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PhD Program – Doctor of Philosophy in Public Administration

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 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 affairs and administration.

Specifically, the Learning/Program Goals are:

  • To advance students' research and analytical proficiency, empowering them to excel in advanced research methodologies and make significant contributions to public administration and their respective research sub-fields
  • To foster a comprehensive understanding of theoretical frameworks and conceptual insights, equipping students with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in public administration and their respective research sub-fields
  • To cultivate effective teaching skills and strategies among students, allowing them to excel as educators, mentors, and communicators in academia and other educational and research settings
  • To develop the knowledge, techniques, and critical thinking skills essential for students to excel in their respective research sub-fields through effective professional preparation focusing on research careers in public administration

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.

Program Quick Facts

  • Credits: 60 (48 course work / 12 dissertation research)
  • Application Deadline: Jan. 10
  • Funding: Limited assistantships (Research Assistantships (RAs) and Teaching Assistantships (TAs)) are available. Students receiving assistantships are provided tuition remission, comprehensive health insurance, and a generous 9-month stipend. Funding is provided for up to 5 years. 
  • PhD Program Director: Yahong Zhang, PhD

Rutgers SPAA is a top-ranked Public Affairs school, according to U.S. News & World Report. We have a widely published and internationally recognized 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.


The PhD requires 48 credits of course work beyond the attainment of a relevant master’s degree and 12 dissertation research credits for a total of 60 credit hours. Up to 9 transfer credits from the master's degree are allowed. Most core and elective curriculum classes meet on Monday through Friday afternoons. Some electives may meet in the evenings. Students are permitted to take elective offerings in other Rutgers departments as well as on other Rutgers campuses.

For course descriptions and prerequisites see Courses.


To Apply / Admission Requirements

For admission requirements and application information and deadlines see Apply Now.


Academic Policies, Procedures & Forms

For PhD program information such as the student handbook, learning goals, dissertation policies, and advisement forms, see Academic Policies, Procedures & Forms.


PhD Dissertations, Job Placements & Fellowship Awardees

For more information on PhD dissertation topics and committees and positions see PhD Dissertations, Job Placements & Fellowship Awardees.


PhD Alumni

See the PhD Alumni Directory for a listing of PhD alumni and SPAA Alumni Highlights for information on SPAA PhD alumni activities.


PhD Student Highlights

To learn more about PhD student achievements see SPAA Student Highlights.


For More Information

To learn more, Request Information or Join a SPAA Info SessionIf you have questions about a program or the application process, contact Aaron Gibbs, associate dean of student and academic services, at