Twin Cities campus
 
Twin Cities Campus

Public Affairs, Ph.D.

HHH Administration
Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, 301 19th Avenue S, Minneapolis, MN 55455 (612-624-3800; fax: 612-626-0002)
  • Program Type: Doctorate
  • Requirements for this program are current for Spring 2018
  • Length of program in credits: 66
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
The doctor of philosophy (PhD) in public affairs offers students opportunities for rigorous, advanced study in the areas of public affairs, policy analysis, and planning. The goal of the PhD program is to train researchers who will enter academia or join highly respected public or nonprofit institutions involved in cutting edge research in public affairs, policy, planning, and management. Successful applicants to the program will be clear about the research they wish to undertake and why they think the Humphrey School is the best place to do that research. Students are expected to make original theoretical, methodological, or substantive contributions in the area of their specialization (sub-plans). Sub-plans are offered in public policy; urban planning; management and governance; and science, technology, and environmental policy. Students will be expected to complete the degree program within five years.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
The preferred undergraduate GPA for admittance to the program is 3.50.
Other requirements to be completed before admission:
The general requirement is the capability to pursue PhD-level work. Typically, an applicant should have an academic record from a recognized college that includes undergraduate coursework in microeconomics and mathematics (either calculus, statistics, or algebra).
Special Application Requirements:
A complete application will include a U of MN graduate application, a personal statement that includes motivation for pursuing doctoral studies, a resume or C.V., transcripts, GRE scores, a writing sample, TOEFL scores (if applicable), and at least three letters of recommendation.
Applicants must submit their test score(s) from the following:
  • GRE
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
  • TOEFL
    • Internet Based - Total Score: 100
    • Paper Based - Total Score: 600
  • IELTS
    • Total Score: 7.0
The preferred English language test is Test of English as Foreign Language.
Key to test abbreviations (GRE, TOEFL, IELTS).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
42 credits are required in the major.
24 thesis credits are required.
This program may be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses towards program requirements is not permitted.
A minimum GPA of 3.00 is required for students to remain in good standing.
At least 1 semesters must be completed before filing a Degree Program Form.
Practical teaching experience: Each candidate must complete training in pedagogy and a teaching experience as a course instructor or teaching assistant (TA) with instructional responsibilities. The pedagogical training may take place prior to or concurrent with the teaching experience. Evidence of English-speaking proficiency is required prior to the teaching experience. Dissertation requirement: Each candidate must complete original academic research and fulfill a dissertation requirement by completing either an academic thesis or three related academic papers that are judged by the student's committee to be of publishable quality.
Core Courses
Key concepts, literature, and research questions of public affairs. PA 8006 (1.5 credits) is taken two semesters for total of 3 credits.
PA 8003 - Integrative Doctoral Seminar in Public Affairs I (3.0 cr)
PA 8004 - Integrative Doctoral Seminar in Public Affairs II (3.0 cr)
PA 8005 - Doctoral Research Seminar in Public Affairs (3.0 cr)
PA 8006 - Current Research in Public Affairs: Topics, Approaches, and Cultures (1.5 cr)
Research Methods
Take 4 or more courses totaling 12 or more credits, including at least one course each in: research design, quantitative methods, and qualitative methods. Courses are chosen in consultation with advisor based on student's background and research interests. Students may use previous graduate-level coursework for up to three of the four methods courses (up to 9 credits) with approval of PhD program director.
Academic Sub-plan
Students are required to complete one of four sub-plans consisting of a minimum of 18 credits, as described below. Sub-plans offer students the opportunity for advanced, rigorous study in the theory, methods, and practice in their field. Students may use up to 18 credits of previous graduate-level coursework to fulfill sub-plan requirements.
Doctoral Thesis Credits
Take 24 or more credit(s) from the following:
· PA 8888 - Thesis Credit: Doctoral (1.0-24.0 cr)
Program Sub-plans
Students are required to complete one of the following sub-plans.
Students may not complete the program with more than one sub-plan.
Management and Governance
Required Courses
PA 8106 - Research Seminar in Management, Leadership & Governance (3.0 cr)
PA 5012 - The Politics of Public Affairs (3.0 cr)
Electives
12 credits in the area of public and nonprofit leadership and management. Courses are chosen in consultation with advisor based on student's background and research interests.
