2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
    Jun 14, 2021  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog

Public Affairs PhD

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College: Community Innovation and Education Degree: PhD
Department: School of Public Administration Option: Dissertation
Program Website: https://ccie.ucf.edu/publicaffairs/
Graduate Program Handbook

Program Description

The Doctoral Program in Public Affairs provides a unique focus on public administration, planning, policy, and research. The program prepares future scholars and leaders to better recognize and respond to complex social ills which cross traditional disciplinary boundaries. Students may choose from five tracks: Criminal Justice, Governance and Policy Research, Health Services Management and Research, Public Administration, and Social Work.

Instead of a discipline specific approach to the intransient problems facing our society today, the Doctoral Program in Public Affairs is an interdisciplinary program which draws upon the strengths of faculty in Criminal Justice, Health Management and Informatics, Public Administration, and Social Work. The program prepares students for academic appointments in colleges and universities as well as research and leadership positions in public, nonprofit, and private agencies. The dynamic mix of an interdisciplinary faculty, together with students from varied backgrounds, creates a stimulating environment to examine many of the contemporary social ills communities are currently facing.

The program matches career goals of students through the interdisciplinary nature of course content, the interaction with faculty from all four disciplines, and the flexibility inherent in the choice of electives. Those seeking advancement within public agencies or nonprofit organizations can choose a mix of electives, including course work from other UCF programs, while those seeking to teach at the college or university level can focus on taking more courses within their discipline.

Upon completing the program, graduates will have the theoretical, analytical, and ethical foundation to provide alternative solutions to these social ills while deepening our understanding of the underlying problem. This holistic approach answers to both applied and theoretical concerns and, as such, has the potential to have both local as well as national impact on programming and decision-making.


The Doctoral Program in Public Affairs accommodates the needs of both traditional students and working professionals. All coursework is offered in the evening hours and selected courses offer reduced seat time.

Students must complete 60 credit hours beyond the master’s degree distributed in the following manner:

  • a three-course, 9-credit hour required Public Affairs substantive core
  • a six-course, 18-credit hour required Public Affairs methodological and statistical core
  • a three-course, 9-credit hour discipline specific specialization
  • a two-course, 6-credit hour unrestricted elective requirement
  • one course, 3-credit hour required Public Affairs Community-based research
  • 15 credit hours of dissertation (minimum)

Students are required to take electives as directed by their track adviser. Students may take a maximum of two 3-credit-hour independent study courses to be used as electives with approval.

Total Credit Hours Required: 60 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Master’s Degree

The Public Affairs PhD program curriculum comprises an interdisciplinary core with advanced studies offered in five tracks: Criminal Justice, Governance and Policy Research, Health Services Management and Research, Public Administration, and Social Work. The program has a community-based focus with an emphasis on collaborative relationships across public, private and nonprofit sectors of the community. 

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

Transfer work will only be accepted by the Public Affairs PhD program if 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 track for Public Affairs specialization or general elective component is dependent upon the approval of the Track Coordinator in consultation with the PAF Director. Transfer work will not be accepted into the PAF substantive or methodological core components.

A grade of B- or better is required in all courses.  Students receiving a grade of “C+” or lower will be required to repeat the course and receive a grade of B- or better prior to taking the Research Proficiency Exam or Qualifying Exam. Any student who receives more than one “C” in their doctoral coursework 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 doctoral coursework will be dismissed from the program.

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.

Applicants must choose a track in this program. Track(s) may have different requirements.

Application Deadlines

Public Affairs PhD *Fall Priority Fall Spring Summer
Domestic Applicants Jan 15 Mar 1    
International Applicants Jan 15 Jan 15    
*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. FALL DOMESTIC DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JUN 1**


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.

Contact Info

Graduate Program

Glenn Lambie PhD
Professor and Associate Dean, Graduate Affairs and Faculty Excellence
Telephone: 407-823-0171
ED, Room 308G

Graduate Admissions

Telephone: 407-823-2766
Millican Hall 230
Online Application
Graduate Admissions

Mailing Address

UCF College of Graduate Studies
Millican Hall 230
PO Box 160112
Orlando, FL 32816-0112

Institution Codes
GRE: 5233
TOEFL: 5233
ETS PPI: 5233

Graduate Fellowships

Grad Fellowships
Telephone: 407-823-0127

Graduate Financial Aid

UCF Student Financial Assistance
Millican Hall 120
Telephone: 407-823-2827
Appointment Line: 407-823-5285
Fax: 407-823-5241

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