The first two years of the Ph.D. program are comprised of coursework. The following core courses must be completed in order to be able to take the qualifying exams and comprehensive field exams.

  • Theory of Public Organization and Administration

  • PAI 801: Advanced Seminar: Intellectual History of Public Administration

This course will analyze the intellectual currents that undergird the theories and concepts in public administration. There are three primary perspectives crosscutting the topics: historical, cultural, and analytical.

Typically offered in the fall.

  • PAI 805: Advanced Seminar: Foundations of Policy Analysis and Management

This course exposes students to the foundational literature in public policy analysis and public management. The primary goal of the course is to prepare students for the qualifying exam in “Foundations in Policy Analysis and Management.” The course has three distinct sections.

First, the course covers consumer theory (microeconomics) which serves as a starting point for inquiries into market failures, government failures, and cost benefit analysis. In the second section of the course, students will read criticisms of this “rational” approach to decision making, which includes findings from behavioral economics. In the third portion of the course, students turn their focus to the policy process, which includes readings on agenda setting, policy diffusion, and policy implementation.

Theoretical work from microeconomics, political science, and public administration serve as the source material.

  • Research Design and Methods
  • PAI 803: Advanced Seminar: Quantitative Methods I

Course objectives are to teach students the basics of the social science research process, which include:

        • defining a good research question, developing a good explanatory theory, and developing a research design that adequately identifies cause and effect;
        • understanding trade-off evident through the research process;
        • developing experience in building different research designs;
        • understanding the distinctive roles of explanation and prescription in research; and
        • building the foundation to make the transition from traditional student to scholar.

Typically offered in the fall.

  • PAI 804: Advanced Seminar: Quantitative Methods II

The second course in the methodology sequence for Public Administration PhD students, it focuses on the use of regression analysis for social science research.

We begin with a description of the properties and assumptions of the basic multivariate linear regression model using ordinary least squares (OLS), along with the statistical inference tools necessary for hypothesis testing.

The course continues by examining the consequences of violating the assumptions of the OLS model. Techniques for dealing with such cases are at the heart of empirical research. We discuss several such techniques, including adjustments for heteroskedasticity and autocorrelation, and the instrumental variables technique.

Typically offered in the spring.

  • Research Methods Elective

Examples of courses to fill this requirement include, but are not limited to:

      • SOC 614: Qualitative Methods
      • PSC 694: Qualitative Political Analysis
      • SOC 800: Mixed Methods
      • PAI 811: Quantitative Methods III
      • SOC 813: Advanced Social Statistics

Course descriptions are available in the online Course Catalog.

Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research

Every summer, the Maxwell School co-hosts the Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research (IQMR) with the Consortium on Qualitative Research Methods (CQRM).

While participation in the institute costs money, the department provides funding for few students to attend. Application information is emailed to students in November. Because participants work on their own research designs during the institute, these openings are only available to students in their second year or later.

  • Research Seminar

PAI 810: Ph.D. Research Seminar

Additional details about coursework can be found in the PhD Handbook.

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