SPEA’s doctoral programs in public affairs will equip you with research and analytical skills to produce knowledge that helps address the complex problems facing society. You’ll be prepared to lead for the greater good, whether in academia or as a practitioner.
Ph.D. in Public Affairs
Ranked as high as #1 among Public Affairs Ph.D. Programs by the National Research Council
for research among global competitors by the Center for World University Rankings
Our public affairs curriculum prepares you to analyze problems and find solutions for the public and nonprofit sectors, drawing from the fields of public management, public finance, public policy analysis, and environmental policy. Our curriculum and training are firmly grounded in the social sciences, but we draw our research questions from real-world public affairs and policy issues.
The Ph.D. in Public Affairs program builds on the unique strengths of SPEA’s interdisciplinary faculty and research programs which have earned wide recognition from peer institutions, national and international agencies, and professional groups.
If you have questions or we can provide more information, contact us directly, whether about SPEA or life in the amazing college town that is Bloomington.
The Ph.D. in Public Affairs requires 90 credit hours of advanced study beyond the baccalaureate. Students completing a Master of Public Affairs or similar degree may be allowed to transfer up to 30 credit hours of graduate coursework if approved by their Progress Review Committee.
- Core Requirements
As a Ph.D. student, you’ll take seven classes in the first year that represent the “core” of what a Ph.D. in public affairs should know, regardless of the specialized research field you pursue. These include courses in: Econometrics, Policy Process, Research Design, Micro-Economics, Organizational Behavior/Theory, and Professional Development. At the end of the first year, you must pass a qualifying exam, demonstrating proficiency in material from these courses, before moving on to study in your major field.
- Required Research Skills
In addition to core courses, and those required for major and minor fields, you must also demonstrate:
- Advanced proficiency in quantitative/qualitative analysis or specialized research skills by completing two additional approved courses, or
- Proficiency in an approved language appropriate to the your area of study
Major fields of study
To prepare for qualifying examinations, you’ll select one of the four major fields outlined below and complete required courses and approved electives.
To further refine your expertise, you are required to choose one minor according to your research interests. You may pick a minor offered by SPEA or an external minor offered by another school at IU.
- Available Minors
- Environmental Studies
- Health Policy
- Nonprofit Management
- Public Management
- Regional Economic Development
- Urban Affairs
- External minors negotiated between the student and their committee. Examples from past students include:
- Political Science
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
- Philanthropic Studies at IUPUI
IU faculty have been awarded every major national and international prize including the Nobel, Pulitzer, Oscar, and Emmy Awards, as well as major research grants from the National Science Foundation, Ford, Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and MacArthur Foundations. In 2009, IU Distinguished Professor Elinor Ostrom became the first female recipient of the Nobel Prize for Economics.