Walden’s Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration program prepares you to meet the challenges of governance and effective service delivery as government and nonprofit institutions become increasingly intertwined.

In this program, you’ll integrate scholarly research with your professional experience, gaining the knowledge, confidence, and expertise to create effective solutions that can help you change your world and the world of those around you.

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  • Curriculum

  • Tuition and Fees

  • Career Options

  • Highlights

  • Learning Outcomes

  • Program Data

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Choose the General Program or from a range of specializations:

Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration Entry Points

  • If you hold a Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) or an M.S. in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from Walden University, you may be able to complete your doctoral degree in an accelerated program. Learn more.
  • If you’ve earned a Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) or a Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.) from a regionally accredited university, you may be able to apply credits toward your Walden doctoral program. Learn more.

Find out more about the Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration now.  Request Information

General Program

Complete the General Program if you want to pursue an area of interest that is not among the specializations currently offered. This provides you maximum flexibility by allowing you to design a program that most closely matches your personal and professional goals. The program is completed by choosing any three specialization courses from among the Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration program’s specializations.

Completion Requirements

  • 82 total quarter credits
    • Core courses (35 cr.)
    • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
    • Foundation Research Sequence (12 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Professional Development Plan
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days
  • Minimum of 8–9 quarters enrollment depending on the transfer of credits awarded

Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

Core Courses

Choose one of the following three courses to complete the Core Courses requirement:

Specialization Courses

Foundation Research Sequence

Dissertation

    • Course Code
    • Course Title
    • Credits

Criminal Justice

This specialization is designed for criminal justice professionals, including supervisors and managers in policing, courts, corrections, security, and associated support agencies, who aspire to move into upper-level management and administrative assignments. The coursework includes an in-depth review and discussion of contemporary decision-making models and issues confronting the American criminal justice system.

Completion Requirements

  • 82 total quarter credits
    • Core courses (35 cr.)
    • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
    • Foundation Research Sequence (12 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Professional Development Plan
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days
  • Minimum of 8–9 quarters enrollment depending on the transfer of credits awarded

Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

Core Courses

Choose one of the following three courses to complete the Core Courses requirement:

Specialization Courses

Foundation Research Sequence

Dissertation

    • Course Code
    • Course Title
    • Credits

Emergency Management

The emergency situations we face in today’s complex environment call for a new leadership approach. This specialization offers emergency response professionals the skills to lead, manage, and motivate others during emergencies; to build confident and capable teams; and to address challenging ethical situations that may arise during the course of duty.

Completion Requirements

  • 82 total quarter credits
    • Core courses (35 cr.)
    • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
    • Foundation Research Sequence (12 cr.)
  • Professional Development Plan
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days 
  • Minimum of 8–9 quarters enrollment depending on the transfer of credits awarded

Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

Core Courses

Choose one of the following three courses to complete the Core Courses requirement:

Specialization Courses

Foundation Research Sequence

Dissertation

    • Course Code
    • Course Title
    • Credits

Health Policy

Healthcare has undergone radical changes over the past several years. The major business enterprises that now govern the industry have changed the way healthcare is delivered, and managers must quickly adapt to become successful. A specialization in Health Policy will help you gain valuable knowledge about health delivery systems, health policy, health administration, and health finance centers so you can manage effectively and successfully in this unique environment.

Completion Requirements

  • 82 total quarter credits
    • Core courses (35 cr.)
    • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
    • Foundation Research Sequence (12 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
    • Professional Development Plan
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days
  • Minimum of 8–9 quarters enrollment depending on the transfer of credits awarded

Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

Core Courses

Choose one of the following three courses to complete the Core Courses requirement:

Specialization Courses

Foundation Research Sequence

Dissertation

    • Course Code
    • Course Title
    • Credits

Homeland Security Policy and Coordination

Man-made and natural disasters alike have brought homeland security issues to the forefront of public policy. A specialization in Homeland Security Policy and Coordination will give you the opportunity to explore the implementation of protective measures and policies that do not compromise individual rights and freedoms as well as collaboration between public security agencies. This specialization also focuses on various approaches to the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and other dynamics of homeland security issues.

Completion Requirements

  • 82 total quarter credits
    • Core courses (35 cr.)
    • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
    • Foundation Research Sequence (12 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Professional Development Plan
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days 
  • Minimum of 8–9 quarters enrollment depending on the transfer of credits awarded

Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

Core Courses

Choose one of the following three courses to complete the Core Courses requirement:

Specialization Courses

Foundation Research Sequence

Dissertation

    • Course Code
    • Course Title
    • Credits

International Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs)

In an era of increasing globalization, it is important for leaders of nonprofit organizations and government departments at the local, state, and national level to know how to operate in an international environment. This specialization explores how countries organize, regulate, and foster nongovernmental activities; how international intergovernmental organizations operate; and how representatives of these organizations can learn from, partner with, and work within organizations worldwide. By focusing on the effects of globalization and the cultures and sociopolitical environments of diverse nations and organizations, students in this specialization learn how to work effectively with nongovernmental, voluntary, and intergovernmental organizations around the world.

