University of Minnesota
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The Humphrey School of Public Affairs is the University of
Minnesota's school of policy and planning.

PhD in Public Affairs

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Public Affairs offers students opportunities for rigorous, advanced study in the areas of public affairs, policy analysis, and planning. The program is designed to prepare students for successful careers in research and teaching in academia, public agencies, and nonprofit institutions. Specializations are available in:

• Public Policy
• Urban and Regional Planning
• Public and Nonprofit Management
• Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy

Students accepted into the program are expected to make original theoretical, methodological, or substantive contributions in the area of their specialization. Students will take a common set of core classes, choose one of the four academic subplans for specialization, select a customized set of courses within the subplan in consultation with their advisor, and complete the dissertation. Each subplan requires advanced training in theory, research design, statistics, and other quantitative and qualitative methods. All students also will complete training in pedagogy and gain experience in teaching.

Successful completion of the degree requires a minimum of 63 credit hours of study, including 24 thesis credit hours, plus passage of written and oral preliminary examinations, defense of the dissertation proposal, and defense of the dissertation.

Candidate Profile

Admission to the PhD program is highly selective and competitive. The PhD program enrolls a limited number of students annually to ensure opportunities for close collaboration with faculty advisors and mentors and the availability of financial assistance. Admitted students are provided financial aid in the form of tuition fellowships, stipends, or research or teaching assistantships.

The School welcomes candidates from all fields. Most students admitted into the program already will hold a master’s degree from an accredited college or university, although exceptionally well-qualified candidates with bachelor’s degrees also will be considered. The Humphrey School’s mission is to inspire, educate, and support innovative leaders to advance the common good in a diverse world, and seeks highly qualified, diverse candidates for all of its programs.

Admissions Process

The application deadline for the PhD program is December 1. Students must complete an application, as well as submit a statement of purpose that outlines their research interests and reasons for seeking the PhD; resume or C.V., official copies of transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate programs attended; three letters of recommendation that address the student’s capacity for advanced study; an official GRE score report; and an official IELTS or TOEFL report (if applicable). Applicants may also submit an optional diversity statement that discusses how their background, experiences, and achievements will contribute to the University's goal of promoting excellence through diversity. If applicable, nominees should mention hardships or obstacles that they have overcome to complete their education (e.g., low-income and first-generation college students). Applications for the 2014 fall term will be available in October 2013. Inquiries about the PhD program should be sent to

Humphrey School
University of Minnesota
280 Humphrey School
301 19th Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55455