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School of Government and Public Policy: Graduate Programs

Overview: 

Our PhD Program is designed to train professionals in political science and public policy and management  for research and teaching careers in academic institutions. It is intentionally designed to provide broad and rigorous training in six major sub-fields including American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Public Policy and Management, Political Philosophy, and Methodology. Our graduates hold academic appointments at major research institutions and liberal arts colleges as well as prominent research positions in government and business.

Pursuing a PhD in Government and Public Policy allows students to work with nationally- and internationally-renowned faculty who bring academic and research excellence to the classroom. Additional opportunities for students include the International Studies Association,  the Consortium  Collaborative Governance with University of Southern California and University of Washington, and The Rombach Institute on Crime, Delinquency and and Corrections. Faculty in the School are active in attracting grants that support doctoral education.  Typically, SGPP PhD students receive teaching or research assistantships that include a stipend and tuition waiver. The School also supports travel for conference participation in addition to specialized training in methodology. 

Our Masters in Public Administration (MPA) program is designed to train professionals in leadership positions in the public and nonprofit sectors, as well as in private organizations which interact with government.  Additionally, the program trains leaders to conduct public policy research for legislatures.  The program combines curricular structure, physical facilities, and real-world fieldwork to foster the skills needed to foster the managerial skills needed to meet today’s greater demands for accountability and effectiveness from public and nonprofit organizations. After completing the rigorous core curriculum, students can specialize in Criminal Justice and Comparative Securities, Health and Human Services, Natural Resources or Non-profit and Local Government.  A required four hundred hour internship completes the program and gives students real –world professional experience thus preparing them for the challenges of today’s public leadership positions.

Our students work in public leadership roles at the local, state and federal level as well as for leading health care companies, national policy research and local and state natural resource areas.

The School of Government and Public Policy participates in two joint degree programs that uniquely position graduates for positions in a variety of public, private, and nonprofit organizations. These programs/degrees are: The Master of Public Administration/Juris Doctor and the Master of Public Administration/Master of Arts in Latin American Studies.  

Expected Learning Outcomes: 

Outcomes PhD Students


  • Demonstrate mastery of the scholarly research within the student’s area of study
  • Demonstrate advanced competency in research methods and statistics
  • Develop the skills necessary to conduct independent and innovative research
  • Develop the skills to be high-quality teachers
  • Develop the expertise necessary to evaluate research within the student’s area of study

Outcomes: MPA Students

  • Demonstrate ability to use and analyze statics and economic forecast in order to make effective management decisions.
  • Ability to effectively evaluate public and nonprofit programs.
  • Ability to analyze local and national public budgets.
  • Exhibit a solid understanding of organizational theory as it relate to the public sector.
  • Sound understanding of the intersection and effective of politics on public policy and management.
  • Demonstrated competency utilizing both written and verbal communication techniques.
Assessment Activities: 

Annual Student Review

Each spring, the faculty meet to discuss each PhD student’s individual progress in the program. Feedback is solicited from the student’s advisor and the faculty who have experience working with the student. The faculty consider the student’s research progress, coursework, performance as a teaching or research assistant, and performance as an instructor. This evaluation is summarized by the Graduate Director with the help of the Graduate Committee and it is then provided to the student. The School has benchmarks for satisfactory progress that are necessary to maintain funding, and the annual review ensures that the expectations of the School are being met.

Academic Milestones

The School uses PhD exams, prospectus defenses, and dissertation defenses to ensure that students are acquiring the skills necessary for successful careers in academia.

Updated date: Thu, 12/09/2010 - 15:45