Public Service

You have a heart for public service and an interest in human rights issues and public policies. Prepare for a career in public service—focused on the resolution of public problems or delivery of public services—by choosing to concentrate in public administration, nonprofit management, or a self-designed concentration.

Public Service (BA)

Degree Offered: BA    
Credits: 120    
Time to Complete: 2 to 4 years    
Format: On campus with select courses offered online
Location: Pittsburgh    
Internship Required: Yes
Concentrations: Public Administration; Nonprofit Management; Self-Designed

*This major requires that you complete an internship at a facility outside the University, and that facility may require a criminal background check, Act 33/34 clearance, and perhaps drug screening to determine whether you are qualified to participate in the internship. Additionally, in order to become licensed or employed, many states will inquire as to whether the applicant has been convicted of a misdemeanor, a felony, or a felonious or illegal act associated with alcohol and/or substance abuse.

Advanced Degree Option

Early admission to the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs*

High-achieving Pitt juniors (and in some cases, first-term seniors) in the College of General Studies may apply early to the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA). If admitted, they may enroll at GSPIA in what normally would have been their senior year, allowing them to complete both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in a total of five years. Special eligibility requirements apply. For further details, see our Early Admission Option for Graduate Study.

*Pending acceptance to the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs—completion of prerequisites does not guarantee acceptance

Career Outlook

According to experts, there has never been a better time to choose a public service career. Consider the following:

  • Services that once were considered the domain of government are increasingly addressed by nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations, creating new public service career opportunities within these organizations.
  • Public sector careers often provide greater job security than those in the private sector. Each year, tens of thousands of new career opportunities become available within the federal government. 
  • Many public service jobs provide good pay and solid benefits, continuing education support, flexible schedules, and opportunities for travel or to work abroad.
  • Working in public service enables you to focus on the causes you are passionate about in your career.
Connect with CGS Career Services to learn about current and future employment opportunities within this major.