The PhD with a major in public administration and management is designed primarily for those interested in scholarly careers as researchers and teachers. The program only accepts full-time students and is structured to be completed in four years. The PhD program emphasizes theory, methods and research in the field to enable its graduates to become effective teachers and contribute to the development and dissemination of public administration knowledge. Since students entering the PhD program are expected to have satisfied the core competencies of an MPA degree, the curriculum for doctoral students emphasizes analytic tools and theoretical issues confronting the study and practice of public administration. Students specialize in one of four minor fields: emergency management, financial management, nonprofit management or urban management.
Admission to the PhD program is a two-tiered process that requires applicants to make simultaneous application to the Toulouse Graduate School and the Department of Public Administration’s PhD program. Students must first be admitted to the Graduate School. Once admitted, students must then receive admission to the department’s PhD program. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the application process by January 15th of each year. Students can apply after this deadline, but doing so reduces access to financial assistance, and the cohort entering in the fall semester of each year is limited. Admission decisions involve a holistic review process that includes consideration of previous degrees, GPA, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, personal statement, current resume, and an academic writing sample. International students must also provide proof of English proficiency requirement.
There are two categories of admission to the program: unconditional and conditional. First, an applicant may receive unconditional admission to the program if the portfolio provides evidence that the applicant is highly likely to complete all requirements of the PhD program. Unconditional admission is available to students who have completed an MPA degree or the core MPA competencies as established by NASPAA. If an applicant is otherwise qualified, then the applicant may obtain a conditional admission. Students accepted into the program under conditional admission must complete leveling course work. In most cases, leveling course work constitutes 12 to 24 hours of course work to be completed before beginning doctoral seminars in the department. Additional information regarding admissions is available at www.padm.unt.edu.
Official transcripts and test scores must be sent directly to the Toulouse Graduate School by the institution and ETS, respectively. Letters of recommendation, the resume and personal statement can be sent directly to: PhD Coordinator, Department of Public Administration; 1155 Union Circle #310617; Denton, TX 76203-5017.
The PhD program requires students to earn a minimum of 60 hours of graduate credit beyond the master’s degree or 90 hours beyond the bachelor’s degree. Required course work includes the following:
- Core requirements in public administration and management (12 credit hours)
- Research methods (12 credit hours and departmental exam)
- Minor field (15 credit hours)
- Non-dissertation research (9 hours)
- Dissertation hours (12 hours minimum)
Qualifying exam and dissertation
Once all course work (excluding dissertation hours) has been completed, the student then must pass a comprehensive qualifying examination. This consists of three sections: two written exams taken on site covering the core public administration courses, a written take-home exam in one field of specialization (offered in the PhD in public administration and management), and an oral examination. Successful completion results in the student’s admission to candidacy for the PhD degree. Students then enroll for a minimum of 12 dissertation hours.
The doctoral candidate must submit a dissertation that contributes new knowledge to the field. The dissertation is prepared under the supervision of the major professor and a committee in accordance with the guidelines of the Toulouse Graduate School. The topic of the dissertation is selected by the student and approved by the PhD coordinator. The student qualifies for graduation once the student has defended his or her original work before the dissertation examination committee.