Year One: core curriculum and qualifying exam
The Ph.D. Program Plan of Study form must be completed by the student in consultation with his or her academic advisor, approved by the advisor and the Ph.D. program director, and submitted to the SPPA academic administration office (184 Graham Hall) no later than the end of the second semester of study. This plan of study should be reviewed each semester and updated as necessary; each update must be re-approved and re-submitted to SPPA. Students should consult with the Ph.D. program director about possible course waivers or substitutions.
- UAPP822 – Proseminar in Governance, Planning & Policy (3 credits)
- UAPP830 – Proseminar in Public Management & Leadership (3 credits)
- UAPP801 – Processes of Social Inquiry (3 credits)
- UAPP861 – Academic & Professional Development for Doctoral Students (1 credit)
Research Design and Methods Requirements (6+ credits)
Upon admission, students are expected to have knowledge of statistics at the level of UAPP691 – Quantitative Analysis in Public & Nonprofit Sectors; those without such knowledge should enroll in UAPP691.
Unless granted a waiver for prior graduate work, all doctoral students should enroll in UAPP702 – Research Methods in Urban & Public Policy and UAPP808 – Qualitative Methods. In addition, students must take additional coursework in research methods as appropriate to their research plan and the advice of the student's academic advisor.
The qualifying exam is administered after the first year of full-time study and the completion of the core curriculum.
Year Two: development and approval of doctoral dissertation proposal
The central requirement of the second year of doctoral study is the development and approval of the doctoral dissertation proposal. Students should enter the second year with a preliminary design based on the work completed in UAPP801 and additional refinements over the summer.
All students must register for UAPP863 – Doctoral Dissertation Proposal in the fall semester of the second year. All doctoral students enrolled in UAPP863 will participate in a dissertation proposal workshop that will continue in the spring semester through enrollment in UAPP865 – Doctoral Dissertation Workshop.
The student’s prospective doctoral dissertation supervisor (who will become the chair of the doctoral dissertation committee) should be identified as early as possible in the second year of study. The doctoral dissertation supervisor must hold a faculty appointment in the School of Public Policy & Administration.
Coursework in support of the doctoral dissertation proposal
All coursework selected in the second year should be in support of the development of the doctoral dissertation proposal. Before the start of the third year of full-time study, students should formally defend their doctoral dissertation proposals for their full dissertation committees.
Entry into official candidacy for the Ph.D. degree occurs after the dissertation proposal has been successfully defended and approved. To accomplish this, student should obtain the Recommendation for Candidacy for Doctoral Degree form from the SPPA academic administration office (184 Graham Hall) prior to their defense, and then obtain the signatures of committee members on this form upon the successful defense of their proposal. The completed form must then be submitted to the SPPA academic administration office. Once the dissertation proposal is approved, final grades are submitted for UAPP863 and UAPP865.
The committee must be composed of at least four and no more than six members. The committee chair and at least one other member must hold faculty appointments in the School of Public Policy &Administration. In close consultation with the faculty member who will be the chairperson of the committee, the student then identifies the remaining members of the dissertation proposal committee. Each dissertation committee must have one individual from outside of SPPA: from another academic department of the university or from outside the university.
Year Three: dissertation research and and teaching experience
Doctoral dissertation research
The defended proposal must be approved by the beginning of the fall semester of the third year in order for the student to enter doctoral candidacy and to register for the required 9 credits of doctoral dissertation research in the fall semester of the third year. After registering for these 9 credits, doctoral candidates may then enter sustaining status in the spring semester of the third year.
The focus of the third year is on carrying out the approved research design. The typical benchmark for the end of the third year is the completion of the conceptualization, data acquisition, and analysis approved in the dissertation proposal. At the end of the third year, this work should be completed. During the third year, portions of the dissertation manuscript (such as the problem statement, conceptualization, and literature review) should be drafted on a timetable agreed upon with the chair of the student’s dissertation committee.
Teaching and research experience
Because students are typically engaged in their doctoral research, the third year of study is an appropriate time for doctoral students to fulfill the teaching and research requirements.
Year Four: dissertation completion
The fourth year of study should be devoted to completing the doctoral dissertation. Drafting the full dissertation manuscript is a formidable task and typically involves multiple revisions of chapters. Students should plan to submit a full draft of the manuscript to the dissertation committee chair for review by the end of the fall semester of the fourth year. The chair will advise the student on when the manuscript should be reviewed by other members of the committee, but in all cases, the members of the committee must have the opportunity to review and comment on a draft of the dissertation prior to the formal defense.
The formal defense should be scheduled by March of the fourth year of full-time study in order to enable the student to make any necessary revisions prior to submitting the final manuscript for graduation in May of the fourth year.
The defense of a doctoral dissertation is a formal public event. The chair of each committee and the doctoral student must coordinate with Linda Boyd on the scheduling and public announcement of the dissertation defense.
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