The Public Administration and Public Policy (PAPP) Ph.D. provides students theory-based and applied knowledge that integrates public administration and public policy. It is a unique interdisciplinary approach to preparing students for a variety of academic, research and senior public management positions in higher education institutions, public and nonprofit organizations. The PAPP Ph.D. stresses interdisciplinary courses, given CAPPA’s mission and multiple programs, providing students considerable flexibility in choosing their specialty/emphasis. Faculty specializations include economic and community development, education, environmental, transportation and welfare policies, intergovernmental relations, organizational structure and change, and public finance/budgeting. PAPP graduates pursue teaching and research careers at regional or national universities, seek advancement in their current professional career path or change their career trajectory.
The curriculum is based on the synergy between the social dynamics of public policy and the administration of policies designed to address social issues. Public policies result from the interaction of social conditions that give rise to them and are further affected by the way they are administered by the public and non-profit organizations of society. This premise is applicable regardless of public policy arena; environment, economic or community development, transportation, housing or health.
Students are required to complete a specific set of eight courses, listed below, that comprise the core curriculum. The core courses address the social sciences and public administration literature critical to the integrative approach of the program. Descriptions of these courses are available in the University Catalog. Equal weight is given to social sciences and Public Administration with the goal of integrating them and providing context to understanding policy formation and implementation. A student can expect to complete these courses in no more than two academic years. They contain the foundation knowledge over which students are tested in the written comprehensive examination. Students are also required to take twelve hours of coursework in research methods. The courses concern theory and theory construction, research design, and quantitative and qualitative research methods. Students also declare an emphasis on three hours chosen to enhance their particular research focus in consultation with their advisor.
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COMPREHENSIVE EXAM AND DISSERTATION
After completion of all coursework, students must take a written comprehensive exam. The comprehensive exam tests the students’ knowledge of public administration, public policy, research methodology and the ability of the student to synthesize policy and administration. After passing the comprehensive exam, students work with a dissertation committee towards developing a dissertation proposal and present the proposal to the committee. During the dissertation proposal presentation, the student must demonstrate extensive knowledge of the literature on which the work is to be based as well as a thorough understanding of the research methodology. Dissertation topics are as varied as the interests of the student body. Topics have included the feminization of city management, policies to improve offender success, representative bureaucracy, economic clustering of musicians, institutional diversity in Texas higher education, knowledge management in Thai universities, and transportation policy in the context of the friction of space.
A successful completion of the dissertation proposal advances the student to the status of candidacy. Work continues with the dissertation committee to the completion of the dissertation. The student then defends the completed research before the committee.
For more information, see Dissertation.