Public Administration & Policy Ph.D. Degree Program

Ph.D. in Public Administration and Policy

Attainment of the Ph.D. degree requires a minimum of three years of graduate study beyond the bachelor's degree, including at least 60 credits of coursework, research tool competency, successful completion of doctoral examinations, and a doctoral dissertation. The amount of coursework actually taken by the student (beyond the minimum) is a matter to be determined in each case by the preparation the student needs and the work required for the field of study.

Core Knowledge
All students in the Ph.D. program are required to have a basic proficiency at the doctoral level in the five general areas of Politics and Administration, Economic and Financial Theory, Research Methods, Organizational Theory, and Foundations of Public Administration. Proficiency in these areas is demonstrated by satisfactory performance in the six core Ph.D. courses. Students achieving less than a “B” average (GPA = 3.00) in the Ph.D. core are not eligible to continue in the program. Students with a core GPA above 3.50 are automatically retained in the program.

Students with a core GPA between 3.00 and 3.50: Students in this grade range in the core will be reviewed by the six faculty members who teach in the core - the “core faculty.” The core faculty will make recommendations to the full faculty for continuation in the program or dismissal. Recommendations for dismissal must be confirmed by a majority vote of the full faculty. (For specific review criteria and procedures, see the Ph.D. Manual available from the department.)

The core courses for the Master of Public Administration (Pad 500, 501, 503, 504, 505, and 506) provide a foundation for study at the doctoral level, although students may prepare through individual study of this material.

Ph.D. Core:
Pad 702 Politics and Administration;
Pad 703 Economic and Financial Theory;
Pad 704 Research Methods I;
Pad 705 Research Methods II;
Pad 708 Organizational Behavior and Theory;
Pad 709 Foundations of Public Administration.

Professional Development
Students are required to register for the Pad 881-884 Series: Seminar on Doctoral Research and Professional Development, a two-year series of one-credit S/U courses. By the end of their second year students will be required to make a presentation at least once in Pad 881-884 on a research topic of their choice.

Field of Study
Students choose a field of study from among the six the department offers: Comparative and Development Administration, Organizational Behavior and Theory, Public Policy, Politics and Administration, Public Finance, and Public Management. A field of study is composed of at least eight graduate courses, not to include Ph.D. core courses, chosen in consultation with the faculty.

At the discretion of the faculty in the field, students either complete a written comprehensive examination or a professional paper (or a series of papers) demonstrating an understanding of the field and its place in the broader study of public administration and policy.

Research Tools
A competence in quantitative techniques, a knowledge of statistics, or mastery of other special tools for research and investigation, apart from a foreign language, is considered essential in many disciplines and for many kinds of research. Such a competence is required in this program.

The basic requirement for demonstrated competence in quantitative research tools will usually be met by satisfactory completion of Pad 704, 705, and one additional advanced research methods appropriate to the students field and approved by the field chair.

There may be some cases in which a satisfactory competence in quantitative research techniques has been acquired without such coursework. In these cases, the student may apply for the opportunity to meet the requirement through an individual examination to be conducted by the faculty of the department.

Full Time Study in Residence
Each student in a doctoral program must engage in full-time study beyond the master's degree or equivalent at the University in at least two sessions, not necessarily in consecutive terms, after admission to the advanced program and prior to admission to doctoral candidacy. This requirement is designed to insure for each doctoral student a sustained period of intensive intellectual growth. Full-time study is defined as 12 credits or 9+ credits while holding a full assistantship during a given semester

Admission to Candidacy
A student will be admitted to candidacy for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy upon the following:

1. Satisfactory record in course and research study;
2. Satisfactory completion of the professional development requirement;
3. Satisfactory completion of the research tool requirement;
4. Completion of University residence requirements;
5. Satisfactory completion of the core and field requirements.


Each candidate for the Ph.D. must submit an acceptable dissertation. Requirements and guidelines for the dissertation and for other details of the Ph.D. program are contained in the Doctoral Program Manual, available from the department.