Public Policy
The public policy sub-plan is a self-designed set of topic-based courses (minimum 18 credits) determined by the student and advisor with the consent of the other faculty in the sub-plan area.
Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy
PA 8706 or PA 5711
PA 8706 - Interdisciplinary Research Seminar on Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (3.0 cr)
or PA 5711 - Science, Technology & Environmental Policy (3.0 cr)
PA 8707 or PA 5752
PA 8707 - Interdisciplinary Sustainability Systems Research Seminar (3.0 cr)
or PA 5752 - Material-Energy Flows for a Sustainable Society (3.0 cr)
Focus Group
PA 5721 - Energy and Environmental Policy (3.0 cr)
or PA 5723 - Water Policy (3.0 cr)
or PA 5724 - Climate Change Policy (3.0 cr)
or PA 5731 - Emerging Technologies and Society (3.0 cr)
or PA 5751 - Urban Infrastructure Systems for Sustainable and Healthy Cities (3.0 cr)
Environmental and Sustainability Systems
One course (at least 3 credits of coursework at the 8000-level, or advisor permission) providing depth in environmental and sustainability systems, such as: • Health & well-being, environmental psychology • Climate, environment and eco-system studies • Environmental economics, applied economics • Industrial ecology • Models, scenarios, risk, uncertainty, decision analysis Examples of courses offered in U of M departments related to these topics are available from faculty advisors.
Policy Process and Implementation
One course (at least 3 credits of coursework at the 8000-level, or advisor permission) providing depth in policy process and implementation, covering topics such as: •Law, regulations, science and innovation policy •Politics of public affairs •Urban environmental planning •Leadership and management •Global policy •Public finance, budgeting •Policy implementation and evaluation Examples of courses offered in U of M departments related to these topics are available from faculty advisors.
Additional electives (at least 3 credits) to be selected in consultation with your advisor.
Urban Planning
Required Courses
PA 8206 - Planning Theory (3.0 cr)
PA 5204 - Urban Spatial and Social Dynamics (3.0 cr)
Urban Planning Electives
Four additional courses, for at least 12 credits, to be determined by student and advisor. Students must demonstrate proficiency in GIS.
 
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PA 8003 - Integrative Doctoral Seminar in Public Affairs I
Credits: 3.0 [max 6.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Lays foundation for doctoral-level study of public affairs through introduction of key concepts, literature, research questions of public affairs. Critically examines paradigms/methodologies through readings, discussions, writing assignments, research presentations. Facilitates development of dissertation research ideas. prereq: Public Affairs doctoral student
PA 8004 - Integrative Doctoral Seminar in Public Affairs II
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
Continues PA 8003. Lays foundation for doctoral-level study of public affairs through introduction of key concepts, literature, research questions of public affairs. Critically examines paradigms/methodologies through readings, discussions, writing assignments, research presentations. Facilitates development of dissertation research ideas. prereq: Public Affairs doctoral student
PA 8005 - Doctoral Research Seminar in Public Affairs
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Prerequisites: Public Affairs doctoral student
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
Conduct of research, including ethics. Students develop and refine their research ideas. Facilitates development of dissertation research prospectus. prereq: Public Affairs doctoral student
PA 8006 - Current Research in Public Affairs: Topics, Approaches, and Cultures
Credits: 1.5 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: S-N only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Students participate in research seminars exploring current topics, approaches, and cultures in public affairs. Students responsible for discussion, presentation, and evaluation of research, including peer review of papers and presentations. Discussion of research ethics and skills, including literature reviews, research design, data visualization, public engagement, presentation, and project management.
PA 8888 - Thesis Credit: Doctoral
Credits: 1.0 -24.0 [max 100.0]
Grading Basis: No Grade
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Doctoral thesis credit. prereq: [Max 18 cr per semester or summer], 24 cr required
PA 8106 - Research Seminar in Management, Leadership & Governance
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Fall Even Year
This seminar provides an introduction to the research and theory of management, leadership, and governance within the public, nonprofit organizations, and cross-sector networks involved in public affairs. The course is team-taught by faculty in the Humphrey School’s Leadership & Management area, and focuses on the following research literature: democracy and governance (public participation, civic engagement, and public values); organizational theory and behavior; leadership and management practices (strategic management, financial management, and human resource management); policy and program design and implementation; and cross-boundary collaboration. prereq: inst consent
PA 5012 - The Politics of Public Affairs
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Stages of policy making from agenda setting to implementation. Role and behavior of political institutions, citizens, social movements, and interest groups. Concepts of political philosophy. Theories of state. Team taught, interdisciplinary course. Small discussion sections.
