UNT’s Ph.D. in Public Administration and Management emphasizes the development of new knowledge through research and theoretical inquiry.

The Department of Public Administration at the University of North Texas offers a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) in Public Administration and Management, in addition to the nationally ranked Master of Public Administration. The program admits a selective number of students (8 to 10) each Fall semester. The program is full-time and on-campus, which prioritizes collaboration with faculty and optimizes students’ research and academic career success.

Students are trained for research-oriented scholarly careers in the field of public administration with specializations in urban management, nonprofit management, public financial management and emergency management.

Both faculty and students benefit from access to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, which presents a superb laboratory for research into the complex and compelling issues facing the public today. Our collegial and distinguished faculty have established research agendas, excellent reputations, and a collaborative spirit that provides a strong foundation for students who want to become the academic leaders and scholars of the future.

Please peruse the web pages for our PhD Program, and do not hesitate to get in touch with the PhD Program Coordinator or any of the faculty in the Department of Public Administration.

Thank you for your interest in the PhD at UNT!

PHD Admissions

Admission to the Ph.D. program is a two-tiered process that requires applicants to make simultaneous application to the Toulouse School of Graduate Studies and the Department of Public Administration's Ph.D program. Students must first be admitted to the Toulouse Graduate School. Once admitted, students must then receive admission to the department's Ph.D program.

Students are strongly encouraged to complete the application process by January 15th of each year. Students can apply after this deadline, but doing so reduces access to financial assistance and the cohort entering in the Fall semester of each year is limited.

Admission Process and Requirements:

  1. Apply for admission to the Toulouse Graduate School (hereafter TGS) (www.tsgs.unt.edu):
    • Submit TGS application forms and pay associated fees.
    • Submit transcripts from all universities/colleges attended.
    • Meet minimum GPA requirements of TGS.
    • Submit complete GRE scores to the TGS.
    • Submit TOEFEL scores to TGS (international students only).
  2. Apply for admission to the PhD program in the Department of Public Administration. You may email the following documents to PhD.padm@unt.edu:
    • Submit department application form.
    • Submit three letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant's ability to complete doctoral-level studies and complete a dissertation. We prefer these be written on institutional letterhead and signed.
    • Submit a sole-authored academic writing sample of no more than 5000 words.
    • Submit a Statement of Purpose (saved in a separate file:PDF or MS-Word).
    • Submit a current CV or resume.
    • Suggested submission date: January 15th. Applications are accepted after this date.

The Department will review the portfolio of materials above to inform the admissions decision. Admission to the Ph.D. program is based on an assessment of the applicant's academic ability and potential to meet the demands of a doctoral program. Criteria include, but are not limited to, the student's cumulative academic performance and potential as indicated by the quality of the student's undergraduate preparation for advanced study; the quality of their master's degree level of study; commitment to the study of public administration; potential to contribute significantly to the field of public administration through research, teaching, and service; and the extent to which the applicant's interests and professional goals correspond to those offered by the program and the faculty.

There are two categories of admission to the program: unconditional and conditional admissions. First, an applicant may receive unconditional admission to the program if the portfolio provides evidence that the applicant is highly likely to complete all requirements of the Ph.D program. Unconditional admission is available to students who have completed an MPA degree or the core MPA competencies as established by NASPAA. If an applicant has not completed an MPA, but is otherwise qualified, then the applicant may obtain a conditional admission. Students accepted into the program under conditional admission must complete leveling coursework. In most cases, leveling coursework constitutes 12 to 24 hours of coursework to be completed before beginning doctoral seminars in the department.

Recent graduates are employed as:

  • Professor
  • Analyst
  • Public Sector Specialist, Public Sector and Governance, Africa Region
  • Education Director
  • Senior Investment Operations/Senior Analyst

Recent graduates are employed by:

  • The World Bank, Washington, D.C.
  • Mississippi State University, MS
  • Incheon Development Institute, South Korea
  • Andrew Young School of Public Policy, Georgia State University
  • University of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico

Scholarships & more

The Department of Public Administration in UNT’s College of Health and Public Service offers about $100,000 in scholarships and research assistantships each year, including:

  • Lynn F. Anderson Fellowship
  • Clarence E. Ridley Scholarship
  • E. Ray Griffin Scholarship

Your Academic Advisor

Graduate students are advised by department faculty. Program coordinator Hee Soun Jang, Ph.D. can help connect you with potential faculty advisors based on your unique interests.

