Ph.D. in Public Administration

Ph.D. Mission Statement

The Ph.D. program has an urban management focus as well as other areas of concentrations.  Students are required to master a body of knowledge that centers around the public management aspects of urban problems; urban minorities; urban development (both past and present); and analysis of social systems.  The program is designed to prepare persons for careers in executive management, teaching, research, and other positions of public and non-profit responsibility.  Concomitantly, this degree program emphasizes the acquisition of a knowledge base in the discipline of public administration with an emphasis on policy making, planning, analysis, evaluation and program implementation.  In addition to the urban concentration, students will select a concentration in program management, policy analysis and environmental management, planning, and policy.  This degree is especially appropriate for persons in public, non-profit and “quasi-public” management settings.


Ph.D. Admission Requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy in Public Administration degree is one which demands sound conceptual and analytical abilities. A solid educational foundation and substantial academic and professional achievements are among the criteria upon which applications for admissions are evaluated.  Specific prerequisites for admission are submission of:

1.         A graduate-level degree from an accredited institution with a grade point average  of 3.5 or better as evidenced by an official transcript.

2.         GRE (verbal and quantitative), MAT or GMAT score.

3.         Three letters of recommendation.

4.         A statement of professional goals.

5.         Two samples of academic or professional writing.

6.         For international students a minimum score of 550 on the paper-based or 69 on IBT TOEFL test, 6.5 on IELTS test and 53 on PTE-A test.

7.         A personal and/or telephone interview may be required.

8.         Other considerations such as work or life experiences which are directly related to potential successful completion of the program may also be factored into the admission review.

Admission to the Ph. D. Program is granted once per annum for the Fall semester. The application deadline is March 1st. The Admissions Committee reviews candidates’ credentials including the following criteria: GPA, letters of recommendation, writing samples, statement of professional goals, test scores (GRE, GMAT or MAT) and work experience. Should a candidate fall below the 3.5 minimum GPA, three alternative admission tracks are possible. Regardless of the track employed, each criterion must meet acceptable standards as reviewed by the Departmental Admission’s Committee. (Please see the Jackson State University Graduate Catalog for additional information regarding alternative admissions tracks for the Ph.D. Program.)


Admission Information for Graduate Students:

Division of Graduate Studies Application Form:

Ph.D. Program Application Form: Ph.D. Application


Ph.D. Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. Program in Public Administration is a 60 credit hour program. In order to graduate students are required to successfully complete the following steps:

  1. 48 hours of course work
  2. Passage of qualifying examination
  3. Passage of comprehensive examination
  4. Defense of Ph.D.  Dissertation Proposal
  5. Completion and defense of Dissertation

Course work

A minimum of 48 semester hours above the Master’s degree, plus 12 hours in dissertation credits is required to complete coursework for the Ph.D. Program.  The 48 semester hours are divided as follows:

  • 24 hours of public administration core courses
  • 12 hours of urban management concentration courses
  • 12 hours of elective concentration courses

Qualifying Examination

      A qualifying examination must be taken by students by the completion of 18 hours of course work. This examination will determine the feasibility of a student continuing pursuit of the doctoral degree in Public Administration.  Students who do not pass the qualifying examination will be asked to exit the program.

Comprehensive Examination

A comprehensive examination will be administered by the graduate faculty upon completion of course work and before the submission of a dissertation proposal. The intent of the exam is to measure each student’s knowledge of the foundations of public policy and administration. Students are expected to demonstrate critical thinking skills by analyzing, synthesizing, evaluating and integrating information in the discipline.

Dissertation (12 hours)

Upon completion of course work and passing the comprehensive examination, students will select a dissertation chair, and with the advice of chair, will select a dissertation committee. To be awarded the Doctor of Philosophy in Public Administration degree, the candidate will be required to present and have approved a dissertation based on a pertinent research problem generally in his/her area of specialization and pass an oral examination in defense of the research. The student’s plan for independent research will be developed with the assistance and active participation of the student’s dissertation committee. The dissertation must demonstrate the student’s competency in scholarly applied research.

More information about the Ph.D. Program can be found in the PhD Manual.