Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Public Affairs, with a Concentration in Community Development
The Ph.D. is a 66-credit program that centers the study of public affairs and community development at the intersection of increasingly complex economic, political, legal, and social systems. The curriculum focuses primarily on the United States, but within a global context for studying the issues facing local communities and how they can thrive.
We emphasize social justice and a firm grounding in applied social science research methodologies, leading to a doctoral degree with significant research skills and policy expertise.
course of study is designed to promote proficiency in such diverse areas as the philosophical underpinnings of social science, the foundations of policy analysis, the complexity of market-state relations, and the history of community development in the United States. A rigorous set of
requirements in qualitative and quantitative social science research methodologies prepares students to
compete successfully for careers in academia, as well as in other professional policy-related fields. Elective courses further expand the interdisciplinary aspect of the
program while also providing students with the opportunity to tailor their coursework to their own research and professional interests.
Students are advanced to candidacy upon completing 51-credits of coursework (including up to 12 transfer credits), passing two timed, written comprehensive exams in theory and methods, and successfully defending a dissertation proposal. The written exam is taken after completing the 21-credit core curriculum and a is a prerequisite to the oral dissertation proposal defense.
Master of Science (M.S.) in Public Affairs, with a Concentration in Community Development
The M.S. is a 30-credit terminal degree, and also, for students interested in continuing their graduate education at the doctoral level, a "feeder" into our Ph.D. program. The core course requirements in both programs overlap, with M.S. students completing six of the eight core courses required in the doctoral program as part of their course of study. Similar to the requirement of a traditional master's thesis, all M.S. students take a Practicum or practical experience course in their last semester, and complete a project that applies their learning to a real-world community development problem.