Ontario Campus Doctorates in Public Administration and Policy
Programs for pursuing a doctorate in public policy and administration help students develop advanced knowledge and research skills in the fields of public administration and public policy. Depending on the program, students might develop their advanced qualitative and quantitative research skills or broaden their capacity to apply theory to practice in policy and administrative settings.
In classes, students study subjects such as political science, sociology, and business to learn how to plan, implement, and assess public policy and to administer governmental or non-profit services. Students might apply their skills and knowledge as professors and researchers at universities or as leaders in governmental and other agencies.
GradSchools.com Top Schools for Campus Public Administration & Policy Doctorate Degrees*
Format / Location - Hybrid
Total Enrollments - 296+
Student / Teacher Ratio - 8:1
Format / Location - Online
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University of Idaho
Format / Location - Online
Total Enrollments - 2,194+
Student / Teacher Ratio - 16:1
University of Wyoming
Format / Location - Online
Total Enrollments - 2,578+
Student / Teacher Ratio - 14:1
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Several options exist for pursuing a doctorate degree in public policy and administration:
- First, you might pursue a Doctorate of Public Administration (D.P.A.): in this type of program, students focus primarily on learning how to conduct research in the field of public administration.
- Second, you might pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Public Administration, Public Policy, or both: similar to students earning a D.P.A., students in public administration or public policy Ph.D. programs focus primarily on learning
- how to conduct research in the field(s) or public administration, public policy, or both.
- Finally, you might pursue a Doctor of Business Administration with an emphasis in Public Policy or Public Administration: in this type of program, students focus their studies primarily on business and secondarily on public policy or public administration. While students may study research methodologies in a D.B.A. program, their focus will be on practical application.
There are always exceptions to the rule of what programs offer and cover. Read individual program objectives and outcomes to assess whether or not a program offers the balance between research- and practical application-based curriculum you desire.
Why Pursue a Doctorate in Public Policy and Administration On Campus?
While D.P.A., Ph.D., and D.B.A. programs all offer online options, many students—even those who work full-time—opt to purse their doctorate in public policy or public administration on campus. Doing so enables in-person interaction with professors and classmates and offers a consistent structure for attending class and completing school work. For many students, these two qualities of on-campus education make learning and studying at an advanced level more accessible.
Here are some other great reasons to pursue an on-campus doctorate in public policy and administration:
First, students in public administration or public policy doctoral programs generally conduct a significant amount of research. On-campus, they benefit from having physical and in-person access to campus resources such as libraries, library assistants, research assistants, research and writing labs, and other resources in the area (local governmental offices, public libraries, and even other college libraries or research centers, for example).
Second, students pursuing a doctorate in public policy and administration on-campus have access to student organizations. They might opt to participate in partisan groups, non-partisan groups, groups devoted to addressing specific issues such as inequality or homelessness, or other student organizations connected to their studies or research projects.
Third, many students pursuing a doctorate degree in public administration or public policy intend to apply their skills in the college classroom or at a research institute. By studying on campus, students can potentially work as graduate assistants to professors in political science departments, business departments, sociology departments, or other departments connected to public administration or public policy.
Fourth, doctorate students who intend to speak publically about their subjects or apply their skills in a governmental, non-governmental, or business setting might benefit from in-person interactions during class discussions. Speaking about a subject or issue requires practice, and classroom settings offer an opportunity to do so. By engaging with coursework in real-time and with people who understand the subject to varying degrees (fellow classmates, teaching assistants, and professors, for example) you may develop critical thinking, deep listening, oratory, and other skills.
Finally, while online programs afford students opportunities to interact with professors, on-campus ones enable students to do so in person. Sitting face-to-face and flipping through notes, books, and papers might be helpful as you design and implement your dissertation and other projects.
D.P.A., D.B.A., and Ph.D. Public Policy and Public Administration Curricula
Curricula in public policy and public administration doctorate programs is interdisciplinary, spanning economics, psychology, sociology, business, political science, history, and other subjects. Within classes, coursework commonly covers theory, practical application, and applied research methodologies.
Course credits are typically divided among three areas:
- Foundation Courses
- Research Methods Courses
- Courses in an Area of Specialization
Together with their classmates, students in on-campus doctorate programs typically engage in case studies, group projects, class discussions, and other methodologies for learning materials. Outside of the classroom, students read and write papers and may work with classmates on groups projects. Depending on the program, students might have assistantships as researchers or teachers.