Completion Requirements

  • 82 total quarter credits
    • Core courses (35 cr.)
    • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
    • Foundation Research Sequence (12 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Professional Development Plan
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days 
  • Minimum of 8–9 quarters enrollment depending on the transfer of credits awarded

Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

Core Courses

Choose one of the following three courses to complete the Core Courses requirement:

Specialization Courses

Foundation Research Sequence

Dissertation

    • Course Code
    • Course Title
    • Credits

Law and Public Policy

Legal decisions and the law have a significant impact on the creation of public policy. Discover the relationships between law and public policy and access vital legal knowledge available to public policy practitioners. Gain a solid background in legal concepts, cases, and current trends that will give you a head start if you decide to pursue a law degree or if you encounter legal questions in your workplace.

Completion Requirements

  • 82 total quarter credits
    • Core courses (35 cr.)
    • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
    • Foundation Research Sequence (12 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Professional Development Plan
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days 
  • Minimum of 8–9 quarters enrollment depending on the transfer of credits awarded

Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

Core Courses

Choose one of the following three courses to complete the Core Courses requirement:

Specialization Courses

Foundation Research Sequence

Dissertation

    • Course Code
    • Course Title
    • Credits

Local Government Management for Sustainable Communities

With this specialization, you will learn how to create and maintain sustainable communities that are environmentally sound, economically prosperous, and socially equitable. Explore the interrelated elements that make a community viable and access the tools and resources for sustainable community development. Be prepared to succeed in such roles as a town manager, department head, or director of a social service organization.

Completion Requirements

  • 82 total quarter credits
    • Core courses (35 cr.)
    • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
    • Foundation Research Sequence (12 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Professional Development Plan 
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days 
  • Minimum of 8–9 quarters enrollment depending on the transfer of credits awarded

Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

Core Courses

Choose one of the following three courses to complete the Core Courses requirement:

Specialization Courses

Foundation Research Sequence

Dissertation

    • Course Code
    • Course Title
    • Credits

Nonprofit Management and Leadership

As governmental and nongovernmental institutions increasingly overlap and evolve, the demand for well-educated management professionals to excel in public service continues to grow. Advance in the public or nonprofit sector by gaining an understanding of how to work with government and businesses to address shared issues.

Completion Requirements

  • 82 total quarter credits
    • Core courses (35 cr.)
    • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
    • Foundation Research Sequence (12 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Professional Development Plan
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days
  • Minimum of 8–9 quarters enrollment depending on the transfer of credits awarded

Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

Core Courses

Choose one of the following three courses to complete the Core Courses requirement:

Specialization Courses

Foundation Research Sequence

Dissertation

    • Course Code
    • Course Title
    • Credits

Policy Analysis

Policy shapes the workings of government and its partners. This specialization provides an understanding of the critical context within which organizations and individuals act in a democratic society. It will prepare you to function knowledgeably within this context and to work collaboratively to help shape public policy development and implementation.

Completion Requirements

  • 82 total quarter credits
    • Core courses (35 cr.)
    • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
    • Foundation Research Sequence (12 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Professional Development Plan
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days 
  • Minimum of 8–9 quarters enrollment depending on the transfer of credits awarded

Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

Core Courses

Choose one of the following three courses to complete the Core Courses requirement:

Specialization Courses

Foundation Research Sequence

Dissertation

    • Course Code
    • Course Title
    • Credits

Public Management and Leadership

With unprecedented fiscal challenges and rising performance expectations facing public and nonprofit institutions, managers must be prepared to apply core business principles to improve the efficiencies and effectiveness of their organizations. In this specialization, apply a systems perspective as you develop strategies for organizational change in the public organization of your choice. Discover how transformative change occurs in complex public systems, and learn to use the language of leadership to motivate, inspire, and competently lead your organization and shape public policy.

Completion Requirements

  • 82 total quarter credits
    • Core courses (35 cr.)
    • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
    • Foundation Research Sequence (12 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Professional Development Plan
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days 
  • Minimum of 8–9 quarters enrollment depending on the transfer of credits awarded

Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

Core Courses

Choose one of the following three courses to complete the Core Courses requirement:

Specialization Courses

Foundation Research Sequence

Dissertation

    • Course Code
    • Course Title
    • Credits

Terrorism, Mediation, and Peace

The threat of terrorism is a constant concern prompting a continuing focus on preventing and resolving terrorist attacks. In this specialization, learn the immediate and long-term implications of anti-terrorist legislation and policies. Study how terrorism policies are drafted and enforced while you analyze the ethical issues related to human rights and the psychology of terrorism. Explore the effects of disaster, crisis, and trauma and the appropriate interventions for individuals and groups. Examine the roots of international and domestic terrorism, the catalysts and motivations for terrorist acts, and how media and technology may aid or counter terrorist activities.

