The study of public affairs and community development takes place at the intersection of increasingly complex economic, political, legal, and social systems. Our rigorous interdisciplinary program, brings together scholarship and applied research from the fields of public policy, public administration, law, business, and the social sciences to prepare graduates both for further doctoral study or to assume leadership positions in the non-profit sector and government.

Your coursework affords you the opportunity to work closely with first rate research faculty and peers in the doctoral program as you explore the economic, political, social and global dimensions of community development. 

Admission Requirements

  • Official graduate school admissions test scores (GRE preferred, LSAT and GMAT accepted)
  • A transcript of all undergraduate and graduate coursework completed or in progress (Master’s degree preferred)
  • Three letters of recommendation that indicate potential for success in the Ph.D. program, with at least two from persons familiar with your work in an academic setting
    Résumé (including relevant professional experience)
  • Personal statement indicating your motivation to earn a Ph.D., assets you will bring to the class, a description of your background and experience, and how a Ph.D. will benefit your future
  • A statement of evidence of an ability to succeed in graduate-level quantitative methods courses, such as successfully completed coursework in statistics, research methods, or economics (may be included in personal statement)
  • Writing sample

Admission Deadlines:
Fall Admission Deadline: February 1 (requests for financial support will not be considered after this date)

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Degree Requirements

30 total credits

  • Core Curriculum (7 courses/21 credits)
    Community Development History, Theory and Practice Courses (3 courses/9 credits) Methods Courses (4 courses/12 credits).
  • Elective Courses (2 courses/6 credits)
    All elective classes for the Ph.D. curriculum are open to M.S. students.  Masters students, however, are strongly encouraged to include 824:704 Alternative Development Strategies for Distressed Cities and one internationally-focused course as their electives.
  • Practical Experience (3 credits)
    824:706 Practicum/Capstone
    This course is required of all M.S. students as a capstone.  It is usually offered in the spring semester through the Senator Walter Rand Institute (WRI) as studio under the supervision of the WRI Executive Director.  It engages students in applied work on one of the Institute’s grants or contracts supporting public or non-profit clients.