27 member countries.

  2. Constitutional Law – Coursera – This public policy class will provide you with an introduction to the US Constitution. You will learn how the document came into existence in the 18th century, and how and why it has been amended. Also, learn how the Constitution relates to unwritten sources of constitutional authority.

  3. Social and Economic Networks: Models and Analysis – Coursera – You will learn how to model economic and social networks and how they affect human behavior. You will learn how networks form, why they show certain patterns, and how their structure has an effect upon learning, diffusion and many other social behaviors in the realm of public policy.

  4. Measuring Causal Effects in the Social Sciences – Coursera – The purpose of this public administration and policy class is to determine if wage differences between men and women are a result of discrimination or by differences in background. This free class will look at causal effects and not spurious relationships. The instructor will detail how each can be identified in social sciences with quantitative data.

  5. English Common Law – Structure and Principles – Coursera – This class will provide you with an intro to English common law and will provide you with a good understanding of the legal system in England, which is the basis for much public policy and law in the US. You will learn the sources of law in England, its systems of tribunals and courts, and you will learn the principles of legal research in that country.

  6. Statistics One – Coursera – This is a comprehensive but friendly introduction to the basic concepts of statistics, which you will need to understand if you study public administration. This is an introductory class and you do not need to have a background in statistics.

  7. Statistics – Making Sense of Data – Coursera – This class is a good starter for someone interested in statistics as they relate to public policy and administration. You will get an introduction to statistical reasoning, develop basic statistical skills and learn about inquiry and evaluation as it is used in investigations in many fields.