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

Research and Teaching Opportunities

The doctoral degree in public affairs and policy offers a number of research and teaching opportunities.

Hatfield Residency Program

This program, conducted in cooperation with the Hatfield School’s Executive Leadership Institute, places qualified doctoral students in public and not-for-profit agencies as paid residents. Agency placements provide students opportunities to conduct dissertation research, gain advanced research experience, and receive assistance in financing their educational objectives.

Graduate research assistantships

Dependent on available funds, a number of graduate research assistantships are available each year. Students must apply for these by February 1 of the academic year in which the assistantships are desired. Assistantships pay tuition and a small additional stipend.

Teaching opportunities

All doctoral students in the program are strongly encouraged to teach prior to completing their Ph.D. programs. There are a number of opportunities available in this regard.

Teaching apprenticeships with a university faculty member

These duties can include teaching one or more class sessions, assistance in preparing courses, and correction of examinations.

Teaching in the University Studies Program

Advanced doctoral students may also teach in sophomore inquiry coursework sponsored by the Hatfield School of Government. This coursework deals largely with citizen participation and leadership. Advanced doctoral students may also propose and teach a senior Capstone course at the undergraduate level. These are interdisciplinary community-based courses required of all PSU seniors. These students will develop and implement strategies to deal with a community issue in cooperation with one or more community organizations.