Build your expertise in the field you’re passionate about with our PhD in Public Policy and Administration.
Next Start Dates
Courses with a set schedule
January 09, 2023
Up to 41 Credits
Choose a program that prepares you for next-level leadership.
Gain the insights to address critical challenges in your community—and the credibility to shape sustainable change—with a PhD in Public Policy and Administration from Walden. PhD programs in public policy academically prepare students to pursue careers in academia or high-level practitioner and leadership roles in government, public, and nonprofit sectors.
granter of doctoral research degrees
Learn from the No. 1 granter of doctoral research degrees in the U.S. 1 Walden has been serving the needs of doctoral learners at a distance for more than 50 years.
This program is taught by a distinguished faculty of scholar-practitioners, many of whom have senior-executive experience in government and public service.
Discover engaging classroom experiences that immerse you in a diverse and inclusive environment.
Four residencies help you build skills and network with peers and faculty. Get research guidance from our Library, Writing Center, and Center for Research Quality.
Minimum Degree Requirements
- Doctoral Writing Assessment
- Foundation course (3 cr.)
- Core courses (25 cr.)
- Research courses (20 cr.)
- Completion of the Doctoral Capstone
- Dissertation support courses (5 cr.)
- Dissertation writing courses (continuous enrollment in 5 cr. per term for a minimum of 4 terms until completion)
- Four PhD residencies
View the COMPLETE CURRICULUM PLAN
Walden students have up to eight 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 represents the minimum credit requirement for program completion. The number of credits for completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.
Program Admission Considerations: A master's degree or higher.
General Admission Requirements: Completed online application and transcripts. Please note that the materials you are required to submit may vary depending on the academic program to which you 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 PhD in Public Policy and 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.
Four academic residencies (face-to-face or virtual) 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 dissertation.
|Tuition-Coursework||53 quarter credits||$646 per quarter hour for coursework credits||$34,238^|
|Tuition-Doctoral Study/Project||20-125† quarter credits||$646 per quarter hour for doctoral study/project credits||$12,920–$80,750*|
|Technology Fee||$165 per quarter||$1,815–$5,280*|
|Residency Fee||Four Residencies||$1,375 (virtual)
$1475 (in-person: travel, lodging and other expenses are additional)
|(assuming completion in a 2.5-year timeframe)||(assuming completion in an 8-year timeframe)|
Effective February 27, 2023
|Tuition-Coursework||53 quarter credits||$670 per quarter hour for coursework credits||$35,510^|
|Tuition-Doctoral Study/Project||20-125† quarter credits||$670 per quarter hour for doctoral study/project credits||$13,400–$83,750*|
|Technology Fee||$170 per quarter||$1,700–$5,440*|
|Residency Fee||Four 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 844-642-0198.
Paying for Your Education
Our Enrollment Specialists can help you outline a plan and find resources for funding your education.
An Online PhD Program That Puts You at the Center
We know how important it is to find a balance between work, studies, and your personal life. That’s why we’ve created a program with busy public service professionals like you in mind. Although you’re learning online, you’re never in it alone. From early on in your program, you’ll have access to a wealth of exceptional student resources designed to move you forward. This includes everything from writing assistance to experienced faculty who are here to support you at all stages.
Earning your doctorate is the ultimate intellectual challenge, and Walden’s online learning environment is designed to help you thrive. You bring your passion, drive, and determination. We’ll provide the ongoing support, guidance, and resources to help you reach the finish line.
Help Solve Pressing Issues
From poverty to rising healthcare costs, confronting today’s critical issues requires decision-making informed by the most current thinking. Walden’s online PhD in Public Policy and Administration program academically prepares you with the skills to become an effective, skilled, and innovative public administration leader. Gain an interdisciplinary, multicultural perspective and advanced problem-solving expertise that prepare you to create and lead positive contributions to the field.
What’s the Career Impact of Earning a PhD in Public Policy and Administration?
In an era of overwhelming societal challenges and limited resources, the country needs more public policy problem-solvers. A PhD in Public Policy and Administration program can provide you with the advanced expertise to shape sustainable solutions to America’s most pressing issues.
