Skip navigation Jump to navigation

PhD Program – Doctor of Philosophy in Public Administration

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program in Public Administration at Rutgers SPAA is a research degree. It trains students for careers as scholars, researchers, and teachers in the diverse and dynamic field of public management and administration.

Specifically, the Learning/Program Goals are:

  • The development and attainment of research, scholarship and teaching skills in the field of public administration
  • Conducting and producing original research
  • Professional career preparation

Through disciplined research, the PhD in Public Administration produces scholars who expand the knowledge base and problem-solving capacities of universities, independent research organizations, and government and nonprofit agencies. Such entities are routinely expected to conceptualize and carry out research relevant to the processes of acquiring human, fiscal and informational resources; utilizing those resources efficiently and effectively; and producing desired social and policy outcomes.

Rutgers SPAA is one of the top-ranked schools in public management and leadership and nonprofit management in the U.S., according to U.S. News & World Report. We have a widely published and internationally recognized core faculty, and our doctoral graduates are teaching and gaining tenure at dozens of universities throughout the United States and around the world. We are also proud that the Rutgers-Newark campus is one of the most diverse in the U.S., and that our PhD program contributes substantially to that diversity. We encourage applications from women and people of color, as well as international students.

Before enrolling, applicants must have received an MPA or other relevant master's degree (e.g., public policy, political science, sociology, law, education, public health, social work, etc.). Consideration of applications begins on February 1 for admission to the fall semester. Admissions decisions are not made for the spring semester. It is particularly important for applicants to have taken the GRE before submitting an application.

The PhD requires 48 credits of course work beyond the attainment of a relevant master’s degree and 24 dissertation research credits for a total of 72 credit hours. Up to 9 transfer credits from the master's degree are allowed. Most core curriculum classes meet on Monday through Thursday afternoons. Field courses and electives offered through other departments usually meet in the evenings. Students may also take elective offerings at other Rutgers campuses.


For course descriptions and prerequisites see Courses.