Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration (AB-PA) is a four year degree program designed to equip students with theoretical knowledge and practical skills in planning, directing, coordinating, and controlling of government operations.
The AB-PA program teaches students how to run organizations, oversee policy development and administration and the proper utilization of human and material resources. It also tackles issues, trends and innovations in public administration.
Subjects and Curriculum
The subjects in the AB-PA curriculum are divided into the following categories:
- General Education Courses: English 1 to 3, Filipino 1 and 2, Philosophy 1 and 2, Humanities course, Natural Science 1 and 2, Principles, theories of Physics and Chemistry, Principles, theories of Earth and Life sciences, Business Math, Algebra, Elective (Math, Science, IT), Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Philippines History, Philippine Government and Constitution, Life and Works of Rizal.
- Public Administration Courses: Introduction to Public Administration, Philippine Administrative Thought and Institutions, Ethics and Accountability in the Public Service, Governance and Development, Knowledge and Management for ICT Public Administration, Research Methods in Public Administration 1 and 2, Leadership and Decision Making, Local and Regional Governance, Public Personnel Administration, Human Behavior in Organization, Public Fiscal Administration, Public Accounting and Budgeting, Organization and Management, Office and Systems Management, Public Policy and Program Administration, Administrative Law, Politics and Administration, Special Topics for Public Administration
- Special Core: Basic Accounting, Elementary Statistics, Good Governance and Social Responsibility, Sociology or Psychology
- Electives: Salary Standardization, Government Auditing, Government Budgeting, Program Administration, Public Enterprise, Policy Analysis, Project Development and Management, Voluntary Sector Management, Resource Management, Environmental Management, Globalization and Public Administration, Service Delivery System, Records and Property Management
The AB-PA program is taught to students mostly through classroom lectures. Students are exposed to regular agency visits both public and private so that they are able to familiarize themselves with the job/tasks of a public servant. Students may also participate in seminars and educational talks. Depending on the school, fieldtrips may be integrated as one of the activities in the AB-PA program. During the fourth year, an on the job training (OJT) is done.
AB in Public Administration vs. BS in Public Administration
AB in Public Administration and BS in Public Administration
are two very similar courses. Both programs have a duration of four years, they have more or less the same admission requirements. An on the job training (OJT) is required during the fourth year for both courses as well.
However, these programs have a slight difference in terms of their curriculums. BS in Public Administration’s curriculum has more professional/major subjects than general education/arts subjects; major subjects are taken by students as early as the first year. AB in Public Administration’s curriculum has less professional and more general education subjects.
As a prerequisite for graduation, BS in Public Administration students are required to pass an undergraduate thesis, however in the AB in Public Administration program a thesis is not required.
Is Public Administration a profession?
Public Administration is not a profession. Careers in the public sector are not considered professions because they do not require a specialized set of knowledge and skills. However, to be able to work in administrative positions in the public sector, you will be required to pass the Civil Service Examination (see details later).
What are the admission requirements for the AB-PA program?
Requirements at each school may differ, but generally are the basic college admission requirements:
- Must be a high school graduate.
Those who did not complete high school education may opt to first attend Alternative Learning System (ALS) and pass the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) to qualify for college. However, some universities only offer selected courses for PEPT passers
- College entrance exam: must pass the college entrance examination with a specified rating set by the school.
- Interview: must pass the interview conducted by the college dean/faculty.
What skills, traits and attitude will help you succeed in this course?
- Reading Comprehension – understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Communication and writing skills – the ability to present your thoughts clearly and intelligently in oral and written statements
- Computer Literacy – knowledge of computer use and being able to understand application programs.
- Basic Mathematics skills – throughout the entire course, majority of subjects require the use of certain mathematical concepts and operations thus it’s very important to have solid mathematical foundation
- Problem-solving skills – the ability to debate, persuade, mediate and present your thoughts and opinions clearly to others, as well as the capacity to recognize and incorporate other potential solutions or applications to given problems
- Data analysis skills – reading and understanding statistical reports and how to use the reports to make inferences and decisions
- Public speaking and presentation skills – comfortable in facing a large audience with an ability to prepare oral and written presentations and reports using current data and technology
How difficult is AB in Public Administration?
AB in Public Administration is not considered a difficult course. Although there are some challenging subjects, overall the lessons taught in the program can be easily understood. Aside from the long lecture hours, case reports, assignments and projects the rest of the course is easy. The workload and schedule for this program is not heavy compared to many other courses.
The on the job training (OJT) for AB in Public Administration is easier than that of other courses because the number of hours to be complied is relatively low and the field work is easy. In addition, AB in Public Administration does not require any research paper so you will be spared from the tedious work of preparing one.
How long does it take to complete the AB-PA program in the Philippines?
The AB in Public Administration program takes four years to complete. The program may be completed in less than 4 years in schools that follow the trimestral curriculum.
On the job training (OJT)
During the fourth year of the program, students are required to attend an On the Job Training (OJT) in local government units, non-profit agencies, policy and research organizations, private businesses, contracting and consulting firms, among others.
Students are given the opportunity to apply their knowledge and practice their skills in actual settings. They are required to submit a written report documenting the tasks, responsibilities, learning experiences, training and hours worked. The OJT is done under the supervision of designated authority in the institution/agency which will evaluate the student periodically and submit the evaluation form to the assigned faculty member.
The required number of hours for the OJT is 200 hours.
Civil Service Examination (CSE)
There is no board examination for AB in Public Administration. However, there is an existing competency examination that is taken by most graduates who take this course. This test is called the Civil Service Examination
(CSE) which is conducted by the Philippine Civil Service Commission
(PCSC). To be qualified to work in government offices, graduates have to take and pass this exam.
The CSE is conducted nationwide twice or thrice a year. To pass the exam you need to obtain an overall average of at least 80% (see source
Career opportunities for Public Administration graduates
Government and public sector jobs Many graduates of the Public Administration program will work in government and municipal agencies and organizations. The range of jobs in the public sector is huge, and there is no point in listing it here.
However, you will always start your career at the bottom, as government organizations are very hierarchical and structured, and progressing up the ladder is usually a very slow process.
Administrative positions in the private sector Another options is to apply to administrative positions in private corporations, where basically any office job can be filled in by AB-PA graduates.
Jobs not related to the AB-PA program
- Call center agent – answers phone calls and inquiries of clients and provides customer support, usually to people from other countries
- Freelancer working online – doing online jobs for clients abroad, such as data entry, article writing, SEO, customer support, administrative support etc., which mainly depends on your skills
Salary Levels As mentioned earlier, many graduates of the Public Administration program will work in government and municipal agencies and organizations.
Salaries in the public sector are structured and based on your “salary grade”. Salary grades go from 1 to 33, but they are adjusted frequently, so you will have to check your salary once you are accepted to a government position.