Meet our PhD students

Students in the PhD in Public Affairs program at the School of Public Affairs are motivated to serve their communities through research, teaching, and practice. They receive advanced training in theories and methods related to public administration, public management, public policy, political economy, policy analysis, research design, and multi-method data collection and analysis. They conduct research on various topics such as public finance, environmental policy, non-profit management, criminal justice and criminology, education policy, public health, and social policy.

Our PhD students and faculty support one another in professional and academic excellence. One example of our supportive environment is the School of Public Affairs PhD Student Association (SPAPSA), which is a student-led association with a mission to establish a community of students who support each other through the sharing of experience and knowledge across PhD cohorts.

Our students also receive a host of opportunities for further engagement and development through conference attendance, fellowships and scholarships, and publishing with faculty. Additionally, our faculty regularly host trainings, panels, and other extra-curricular opportunities specifically for PhD students. The School of Public Affairs community creates a space where PhD students are empowered to continually learn and grow as they learn new and innovative ways of serving local, state, national, and international communities.


PhD students on the job market

Students who are on the job market have completed their coursework and preliminary exam and are in the process of defending their dissertation and applying for academic or practitioner positions.


PhD candidates

PhD candidates have completed the course requirements of the program and passed their preliminary exam. They have either completed or will soon complete their colloquium.


PhD students

These students are currently completing the course requirements for the PhD program and have not yet taken their preliminary exam.


Program director


PhD student news

  • Aarestad selected as education policy fellow

    Jan 19, 2021 by Toula Wellbrook
    PhD student Karen Aarestad, who currently serves as assistant vice chancellor for the Office of Advancement on the CU Anschutz campus, has been selected as one of 18 of the 2021 Colorado Department of Higher Education Policy Fellows.
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  • Colorado Democratic electors cast nine votes for Joe BidenOpens in a new window

    Dec 14, 2020
    Colorado’s nine Democratic presidential electors cast their votes for Joe Biden at the state Capitol on Monday. First-time elector Alan Kennedy, an attorney and doctoral student at the CU Denver School of Public Affairs, said he hoped Monday’s nationwide vote brings acceptance of Biden’s presidential victory.
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  • Puello named APPAM Equity & Inclusion Student Fellow

    Aug 17, 2020 by Toula Wellbrook
    PhD student Stephanie Puello is one of 20 students selected to receive the 2020 APPAM Equity & Inclusion Student Fellowship. She will have the opportunity to attend and be recognized at the 2021 APPAM Fall Conference in Austin. Her conference registration will be waived, and she will receive a scholarship for travel. Additionally, Stephanie will participate in the APPAM Mentor Match Program and Equity and Inclusion Fellows Spotlight Series.
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