The Doctoral Program in Public Affairs is an interdisciplinary program that includes the professional and academic expertise of faculty in the fields of Criminal Justice, Health Management and Informatics, Public Administration, and Social Work. The Health Services Management and Research Track prepares students for academic positions in colleges and universities as well as research and leadership positions in public, nonprofit and for profit agencies and organizations.
|Total Credit Hours Required:|
Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Master's Degree|
Students must complete 57 credit hours beyond the master’s degree, including fourteen courses (42 credit hours) above the master’s level distributed in the following manner:
- a five-course, 15-credit required discipline specific courses
- a five-course, 15-credit required interdisciplinary core
- a four-course, 12-credit required research methods and quantitative analysis
- 15 credit hours of dissertation minimum
A maximum of 6 credit hours of Independent Study may be used as electives with adviser’s approval.
Transfer work accepted by the PAF Program must have been taken as part of an approved plan of study for a doctoral program at UCF or elsewhere. A maximum of 6 credit hours taken at the doctoral level may be considered for transfer. The acceptance of transfer credit into the elective component is dependent upon the approval of the track coordinator in consultation with the PAF Program Director.
If students receive grades of "C+" or lower in a required course, they may be dismissed from the program. Also, all students who receive a grade of “C+” or lower in a required course must repeat the course and obtain a grade of “B-” or better prior to taking the qualifying examination.
A minimum of 3.0 graduate status GPA and program of study GPA is required to maintain graduate student status and for graduation. Students with a GPA of less than 3.0 may be dismissed from the program.
Any student who receives an "F" grade in their doctoral course work will be dismissed from the program.
Required Courses—42 Credit Hours
Interdisciplinary Core—15 Credit Hours
- PAF 7000 Foundations of Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
- PAF 7110 Ethics and Social Justice in Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
- PAF 7230 Strategic Change and Management in Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
- PAF 7300 Policy Analysis in Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
- PAF 7315 Public Policy: Microeconomic Applications (3 credit hours)
Research Methods—12 Credit Hours
- PAF 7802 Advanced Research Methods in Public Affairs I (3 credit hours)
- PAF 7806 Advanced Research Methods in Public Affairs II (3 credit hours)
- PAF 7804 Advanced Quantitative Methods in Public Affairs I (3 credit hours)
- PAF 7805 Advanced Quantitative Methods in Public Affairs II (3 credit hours)
Specialization—15 Credit Hours
Students should take the following three courses:
- HSA 7116 Theories in Healthcare Management (3 credit hours)
- HSA 7936 Advanced Seminar in Health Economics (3 credit hours)
- HSA 7938 Advanced Seminar in Health Services Research (3 credit hours)
Choose two additional courses from the following courses:
- PHC 6160 Healthcare Finance and Insurance (3 credit hours)
- HSA 6108 Healthcare Strategic Management (3 credit hours)
- HSA 6342 Healthcare Human Resources Management (3 credit hours)
- HSA 6128 Services Management (3 credit hours)
- PHC 6146 Health Planning and Policy (3 credit hours)
- PHC 6000 Epidemiology (3 credit hours)
- See adviser for appropriate methodological elective (3 credit hours)
- Directed independent study (3 credit hours)
Dissertation—15 Credit Hours
- PAF 7980 Dissertation Research
Assignment of Faculty Advisers
Upon acceptance of a student into the program, the program director provides students with an initial orientation and a general advising session. The track coordinator in conjunction with the PAF Program Director helps the student throughout the foundation stage of the program, assisting in the clarification of interests and goals and facilitating the introduction of students to faculty and research interests that can advance the student's program of study. Health Services Management and Research Track students will be advised by the Health Services Management and Research Track Coordinator. The track coordinator helps the student select elective courses, finalize the program of study, and facilitate the discussion and review of dissertation topics. The dissertation chair should be selected by the student prior to the completion of the dissertation prospectus.
Following successful completion of all required courses, students are required to pass a qualifying examination. The examination is given at the end of fall or spring semesters. Students are given two opportunities to pass all sections of the exam. Students who fail any section twice are dismissed from the program. Any student who fails any section of the qualifying exam twice will not be readmitted to the PAF program. This policy includes all tracks and/or any masters to PhD program(s) with the PAF program.
Students officially enter candidacy when the following has been accomplished:
- Completion of all course work, except for dissertation hours.
- Successful completion of the qualifying examination.
- Successful defense of the dissertation prospectus.
- The dissertation advisory committee is formed, consisting of approved graduate faculty and graduate faculty scholars.
- Submittal of an approved program of study.
Full-time students in the Public Affairs Program pay a $40 equipment fee each semester that they are enrolled. Part-time students pay $20 per semester.
For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.
Applicants must hold a master's degree from an accredited institution, preferably in criminal justice, health, public administration or social work. Applicants who do not have a master's degree in a field directly related to public affairs may be required to take courses at the master's level in preparation for doctoral level study. This preparatory course work requirement will be communicated at the time of acceptance into the program. These courses will not substitute for the doctoral degree requirements and will generally be taken prior to beginning the doctoral level course work. Admission decisions are made fall and spring semester.
In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirements, applicants to this program must provide:
- One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended for both bachelor's and master's degrees.
- Official, competitive GRE score taken within the last five years.
- A narrative statement of 1000 words or less describing the applicant's educational expectations, career aspirations, level of computer skills, and any special qualifications or experiences that may enhance the overall learning environment of the PAF program.
- A writing sample, i.e., academic paper, report, etc.
- Three letters of recommendation from faculty or professionals who can assess the applicant's ability to succeed in a doctoral program.
- Applicants to this program are strongly encouraged to complete the necessary information requested for the ETS PPI (Personal Potential Index) report that is available during the GRE examination. All official PPI reports must be submitted directly to the UCF College of Graduate Studies (use UCF Institution Code: 5233).
Admission to the Doctoral Program in Public Affairs is granted on a competitive basis. Meeting minimum UCF admission standards does not guarantee program admissions. Final admission is based on evaluation of the applicant’s abilities, past performance, recommendations, match to the program, correspondence of the applicant’s career and academic interests with those of the core and affiliated faculty, and potential for completing the degree and making a significant contribution to Public Affairs.
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International Transfer Applicants
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Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website
, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information
section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.
Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.