Are you considering a career in research or academia? Since its inception, the Glenn College has offered a selective, research-oriented doctoral program in public policy and management. This academically rigorous program is preparation for individuals pursuing university careers in teaching and research, and for senior-level research roles in government, consulting, and nonprofit organizations.

The program is tailored to individual needs and interests and enrolls 25-30 students. Students work closely with faculty advisors in developing programs of study that allow students to attain:

  • A basic knowledge of the public policy formulation, implementation, and evaluation processes
  • A thorough preparation in analytical foundations and competence in advanced quantitative tools required for investigating public policy and management problems
  • Competence in public sector economic theory and its application to policy analysis and management problems
  • An understanding of the concepts, methods, and techniques of organization theory and administrative processes applicable to the public sector environment
  • An intensive concentration in an advanced specialization field emphasizing multidisciplinary contributions to the solution of public sector problems

The John Glenn College of Public Affairs includes a core full-time faculty accompanied by other faculty members who divide their time between public policy and related academic disciplines. A wide range of academic disciplines and professional fields are represented on the faculty including public administration and public policy, economics, political science, law, history, geography, engineering, operations research, nonprofit management, food, environmental, and innovation policy, and quantitative methods. Many have experience in either government or private research organizations.

Our doctoral alumni hold leadership positions in some of the top public affairs programs in the country. Recent placements include faculty positions at Louisiana State University, the University of Kansas, and Virginia Tech, and government agency positions in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ecuador Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Next Steps…?

Check out our admissions page for information on applicant checklists, visiting the College, and additional resources. Don’t forget to complete the inquiry card before submitting any materials. This will make sure you get more information about the Glenn College and the programs we offer.

Admission to the Ph.D. program is highly selective. The faculty is committed to maintaining small seminars, individual tutorials, and close student-faculty collaboration on research projects. Talented men and women from the United States and abroad with superior academic records and a strong interest in careers emphasizing research and scholarship are encouraged to apply. Our students come from a variety of academic backgrounds, including public administration, the social and behavioral sciences, business administration, accounting, history, engineering, the physical sciences, mathematics, the biological sciences, education, law, and social work. The common bond among our faculty and students is a dedication to the solution of public policy and management problems through the integration of multidisciplinary research contributions.

The Glenn College accepts applications to begin Autumn Semester ONLY. The deadline to submit a completed application for domestic and international applicants is March 15th. Applications received after this date will be accepted on a case-by-case basis.

Applicants with a cumulative, undergraduate GPA below a 3.0 are encouraged to contact the Glenn College prior to applying for more information about OSU Graduate School admissions standards.

For step by step instructions on how to apply to our Ph.D. program, please check out our Graduate Admissions page.

In developing the intellectual foundation necessary to advance the knowledge and practice of public policy and management, the Ph.D. curriculum incorporates a wide array of courses and doctoral seminars. A substantial portion of this coursework is concentrated in four core areas of instruction: public policy, analytical foundations and quantitative methods, public sector economics, and public sector organizational theory and management. These core areas provide a common body of knowledge and skills for all doctoral students with an eye toward careers in multidisciplinary research environments.

Students choose a set of elective courses to develop advanced specialized knowledge in a field (or fields) that compliments their core coursework. Examples of specialized topic areas selected by Ph.D. students include public sector economics, public finance, information technology policy, energy and environmental policy, education and workforce policy, housing policy, health policy, food policy, and management science. In addition, most students take advanced specialized coursework in qualitative or quantitative methods.

For more information related to the Ph.D. program, including course offerings and program plans, please review the Ph.D. student handbook.

Please read "Should you pursue a Ph.D. in public affairs?"

Below are the course requirements for the Ph.D. in Public Policy and Management. These courses are organized into four parts: foundation courses, content area courses, research design and methods courses and specialization courses. The foundation, content area and research design and methods courses are taken by all students. Students are also required to take at least four methods courses and three specialization courses. Methods and specialization course offerings vary from year to year. Each student works closely with his or her adviser to decide on a set of methods and specialization courses appropriate for the dissertation and future research interests.

Foundation Course Summary

  • PUBAFRS 8000 Public Policy and Management: Foundations and Approaches
    In-depth introduction to research and theory of public administration intended to familiarize students with major research streams in the field and issues and debates involved therein. Assists students in planning research directions. 3 credit hours
  • PUBAFRS 8890.01-8890.03- First & Second Year Doctoral Seminar
    Seminar sequence develops the skills and capacities for first-year Glenn College doctoral students to succeed and thrive as scholars, including the development and presentation of a first year paper.
  • PUBAFRS 8890.04 College Teaching in Public Affairs
    This interactive seminar assists advanced graduate students in developing the necessary skills for college level teaching in public affairs: pedagogical strategies; theoretical and interdisciplinary practices; instructor professional development. 2 credit hours

Content Area Courses

Public Policy

  • PUBAFRS 8030 Seminar in Public Policy
    Designed to heighten graduate students’ ability to think critically about public policy processes and policy analysis. It emphasizes the critical assessment of public policy research on policy formulation, implementation, and evaluation. 3 credit hours

