BS in Public Administration in the Philippines

Bachelor of Science in Public Administration (BSPA) is a four year degree program designed to provide students with theoretical knowledge and practical skills in public sector management, policy development and labor relations. It also helps students understand the fundamentals of good governance and policy analysis.

The BSPA program centers on teaching topics like human capital management, fiscal administration, government budgeting and accounting, and program development. Its aim is to show students how to plan, implement and monitor human, material and resource management for government and civil society organizations.

Subjects and Curriculum

The subjects in the BSPA curriculum are divided into four main categories:
  • General Education Courses: Language and Humanities Cluster, Mathematics, Computer and Natural Science Cluster, Social Sciences Cluster, Mandated Subjects
  • Public Administration Courses: Introduction to Public Administration, Philippine Administrative Thought and Institutions, Ethics and Accountability in the Public Service, Governance and Development, Knowledge Management and ICT for Public Administration, Research Methods in Public Administration, 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 (Implementation), 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 lessons in the BSPA program are taught to students through classroom lectures. From time to time, they are also required to attend seminars and educational talks related to current trends and information about public administration.

During the fourth year of the BSPA program students are required to complete a Research paper with topics concerning the practice of Public Administration. In consultation with a research adviser, the student must accomplish the research paper at the end of the school year. He/she will defend the research paper in front of a panel who will grade his/her work based on specific criteria.

Aside from the research paper, a student must also finish an on the job training (OJT) before being eligible for graduation.

Is Public Administration a profession?

Public Administration is not a profession. A graduate of this program may be employed in the local and national government units as well as in private and public corporations, to work in any administrative or managerial role. These careers are not considered professions because they do not require a specialized set of knowledge and skills, nor do they require a government certification.

What are the admission requirements for the BSPA program?

Requirements at each school may differ, but these are the common 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
  • General Weighted Average (GWA) requirement: there are schools that require a specific GWA upon graduation from secondary school.
  • Grade average in English, Mathematics and Science: some schools require students to have a grade average of 80% or more in subjects such as English, Math and Science.
  • College entrance exam: some schools require you to 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?

  • 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.
  • 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
  • Management skills – the capability to identify priorities and proper courses of action, to plan the execution of tasks and to determine and delegate responsibilities to group members to most effectively carry out projects
  • Basic mathematical skills
  • Strategic thinking – the ability to interpret and analyze information presented by peers and efficiently and constructively support or challenge their proposals, theories, ideas and reports in order to achieve a project's intended and successful end result
  • Data analysis skills – reading and understanding statistical reports and how to use the reports to make inferences and decisions

How difficult is BS in Public Administration?

BS in Public Administration is not a difficult course. Aside from the long lecture hours, case reports, assignments and projects the rest of the course is fairly easy. The workload and schedule for this program is not as heavy compared to other courses. Certain subjects may be challenging, for example special core subjects such as accounting and psychology.

The on the job training (OJT) for BS in Public Administration is easier than that of other courses because the number of hours to be complied is lower and the field work is quite easy. The most challenging part of this course is perhaps the completion of a research paper.

How long does it take to complete the BSPA program in the Philippines?

The BS 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. (See source)

Civil Service Examination (CSE)

There is no board examination for BS in Public Administration. However, there is an existing competency examination that is taken by most graduates of 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, BS in Public Administration graduates have to take and pass the exam.

The CSE is conducted nationwide twice or thrice a year subject to the approval of the Commission. To pass the exam you need to obtain an overall average of at least 80%.

Career Opportunities for BS in Public Administration graduates

As mentioned earlier, BS in Public Administration is a general program that can lead to any administrative position, both in the public sector and in private corporations. The range of occupations you can apply to will include any job that does not require special technical skills. Passing the Civil Service Examination is a requirement for many public sector positions.

Salary Levels

Entry level positions in administrative roles usually pay between P 10,000 and P 15,000 per month.

Managerial positions would pay higher, but you generally need a few years of experience to apply to managerial positions.

Reviews of BS in Public Administration graduates:

S. E.
Studied Bachelor of Public Administration (slightly different course)
at Universidad de Manila , Manila
Graduated: 2012

About my college education:
My course is challenging for me because it requires prior knowledge about the law and other types of principles that are highly related to law. It also touch-based on the fields economics and finance. However, I am able to finish this degree with the help of my family and friends and of course, by studying hard while enjoying and having fun. Because BPA is about the society, you have to be sociable and competent in communication. Being cognitively and analytically intelligent is also one factor that contributed to my success in graduating from this degree.

My current job:
I am now a bank employee.

Am I using what I learned in college:
I am using what I have learned n college. My communication skills and knowledge about finance and economics are the ones that I am using right now.

How long did it take to find a job after graduation:
It took 6-9 months before I found a job.

Do I recommend studying Bachelor of Public Administration:
I recommend incoming freshmen students to take up BPA as their course because only a few people know about this course (I think) that is why only a few are taking it (low possibility of job competition).
It is an interesting career because you can continue studying law and other fields of specialization.
In terms of salary, you may enjoy high income when you work in higher companies.
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