PhD Prospective Home

The doctoral program in the Department of Public Administration provides students with a rich and diverse education through a combination of hands-on research training and a foundation of coursework targeted at your specific areas of interest.

The doctoral program in the Department of Public Administration is designed in accordance with the “Policy on Doctoral Education in Public Affairs/Administration” of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs/Administration which states:

Doctoral programs in public administration should prepare students to undertake significant research in their subsequent careers, whether in government, academic life, or other settings: the capacity to do significant research, rather than access to a particular career setting, is the appropriate goal of doctoral training… Whether in governmental, academic or other career settings, holders of the doctorate add to the ranks of those who are able to generate and share knowledge of public administration and its related fields…

The goal of doctoral training is [to equip] individuals to add to knowledge of public administration and related fields through disciplined research. When practicing professionals undertake the doctorate they should recognize the need to demonstrate substantial research skills and to interact with a research faculty on a continuing basis as they design and execute their dissertation projects.

Currently, we offer the following Specializations:

With the help of faculty, a student may also choose to create their own specialization using courses both within the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs and the University of Illinois at Chicago as a whole.


PhD Assistantships

Students with an excellent record (high GREs, high GPA, and very good letters of recommendation) may be awarded four years of funding that covers tuition and certain fees and includes a monthly stipend for at least 9 months of the year (up to 11 months).   Students will be appointed as teaching or research assistants for 20 hours per week (50%) in each of the four years in order to receive the stipend.  Please contact the Department of Public Administration to find out the exact level of funding as these amounts change every academic year.

Full time and part-time PhD students

Although part-time students who work full time are accepted into the PhD program, be aware that such students face significant challenges in completing their Ph.D. compared to students who pursue the degree on a full time basis.   Attending the program part-time does not allow students to gain research experience outside of class or through research assistantships.  Part-time students are also at a disadvantage compared to full time students in studying for the comprehensive exams and developing a defensible dissertation proposal.  For this reason, we strongly advise part-time students to consider pursuing the degree full time when working on the comprehensive exams or dissertation proposal (possibly through a leave of absence from their full-time occupations).   Also, in order to encourage students who work full time to engage at the highest level in pursuing the Ph.D., all Ph.D. courses will be scheduled in the afternoon, usually from 3-6 p.m.  Additionally, students must enroll for at least 12 credits of coursework for each academic year prior to taking the comprehensive exam.

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