Ph.D. in Public Administration

The only Ph.D. in Public Administration program in North Carolina.

The Ph.D. in Public Administration program provides students with a strong foundation for teaching and research positions. It is led by a faculty recognized nationally for its research productivity. Since first enrolling students in 1998, the program has amassed a strong record of placement, with graduates holding faculty appointments in respected colleges and universities as well as research positions in policy institutes and government agencies.


94% of our Ph.D. alumni currently work in academic, research or public service roles.

Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. in Public Administration requires the completion of 72 graduate credit hours, including 60 credit hours of coursework and 12 credit hours of dissertation research. Students having obtained a master’s degree in a relevant discipline prior to enrollment in the Ph.D. program may be approved for up to an 18-credit hour reduction, reducing the total to 54 graduate credit hours. 

A typical degree breakdown is as follows:

  • Transfer Credit from Master’s Degree: 18 credits
  • Core Courses: 24 credits
  • Management Specialization: 6 credits
  • Methods Elective: 3 credits
  • Elective Courses: 9 credits
  • Dissertation Courses: 12 credits

Additional requirements include presenting a conference paper or publishing an article in a scholarly journal, passing preliminary written exams, passing the prospectus defense, and passing the dissertation defense. Degree details can be found in the Ph.D. Handbook.


Program Outcomes

The Public Administration Ph.D. program is designed to prepare students for teaching and research in public management and related fields. Secondarily, the degree is meant to prepare research specialists for governmental agencies and public affairs institutes. While there are substantive overlaps in the skills needed to land academic, government, or industry positions, there exist ways to tailor the graduate school experience and curate your professional profile to the job market of your choosing.

These are our program objectives:

  1. Students are expected to develop their skills as future teachers and researchers through teaching or research assistantships
  2. Students are expected to develop as scholars through paper presentations and other participation in conferences
  3. Students are expected to develop as scholars through submitting articles and book chapters for publication
  4. Students are expected to have the foundation knowledge in public administration theory and classic literature that will enable them to conduct significant research
  5. Students are expected to have the foundation knowledge in research methods that will enable them to conduct significant research
  1. Program faculty are expected to attract, secure, and retain high-quality students.
  2. Program faculty are expected to develop graduates who establish strong publication records.
  3. Faculty will conduct a program that produces both recent graduates and longer-term alumni who are satisfied with their professional preparation
  4. Faculty are expected to contribute to knowledge production in their fields through publications and conference presentations
  5. The faculty, both individually and collectively, are expected to enhance the program’s reputation
  1. Students should be able to identify a research problem whose solution will be a valuable contribution to the field
  2. Students should be able to review and critique the literature in an area of study in a manner that demonstrates mastery of the pertinent research
  3. Students should be able to effectively apply methods of the field to solve research problems
  4. Students should be able to interpret data and to draw well supported conclusions from the data
  5. Students should be able to communicate research effectively in writing
  6. Students should be able to communicate research effectively in oral presentations


Competency Guide

Dissertation Information

  • To review completed dissertations, please follow the following link and select "Public Administration" in the "by discipline" field. All completed dissertations will be displayed.