Courses and Policies

Public Policy (PUBP)

Degree Conferred: Ph.D. (PUBP)

This interdisciplinary policy program has a strong emphasis on public affairs and will train policy leaders to directly address the policy issues of the people of Arkansas, the region, and the nation. The program provides a vehicle for the consideration of policy issues by students, faculty, and the larger community. Therefore, students and faculty will participate in colloquia, projects and research which contribute to successful public policy.  Leadership and administrative skills are included in the course of study, along with a strong emphasis on policy analysis which recognizes the complex nature of policy problems. Such an analytical approach will prepare students for work with governmental, educational, professional, and private sector experts who must cooperate in shaping public policy.

Fields of Specialized Study: Agricultural Policy, Community Development and Recreation Policy, Education Policy, Family Policy, Health Policy, Policy Management, and Policy Studies on Aging.  (Other specialization options are possible. Contact the program director for more information.)

Prerequisites to Degree Program: Applicants must have a Master's degree completed prior to beginning the doctoral program. The Master's degree should be relevant to the policy area of their specialization.  For example, students with a Master’s in Geology might enter the Agriculture policy specialization, but not the Family policy specialization. If students enroll in classes designated to address deficiencies, students may enter specializations outside of their Master’s area. These decisions will be made by the program faculty. An application should include identification of the applicant's objectives and supportive background information including three letters of recommendation evaluating the applicant's ability to successfully pursue a Ph.D. A GPA of at least a 3.20 on a four point scale for all graduate course work is required.

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree: In addition to the general requirements of the Graduate School, the doctoral program consists of a minimum of 65 hours including:

23 hours of core requirements

  • Public Policy Theory (PUBP 6013)
  • Community Development (PUBP 6033, PLS 5173, SOCI 5133, or equivalent)
  • Economics and Policy (AGEC 5153, PADM 5913, SOCI 5113, or others)
  • Law and Policy (PUBP 6023)
  • Policy Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation(PUBP 6103)
  • Agenda Setting and Policy Formation (PUBP 6113)
  • Capstone Seminar in Public Policy (PUBP 6134)
  • Public Policy Pro-Seminar (PUBP 6001)

12 hours of methods

  • Quantitative Methods (Selected from approved courses)
  • Qualitative Methods (ESRM 6533 or equivalent)
  • Advanced Research Methods (Variety)

12 hours of electives in area of specialization

18 hours of dissertation research. (PUBP 700V)

The following graduate courses, or their equivalents, in research statistics and research methods are considered prerequisites.

  • Social Research Methods (for example: Research Methods in Political Science, Research Methods in Education, Advanced Social Research in Sociology)
  • Statistics for Research (for example: Applied Data Analysis in Sociology, Inferential Statistics for Psychology, Statistical Methods in Statistics)

Concerning the courses required in the student's area of specialization, see program director for specialization requirements.

Qualifying Exams

After completing approximately two years of graduate study, and at least one year before completing all other requirements, the prospective candidate must take candidacy examinations covering both core and specialization studies. The examinations will be both written and oral. All students must demonstrate a capacity for research by writing an original dissertation on a topic in their area of concentration.  The student's final examination will be an oral defense of the dissertation.

Courses: Public Policy (PUBP)

  • PUBP 6013 Theories of Public Policy
  • PUBP 6023 Law and Public Policy
  • PUBP 6103 Policy Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation
  • PUBP 6113 Agenda Setting and Policy Formation
  • PUBP 612V Research Problems in Policy
  • PUBP 6134 Capstone Seminar in Public Policy
  • PUBP 700V Dissertation Research
  • PUBP 604V Special Topics

Note: if a student feels that he or she has already taken a course or courses which meet the core requirements, there is a procedure for course exemptions and substitutions.