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Department of Political Science
Program & Curriculum

The program requires forty-nine (49) credit hours: 13 courses (39 credit hours) and 10 dissertation hours. Students must take one-third of the credit hours required for the program at each campus, and faculty members from each campus serve on a student’s dissertation committee. The curriculum includes six required core courses, plus seven electives. The required core courses include Seminar in Public Administration, Seminar in Public Policy, Research Design, Quantitative Methods, Qualitative Methods and Professional Development Seminar Part I and II. Other methodology courses are strongly recommended. Students take additional, elective coursework in two field areas of their choice. See the Ph.D. director for additional course advising. 



All PhD candidates must take the following core courses. Full-time students can complete the core and track courses in 4 semesters. Courses designated POLI are at main campus; courses designated PUAD are at AUM.

  • POLI 8000 / PUAD 7000  Seminar in Public Administration (3) Nature of public administration as a field of study and different theoretical perspectives as reflected in current research.
  • POLI 8020 / PUAD 7020 Seminar in Public Policy (3) Advanced study of the nature of public policy development and implementation.
  • POLI 8010 Research Design & Analysis (Methodology I) (3) Development and testing of causal models in political and social science. Students will develop a complex research design under the close supervision of the instructor.
  • POLI 8130 / PUAD 7130 Quantitative Analysis (Methodology II) (3) In-depth analysis of the use of quantitative methods in political science research.
  • POLI 8120 Qualitative Analysis (Methodology III) (3) In-depth analysis of the use of qualitative methods in political science research.
  • POLI 8210 and 8220 Professional Development Seminar Part I (1) and Part II (2) Two-part class that introduces doctoral students to the academic profession.
  • POLI 8990 / PUAD 7992 Dissertation (3)Research related to writing the dissertation.


ELECTIVES (21 hours) 

Students choose 7 courses (21 credit hours) in two of the following fields of study:

  • American Politics & Policy
  • Applied Research
  • Community Planning
  • Election Administration
  • Global (IR/Comparative)
  • Nonprofit Organizations & Community Governance
  • Public Administration



The PhD program has six key programmatic student learning outcomes (SLOs). Students graduating from the Joint PhD Program in Public Administration and Public Policy will:

  1. Understand, analyze and critique the literature including current scholarship and its strengths and weaknesses in the relevant subfields of the political science, public policy and public administration disciplines (Literature)
  2. Understand and identify methodological approaches used to address disciplinary problems and questions (Methodology)
  3. Design and execute original research on contemporary disciplinary problems and questions, including connecting literature, theory and methodology (Original Contribution)
  4. Apply the most appropriate methodological approaches to advance understanding of a specific disciplinary problem or question (Analysis)
  5. Clearly and effectively communicate in written and verbal forms disciplinary material in the comprehensive examination, the dissertation prospectus and the dissertation (Communication)
  6. Model and display behavior consistent with professional norms and objectives (Professionalism)

These SLOs are comprehensive and commensurate with the expectations of similar and higher ranked doctoral programs in the disciplines of political science generally, and public administration and public policy more specifically.

Once the core and elective course hours are complete, remaining course hours needed will be transferred in from a related master’s degree. Ph.D. elective courses may be found in the AU course schedule on AU Access or AUM course schedule. A full listing of courses may be found in the AU Bulletin and AUM Graduate Catalog. Students, with the approval of their advisor, may also take electives in other departments depending on their chosen area of specialization.