Prepare for a Career in Academic Research in Public Management and Public Policy
Gain authoritative knowledge of multi-dimensional public policy and public management problems and master the social science methodologies used to analyze and address them.
Rockefeller College’s PhD in Public Administration and Policy program will prepare you for a successful research career, primarily in academia, by providing advanced education and mentoring in theory-driven interdisciplinary social science research.
Our faculty are committed to training you to produce original research on systemic public problems and public service professionals to address practical challenges. Through our doctoral you will create and implement rigorous research designs, use quantitative and qualitative methods, inform the development of theory, contribute to improving practice in the public and nonprofit sectors, maintain high ethical standards in research, and consider the role of competing public values when making policy and administrative decisions.
Program of Study
The core PhD curriculum covers the theoretical foundations of public administration and public policy, advanced research design, and professional development.
You will take additional coursework in public management, public policy, or public financial management, and also receive rigorous training in specialized methods tools such as econometrics, qualitative methods, spatial analysis, and network analysis. You are encouraged to take courses in other departments including economics, sociology, political science, psychology, and public health.
- Field Seminar in Public Policy
- Scholarly Foundations of Politics and Administration
- Research Design
- Advanced Quantitative Analysis
- Scholarly Foundations of Public Administration
Fields of Concentration
Focus your studies by taking two advanced research tools appropriate to your planned research approach, and five or more courses in one of three fields of study:
Study public policy problems from an interdisciplinary perspective to support decision making on important applied public policy issues. You will develop an expertise in a policy area, and be trained to design and manage policy research projects in diverse academic, private, or government settings. Emphasis is placed on training in cutting-edge methods of causal inference and in theories of the policy process that can be applicable to a wide array of policy problems.
Public Financial Management
Study how public and nonprofit managers plan for, acquire, and manage financial resources. You will conduct research on a variety of topics such as state and local government budgeting and financial management, education finance, healthcare finance, and nonprofit financial management. Specific theories, concepts, and methods come primarily from the disciplines of economics, finance, accounting, and political science.
Examine management challenges within public and nonprofit organizations, and the challenges and opportunities presented by politics, inter- and intra-governmental interactions, and multi-sector policy and program implementation. You will conduct theory-informed empirical research to build on interdisciplinary foundations from the fields of political science, sociology, psychology, economics, organization behavior and theory, and information sciences.
- Seminars in Doctoral Research and Professional Development
- Rockefeller Brown Bag Research Seminar
- Specialized doctoral readings groups
- Opportunities to work with faculty, research centers, and government practitioners on research projects
- Completion of courses in the core curriculum, and personalized courses in research tools and concentration electives
- Empirical research paper
- Literature review
- Outline of the dissertation proposal
After passing your candidacy requirements, you work closely with a faculty committee to craft a dissertation proposal, collect and analyze data, and write your dissertation. You may take a diversity of approaches tailored to your interests and career goals, including: selecting quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods research tools; drawing on theories from a variety of disciplines; picking topics in the domestic or international context in numerous policy and organizational contexts; and using a three-paper or book format dissertation.
For more details about field of concentrations, course requirements, and faculty research interests, see the public administration and policy PhD manual.
Learning objectives that UAlbany students are expected to attain through their course of study within their academic program.
- Demonstrates substantive mastery of the academic literature in public administration and policy
- Demonstrates substantive mastery of the academic literature in a specialized area of research within public administration and policy that draws upon the broader social science literature
- Shows a foundational understanding and ability to evaluate diverse quantitative and qualitative methods in public administration and policy research
- Makes an original contribution to the field
- Competently and rigorously applies at least one quantitative or qualitative method in public administration and policy research
- Articulates a coherent argument in an article-length paper that links research question(s), theory, results and implications for theory and practice
- Articulates the relevance of the research
- Demonstrates an emerging scholarly identity
- Effectively communicates research results to scholarly, practitioner and student audiences orally and in writing
- Involved in the broader public administration and policy scholarly community