Doctor of Philosophy in Public Administration General Information

Program requirements

WE APPRECIATE YOUR INTEREST IN OUR DOCTORAL PROGRAM. THE SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND ADMINISTRATION OFFERS A RANGE OF UNDERGRADUATE AND GRADUATE DEGREES INCLUDING THE MICHIGAN’S ONLY PHD IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION, WHICH WE’VE BEEN PROVIDING SINCE 1979. CURRENTLY, THE SCHOOL IS EXPANDING UNDERGRADUATE OFFERINGS AND RESTRUCTURING GRADUATE PROGRAMS. IN ORDER TO ALLOW A MORE THOROUGH REVIEW AND RESTRUCTURING OF OUR DOCTORAL EDUCATION GROUNDED IN THE INTERDISCIPLINARY NATURE OF THE FIELD, THE SPAA FACULTY HAS DECIDED OUR NEXT INCOMING GROUP FOR THE PHD PROGRAM TO BE FOR FALL 2021. THAT MEANS WE HAVE DECIDED TO SKIP TWO ADMISSIONS CYCLES, REVISE THE DOCTORAL CURRICULUM, AND THEN GET GOING AGAIN WITH A FULL SLATE OF PROGRAMS. WE ARE AWARE THAT TIMING MAY NOT BE GOOD FOR EVERY POTENTIAL APPLICANT, BUT WE HOPE THIS INFORMATION HELPS YOU MAKE THE BEST EDUCATIONAL DECISIONS GIVEN YOUR PERSONAL SITUATION. OUR ADVICE IS TO APPLY IN LATE 2020 OR EARLY 2021.

The Ph.D. in public administration is comprised of six separate sections. Each of the requirements within each section must be met before either moving to the next section or program completion. The current requirements are as follows: 

University policies

Time limit

University policy stipulates that all Ph.D. requirements must be completed within seven years of enrolling in the first course. The seven-year clock starts when the first class is taken—not when you are admitted to the program. If program requirements are not completed within this time frame, you must:

  • Provide evidence that you have remained current on course content that is older than six years.
  • Document exceptional circumstances.
  • Apply for an extension from the Graduate College. Approval of an extension request is not guaranteed so you are strongly encouraged to schedule your courses and manage your dissertation process so that all program requirements can be completed within seven years.

Religious holidays and class attendance

The University recognizes religious holidays of many faiths. If, due to the observance of a religious holiday, you are unable to attend class, discuss the matter with your instructor in advance of the holiday.

Incomplete grades

Incomplete grades are typically permitted only in unusual circumstances. The decision of whether to approve an incomplete grade rests with the professor and is determined by his or her course syllabus and policies. If you need to request an incomplete grade, discuss the matter with your professor as early as possible. Do not wait until the last week of the semester or term.

Incomplete grade deadlines

University policy stipulates that all work must be completed within one year. If the remaining tasks for the course are not completed within this time period, the incomplete grade is automatically translated into an 'X'. This grade has the same impact on the GPA as an 'E'.

Change of address

Submit address changes to the University via GoWMU. You are also encouraged to submit your new address to the School of Public Affairs and Administration to ensure the program has current contact information.

Class registration

Registration for classes takes place via GoWMU.

Graduation

Deadlines

The deadlines for application for graduation are Aug. 1 for fall, Dec. 1 for spring, and Feb. 1 for summer.

Applying for graduation

You may secure an Application for Graduation Audit at any WMU campus (Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Muskegon and Southwest). The completed application and fee must be sent to the Office of the Registrar. Ensure that the doctoral director knows that your permanent program needs to be completed and submitted to the graduation auditor. Review the graduation procedures.