Public Sector Economics

  • PUBAFRS 8050 Seminar in Public Sector Economics
    The applications of rational choice modeling to public policy analysis, and organizational decision-making. 3 credit hours

Management and Organizational Theory

  • PUBAFRS 8040 Seminar in Public Management and Organizational Theory
    Provides an in-depth introduction to research and theory about public management. Survey of the major perspectives in organizational theory and their application to public management. 3 credit hours

Methods Elective Courses

Students take at least four additional methods courses, two of which should be statistics or econometrics courses. Course selections are tailored to the skills and interests of students, ranging from introductory econometrics to advanced statistical modeling. Students work with their advisor to select courses from departments across campus, including economics, sociology, education, psychology and political science.

Specialization Courses

Student take at least three specialization courses, and these courses will constitute in-depth study of a particular research area. Each student identifies specialized course work that will advance his or her own research pursuits. The objective is for students to develop sufficient depth in a topical area to be able to work successfully as researchers and scholars in the field. In designing their specialization, students select from a wide variety of world class graduate courses offered across OSU’s campus. In completing their specialization coursework, students may also pursue graduate minors in fields such as economics, statistics, research methods or demography. More than half of our doctoral students complete a graduate minor.
The Glenn College currently funds 100 percent of our students for at least 4 years of study. Funding includes stipend, benefits and tuition.

Current doctoral students Recent Ph.D. graduates Job Market Candidates

Resources for Current Students

Doctoral Student Handbook Dissertation Proposal Guidelines Independent Study Form

APPENDIX II: Candidacy Examination

The written portion of the candidacy examination has two components: 1) a closed book, six hour examination of the students’ knowledge of the chosen track; and 2) a test of ability to apply knowledge both of the chosen track and the remaining core curriculum, to an unstructured problem. These two examinations will be followed by an oral examination. The focus of the oral examination will be the student’s responses to Part A and B. The examination committee will use the oral to explore further the student’s responses to Part A and Part B and evaluate the student’s readiness to embark upon an independent research project necessary to complete the doctoral dissertation. This oral examination will also serve as an opportunity for the student to elaborate upon the responses to Part A and Part B.

Purpose of the Examination

There are four basic skills and competencies that a student should possess and that needed to be tested through an examination before the student could move towards doctoral candidacy status:

  1. Knowledge of the material (reproduce from memory).
  2. Understanding of the material (logically reason, compare and contrast, limitations of the theory).
  3. The ability to go beyond the existing literature to suggest new empirical research questions or conceptual solutions to theoretical problems.
  4. The ability to apply theory to a particular theoretical or practical problem.

Specific Details on the Candidacy Examination

The Candidacy Examination consists of a two-part examination. Part A tests the student’s knowledge of the specialization literature. Part B tests the ability to:1) apply knowledge to an unstructured problem and 2) integrate that knowledge of the core curriculum as it relates to the unstructured problem. In short, Part A focuses relatively more on items one, two and three. Part B necessarily, to some degree, requires the student to display competency for item one but focus relatively more on items two, three and four.

Part A is an in-depth test of students’ command of the literature of their chosen specialization. This examination will not exceed eight hours in length. The student will be provided with a candidate list of questions ahead of the examination. This bank of questions will serve as the basis of the actual examination question. Each specialization’s faculty is responsible for developing and maintaining a working list of questions for that literature. Students are allowed to bring in a list of references to the examination and are allowed to use a College-provided computer.

Students can choose to be “certified” in more than track if they desire. (For example, the student could take an examination in both management and policy, or some other track should additional tracks be added to the curriculum.)

Unlike Part A, which looks back and “certifies” that the student has acquired a deep command of his or her chosen literature, Part B looks forward to test the student’s ability to structure a problem by applying and integrating the core curriculum.

Part B tests the ability of the student to take an unstructured and open-ended problem, and using the literature, provide a structured analysis or response to that problem. Unlike in Part A, students will not have foreknowledge of possible examination question. This take-home examination will not exceed one week in length. All students, regardless of their chosen track will be given the same unstructured problem or choice of problems. Examples of the unstructured problem include a research proposal to NSF, a response to a request for technical assistance from a government agency or formulating a detailed research plan to address a current public policy or management issue.

The candidacy examination, which includes Part A and Part B, is offered each fall and spring semester.

In summary, the candidacy examination is a test for all four skills and competencies listed above. The first difference between the two parts is focus: Part A focuses on the student’s chosen specialization, while Part B focuses on the student’s ability to provide structure to a public affairs problem such that it lends itself to a formal treatment using the student’s knowledge of the core curriculum and experience in the doctoral program. The oral examination allows the student and the examination committee to engage in a discussion of the student’s responses to Part A and Part B and to go beyond those responses to explore the student’s readiness to conduct doctoral level research. While the precise time frame for these examinations may vary, it is expected that the written portions of the examination will be within a week of each other. The examination committee will provide feedback to the students on their responses to Part A and Part B within ten days of the submission of the response to Part B. The oral will be conducted within three weeks of the submission of the response to Part B.