Hee Soun Jang, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Ph.D. and MPA Program Coordinator
  Chilton 204B
Hee Soun Jang, Ph.D.

PhD Degree Requirements

The PhD in Public Administration and Management will prepare you to successfully compete on the academic job market, and to excel in careers that require advanced academic studies in public administration and the methodological approaches to its investigation.

To achieve this, you will be required to undertake rigorous studies in public administration, in one of four minor fields, and in social science methodology.  You will do this through a combination of seminars and traditional style courses, as well as through directed studies and research with faculty members.

The four possible minor fields that you can choose from are:

  1. Urban Management
  2. Financial Management
  3. Nonprofit Management
  4. Emergency Management

Before you start the 60-hour program of study, you must either:

  • have already completed courses required for the MPA degree OR
  • take courses (determined by PhD Program Coordinator) to obtain mastery of core MPA competencies.

Your PhD Program will proceed like this:

  • In the first year, you will delve deeply into the theoretical and methodological foundations of studies in public administration.
  • In year two, you will explore your chosen minor field via both coursework and research.
  • In the third year of study, you will complete your final coursework in your minor field, and you will complete qualifying exams and a defense of your dissertation proposal.
  • During the fourth year, your time will be dedicated to completion of your dissertation research.

You will need to complete five main components in the PhD Program of Study:

  1. Major Field Requirements (12 credit hours): The Major Field/Core includes four doctoral seminars that are foundational to the study of public administration and management. The following courses are required and constitute the knowledge base for the major field component of the qualifying exam.
    • PADM 6010. Introduction to the Study of Public Administration
    • PADM 6015. Public Organization Theory and Research
    • PADM 6025. Institutional Context of Public Administration
    • PADM 6110. Public Management
  2. Research Methods (12 credit hours): The doctoral program emphasizes the development of research skills that include statistical analysis and other methods appropriate for a student’s field of study. The following courses are required as specified.PADM 6035. Social Science Inquiry. (required of all students).
    • PADM 5510. Administrative Methods II.  Graduates of UNT’s MPA program cannot use these hours on their degree plan. As a substitute, they must take two electives from the list in Section 2d below.
    • One of the following courses in advanced regression: SOCI 6200 (Multivariate Regression), PSCI 6320, BUSI 6220, BUSI 6240, ECON 5640
    • One of the following courses as a research tool elective.
      • Quantitative Methods (Statistics)
        1. PSCI courses: 6340
        2. SOCI courses: 6200 (Structural Equation Models)
        3. BUSI courses: 6280
        4. DSCI courses: 5220, 5230, 5250, 5310
        5. ECON courses: 5645, 5650, 5655, 5660, 5670
      • Qualitative Methods
        1. PADM 6710 (Field Research Methods)
        2. SOCI 6900 (Qualitative Research Methods)
        3. SCBS 6170 at UNT-HSC.
        4. JOUR 5260
        5. ANTH 5031, 5110
      • Geographic Methods: PADM 6710, GEOG 5110, GEOG 5130, GEOG 5190 
        1. Minor field (15 credit hours): Four specializations or minor fields of study are available. Students are required to select one and only one minor field. 
          • Emergency Management
            1. Required courses
              • PADM 5610
              • PADM 5700 (Homeland Security)
              • PADM 5700 (Challenges of Disaster Response)
            2. Six (6) hours of electives to be determined in consultation with your major professor and advisory committee. 
          • Financial Management
            1. Required courses
              • PADM 5430
              • PADM 5700 (New Regionalism)
              • PADM 6400 (Public Financial Policy and Administration)
            2. Six (6) hours of electives to be determined in consultation with your major professor and advisory committee.
            3. Students with an insufficient background may be required to take PADM 5400/5420. 
          • Nonprofit Management
            1. Required courses
              • PADM 5040
              • PADM 5700 (Fund Development for NPOs)
              • PADM 5700 (Topics in Nonprofit Mgmt)
            2. Six (6) hours of electives to be determined in consultation with your major professor and advisory committee. 
              • Urban Management
                1. Required courses
                  • PADM 5100
                  • PADM 5300
                  • PADM 5310
                2. Six (6) hours of electives to be determined in consultation with your major professor and advisory committee. 
  3. Non-dissertation research (12 hours): These are applied research hours designed to produce publishable scholarly work, dissertation proposal, and grants.
    • PADM 6700.  Research practicum in which students assist faculty on research projects and complete professionalization activities.
    • PADM 6700.  Research practicum in which students produce a defensible manuscript in collaboration with faculty. It is expected that the student would be the first author or major contributor when manuscript is submitted for publication. Students will also complete professionalization activities.
    • PADM 6700.  Research practicum in which students produce a dissertation proposal and grant proposal for research funding.
    • PADM 6940.  Directed research in public administration. All students are required to take 3 hours of PADM 6940 in the Fall semester of the third year with his or her dissertation chair or field exam chair. The course should be a readings course to help the student prepare for the field exams and dissertation proposal.
  4. Dissertation hours (9 hours minimum).  Students must complete 9 hours of dissertation research. Students are eligible to register for dissertation hours once they have completed the core and field exam process.

