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University of Colorado Denver

School of Public Affairs

PhD in Public Affairs

Welcome to the PhD program at the School of Public Affairs!  The PhD program requires an intensive commitment of time and effort. It is designed to serve:

  • People who seek academic appointments to further the field of public administration, public policy and public management through teaching and research
  • Scholar-practitioners working in government, private sector organizations concerned with government and nonprofit organizations
  • Policy analysts in government, private sector organizations and nonprofit organizations.


In this program, students master the scholarly theory, concepts and research skills required to teach other practitioners, and are provided the skills necessary to research and analyze complex public sector challenges. Contact Doctoral Program Director, Tanya Heikkila​ or for more information.

 Student and Faculty Recognitions

News and Events

Professors Tanya Heikkila and Chris Weible joined Ph.D students Daniel Costie and Juniper Katz to participate in a summer school program in China focused on research and education for sustainable cities. The summer program is a unique partnership that brings together students from United States universities with students from universities in China and India to learn and work together on building low carbon, sustainable cities. The summer school is part of a National Science Foundation Partnership in International Research and Education (PIRE) grant awarded to CU Denver and its partner institutions in 2012. 

This diverse group of students and teachers conducted team-based field work in five Chinese cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Wuxi, Yixing and Xiamen with populations ranging from 1 to 24 million people. Students continued work that began in India last year by investigating sustainability indicators through industrial symbiosis, testing low-cost air pollution monitors and researching circular economy law in China. 

PhD student Carrie Chapman has been offered a summer associate position at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, Calif. She will join a team doing cutting-edge research to help the Army optimize a portfolio of programs intended to promote readiness and/or resilience in its soldiers, civilian employees, their dependents, and retirees. Chapman  will be mentored by one of RAND's top National Security researchers, along with one of the most highly regarded network analysts in the country. She  not only willbe doing work that has real policy implications that could improve the lives of military families, but will also be implementing some of the newest network analysis models (things that no one is using yet except this group of analysts).


PhD student David Carter participated in the Ostrom Workshop in Bloomington Indiana from June 18-20, 2014.


PhD student Sam Gallaher and Dr. Tanya Heikkila published an article in the Journal of Water Research and Education entitled, Challenges and Opportunities for Collecting and Sharing data on Water Governance Institutions.  This article explores the “usability and availability of data needed for investigating the interplay between institutional arrangements (rules, regulations, policy, compacts, laws) and water resource outcomes.” | Physical Address: 1380 Lawrence St., Ste. 500  Denver, CO  80204 | Mailing Address: University of Colorado Denver, SPA, Campus Box 142, P.O. Box 173364, Denver, CO 80217-3364 | ph: 303.315.2228 | fax: 303.315.2229 | SPA Website Feedback

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