Jun 26, 2022  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 

Doctor of Philosophy - Public Affairs

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Plan Description

The Doctor of Philosophy in Public Affairs is a research-oriented degree that prepares students for careers in advanced teaching, research and professional employment in the areas of public policy and public affairs. The program’s curriculum educates students in theories and methods that emphasize research and scholarship focused on governmental and nonprofit settings. The Ph.D. program is interdisciplinary in its approach, as students are encouraged to study public policy issues together with appropriate departments throughout the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs.  Graduates of this program are trained for research and advanced teaching within academic institutions. The program also prepares students for careers that emphasize research within governmental and other research-based organizations.

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Plan Admission Requirements

Application deadlines

Applications available on the UNLV Graduate College website.

The program only accepts applicants for the fall semester, with an average acceptance of seven applicants a year.

Admission requirements include:

  1. A graduate degree (master’s or another advanced degree, i.e. J.D.) from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.5 (competitive GPAs are expected to be 3.7 or higher) on a 4.0 scale.
  2. Three letters of recommendation that speak to the applicant’s, character, work ethic and potential to successfully complete advanced graduate work at the doctoral level. Letters are preferred from at least one individual that has served as a faculty or academic supervisor, and at least one from an individual that has supervised or worked with the applicant within a work setting.
  3. A current resume or vita
  4. A statement of purpose explaining the applicant’s career goals and how a doctorate degree in public affairs would enhance the likelihood of achieving those goals. The statement should also explain why the applicant believes that he or she is qualified to conduct advanced graduate level academic work. Finally, the statement should address the specific research area of interest that the applicant would like to emphasize.
  5. A writing sample from previous graduate work or a significant publication completed in an academic or professional work setting that is directly attributable to the applicant.
  6. Satisfactory GRE scores (preference is given to applicants with scores above 153 for the verbal section, and 144 for the quantitative section; equivalent LSAT scores are acceptable).

Finalists for admissions will be asked to meet with a member of the admission committee for a personal interview.

All domestic and international applicants must review and follow the Graduate College Admission and Registration Requirements.

Students are accepted into a degree program as described in the Graduate Catalog. The faculty and corresponding sub-disciplines and sub-plans within the described programs are subject to change at any time.

Plan Requirements

Total Credits Required: 46

Course Requirements

Analytical Studies Core Courses – Credits: 12

Complete the following two courses plus two additional departmental approved 3 credit hour analytical courses that emphasize quantitative or qualitative methods of conducting advanced research:

Area of Specialization Courses – Credits: 12

Complete 12 credits of advisor-approved elective coursework at the 700-level in a specific area of public policy. Courses may be taken from more than one department within the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs. Approval of the plan of study in the area of concentration must be received before taking any course. 

Degree Requirements

  1. Completion of a minimum of 46 credit hours with a minimum GPA of 3.00. All core courses and analytical studies courses must be completed with a grade of “B” or better.
  2. All students, in conjunction with the Public Affairs Ph.D. Graduate Coordinator, will obtain an advisor who will serve as the chair of a student’s Doctoral Dissertation Committee.
  3. Students will take the equivalent of three exams before completing the degree.
    1. A written exam will be given that covers course work in both the core and analytical areas of study
    2. The equivalent of a second exam will be taken by the student when the student completes and orally defends the dissertation prospectus. The prospectus serves as a proposal for the anticipated dissertation research.
    3. Upon completion of the full dissertation, students will present and orally defend their dissertation research to the public and their Dissertation Committee. This is the equivalent of the third exam
  4. All students must complete a high quality dissertation that makes an original contribution to knowledge.
  5. Students must enroll in dissertation credit hours each semester during their dissertation work
  6. Students should be aware that the Graduate College limits course work for a degree to six years. Students should consult the Graduate College to ensure that they are familiar with College policies and procedures.

Plan Graduation Requirements

  1. The student must submit all required forms to the Graduate College and then apply for graduation up to two semesters prior to completing his/her degree requirements.
  2. The student must submit and successfully defend his/her dissertation by the posted deadline. The defense must be advertised and is open to the public.
  3. The student must submit his/her approved, properly formatted dissertation to the Graduate College, and ProQuest by the posted deadline.

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