Courses and Policies

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, Health Policy, Policy Management, Policy Studies on Aging, and Social Justice Policy. (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.

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)

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 PolicyTheory (PUBP 60103)
  • Community Development(PUBP 60303, PLS 51703, SOCI 51303, or equivalent)
  • Economics and Policy (AGEC 51503, PADM 59103, SOCI 51103, or others)
  • Law and Policy (PUBP 60203)
  • Policy Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation(PUBP 61003)
  • Agenda Setting and Policy Formation (PUBP 61103)
  • Capstone Seminar in Public Policy (PUBP 61304)
  • Public Policy Pro-Seminar (PUBP 60001)

12 Hours of Methods

  • Quantitative Methods(Selected from approved courses)
  • Qualitative Methods (ESRM 65303 or equivalent)
  • Advanced Research Methods (Variety)

12 Hours of Electives in Area of Specialization

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

18 hours of Dissertation Research (PUBP 7000V)

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.

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.

Public Policy (PUBP) Courses

  • PUBP 60103 Theories of Public Policy
  • PUBP 60203 Law and Public Policy
  • PUBP 60303 Community Development Policy and Practice
  • PUBP 61003 Policy Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation
  • PUBP 61103 Agenda Setting and Policy Formation
  • PUBP 6120V Research Problems in Policy
  • PUBP 61304 Capstone Seminar in Public Policy
  • PUBP 7000V Dissertation Research
  • PUBP 6040V Special Topics

Current sudents can review the Course Scheduler for more information.