Public Administration and Policy, PhD

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Public Administration and Policy is a cohort-based program that prepares students to conduct theoretically informed research through the application of social science methods that build knowledge and inform public action. Most students in the PhD program are interested in academic careers, although some find work as researchers at think tanks, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. The PhD degree is designed for students who are committed to a four-year, full-time degree.

The PhD program supports all full-time students financially during the first three years of study – funding includes tuition, benefits and stipend. Students have many options to fund their final year of study through teaching, fellowships or research projects. Throughout their degree, students work directly with nationally distinguished faculty on research activity with the expectation that students contribute intellectually both to the PhD program and to the academic community through presentations at national conferences and publication of journal articles. 

Our goal is to provide a stimulating and collegial academic environment where students learn to formulate compelling research questions, develop analytical skills to rigorously address them and produce high-quality academic work that contributes to the field.  All students gain nationally recognized qualifications in core knowledge in public administration and policy as well as in an area of research specialization. In their fourth year, students also have opportunities to teach in the undergraduate programs, if desired. PhD graduates are able to compete nationally and internationally for coveted entry positions that require both teaching and research experience.

Applicants are admitted for the fall only and should generally have a Master’s degree before enrollment, though exceptional applicants with only a Bachelor’s degree may also be considered. 

Specializations include:

  • Civil Society & Civic Engagement 
  • Energy and Environment Policy & Management
  • Governance & Urban Affairs
  • Information Technology & Policy Informatics
  • Public Finance, Budgeting, & Economics
  • Public Management
  • Science, Technology & Innovation
  • Social & Education Policy


The application deadline is January 6, 2025.

Applicants are admitted for fall only.   More on the application process.

View our PhD Promotional Video

View the PhD New Student Guide