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The program

The program

The purpose of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration is to prepare students for scholarly and leadership roles in government, universities, research organizations and other settings where knowledge and research skills in public administration and policy are needed. 

The Ph.D. program is structured around a core curriculum and several areas of concentration. The curriculum is designed to provide a sound intellectual foundation for the pursuit of theoretical and applied research in administrative and policy studies. The program includes core courses in the following areas:

  • Public policy and public administration
  • Research methods
  • Statistical data analysis
  • Economic policy analysis
  • Political institutions and processes
  • Law and public policy

In addition to the core courses, students take courses in one of several concentration areas:

  • Public management in state and local government
  • Health policy
  • Urban policy
  • Criminal justice policy

Students can also develop an individualized concentration area in education policy, homeland security and environmental policy. These concentrations offer students the opportunity to build a tailored program of study within a broad area of scholarship. The range of core and affiliate faculty expertise from both campuses at VCU gives doctoral students considerable flexibility in designing their studies and research.

Students take a minimum of 36 credits, or 12 courses, in addition to any prerequisites that might be necessary. Seven of these courses are part of the core curriculum and five are concentration area courses. Required courses will generally be available on a late afternoon, evening or weekend schedule.

Course work in the Ph.D. program has a strong orientation toward research, both applied and theoretical. Where appropriate, course work may be linked to funded university projects or to external agency-based analytic work. Courses emphasize research, writing and presentation skills.

Prior to admission or during their first year, all students admitted to the program must have completed the following graduate-level courses (or the equivalent)

  • Research methods (equivalent of PADM 623)
  • Statistics (equivalent of PADM 624)
  • Public policy, economics or public administration/public management

Virginia Commonwealth University
College of Humanities and Sciences
L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
Center for Public Policy
Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration
P.O. Box 843061
Richmond, Virginia 23284-3061
Phone: (804) 828-6837
E-mail: wsgradvise@vcu.edu

Updated: 10/17/2011