About this Program

The Ph.D. in Public Administration and Policy program develops expert leaders and scholars in public and nonprofit administration and policy who are capable of creating and disseminating knowledge that advances public service in a multi-sector environment. Today, effective public administration and policy-making often requires collaborative decisions and problem solving. We take a multi-sector approach, focusing the challenges that arise where governments, nonprofits, businesses, community groups, and individuals intersect. Our program is compatible with most previous academic areas and careers, such as political science, criminal justice, social work, engineering, business, fine arts, environmental sciences, education, etc.

Program Highlights

  • Emphasis on Multi-sector Administration

  • 49 total credit hours

  • Take classes on campus or online

  • Taught by ODU faculty with expertise in nonprofit and public management, public-private partnerships, public procurement and contract management, citizen participation, dispute resolution, economic development, health policy, and more

Degree Level
Degree Earned
Doctor of Philosophy
Delivery Modes


Check out these ideas from ODU Career Development Services and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET). A median salary is a midpoint of what people typically earn—half of those surveyed earned above the median salary, and half earned below.

Public Relations and Fundraising Managers

$127,690 Median Salary

Plan, direct, or coordinate activities designed to create or maintain a favorable public image or raise issue awareness for their organization or client; or if engaged in fundraising, plan, direct, or coordinate activities to solicit and maintain funds for special projects or nonprofit organizations.

Chief Executives

$196,050 Median Salary

Determine and formulate policies and provide overall direction of companies or private and public sector organizations within guidelines set up by a board of directors or similar governing body. Plan, direct, or coordinate operational activities at the highest level of management with the help of subordinate executives and staff managers.

Social and Community Service Managers

$77,030 Median Salary

Plan, direct, or coordinate the activities of a social service program or community outreach organization. Oversee the program or organization's budget and policies regarding participant involvement, program requirements, and benefits. Work may involve directing social workers, counselors, or probation officers.

Purchasing Managers

$121,810 Median Salary

Plan, direct, or coordinate the activities of buyers, purchasing officers, and related workers involved in purchasing materials, products, and services. Includes wholesale or retail trade merchandising managers and procurement managers.


What are the requirements to apply for Public Administration & Policy at ODU?
Students entering the Doctor of Philosophy program in Public Administration & Policy should meet the minimum university admission requirements Graduate Admission.

Applications are accepted year-round with a March 1st deadline for the immediate fall. Review of applications begins mid-March and finishes mid-to-late April. Please visit the department website for application details and financial assistance. To apply, you will need:

  • Two letters of recommendation from academic sources (e.g., professors from previous degree work). If it is not possible to secure three academic references, please contact the GPD for advice on acceptable substitutes.

  • A resume that reflects academic and professional achievements and experience.

  • A three- to six-page double-spaced written statement of academic and professional goals. The focus of the essay should be on how the Ph.D. degree in Public Administration and Policy will assist the applicant in advancing his/her professional development, and why the applicant wishes to pursue these goals at Old Dominion University and in the School of Public Service.

  • Transcripts from a regionally-accredited institution or a comparable foreign institution showing completion of a master's degree by the time of enrollment with a minimum GPA of 3.25 on a 4.0 scale.

  • Aptitude scores on the GRE taken within five years prior to applying for admission. The GMAT may be accepted as a substitution. Scores from the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) are not accepted or considered for admission.  The GRE can be waived under specific circumstances – Please visit the department web pages for information.

  • For students whose native language is not English, a minimum score of 79 on the TOEFL, or 6.5 on the IELTS is required.


Estimated rates for the 2023-24 academic year. Rates are subject to change. Anyone that is not a current Virginia resident will be charged non-resident rates. That includes international students.

Virginia Resident
Cost Per-Credit $599
Technology Delivered Courses Outside Virginia and/or the United States
Cost Per-Credit $623
Cost Per-Credit $1,439

Ways to Save

Here are a few ways for you to save on the cost of attending ODU. For more information visit University Student Financial aid

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available to graduate students at Old Dominion University. Financial aid may be available in the form of University fellowships, tuition grants, and research assistantships. In addition to the financial aid offered by the University, graduate students may be eligible for aid and student loans administered by other agencies. For information about part-time employment, scholarships, and student loans, contact the Office of Student Financial Aid.


Program Coordinator

NORFOLK, 23529