Doctoral Program in Public Administration
Welcome to the Doctoral Program
We will empower you to establish a strong intellectual identity. You will be introduced to different knowledge traditions and become thoroughly immersed in the discourse of public administration and its integration of theory and practice. We foster a culture of openness where the process of knowledge creation among students is a common enterprise. As our students move through the Ph.D. program, they have opportunities to teach and to work one-on-one with faculty. When you graduate, you will be prepared to understand and help solve public problems whether as an academic or as a practitioner.
Learn more about our program in our PhD Annual Report.
Structure of the Curriculum
The doctoral program curriculum is comprised of academic course work, field exams, a dissertation proposal and finally, the doctoral dissertation. At each stage of this course of study students add layers of knowledge, with each building upon the next. By the numbers, there are four core seminars, three advanced research courses, and four specialization courses, and a formal teaching workshop required prior to the field exams and dissertation work.
Successful completion of the PhD requires each student to have a sophisticated relationship with knowledge and an awareness of one’s own intellectual identity. Doctoral students are introduced to the ontological and epistemological foundations of knowledge. This occurs within an academic culture of openness and the shared understanding of terms, ideas and concepts in order to work scientifically and creatively. Students are able to identify with a specific research tradition and method of inquiry that matches their own paradigmatic commitments.
Doctoral study requires a tenacious commitment to the advancement of knowledge. This ideal is reflected in the level of difficulty of the course work, exams and dissertation process. Students can expect rich and intense subject matter, and interaction with faculty and fellow students. A successful dissertation defense is the pinnacle of expectations for high academic achievement, content expertise and intellectual complexity.
The practice of public administration occurs within a diverse and democratic society. Democratic practice equally informs the day-to-day management and delivery of public services as well as broader debates over public purposes. Knowledge of democratic governance is emphasized throughout the curriculum. Students gain knowledge the historic tension between democracy and bureaucracy, the role of the public interest, competing theories of democracy and their relationship to administrative accountability and public participation, to name just a few of these core concepts.