In addition to the courses in the Program, you will be required to successfully complete three exams as part of the Program of Study:

  1. The Core Comprehensive Exam is a multi-day exam that explores all aspects of the Core Courses outlined in Section 1: Major Field above.
  2. The Field Exam is a multi-day exam that explores all the field courses you will take as outlined in Section 3: Minor Field above.

If you have questions about this Program of Study, or any other aspects of the PhD in Public Administration and Management, please feel free to contact the PhD Program Coordinator via email at PhD.padm@unt.edu.

For the Public Administration and Management, PhD program description: UNT Graduate Catalog

PhD Financial Support

The Department of Public Administration at the University of North Texas is excited and proud to announce that it is seeking three well-qualified applicants for the Newell Fellows program to begin in Fall 2019.

Newell Fellows work toward their PhD in Public Administration while completing important research projects with the department’s world-class faculty and assisting with course instruction. 

This exciting program is named for a renowned scholar in the field and former UNT professor, Charldean Newell. It provides financial support for the tuition and fees associated with attending the PhD program full time and a stipend for living costs. 

Newell Fellows are selected on a competitive basis in the Spring of each year from among applicants who will start the PhD program the following Fall semester. Applications should be submitted by February 1, and must include GRE scores. 

This is an exciting time to earn a PhD at UNT, and we would be happy to discuss how a Newell Fellowship could help make that a reality for you!  Please feel free to contact us for more information.

Please stop by or call:
Department of Public Administration
University of North Texas
Chilton Hall Rooom 204
Or reach us by mail:
Department of Public Administration
University of North Texas
1155 Union Circle 310617
Denton, TX 76203

Or email your interest and questions to us:  phd.padm@unt.edu

The Department of Public Administration partners with the Toulouse Graduate School and the College of Health and Public Service (HPS) to support the Newell Fellows program each year.

Major funding for the programs is also provided by the Graduate School and allocated by the College, and students must meet all requirements of these program partners to qualify.

Please note that funding is contingent on availability and requires that students successfully meet all obligations of the university, department, and program, as well as any stipulations of the Newell Fellows program.

PhD Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees for the program can be calculated at the https://admissions.unt.edu/tuition-costs-aid. The cost for Fall 19/Spring 20 is about $4,000 per semester for tuition and fees for 9 hours.

Public Administration

Founded in 1992, the Department of Public Administration is located in the College of Health and Public Service.

Today the department's ten faculty and five professional staff serve more than 350 majors in these three programs. Student-centered education is a hallmark of this dedicated faculty who take personal interest in every student's progress from the first day they enter and beyond graduation to their professional career.

 Chilton Hall 204