Solve critical social problems—and make a tangible impact for your organization and constituents—with Walden’s DPA degree program.
Next Start Dates
Courses with a set schedule
February 27, 2023
Up to 44 Credits
Become a public service leader with a DPA degree from Walden.
Are you ready to further your passion for public service? Deepen your influence and create the change you want to see with a Doctor of Public Administration (DPA) degree from Walden. This program prepares students to pursue executive leadership roles in all levels of government, public, and nonprofit organizations as well as private consulting practice.
Real-World Case Studies
Our DPA degree program is grounded in real-world experience and preparation. Add immediate value with skills relevant to advanced practice in public organizations, such as evidence-based decision making.
in-demand analytics expertise
The DPA curriculum includes courses on applied analytics in the public sector, helping you understand the science and strategy of making data-driven decisions.
Your second residency is a charrette-style experience, where you apply what you’ve learned to a real-life business problem and recommend practical solutions.
Your DPA capstone writing project involves producing a professional consulting product for the government client presented in your residency.
Minimum Degree Requirements
Doctoral Writing Assessment (0 cr.)
Foundation course (3 cr.)
Core courses (35 cr.)
Research courses (10 cr.)
Completion of the Doctoral Capstone
Doctoral Seminar courses (5 cr.; continuously enrolled in 1 cr. per term for a minimum of 5 terms until completed)
Doctoral Capstone writing courses (continuous enrollment in 5 cr. per term for a minimum of 4 terms until completion)
Two face-to-face residencies (available virtually until further notice)
View the COMPLETE CURRICULUM PLAN.
Walden students have up to 8 years to complete their doctoral program unless they petition for an extension.
In general, students are continuously registered in the dissertation/doctoral study course until they complete their capstone project and it is approved. This usually takes longer than the minimum required terms in the dissertation/doctoral study course shell.
To complete a doctoral dissertation/doctoral study, students must obtain the academic approval of several independent evaluators including their committee, the University Research Reviewer, and the Institutional Review Board; pass the Form and Style Review; gain approval at the oral defense stage; and gain final approval by the Chief Academic Officer. Students must also publish their dissertation on ProQuest before their degree is conferred. Learn more about the dissertation/doctoral study process in the Dissertation Guidebook.
This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-797-9416.
To be considered for this doctoral program, you must have a master’s degree from an accredited college or university and meet the general admissions requirements. All applicants must submit a completed online application and transcripts. Depending on program specialization, additional requirements may apply. More information for international applicants.
At Walden, we’ll guide you every step of the way with a comprehensive suite of support resources designed to help you confidently pursue the finish line, including our Doctoral Degree CoachTM. Are you ready to reach a higher level in your field?
A Personalized Guide to Completing Your Doctorate
Earning your online Doctor of Public Administration requires commitment, perseverance, and hard work. You can do it, and Walden is here to help—with our Doctoral Degree Coach™.
Map and Track Milestones: Break your research down into manageable, sequential steps. See where you are, what’s ahead, and what you’ve already accomplished—all in one place.
Meet Weekly Targets: No more guesswork. Set prompts based on your to-do list and receive reminders and updates directly to your inbox.
Connect With Faculty: Stay on the same page and keep your progress on track. With shared access to your dashboard, your chair can easily guide you through your checklists, goals, and timelines.
Access Helpful Resources: Quickly find support from the right person at the right time. Our comprehensive resource guide points you in the right direction—no more frustrating searches.
Two academic residencies support your progress at key points in your doctoral journey. Work with faculty and peers as you strengthen your scholarly and professional connections and prepare for your capstone. The first residency provides a hands-on, charrette-style experience, where you apply what you’ve learned to a real-life business problem and recommend practical solutions.
|Tuition-Coursework||53 quarter credits||$655 per quarter hour for coursework credits||$34,715^|
|Tuition-Doctoral Study/Project||20-125† quarter credits||$655 per quarter hour for doctoral study/project credits||$13,100–$81,875*|
|Technology Fee||$170 per quarter||$1,700–$5,440*|
|Residency Fee||Two Residencies||$1,420 (virtual)
$1,520 (in-person: travel, lodging and other expenses are additional)
|(assuming completion in a 2.5-year timeframe)||(assuming completion in an 8-year timeframe)|
These are ranges of what a student can expect in terms of time and tuition cost to complete a degree. It does not include other fees, nor is it adjusted for tuition increases over time. Walden faculty has concluded that generally students who do not complete their program in eight years are unlikely to complete and only allow students to exceed that time frame when a student petitions for an extension and provides good reason for the delay and assurances that obstacles to completion can be overcome. Time is calculated using the time allowed for each semester or unit that the student completes. Students are encouraged to work continuously during the program so as not to extend the time needed to complete the degree as work can become stale and students lose focus. Students who earn two grades of “Unsatisfactory,” who repeatedly drop a course before a semester or unit has been completed, or are unable to complete in the eight year time frame, should expect that they may be dismissed from the program. Walden believes that it is in the best interest of a student who is unable to complete the degree in the stated ranges to strongly consider withdrawal or obtaining a lesser degree.
Time to completion and cost are not estimates of individual experience and will vary based on individual factors applicable to the student. Factors may be programmatic or academic such as tuition and fee increases and/or the student’s transfer credits accepted by Walden; program or specialization changes; unsuccessful course completion; credit load per term; writing, research and editing skills; use of external data for their doctoral study/dissertation; and/or individual progress in the program. Other factors may include personal issues such as the student’s employment obligations; care giving responsibilities or health issues; part-time vs. full-time enrollment; leaves of absence; and/or other personal circumstances.
Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included. Students may incur additional costs for remedial writing assistance, if necessary.
^This assumes students successfully complete their coursework on the first attempt.
† Based on a 2.5-year minimum completion requirement and an 8-year maximum timeframe as outlined in Walden academic policy.
*Tuition and fees will be higher if students petition to extend the 8-year maximum timeframe or choose to take more expensive elective courses.
+Tuition and time to complete may be reduced if transfer credits are accepted, or if you receive grants, scholarships or other tuition discounts. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 844-768-0109.
Paying for Your Education
Our Enrollment Specialists can help you outline a plan and find resources for funding your education.
Grow as a Public Sector Leader
In Walden’s DPA degree program, you will learn to think and work like an executive and broaden your leadership skills. Gain focused insights into creating strategies for success in public administration and nonprofit leadership. Develop contemporary skills you can apply in today’s public sector organizations, including evidence-based decision-making, basic grant writing, and data analytics.
What’s the Career Impact of Earning a Doctor of Public Administration?
Lead the Way to a Brighter Tomorrow
Today more than ever, communities need strong, civic-minded leaders to keep our nation moving forward. Additionally, as governments utilize evidence-based decision-making, managers and leaders with analytical skills will be in demand. Gain the insights you need to open new doors and increase your impact with a DPA degree.
What Can I Do With a DPA Degree?
A Doctor of Public Administration degree program can prepare you to work in settings such as:
Local and national government agencies
Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)
Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this degree program.
ACCORDING TO THE U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS, EMPLOYMENT OF SOCIAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE MANAGERS IS EXPECTED TO GROW BY
As a graduate of Walden’s online Doctor of Public Administration program, you will be prepared to:
Evaluate effective leadership/management principles (including theory, concepts, and practices) utilized in the public sector.
Evaluate solutions to practical problems in public administration using evidence-based practices and research.
Apply ethical concepts of public administration within organizations.
Apply culturally sensitive public administration research to meet the needs of diverse populations at local, state, national, and international levels of government.
Utilize analytic methods in making decisions related to public administration that contributes to positive social change.
Engage in scientific inquiry to advance practice in the field of public administration.
FAQ About Walden’s Online Doctor of Public Administration
A DPA degree program is focused on developing advanced practitioners and researchers in pursuit of social change through public administration, criminal justice, and nonprofit management. If you have a mind for—and an interest in—research and data analysis, a DPA can help you learn how to use statistics and analytics to address real-world issues and problems. A PhD in Public Policy and Administration is a leadership-focused program designed to help you gain a detailed understanding of public policy theory, research, ethics, and practice in a global context. It’s the right degree if you want to take an academic approach to developing sustainable solutions that improve people’s quality of life.
One of the greatest advantages of an online Doctor of Public Administration (DPA) program is the flexibility you have in choosing when and where you complete your coursework. This allows you to continue working full time as you pursue your degree. Reputable online universities will also have expert faculty members and top-notch support teams to guide and assist you throughout your program. When earning a DPA degree online from a university such as Walden, you’ll attend two 4-day residencies with faculty and fellow students where you’ll focus on applied problem-solving.
As a doctoral student, you will learn research methods, plan and design your research, and present your findings in a scholarly paper called a doctoral study. The study’s purpose is to make an original contribution to your field by creating a practical solution to a real problem. In a doctoral study, you will identify a problem, present your methodology, describe your project, make observations about your findings, and present your practical solution. The doctoral study’s components demonstrate your competence in research and research design, your subject matter expertise, and your command of critical thinking and academic writing.
Walden’s Doctor of Public Administration program requires you to complete a doctoral capstone. The capstone consists of:
- Creating a proposal for a doctoral study that describes the problem you want to solve; the purpose of the study; and your research questions, methodology, and design.
- Presenting an oral defense of your research proposal to the doctoral committee (a 20-minute presentation followed by a question-and-answer session).
- Collecting data and writing the findings.
- Presenting a final oral defense of your research findings to the doctoral committee.
In addition to relevant skills, knowledge, and experience, the top qualities of a good public administrator include:
- A desire to help others
- An ability to think long-term
- Plenty of patience
- Strong ethics
- A creative mind
- A love of learning
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Please use our International Form if you live outside of the U.S.
1Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Integrated Postsecondary Education Database (IPEDS) database. Based on the most recent year of completions survey data available, using all classifications of instructional programs (CIP) codes. A doctoral research degree is a PhD or other doctoral degree that requires advanced work beyond the master’s level, including the preparation and defense of a dissertation based on original research or the planning and execution of an original project demonstrating substantial artistic or scholarly achievement. Available at https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/use-the-data. (Retrieved January 2021; may consist of or include provisional release data.)
2Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Social and Community Service Managers, SOC code 11-9151. Retrieved October 2021. National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, do not guarantee actual job growth, and are subject to change.
Note: Time to completion and cost are not estimates of individual experience and will vary based on individual factors applicable to the student. Factors may be programmatic or academic, such as tuition and fee increases; transfer credits accepted by Walden; program or specialization changes; unsuccessful course completion; credit load per term; part-time vs. full-time enrollment; writing, research, and editing skills; use of external data for the doctoral study/dissertation; and individual progress in the program. Other factors may include personal issues such as the student’s employment obligations, caregiving responsibilities, or health issues; leaves of absence; or other personal circumstances.