Public Administration MPA Dual Degree This is a Track

College : Health and Public Affairs Degree :PHD
Department : School of Public Administration Option : Dissertation
Program Websites :


The Public Affairs PhD - Public Administration MPA Dual Degree Track provides academically talented students an opportunity to earn the Doctor of Philosophy in Public Affairs and the Master of Public Administration degrees concurrently. Students successfully completing the PhD/MPA Dual Degree program will have the skills and analytical techniques for careers in academia or in the public and nonprofit sectors. After successful completion of the PhD/MPA Dual Degree program, students will receive two diplomas, one for the Public Administration MPA degree and one for the Public Affairs PhD degree.

Students seeking admission to the PhD/MPA Dual Degree program should apply directly to the Public Affairs PhD - Public Administration MPA Dual Degree Track.  Only one application will be required.  If admitted, student will be active in both the Public Administration MPA and the Public Affairs PhD programs. 


The Public Administration MPA Dual Degree track in the Public Affairs PhD program consists of 84 credit hours, including 63 credit hours of required courses, 6 credit hours of electives approved by the student's faculty adviser or program director, and 15 credit hours of dissertation. For required courses, students first complete seven core courses plus the capstone course for the MPA program (24 credit hours), and then take four Public Affairs substantive core courses and six Public Affairs methodological and statistical core courses for the PhD program (30 credit hours), plus three courses (9 credit hours) from the Public Administration track in the PhD program.

Total Credit Hours Required:
84 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor's Degree

A maximum of 6 credit hours of Independent Study may be used as electives with adviser’s approval.

A grade of "B-" or better is required in all courses listed under the MPA requirement and Public Affairs requirements.  Students receiving a grade below a "B-" in the Substantive Core or Methodological Core must repeat the course and receive an acceptable grade prior to taking the Research Proficiency Exam and Qualifying Exam.  Any student who receives more than one grade of "C" in their doctoral course work may be dismissed from the program.

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 less than 3.0 may be dismissed from the program.

Any student who receives an "F" grade in their master's level or doctoral course work will be dismissed from the program.

Required Courses—63 Credit Hours

Required Courses for MPA—24 Credit Hours

In addition to the following required courses, the MPA degree will include 6 credit hours of advanced research methods and quantitative methods in Public Affairs and 12 credit hours of electives that are incorporated into the prescribed PhD curriculum.

  • PAD 6035 Public Administration in the Policy Process (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6037 Public Organization Management (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6053 Public Administrators in the Governance Process (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6207 Public Financial Management (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6227 Public Budgeting (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6335 Strategic Planning and Management (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6417 Human Resource Management (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6062 Advanced Concepts and Applications in Public Administration (3 credit hours)

Required Courses for PhD—39 Credit Hours

Public Affairs Substantive Core—9 Credit Hours
  • PAF 7000 Foundations in Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7230 Strategic Change and Management for Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7317 Social Inquiry and Public Policy (3 credit hours)
Methodological and Statistical Core—18 Credit Hours
  • PAF 7802 Advanced Research Methodology for Public Affairs I (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7804 Advanced Statistics for Public Affairs I: Multivariate Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7805 Advanced Statistics for Public Affairs II: Survey of Statistical Methods (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7820 Qualitative Methods for Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7325 Policy and Program Evaluation for Public Affairs (3 credit hours)

Advanced Methodology (Select one course):

  • PAF 7868 Advanced Statistics for Public Affairs III: Continued Survey of Statistical Methods (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7856 Applications of Structural Equation Modeling in Public Affairs (3 credit hours) 
  • Pre-approved methodological or statistical course (3 credit hours)
Practicum—3 Credit Hours

At the end of the required coursework, students will take the Practicum in Community-Based Research course (PAF 7XXX). Led by a professor, the practicum provides the student with the opportunity to work within an interdisciplinary team to use their substantive learning and apply their methodological and statistical tools to a real community problem. This experiential learning brings the student out to the community while bringing the community into the university.

Track Specialization—9 Credit Hours

Students take the following three courses:

  • PAD 7026 Advanced Seminar in Public Administration (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 7057 Advanced Public Management (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 7827 Collaborative Public Management (3 credit hours)

Elective Courses—6 Credit Hours

The two required elective courses (3 credit hours each) offered within the dual degree provide an emphasis on public and nonprofit management; however, other emphases may be developed in consultation with the adviser. With prior approval from the Program Director, up to 6 credit hours of elective course work may be taken from outside the department. Students must show that elective courses taken outside of the department directly support an academic or professional career in public administration. 

Students take two of the following courses:

  • PAD 7317 Program Design and Management (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 7707 Advanced Research in Public Administration (3 credit hours)
  • Methodological elective approved by adviser (3 credit hours)
  • Directed independent study (3 credit hours)
  • Or other course that will add to the student's course of study. Requires approval of adviser. (3 credit hours)

Dissertation—15 Credit Hours

  • PAF 7980 Dissertation Research

Research Proficiency Exam and Qualifying Exam

Upon successful completion of the required courses and the required Practicum course, students are required to take a Research Proficiency Exam (RPE) and Qualifying Exam (QE). The Research Proficiency Exam will be taken after the successful completion of the Methodological Core courses. Following successful completion of all PAF core courses (not including Track Specialization courses), students are required to pass a Qualifying Exam. The exam is given following finals in the fall or spring semesters.

Students are given two opportunities to pass the RPE and the QE. Students who fail any section twice are dismissed from the program. Any student who fails any the RPE twice or the QE twice will not be readmitted into the PAF program. This policy includes all tracks and/or any masters to PhD program(s) within the PAF program. Please refer to the student handbook for further information.


Students officially enter candidacy when the following has been accomplished:

  • Completion of all course work, except for dissertation hours.
  • Successful completion of the Research Proficiency Exam and Qualifying Exam.
  • The dissertation advisory committee is formed and has been approved by the PAF Program Director and the College of Graduate Studies.  Members of the committee are to be approved graduate faculty or graduate faculty scholars.
  • Submittal of an approved graduate program of study.
  • Submission of dissertation prospectus to Subsequent results to be within acceptable rating.
  • Successful defense of the dissertation prospectus.
  • All approved documentation has been received by the PAF and Graduate offices.

Additional Program Requirements

Students initially admitted to the MPA/PhD dual degree program who subsequently decide they only want to receive the MPA degree may have all applicable courses completed as part of the two degree programs applied to the MPA degree program without being counted as transfer courses.  

Equipment Fee

Full-time students in the Public Affairs PhD Program pay a $40 equipment fee each semester that they are enrolled. Part-time students pay $20 per semester.

Independent Learning

Independent learning is demonstrated throughout the curriculum, through the process of inquiry and dialogue. Tangible projects, such as research scholarly papers and the dissertation contribute to the self development of MPA/PhD students.  

Application Requirements

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.

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.
  • 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.
  • Résumé.
  • 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.

The Public Affairs Program Admissions Committee will begin reviewing applicant files once the student has submitted all of the above documents. Admission to the Doctoral Program in Public Affairs is granted on a competitive basis. Meeting minimum UCF admission standards does not guarantee program admissions. The Admissions Committee will base final admission on the 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.

Application Deadlines

Public Administration MPA Dual Degree *Fall Priority Fall Spring Summer
Domestic Applicants Jan 15Mar 1



The Fall 2018 application deadline has been extended until June 1, 2018.

International Applicants Jan 15Jan 15



International Transfer Applicants Jan 15Mar 1



*Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.


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.