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University of Colorado Denver

School of Public Affairs

PhD in Public Affairs

Welcome to the Ph.D program at the School of Public Affairs!

The doctoral program provides students with the skills necessary to research and analyze complex public sector challenges, and to train other practioners in various fields.

The Ph.D 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.

Contact Dr. Chris Weible​​ or email for more information.

Student and Faculty Recognitions 

Dr. Benoy Jacob and Ph.D student Samantha Larson have been awarded a Center for Accountability and Performance (CAP) Fellowship. The fellowship is connected to Benoy and Samantha’s Community Cohesion and Resilience Project, which evaluates social cohesion and economic inclusion in American communities. More precisely, it will extend their work to consider the validity and applicability of related national and community metrics. Results will be distributed in future white papers, academic publications, and CAP’s performance management guide. They will also present their findings at the ASPA National Conference, NAPA-related conferences, and the Governing for Racial Equity Conference throughout 2015-2016.

This is the first year of the national fellowship competition. It was jointly sponsored by the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) and National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA). Benoy and Sam’s proposal was selected based on its potential to capture the current “state of the field” on social equity performance measures and produce meaningful results for academic and practitioner audiences alike.


Ph.D student Samantha Larson was recently awarded an American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) Founders' Fellowship.  She will receive financial support to attend the 2015 Annual Conference and present her paper "The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at 50:  How have women in public service progressed?"  Sam will also be matched with a senior mentor in the field as part of her Fellowship.

News and Events

Ph.D student David Carter created a new webpage for the Workshop on Policy Process Research regarding his research of Organic Food Regulation.​

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 sustainable cities’ research and education. The summer program is a unique partnership that brings together students from universities in the United States 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 investigated sustainability indicators through industrial symbiosis, testing low-cost air pollution monitors and researching circular economy law. 

Ph.D student Carrie Chapman was offered a summer associate position at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California. She joined 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. Carrie was mentored by one of RAND's top National Security researchers, along with one of the most highly regarded network analysts in the country. Carrie’s work has real policy implications that could improve the lives of military families and will be implementing some of the newest network analysis models.

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

Ph.D 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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