The mission of the Doctor of Public Administration Program is to advance the education of experienced practitioners interested in improving their understanding of public management and public policy. These individuals can make a significant contribution, bridging the worlds of practice and scholarship by developing a capacity to bring experience from the practitioner community to the scholarly community and translate the contributions of the scholarly community into the world of the practitioners.
A cohort of up to 15 students will be admitted to the program in the fall once every two years, although the first cohort will be admitted in a spring semester. Based on levels of interest expressed to this point, we anticipate many more applicants than we will be able to accommodate in the early cohorts. Students will be asked to submit an application portfolio in addition to the application for graduate admission to UIS. That portfolio must include an educational and professional goals statement of at least 600 words written by the applicant, three letters of recommendation, at least one sample of professional writing that was written solely by the applicant, and evidence of significant work experience in a public affairs field. Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to submit GRE scores as part of their portfolios. Those scores can provide useful information about an applicant's readiness for program coursework. There are no individual course prerequisites.
Once the applications are received, there will be a two-tiered review process. In the first step, the director and associate director of the DPA program will screen applications to select those which will be given further consideration. To be eligible for further consideration, the application portfolio must include:
The second tier of the review process will involve all members of the DPA Program Committee reviewing those applications identified during the first tier of the process. Each applicant who wishes to be considered for a seat in the cohort must be available for an interview with the Program Committee. Fifteen students per cohort will be selected from those applicants based on:
Students must submit application materials by March 15 for admission to the cohort that will start in the fall semester.
A doctoral program faculty adviser will be assigned at the time a student is admitted to the DPA program. The adviser will assist the student in creating a formal plan of study. The student's adviser must also approve all electives and the appropriate quantitative methods course the student will take. The adviser will provide a formative written evaluation of the student's progress during the first year of course work and will assist in the preparation and grading of the student's qualifying exams at the end of the core courses. The student may choose to switch advisers at the dissertation stage to work with someone who has expertise in a particular subfield.
Each student must complete at least 40 hours of course work, plus a minimum of 12 hours of dissertation credit. Students may petition for up to 12 hours of transfer credit for post-master's graduate work deemed appropriate for the DPA. All students are required to complete all courses with a grade of B or better in each course.
Core Courses (20 hours)
DPA 651 Conduct of Inquiry and Theoretical Foundations of the Field
DPA 652 Public Management
DPA 653 Public Policy
DPA 654 Research Design
DPA 655 Research Design Practicum
Electives (20 hours)
Students must complete 20 hours of elective course work chosen from a menu of 500-level courses in public management or public policy approved by the doctoral program faculty. One elective must be a quantitative analysis course selected with the approval of the student's adviser. On admission, each student's level of preparation in this area will be assessed. Based on that assessment, the adviser will direct the student toward an appropriate 500-level quantitative analysis course to ensure that the student has at least the minimum level of competence required.
After the student completes the five DPA core courses, he or she will be required to complete a qualifying exam to demonstrate competence in the required core fields. The exam contains both oral and written components and will be administered and evaluated by a committee of three faculty members chosen from among those faculty who have taught core courses. Students who have not passed the qualifying exam with a grade of B or better after two attempts will be dropped from the doctoral program.
Dissertation Work (a minimum of 12 hours)
After successful completion of the qualifying exam and the 20 hours of elective course work, the student is officially admitted to candidacy and may begin working on a dissertation proposal. Each student's adviser will assist with selection of the dissertation committee from among the graduate faculty of the university. A written dissertation proposal must be formally approved by the student's dissertation committee before dissertation work proceeds. Students must complete 12 hours of dissertation credit (PAD 690). University policy requires that a student who has been admitted to candidacy must be continuously enrolled in at least one semester hour of dissertation course work each fall and spring until the dissertation is completed, defended, and accepted. An oral examination on the dissertation will be conducted by the dissertation committee. The dissertation adviser will chair the oral dissertation defense, which will be open to the campus community.