Online PhD in Public Administration

Doctorates in Public Policy and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Administration

An online PhD in public administration and public policy programs are designed to help you succeed in the world of government and nonprofit institutions by ensuring they are well-governed and provides services in an effective manner.

The PhD degree also provides you with ample opportunities to conduct scholarly research that can be combined with your professional experiences.

PhD programs prepare you for three primary activities: teaching, research, and public service. Programs differ in their emphasis.

Some may focus on helping you become an independent researcher, while others provide you with the knowledge needed to work effectively in a public administration role. Most programs, however, provide some sort of balance among the three.

Learning format and specializations offered through an online doctoral program in public administration

Online schools offer varied curriculum formats to meet your specific learning needs and style. This ensures that you will be able to maximize the time you spend learning.

For example some online colleges offer course-based formats that are more structured, with regular classes as well as discussions with peers and faculty members, all of this through an online format. A mixed-model format, on the other hand is designed for students who are interested in applying what they are learning to real-life situations, as well as conducting independent research. The mixed-model format tends to include timely course topics.

A PhD general program allows you to obtain a broad understanding of public administration and policy. Some online schools will let you customize the doctoral public administration curriculum to meet your needs. Specializations vary with the school, but often include:

  • Interdisciplinary Policy Studies
  • Health Policy
  • Homeland Security Policy
  • Nonprofit Management and Leadership
  • Public Management and Leadership etc

Other degree options include the online Doctorate in Public Administration (DPA) - a terminal degree similar to the PhD in public administration. While they are often viewed as interchangeable, the DPA focuses more on how to apply research to practical issues, while the PhD is concerned with scholarly research and theory. Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) management doctorates focus solely on organizations that fall outside of the governmental sector, such as charitable and international organizations.

If you already hold a masters degree in public administration, public policy, or nonprofit management, you may be able to apply some of the credits toward a doctoral program. These credits would be applied to the coursework component of your PhD degree. This may also include entering an accelerated program, which would allow you to complete your degree faster.

Featured Colleges - Online PhD in Public Administration

Walden University

  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Criminal Justice
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Terrorism, Mediation, and Peace
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Emergency Management
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Homeland Security Policy
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Policy Analysis
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Course-based - General Program
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Health Policy
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Law and Public Policy
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration -Interdisciplinary Policy Studies
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration- Nonprofit Management and Leadership
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration- Public Management and Leadership
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - International Non Governmental Organization
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Local Government Management for Sustainability

Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) - Public Administration
  • PhD in Business Administration - Public Administration

Independent research as part of the online PhD in public administration

While programs vary, research is at the heart of any doctorate program in public administration or public policy. Throughout the program, you will learn how to share and generate knowledge in your field or specialization. This includes working alongside faculty researchers to develop and explore research topics.

It is essential that you find a mentor with research interests similar to your own, and that you are able to communicate frequently as you conduct your own research. All of this is essential to your success after graduation, enabling you to ask questions central to public administration and policy issues.

A doctorate in public administration online degree study generally includes time spent taking courses, followed by research and the writing of a doctoral dissertation. The length of time varies, and may take about two years for each component, with a total of four to five years. In addition, you will often be required to take a comprehensive examination which tests your understanding of all of the topics covered throughout your program.


Career opportunities with a PhD in public administration

Graduates of campus-based and online PhD in public administration programs, and related degrees, primarily obtain jobs in research institutions. In whatever capacity they hold, they expand the fields of public management and policy analysis through research by developing real-world applications of that knowledge. In addition to academic research and working in academia, you can find positions in a variety of governmental and nonprofit organizations as a policy analyst, government affairs officer, or private consultant.







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