Department of Political Science


The program requires forty-nine credit hours: thirteen courses (thirty-nine credit hours) and ten dissertation hours. Students must take one-third of the credit hours required for the program at each campus and faculty members from each campus are required to serve on a student’s dissertation committee. There are five required courses and eight electives.


The curriculum includes five core courses (Seminar in Public Administration, Seminar in Public Policy, Research Design, Quantitative Methods, and Qualitative Methods).  Other methodology courses are STRONGLY recommended. Students take additional coursework in public administration, public policy, and specialty areas. See the PhD director for additional course advising.



All PhD candidates must take the following core courses. Full-time students can complete the core and track courses in 4 semesters. Courses designated POLI are at main campus; courses designated PUAD are at AUM.


  • POLI 8000 / PUAD 7000   Seminar in Public Administration (3)

Nature of public administration as a field of study and different theoretical perspectives as reflected in current research.

  • POLI 8020 / PUAD 7020  Seminar in Public Policy (3)

Advanced study of the nature of public policy development and implementation.

  • POLI 8010  Research Design & Analysis (Methodology I) (3)

Development and testing of causal models in political and social science. Students will develop a complex research design under the close supervision of the instructor.

  • POLI 8130/ PUAD 7130  Quantitative Analysis (Methodology II) (3)

In-depth analysis of the use of quantitative methods in political science research.

  • POLI 8120  Qualitative Analysis (Methodology III) (3)

In-depth analysis of the use of qualitative methods in political science research.

  • POLI 8990/8996/ PUAD 7992  Dissertation (3)

Research related to writing the dissertation. Course may be repeated with change in topics.

POLI 8996 is the distance education version.


ELECTIVES (24 hours)

Please refer to PhD Program Handbook for a list of possible electives and courses for specialization areas.



The Ph.D. program has six newly adopted key programmatic SLOs required for assessment. For each, a short-hand name is given and corresponds to the column labels on the curriculum map (see Table 3). Students graduating from the Joint Ph.D. Program in Public Administration and Public Policy will:


1. Understand, analyze, and critique the literature including current scholarship and its strengths and weaknesses in the relevant subfields of the political science, public policy, and public administration disciplines (Literature);

2. Understand and identify methodological approaches used to address disciplinary problems and questions (Methodology);

3. Design and execute original research on contemporary disciplinary problems and questions, including connecting literature, theory, and methodology (Original Contribution);

4. Apply the most appropriate methodological approaches to advance understanding of a specific disciplinary problem or question (Analysis);

5. Clearly and effectively communicate in written and verbal forms disciplinary material in the comprehensive examination, the dissertation prospectus, and the dissertation (Communication);

6. Model and display behavior consistent with professional norms and objectives (Professionalism).

These SLOs are comprehensive and commensurate with the expectations of similar and higher ranked doctoral programs in the disciplines of political science generally, and public administration and public policy more specifically.


Once the core and elective course hours are complete, remaining course hours needed will be transferred in from a related master’s degree. Ph.D. elective courses may be found in the AU course schedule on AU Access or AUM course schedule. A full listing of courses may be found in the AU bulletin and AUM Graduate Catalog. Students, with the approval of their advisor, may also take electives in other departments depending on their chosen area of specialization.


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Last Updated: June 01, 2018