Christopher Weible PhD
Professor; Program Director for PhD in Public Affairs
The program, based on the CU Denver campus, permits elective work to be taken on any campus of the university if it is part of the approved program of study or degree plan. Most courses and seminars are offered during the late afternoon, in the evenings or on an intensive basis. Some electives are offered online, but core courses are not. Anyone starting the PhD program with a master's degree in public administration can expect to take at least four to six years to complete all of the requirements for the PhD. Any student entering the program with no prior graduate work in public administration, public policy or management should expect additional course requirements.
For excellent candidates, the School of Public Affairs will fund a small number of doctoral research assistantships each year based on financial availability. Students selected will receive a full-tuition waiver as well as a stipend for the academic year. The School of Public Affairs' goal is to provide such funding for students for at least three years.
During their first year of study, doctoral students are required to take the following doctoral seminars, for a total of 12 credit hours. All course descriptions can be found in the Graduate Academic Catalog.
During the second year of study, doctoral students are required to take the following methods classes, for a total of 9 credit hours.
In addition to the three methods classes listed above, students must take an approved qualitative methods course of the student's own choosing. Depending on the student's interest, topics might include qualitative methodology, administrative law, geographical information systems or social network analysis.
In addition to the required courses, doctoral students must complete 6 credit hours of elective courses relevant to the student's dissertation plans. With approval of the PhD program director, students may apply graded graduate-level credit taken at other universities toward their elective courses.
All course descriptions can be found in the Graduate Academic Catalog.
In addition to coursework, doctoral students must pass a preliminary exam in the testing cycle or semester immediately following the completion of their core courses. By passing the exam, doctoral students demonstrate their preparation for conducting dissertation research.
Dissertation proposal and dissertation
Students are also required to complete and defend, before a faculty committee, a dissertation that makes a significant contribution to the literature and theory of public administration, management or policy.
At the proposal defense, a doctoral student presents a dissertation proposal to School of Public Affairs faculty and students and to his or her dissertation committee.
Students are advanced to candidacy for the PhD once they have completed all required coursework and examinations, have successfully presented their research and have been certified for candidacy by their doctoral committee.
After students are formally advanced to candidacy, they must complete a total of 30 hours of dissertation research credit to complete the PhD Each fall and spring semester, students are expected to register for 5 credit hours of dissertation research.
If students are unable to register for at least 5 credit hours, they must request a leave of absence from the PhD program until they are able to complete the minimum dissertation requirement. Students may take up to two semesters of leave of absence before they are unenrolled from the program. Students then would need to reapply to the program.
View the admissions requirements for the School of Public Affairs.