Graduate Program Public Affairs and Policy

front entrance to the Portland State University College of Urban and Public Affairs

Public Affairs and Policy Doctorate Overview

The doctoral degree in Public Affairs and Policy is an interdisciplinary program of study. It is administered through the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government, but draws on faculty from the entire College of Urban and Public Affairs. The curriculum of the Ph.D. program focuses on governance and the integrated study of political, economic, administrative, and policy processes in the public sector. Through their coursework and research, students encounter a range of theoretical and practical policy issues at the local, state, national, and international levels.

We Offer

  • Three specialization tracks: Public Administration and Policy and Politics and Public Policy
  • Multidisciplinary training in the socioeconomic and institutional frameworks within which governance operates
  • Training in the analytical and research methods
  • Professional development and networking opportunities
  • Access to world-class faculty
  • Full and part-time enrollment options and course planning to accommodate working schedules

Degree Details

Public Affairs and Policy Doctorate: Why PSU?

The faculty at the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government are world leaders in public management, public policy, and domestic and international politics. Most students draw broadly from faculty within the School and often from faculty in partner units such as Economics and Urban Studies and Planning. Portland, Oregon is one of the most livable and vibrant cities in the U.S. and provides a welcoming environment for students. Those working part-time or with families and professional spouses find the city an ideal location for the successful pursuit of the degree.

What can I do with a Doctorate in Public Affairs and Policy?

The program is designed to prepare doctoral students who want to pursue careers in research, teaching, public service, and/or consulting in a variety of settings, including academia, government, non-profits, and the private sector. Our graduates have gone on to prominent careers in government, public management, politics, policy advocacy, academia, non-profits, and civil society.

Core Curriculum

Our program follows a core set of curriculum and three track options of multidisciplinary training. These tracks provide expertise in the socioeconomic and institutional frameworks wherein policies are implemented, administered, and evaluated. In addition, our students are provided training in the analytical and research methods used to examine policy processes and outcomes.

Specialization Tracks and Courses

Track I: Public Administration and Policy

  • Political and Economic Decision-Making
  • Ethics and Public Policy
  • Administrative Theory and Behavior
  • Administrative Process
  • Policy Analysis
  • Comparative Public Policy
  • Administrative Law

Track II: Politics and Public Policy

  • Political and Economic Decision-Making
  • Ethics and Public Policy
  • Advanced Political Economy
  • History of Economic Thought
  • Policy Analysis
  • Comparative Public Policy
  • Seminar in International Relations

Track III: Economics and Public Policy

  • Advanced Economics
  • Applied Advanced Economics
  • Mathematical Economics
  • Advanced Microeconomics
  • Applications of Advanced Microeconomic Theory
  • Advanced Macroeconomics
  • Applications of Advanced Macroeconomic Theory


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).