How to Schedule an Exam using GRADFORMS

Candidacy Exam Details

Doctoral Candidacy Examination

For details about Candidacy Exam Deadlines, Policies and Procedures, please refer to the following sections of the Graduate School Handbook:
7.4 - Candidacy Examination
7.5 - Written Portion of the Candidacy Examination
7.6 - Oral Portion of the Candidacy Examination
7.7 - Result of the Candidacy Examination
The candidacy examination is a single examination consisting of two portions, written and oral, administered under the auspices of the graduate studies committee in conjunction with the student’s candidacy examination committee and the Graduate School.

Candidacy Examination

The written portion of the candidacy examination has two components: 1) a closed book, six hour examination of the students’ knowledge of the chosen track; and 2) a test of ability to apply knowledge both of the chosen track and the remaining core curriculum, to an unstructured problem. These two examinations will be followed by an oral examination. The focus of the oral examination will be the student’s responses to Part A and B. The examination committee will use the oral to explore further the student’s responses to Part A and Part B and evaluate the student’s readiness to embark upon an independent research project necessary to complete the doctoral dissertation. This oral examination will also serve as an opportunity for the student to elaborate upon the responses to Part A and Part B.
Click the Candidacy Exam button above this to learn more.

The student must be in GOOD STANDING in the Graduate College and registered for at least three graduate credit hours each semester or session in which any part of the candidacy examination is taken. To be in good standing in the Graduate School, a student must maintain a graduate cumulative point-hour ratio (CPHR) of 3.0 or better in all graduate credit courses and must maintain reasonable progress toward Graduate School or graduate program requirements. A doctoral student who has had two unsatisfactory attempts at the candidacy examination or the final oral examination or professional doctoral examination is not in good standing.

Students must complete a Doctoral Notification of Candidacy Examination form prior to beginning the written portion of the exam. The STUDENT INFORMATION portion of the form should be completed.

If the ORAL PORTION of the exam is scheduled after the form has been submitted to the Graduate School, the date, time and place must be communicated to the Graduate School at least two weeks prior to the oral examination date. In cases when a Graduate Faculty Representative is assigned, the Dean of the Graduate School appoints the Graduate Faculty Representative after the Graduate School is notified as to the proposed date for the oral portion. No less than one week before the oral portion, a typed copy of the questions and the student's responses to the written portion of the Candidacy Examination, or the graduate program equivalent, must be presented to the Graduate Faculty Representative by the student or his/her representative.

Material for Candidacy Exam

Org Theory
PA Thought
Public Sector Economics
Public Management
Public Policy

Exam Study Questions:
Unstructured Problem Sample Questions
Public Management
Public Policy and Economics

Doctoral Student Application for Funding to Present at a Research Conference

To apply for funding, please provide the following information well in advance (at least 30 days) of your travel:

  1. The conference you will be attending
  2. Dates of travel
  3. Your role in the conference (presenter, discussant, chair, etc.)
  4. The title(s) of your presentation
  5. Short explanation of how your involvement in the conference helps further your academic and/or professional goals
  6. Other funding sources you have pursued*. Have you heard back yet? How much funding are they providing?
  7. How many of your previous conference trips has the Glenn College funded?
  8. A travel budget estimate (include factors such as registration fees, travel, hotel, per diem as relevant) and amount you are requesting if different than your estimate
  9. Potential days and times for you to do a practice presentation before your trip

Please send your request to the doctoral chair Russell Hassan.

Additional Resources

Conference travel can be expensive. We encourage you to seek out resources outside of the doctoral travel fund to help cover your expenses. Below are possible sources of additional support. Please plan ahead and pay attention to the due dates to apply for conference funding from these sources; you may need to apply before learning whether or not your proposal has been accepted.

The Council of Graduate Students’ Ray Travel Award ( is a good source of funding. Please check their website for deadlines and application criteria. Note that your chances of being approved will increase if you are engaged in service to the Glenn College, the University or the community, so be sure to highlight your engagement activities.

The Critical Difference for Women program at OSU also offers Professional Development Grants for Women of up to $1,000 that may be used for participation and/or presentation at professional conferences, seminars, or workshops. Please see their website, as you must apply well in advance of the event to be eligible.

Depending on the nature of your research, the Center for Urban and Regional Analysis (CURA) at Ohio State has some conference funding. Please see their website:

Check with other centers on campus that are related to your research, who might have funding opportunities for travel (e.g., IPR, CJRC and/or the Battelle Center for Science Policy).

Check with your advisor or other faculty at the Glenn College conducting related research to see if they have ISA funding that they might be able to contribute to support your travel at the conference.

Colloquium Series

© John Glenn College of Public Affairs
Page Hall, 1810 College Road, Columbus, Ohio 43210

Keep up on all the Glenn College news and events by following us on Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.