Public Affairs and Administration
Ph.D. in Public Administration
All students (including international students) may download a copy of the Departmental Application Form. Please note that this only includes the Departmental Application Form and does NOT include the Application for Graduate Admission to the University or mailing envelopes. Students may also choose to complete and submit electronically the departmental application materials via our online form.
Applicants should obtain a doctoral student information packet (electronic format) from the School of Public Affairs and Administration for complete details concerning admissions. The following criteria will be used to fill available spaces in the program with the best possible candidates. In order to be competitive, applications must:
- Have an undergraduate degree with at least a 3.00 grade point average.
- Have a master's degree in public administration or a related academic discipline with at least a 3.25 grade point average in all graduate coursework.
- Have at least four (4) years of experience in a supervisory or administrative position, preferably in public serving organizations.
- Provide three (3) letters of recommendation using the WMU graduate reference form, at least one of which should be from a person acquainted with the applicant's professional work and at least one of which should be from a person acquainted with the applicant's graduate-level academic work.
- Submit a completed Western Michigan University Graduate Application Form and associated fees.
- Submit a completed Departmental Application Form, including responses to the required essays.
- Submit a complete up-to-date professional resume.
- Provide Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for the 1) verbal, 2) quantitative, and 3) analytical writing components of the examination. Use school code 1902 and department code 4801.
- All international students must work through WMU's Office of International Student Services in order to apply for any WMU graduate program.
- All applicants who do not speak English as their native tongue must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination.
All application materials should be submitted by April 30th to ensure consideration for the fall semester. Late applications may be considered on a space-available basis while earlier applications may be required to meet university financial aid deadlines.
The School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) anticipates accepting 8-12 new students each fall semester. The Ph.D. Committee, comprised of members of the SPAA faculty, makes admission decisions and forwards them to WMU's Office of Graduate Admissions and/or the Office of International Student Support Services for final processing. A negative admissions decision may be appealed to the full faculty of the SPAA. The decision of the full SPAA faculty is final.
Admission Essay Questions
Responses to the following essays should be submitted with the Departmental Application Form.
- How does our Ph.D. program relate to your career goals and aspirations?
- In which ways have your educational and professional experiences prepared you to enter a research degree program in Public Administration? In what ways has it failed to prepare you for such a program?
- Please describe at least two specific research interests you may decide to pursue when you reach the dissertation phase in the program.
- Please identify a recent significant problem in your workplace. Explain the problem, identify 2-3 alternative solutions, analyze them, and recommend a course of action.
Please limit the first 3 responses to two (2) double-spaced pages and the 4th response to six (6) double spaced pages.