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Ph.D. in Public Administration
Ph.D. in Public Administration

the doctoral program of study.

Core Seminars

There are four required core seminars in the doctoral program of study. These seminars are taken at the beginning of a student's program of study and cover the theoretical foundations of the field, the major knowledge frameworks that form the basis for research design and methods, the political social and economic environments of public administration, and the history of management reforms.

PA9000 Foundations of Public Administration
PA9300 Knowledge Development & Use
PA9400 Environment of Public Administration
PA9600 Seminar in Advanced Management Theory

Research Track

There are three required research seminars. The first two courses are taken during the first or second year of a student's program and cover quantitative and qualitative research design and methods. The third course on advanced research design is taken at the end of the student's course work under the supervision of the committee chair and covers the elements of a successful dissertation proposal.

PA9950 Quantitative Methods in PA
PA9960 Qualitative Research Methods

Teaching and Professional Skills Workshop

There is a required two-day workshop which doctoral students take prior to completing their degree. A team of faculty facilitate discussions on topics related to teaching, publishing and job search skills. The workshop includes videotaping of students giving "micro" lectures and feedback from faculty and students.

Areas of Specialization

The faculty offer six areas of specialization. Doctoral students choose two courses (6 hours) in each of two areas, for a total of 12 credit hours. The area of specialization includes a seminar or proseminar and second course drawn from the graduate curriculum of Public Administration or a related academic unit in the university system. The six specialization areas are:

Public Budgeting & Finance
Public Aviation & Transportation
Public Policy
Urban Management
Public Administration Theory
Managing Information in the Public Sector


The dissertation represents an original contribution to knowledge development in the field of Public Administration. Following successful completion of all course work and a field exam, doctoral students apply for Candidacy for the Degree and then defend a dissertation proposal before their supervisory committees and other faculty and students. Following successful defense of the proposal, students work under the guidance of their supervisory committee chairs until the project is substantially complete. Two readers from the student's supervisory committee then review the entire document and may recommend further work or changes. After the committee chair and readers agree that the dissertation is ready for defense, the student schedules a public defense.

For more information, please see the Dissertation Guidelines and Doctoral Dissertation Guide.