PA 8706 - Interdisciplinary Research Seminar on Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Foundational understanding of conducting research on social and policy processes concerning science, technology, and the environment. Key concepts, literature, and new and emerging research directions will be explored with the objective of developing individual research programs. prereq: Public Affairs Ph.D. student with STEP subplan
PA 5711 - Science, Technology & Environmental Policy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Interplay of science, technology, the environment, and society. Approaches from across the social sciences will cover how science and technology can create new environmental pressures as well as policy challenges in a range of spheres from climate change to systems of intellectual property and international development.
PA 8707 - Interdisciplinary Sustainability Systems Research Seminar
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: OPT No Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Sustainability from systems perspective. Explores what environmental sustainability, health, and well being mean for people and the planet; how these attributes are measured and prioritized by different stakeholders, and how different social-ecological and infrastructural systems transition toward improved health and sustainability outcomes.
PA 5752 - Material-Energy Flows for a Sustainable Society
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Material and energy flows in the context of: a) Economic and human development; b) Resource scarcity, renewability and recyclability; and c) As a source of environmental pollution. Inter-disciplinary approach, integrating core topics from environmental economics, industrial ecology, and human health risk assessment, in the context of public policy.
PA 5721 - Energy and Environmental Policy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Impact of energy production/consumption choices on environmental quality, sustainable development, and other economic/social goals. Emphasizes public policy choices for energy/environment, linkages between them. prereq: Grad or instr consent
PA 5723 - Water Policy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01827
Typically offered: Every Spring
Sociocultural, legal, economic, and environmental forces affecting supply/use of water by individuals, sectors, and governance institutions. Historical trends; water laws in United States and internationally. Institutional structures for managing water at federal, state, and local levels. Current water-related issues/policies. prereq: Grad student or instr consent
PA 5724 - Climate Change Policy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Existing and proposed approaches to mitigate and adapt to climate change through policies that cross scales of governance (from local to global) and impact a wide range of sectors. Exploration of climate change policy from a variety of disciplinary approaches and perspectives, emphasizing economic logic, ethical principles, and institutional feasibility. How policy can be shaped in the face of a variety of competing interests to achieve commonly desired outcomes. Students develop a deep knowledge of climate change in particular countries through a team final project. prereq: Intro microecon (such as Econ 1101 or equiv)
PA 5731 - Emerging Technologies and Society
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Legal, public policy, social, economic, and ethical implications of emerging technologies (such as nanotechnology). Perspective of stakeholders (federal agencies, public, industry, environment, international organizations) and public policies. Statutory objectives/regulatory. Diversity of policy problems. Research methodologies. prereq: Grad student or instr consent
PA 5751 - Urban Infrastructure Systems for Sustainable and Healthy Cities
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Summer
Study social actors, engineered infrastructures/natural systems as they, together, shape health/sustainability outcomes for cities. Understand role of infrastructure design, planning, policy in sustainable cities. Learn sustainability systems concepts, local-to-global linkages, inter-disciplinary, inter-cultural skills. prereq: Grad student or instr consent
PA 8206 - Planning Theory
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Prerequisites: Public Affairs Ph.D. student, urban planning subplan
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
An overview of the major theories that have shaped the field of urban and regional planning, including the analysis of theories related to the process and substance of urban planning. prereq: Public Affairs Ph.D. student, urban planning subplan
PA 5204 - Urban Spatial and Social Dynamics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Behavioral theories of internal spatial arrangement, functioning, characteristics of cities at macro level/how they produce system of cities. Factors influencing urban spatial structure over time. Urban form, land use/rent. Spatial expression of economic, social, political forces. prereq: urban/regional planning Major/minor in or public affairs PhD or instr consent