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Ph.D. in Public Administration & Urban Policy


The Ph.D. in Public Administration and Urban Policy (PAUP) prepares graduates to become content area experts through doctoral level course work and successful completion of a doctoral dissertation.

Students will learn a common body of knowledge in three areas: foundation in public and urban policy, one of two tracks with courses specific to public administration or urban policy, and a foundation in research. Each student will also complete a unique cognate area selected by the student with advice and consent of the PAUP Program Director.

Through this approach, all program graduates will have the opportunity to develop a substantive knowledge of a body of work in public administration and urban policy, as well as to acquire analytical and research skills that will enable them to become educators, leaders, and researchers in their chosen specialty areas.

USPA Dissertations

Program Requirements

Students are required to complete a minimum of 45 hours of course work and maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0. In addition to course work, students are required to take 3 hours of dissertation seminar and a minimum of 12 hours of dissertation credit. Note: PAUP students may transfer a maximum of 12 hours of appropriate course work beyond the master's degree - with a grade of B or better - into the PAUP program with the approval of the Program Director.

Applicants who have insufficient background in any of the prerequisite competency areas will be required to enroll in courses in the area(s) of deficiency (PADM 651 - Administrative Theory I and PADM 695 - Introduction to Statistics for Public Administration (or equivalent)). Such courses must be completed with a grade of B or better. These prerequisite courses are not included in the required credit hours to complete the doctoral program.

The PAUP program focuses on: (1) developing effective public, non-profit sector and urban policy leaders throughout Hampton Roads, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the nation, who have both content knowledge and research skills; 2) educating individuals who intend to pursue teaching as a vocation in colleges and universities in Virginia as well as nationally and internationally; (3) building collaborative research and demonstration initiatives with community and state agencies that link research initiatives to public management and urban policy improvement and economic development; and (4) providing the linkages among content knowledge, research, and field experiences for all doctoral students.