Doctoral Degree in Public Policy and Public Administration

Doctoral degree programs in public policy and public administration prepare you for jobs that shape the way governments, non-profit organizations and public entities affect society. Learn about program options, and read on to find out what subjects you'll study and what your career options are after graduation. Schools offering Public Administration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Public Policy and Public Administration Doctoral Degree Programs Are There?

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs exist in both public policy and public administration. You can also find programs that combine the two specialties, and most programs offer courses in both policy and administration. Many academic programs are geared towards professionals with education and experience, but a bachelor's degree can get you into some programs.

A Master of Public Policy degree usually fulfills all of the prerequisites of a doctoral degree program in the same area; you can also take remedial courses that help you meet admissions requirements. Class attendance and regular meetings with advisors and mentors are usually a large part of the program, making online learning options difficult to find.

Degree Options Ph.D. in public policy, Ph.D. in public administration
Skills Learned Quantitative and qualitative research methods, how to analyze results
Career Options Professors, researchers, superintendents, health planners, energy policy researchers
Median Salary (2018)$117,570 (political scientists)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)3% growth (political scientists)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Will I Study?

Many programs allow you to study a range of topics, including education, health, social or science policy. Common concentration areas include management, finance, risk assessment and international development. You take foundational courses that discuss public administration theories, public policy evaluation methods, leadership roles and economic influences.

Research and field work are a big part of these doctoral programs. You learn quantitative and qualitative research methods and how to analyze and process results. You'll be expected to produce new and original insight into a public policy and administration issue in your field of specialty. This work is generally used to complete your dissertation, which must present a thorough discussion of a public policy and public administration subject.

What Can I Do With the Degree?

The academic and research focus of a doctoral program in public policy and administration gives you the experience and insight you need to move into influential positions in research organizations and governmental, non-profit and academic institutions. You will be able to use your understanding of public policy issues and theories to analyze data and inform policy and administrative debates in a variety of positions.

Graduates hold positions in academia as professors, researchers and superintendents. Others run non-profit organizations or serve as health planners, energy policy researchers or project managers. Government jobs open to you include those in public policy advising, analysis or planning.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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