Public Administration and Policy, PhD

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This cohort-based program prepares you to conduct theoretically informed research through the application of analytical social science methods, to build knowledge, produce high-quality academic research and inform public action.

The PhD in public administration and policy is a theoretically grounded research degree program designed to prepare students for a research-based career. This is a four-year, full-time degree program.

This program is designed to develop well-rounded, independent scholars who are grounded in the classic and current literatures of public administration and public policy, skilled in research methods, and ready to contribution to the field through research and teaching. As a result, graduates are poised for success as productive and active scholars, researchers and teachers.

At A Glance

Public Administration and Policy, PhD

Plan of study

The Plan of study is the required curriculum to complete this graduate level program.

View Plan of Study

Application deadline

The deadline to apply is January 11th.

The PhD in Public Administration and Policy is a fall-only start program.

Degree requirements

Required Core (24 credit hours)
PAF 601 Advanced Public Policy Seminar (3)
PAF 602 Advanced Research Design for Public Policy and Management (3)
PAF 603 Advanced Economics for Public Administration and Public Policy (3)
PAF 604 Intellectual Foundations of Public Administration (3)
PAF 605 Organization Theory and Behavior Seminar (3)
PAF 609 Advanced Quantitative Methods Seminar (3)
PAF 610 Advanced Qualitative Methods for Public Affairs Research (3)
PAF 620 Public Administration Professional Development Workshop (3)

Electives (12 credit hours)

Research (6 credit hours)
PAF 792 Research (6)

Culminating Experience (12 credit hours)
PAF 799 Dissertation (12)

Additional Curriculum Information
When approved by the student's supervisory committee and the Graduate College, this program allows 30 credit hours from a previously awarded master's degree to be used for this degree.

Admission requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a master's degree from a regionally accredited institution.

ASU's School of Public Affairs expects applicants for the doctorate to have demonstrated competency in the following subject areas at the time of application: organizational theory, public policy analysis, economics and quantitative analysis.

Applicants who have obtained a master's degree accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration in public affairs, public administration or public policy are not required to complete prerequisites for admission to ASU's School of Public Affairs. In some cases, applicants from allied fields (i.e., political science, economics, sociology, business) are not required to complete prerequisites, depending upon the extent to which previous training aligns with the competencies described above.

As is the case with all applicants, the doctoral program director or advisors may require or recommend completion of courses when there is a perceived deficit, especially if the deficit relates to graduate-level quantitative analysis and economics (PAF 502 and PAF 504, respectively, or equivalent courses). However, these requirements or recommendations, if any, are not a barrier to admission.

In cases where the doctoral student applicant has graduated from a public affairs, public administration or public policy program from another nation, or from a program not accredited by NASPAA, the applicant may be admitted and required to meet prerequisites after a review by the doctoral committee and doctoral program director.

Students applying with master's degrees from programs not closely related to public affairs (e.g., engineering, modern languages, chemistry) are required to meet prerequisites equivalent to the courses required for either ASU's Master of Public Administration or Master of Public Policy.

Prior to enrolling in any of the school's core classes, all students are expected to be familiar with the foundational competency readings related to organizational theory, public policy analysis, economics and quantitative analysis.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate coursework
  3. completed checklist
  4. written statement
  5. current resume or curriculum vitae
  6. three letters of recommendation
  7. samples of research reports or papers
  8. GRE scores (verbal, quantitative, analytical)
  9. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must submit TOEFL scores to be considered for admission regardless of current residency; applicants should use institution code: 4007. This is true even for those who have a master's degree from a United States university. To be considered for admission to the doctoral program in public administration and policy, the minimum score on a traditional TOEFL test is 600, the minimum score for a TOEFL iBT is 100. Applicants with scores below the minimum are not considered. More on the English proficiency requirement is available at

The written statement of educational and career goals must include a discussion of research interests.

The letters of recommendation should be primarily from faculty members. All letters should address the candidate's capacity to successfully complete the doctoral program. They should assess the student's capacity for critical and analytic thought, their ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, and their commitment to completion of the program.

Only GRE test scores from within the past five years are accepted, and analytical scores are considered in admission decisions.

Admission is competitive; a limited number of well-qualified applicants are admitted each year.

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