Public Affairs and Policy Ph.D.

The Ph.D. in Public Affairs and Policy is an interdisciplinary program designed to prepare individuals to pursue research, teaching, advocacy, public service, and/or consulting in a variety of settings ranging from universities to policy research organizations, public agencies, and private consulting firms. The degree may be pursued on a full- or part-time basis.

The degree program is administered by the Hatfield School of Government, but draws on faculty from the entire College of Urban and Public Affairs. Faculty members are drawn from public administration, political science, economics, policy sciences, and urban studies.

The curriculum focus is governance, the integrated study of political, administrative, and policy processes. This curriculum is taught against the backdrop of globalizing economies and political systems seeking to recognize governance in a modern world characterized by both cooperation and conflict among the public, private, and non-profit organizations.

The doctoral program in Public Affairs and Policy is designed to enable students to approach governance as an applied area of knowledge in which theory informs and is informed by real-world practice.

Admission requirements

Degree requirements

Program Rules

Research and Teaching Opportunities

Admission requirements

More information about the public affairs and policy Ph.D. program and all application forms are available at and  Applications are accepted for fall admission only; the application deadline is 31 December and there is a late application deadline of 30 April. An early admission deadline for December 1 is offered for outstanding candidates seeking early admission.

Only one application will need to be submitted to apply to the PAP Program. The following materials should be submitted through the application link found on the Graduate School's website.

  • Non-refundable $65 application fee (no cash)
  • One transcript from each post-secondary institution attended (both sides need to be uploaded)
  • Statement of Financial Support and Declaration of Finances (if International)
  • International Applicants who currently reside in the United States with an F-1 or J-1 visa must fill out the SEVIS form
  • Official TOEFL scores if the applicant does not speak English as a native language and has not received a graduate or undergraduate degree in an English-speaking territory
  • A statement of intent up to 1,000 words. The statement should address the following: 1) Professional goals; 2) Planned area of study (policy specialization); 3) Desired employment sector; 4) How the degree furthers achievement of your professional goals
  • A policy-oriented or academic writing sample.
  • Three recommendation letters from individuals familiar with the applicant's academic and/or professional capabilities. Preferably, two of the three letters should be from former instructors or from individuals with knowledge of your professional performance and potential.
  • A current resume
  • The scores of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Please note that you should make arrangements to take the GRE well in advance of the application deadline.