Whether you want to pursue leadership roles, make a greater impact as a public service practitioner, or teach the next generation of public policy professionals, a PhD can academically prepare you for bold new opportunities in all levels of government and in the nonprofit sector. Help improve quality of life and ensure a better tomorrow for your community—and beyond.
What Can I Do With a PhD in Public Policy and Administration?
An online PhD in Public Policy and Administration degree can prepare you to work in a variety of settings, including:
- Local and National Government
- Community Organizations
- Civic Organizations
- Higher Education
Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this degree program.
As a graduate of Walden’s PhD in Public Policy and Administration online program, you will be prepared to:
- Discuss leadership concepts and theories that have been used to effectively lead and manage in the public sector.
- Analyze evidence-based research, theories, and models used to promote participation in public and nonprofit policy processes.
- Develop solutions for problems related to public policy and public administration using theory and research.
- Ethically apply the major theories and concepts of public policy and public administration within organizations.
- Evaluate models and best practices utilizing diverse perspectives in local, state, national, and international public agencies by using evidence-based research.
My belief in service above self and the alignment with Walden's mission of positive social change drove my decision to choose Walden University.
I really enjoyed the ability to network with students and faculty from around the world at the residencies.
All three advisors that I had throughout my program impacted my completion, and I will be forever grateful to them all.
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FAQ About Walden’s Online PhD in Public Policy and Administration
Online learning can make earning your doctoral degree more possible than ever before. Unlike a PhD program at a campus-based school, an online PhD in Public Policy and Administration program allows you to complete most of your coursework from home on a flexible schedule that can enable you to continue working full time. Plus, at a top online university, you’ll be guided by industry experts and participate in in-person residencies with faculty and fellow students. When earning your PhD in Public Policy and Administration online at Walden, you’ll attend four 4-day residency sessions focused on dissertation preparation.
There are a number of features you might want to look for when choosing a PhD in Public Policy and Administration program. Here are just a few:
- A scholar-practitioner model: A fundamental part of the Walden experience, this model teaches you to be not only a consumer of knowledge, but also a practitioner who uses your new skills and insights to effect positive social change in society. Scholar-practitioners bridge the gap between academia and the real world by applying the valuable findings of their doctoral research to address current problems in their profession.
- Academic residencies: Walden offers four in-person residences designed to enhance your understanding and accelerate your progress during your doctoral journey. In-person residencies are unique opportunities to meet with peers, staff, and faculty, helping you gain the necessary skills and experience to develop and complete your dissertation.
- A fast-track doctoral degree program: This option is for students who have completed their Master of Public Administration or MS in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from Walden. Qualifying students receive 15 credits toward their PhD in Public Policy and Administration.
Here are two examples of online courses you might take while earning your PhD in Public Policy and Administration degree:
Ethics and Social Justice: This online course examines the philosophy of ethics, responsibility, and social justice. You will explore the complex social, political, and ethical challenges that you could face in your career as a leader in public policy and public administration. You will even get the chance to use your new skills to develop a solution to an ethical or social justice issue relevant to public policy today.
Leadership and Organizational Change: Effective leadership in public administration or public policy requires the ability to embrace and lead change. In this course, you will learn what it takes to be a strong leader in diverse organizations—especially during times of change. You’ll also learn how to apply leadership strategies to advance positive social change within your organization or community.
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 program if you want to take an academic approach to developing sustainable solutions that improve people’s quality of life. Doctor of Public Administration degree programs are 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 program can help you learn how to use statistics and analytics to address real-world issues and problems.
Virtually all PhD programs—regardless of the focus area—require students to complete and submit a dissertation. At Walden University, the dissertation requirement serves as the culmination of a student’s PhD in Public Policy and Administration studies. While a formidable challenge, this undertaking gives each student the opportunity to apply everything they have learned throughout the program into a research paper uniquely tailored to their interests that can make a lasting impact in the field.
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1Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Integrated Postsecondary Education Database (IPEDS). Retrieved March 2020; includes 2017–18 provisional data and 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. Some examples of this type of degree may include EdD, DMA, DBA, DSc, DA, DM, or others, as designated by the awarding institution.
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.