Much of students’ coursework helps students develop their advanced knowledge and skills in preparation for researching, writing, and presenting their dissertation.
The specific curricula for public policy and administration doctorate degrees depends on the program’s primary subject and the type program.
In a doctoral public administration program, whether a D.P.A. or Ph.D. program, students might study:
- Public organization and management
- Public policy analysis
- Theory and practice in public administration
- Public administration methodologies
- Organizational theory
- Public budgeting and finance
In a doctoral public policy program, students might study:
- Quantitative and qualitative aspects of public policy
- Policy analysis
- Morals and ethics in public policy
- Politics and governance
- Micro and macroeconomics and public policy
- Policy across areas (such as environmental, educational, healthcare, etc.)
Within public administration and public policy doctoral programs, students may concentrate their knowledge through elective coursework and specializations. Some examples of areas in which students might focus their studies include public health, environmental policy, child and family policy, economics, leadership in government, or non-profit administration.
In D.P.A. and Ph.D. programs, students typically study research methodologies in preparation for completing a dissertation and conducting research in their careers. They may study:
- Research methodologies (broadly)
- Quantitative research methods (specifically)
- Qualitative research methods (specifically)
- Writing research proposals
In a Doctor of Business Administration program with an emphasis on public administration, students focus their studies on areas of business such as finance, marketing, leadership, management, analysis, and budgeting. Then, through a concentration or elective courses, students study the intersection between business and public administration. Students pursuing a D.B.A. might opt to study subjects closely related to public administration such as non-profit management.
D.B.A. programs typically emphasize practical application and are appealing to people who work in business and want to develop their advanced knowledge with a focus on public administration. Therefore, while some D.B.A. programs are offered on campus, many are offered online with short residencies on campus. This enables students who already work in business to continue working full-time.
D.P.A., Ph.D., and D.B.A. Degree Requirements
The degree requirements for earning a doctorate in public policy and administration are similar for D.P.A., Ph.D., and D.B.A. programs. In all of them, students complete core (foundational) coursework, elective coursework, and in some cases, coursework related to a specialization. Students might also have to do an assistantship in teaching or research.
During their programs or to conclude them, students commonly take qualification exams (sometimes as many as four over the course of the program), write a qualification paper (a paper that marks the transition from coursework to research and helps students prepare to do a dissertation), write a dissertation proposal, and write and defend a dissertation.
For admissions into a public administration or public policy doctoral program, applicants commonly have to hold a master’s degree in the same or a related subject and in some cases, have professional experience in the field. They might also have to take a GMAT or GRE and receive certain scores for admittance.
What Can You Do with a PhD in Public Policy or Public Administration?
With a doctorate degree in public policy or public administration, students can typically pursue work at national or international public or private agencies; colleges or universities; research institutions; or positions in governmental, non-governmental, or non-profit agencies.
They might work as:
- University administrators
- City managers
- Professors or researchers in academia
Beyond these, PhD in public administration jobs depend on each student’s background, emphasis, and even research topic.
Potential Salaries for Public Administration or Public Policy Professionals
The PhD in public administration salary depends on a professional’s position. Here are some potential salaries for professionals who hold a doctorate degree in public administration or public policy:
- College or University Professors: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), professionals in this field earned a median annual wage of $76,000 in 2017. The BLS predicts that jobs in this area will grow by 15 percent (much faster than average) between 2016 and 2026.i
- Political Scientists: according to the BLS, professionals in this field earned a median annual wage of $115,110 in 2017. The BLS predicts that jobs in this area will grow by 13 percent between 2016 and 2026.ii
- Management Analysts: according to the BLS, professionals in this field earned a median annual wage of $82,450 in 2017. The BLS predicts that jobs in this area will grow by 14 percent (faster than average) between 2016 and 2026.iii
- Emergency Management Directors: according to the BLS, professionals in this field earned a median annual wage of $72,760 in 2017. The BLS predicts that jobs in this area will grow by eight percent between 2016 and 2026.v
- Administrative Services Managers: according to the BLS, professionals in this occupation earned a median annual wage of $94,020 in 2017. The BLS predicts that jobs in this area will grow by ten percent between 2016 and 2026.vi
Why Pursue a Doctorate Degree if It’s Not Required?
With the exception of college or university professor, none of the positions above require professionals to have doctorate degrees. However, pursuing a doctorate degree can help you gain advanced knowledge and skills and to learn how to apply them in a specific area. For employers looking for employees with specialized knowledge, you might prove to be a wonderful option.
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