Urban and Public Affairs (PhD)
The PhD in Urban and Public Affairs is an interdisciplinary degree that prepares graduates for careers in teaching and research, policy analysis, public administration, land use and environmental planning, and economic development. Three field areas are offered: Public Administration, Urban Planning, and Sustainability.
Students are required to complete 60 credit hours of study, of which twelve (12) credit hours are dissertation research. Students must pass a qualifying examination before commencing formal dissertation work. Students should consult the Program Guidelines for details.
Waivers And Prerequisites
Students who have recently and satisfactorily completed equivalent courses elsewhere may request that up to twelve (12) credit hours of coursework count towards their 60 credit hours of required PhD classes. Students who are not prepared for advanced study or do not hold the prerequisites for a particular course will be required to complete remedial work. Such courses do not count toward degree credit. Students should consult the Program's Student Guide for details.
Dismissal and Academic Standing
Any student with a grade point standing below 3.0, or experiencing similar academic problems, will be placed on academic probation by the Graduate School. Students are ordinarily not permitted to continue on academic probation for more than one semester. Students not rectifying these academic problems after one semester will be recommended for dismissal. In addition, students receiving more than two grades below a B-minus in any graduate-level course (600 level or above) will be dismissed from the program. No grade below a C-minus will be counted towards the fulfillment of degree requirements. The Program Director will review the performance of students each semester to ensure students are making satisfactory progress. Students not making satisfactory progress are subject to dismissal from the program.
Students who do not complete all program requirements within four years of reaching doctoral candidacy status ordinarily will be dismissed from the program.
Qualifying (Comprehensive) Exam
To qualify for PhD candidacy, students must satisfactorily complete a Comprehensive (or Qualifying) Examination. Students must sit for this exam as soon as they are eligible. The Comprehensive (Qualifying) Examination is held in summer each year.
Consult with the Program Director and refer to the Program's Student Guide for details about the examination.
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Students must complete the Online Graduate Application for admission and submit all original documents required for admission to the Graduate School.
The recommended qualifications for admission to the Urban and Public Affairs doctoral program are as follows:
- Bachelor's degree with at least a 3.0 GPA (on 4.0 scale);
- Master's degree with at least a 3.5 GPA (on a 4.0 scale);
- GRE scores;
- All applicants for whom English is a second language must also submit official TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test, 213 or higher on the computer-based test. English proficiency can also be met by submitting official IELTS scores of at least 6.5 overall band score from the academic module exam or official Duolingo overall score of 105. Students holding a bachelor's or advanced degree from an accredited institution in the United States may be exempt from this requirement;
- A personal interview with members of the PhD Admissions Committee may be required for applicants not fully satisfying (normal) admissions requirements. Interviews will be conducted online.
Applications must include:
- All transcripts from all institutions attended;
- A statement of purpose of approximately 1000-1500 words, describing the students' background, research interests in Urban and Public Affairs, and intended career goals;
- At least two letters of recommendation (preferably from former professors).
The program gives preference to applicants who intend to study full-time and who can be supported with financial aid (i.e., a Graduate Research Assistantship or a Fellowship). A few (exceptionally qualified) part-time students may be admitted if they can demonstrate they have very flexible schedules, can attend daytime courses, and can fully participate in program and department functions.
Students should consult the Program's Student Guide for additional details and requirements.
Fall Admissions Deadline: July 15 (before February 1 for a University Fellowship or a Graduate Assistantship)
Spring Admissions Deadline: November 15
The PhD in Urban and Public Affairs consists of 60 credit hours.
|Urban Policy and Governance|
|Urban Theory and Public Affairs|
|Special Topics in Urban and Public Affairs (Advanced Urban Studies)|
UPA 691 Urban Experiential Learning
|Required Field Area Courses||9|
|Foundations of Public Administration|
|Introduction to Sustainability|
|Planning Theory and History|
|Required Methods Courses 1||9|
Qualitative Methods Course (3 Credit Hours)
Advanced Methods Course (3 Credit Hours)
|Field Area Courses||9|
|Public Budgeting and Finance|
or PADM 609
or PADM 609
|Urban Policy Analysis|
|Sustainability and the Natural Environment|
|Sustainable Development and Planning|
|Sustainable Social-Ecological Systems|
|Land Use and Planning Law|
|Urban Demography and GIS|
UPA Elective Course (3 Credit Hours)
Social Justice-Related Elective Course (3 Credit Hours)
|Minimum Total Hours||60|
After completing all required coursework, including twelve (12) credit hours of dissertation research, and passing the qualifying exam, each student is required to maintain continuous enrollment in DOCT 600 Doctoral Candidacy until they graduate.
The Department presents colloquia on a variety of urban-related topics 3-4 times per semester. PhD student attendance at these meetings is required.
Courses require approval of the Program Director.