Completion Requirements

  • 82 total quarter credits
    • Core courses (35 cr.)
    • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
    • Foundation Research Sequence (12 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Professional Development Plan
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days 
  • Minimum of 8–9 quarters enrollment depending on the transfer of credits awarded

Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

Core Courses

Choose one of the following three courses to complete the Core Courses requirement:

Specialization Courses

Foundation Research Sequence

Dissertation

    • Course Code
    • Course Title
    • Credits

Curriculum Component  Requirements  Cost 
Courses 82 total quarter credit hours $540 per quarter credit hour
4-Day Residency Fee 4 during your program
(Residency 2 and Residency 4 may be virtual.)
$1,160 each, plus travel, lodging, other expenses
Virtual: $1,260 each
Technology Fee per quarter $120

Tuition and fees are subject to change.

Call 1-866-492-5336 for information about a full range of options for:

No Application Fee - Applying has never been easier.

Whether you’re interested in furthering your own research or entering the private sector, a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration can position you for a range of careers. Career options include:

  • College professor
  • Academic administrator
  • Senior level public executive
  • Legislative aide
  • Government affairs officer
  • Senior level nonprofit manager
  • Policy analyst
  • Research director
  • Private consultant

Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this degree program.

When you earn your Ph.D. in public policy online at Walden, you can benefit from the flexibility of online learning and from MobileLearn®. Offered exclusively at Walden, MobileLearn not only enables you to choose where and when you learn, it also gives you the ability to choose how you learn. Learn more.

Find out more about what defines Walden’s Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration program:

For Students With an MPA or MPP from a Regionally Accredited University

Walden recognizes your previous academic accomplishments by offering a shorter path to a Ph.D.

If you’ve earned a Master of Public Administration (MPA) or a Master of Public Policy (MPP), this program is designed to complement your knowledge with the scholarly research and relevant coursework that will help you develop into an expert who can meet the challenges of governance across government, nonprofit, and public organizations.

Eligibility Requirements

  • MPA or MPP
    • From a regionally accredited university
    • Within the past 10 years

Completion Requirements

  • 67 total quarter credits (82 quarter credits without an MPA or MPP from a regionally accredited university)
    • Core courses (20 cr.)
    • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
    • Foundation Research Sequence (12 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Professional Development Plan
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days

Core Courses

Choose one of the following three courses to complete the Core Courses requirement:

Specialization Courses

Choose the specialization that best fits your interest and then complete three courses (15 cr.) focused on a specific area of study.

Foundation Research Sequence

Dissertation

    • Course Code
    • Course Title
    • Credits

For Students with an MPA or M.S. in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from Walden University

Continue your progress toward a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration at the university you trusted for your Master of Public Administration (MPA) or M.S. in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. Through scholarly research and relevant coursework, you’ll make an original contribution to your field and become an expert in an area that interests you.

For Walden MPA and M.S. in Nonprofit Management and Leadership program graduates, the university offers a special program of study—with a reduced time to completion.

Eligibility Requirements

  • An MPA or M.S. in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from Walden University

Completion Requirements

  • 66 total quarter credits (82 quarter credits without a Walden MPA or M.S. in Nonprofit Management and Leadership)
    • Core courses (19 cr.)
    • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
    • Foundation Research Sequence (12 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Professional Development Plan
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days

Please contact an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336 to see if you qualify for early admission to the Ph.D. program.

Core Courses

Choose one of the following three courses to complete the Core Courses requirement:

Specialization Courses

Choose the specialization that best fits your interest and then complete three courses (15 cr.) focused on a specific area of study.

Foundation Research Sequence

Dissertation

    • Course Code
    • Course Title
    • Credits

Listen as three alumni reflect on Walden’s Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration program and discuss what and how they learned. Watch video now.

Getting Recognition for Your Research

A Walden Ph.D. in Public Health graduate offers advice about how doctoral students can gain more exposure for their research.

View this article

Graduates of this program will be prepared to:

  1. Discuss leadership concepts and theories that have been used to effectively lead and manage in the public sector.
  2. Analyze evidence-based research, theories, and models used to promote participation in  public and nonprofit policy processes.
  3. Develop solutions for problems related to public policy and public administration using theory and research.
  4. Ethically apply the major theories and concepts of public policy and public administration within organizations.
  5. Evaluate models and best practices utilizing diverse perspectives in local, state, national and international public agencies by using evidence-based research.

Walden is committed to providing the information you need to make an informed decision about where you pursue your education. Click here to find detailed information for the Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration relating to the types of occupations this program may lead to, completion rate, program costs, and median loan debt of students who have graduated from this program.

For assistance in deciding which specialization fits your goals, request information or speak with an enrollment advisor by calling 1-866-492-5336. A list of international toll-free phone numbers is available for students outside the United States.