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PhD in Public Affairs

About the PhD Program in Public Affairs

The Harry S Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri offers an interdisciplinary PhD in Public Affairs that prepares graduates for careers in universities, colleges and applied research settings in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Students complete core sequences in public policy and management as well as research methods, and specializations tailored to students’ research interests.

Degree Requirements

Below are the courses that would be in a typical doctoral program in Public Affairs.  Courses chosen by an individual student can vary.

PUB_AF 8180Research Methods and Inquiry in Public Affairs I3
PUB_AF 8190Economic Analysis for Public Affairs3
PUB_AF 9150Governance and Public Affairs3
PUB_AF 9160Organization Studies in Public Affairs3
PUB_AF 9170Policy Theory3
PUB_AF 9180Advanced Research Methods for Public Affairs I3
PUB_AF 9181Advanced Research Methods for Public Affairs II3
PUB_AF 9183Public Affairs Research and Professional Development Seminar (x2)1
Specialization Course12
Methods electives6
PUB_AF 9090Dissertation1-33

Acceptance Criteria

In making its decision, the PhD committee considers:

  • The applicant’s record of academic achievement (Applicants typically have undergraduate GPAs higher than 3.0, and graduate GPAs higher than 3.5.)
  • The quality of the written statement explaining why the applicant wants to pursue the degree
  • The quality of the applicant’s writing sample
  • Evaluations contained in letters of recommendation
  • Acceptable performance on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Applicants typically have combined scores of 310 or higher
  • Results of a personal interview with the applicant in person or by telephone
  • Other factors bearing upon the candidate's potential for success

Application Procedure

  1. Applications for the PhD program are accepted for fall entrance only. For a prospective student’s application to be complete, the Truman School must receive all required materials by January 4.
  2. Applicants are required to upload application materials to the MU Graduate School Application for Admission.
  3. Official GRE/TOEFL/IELTS scores can be directed to institution code 6875, department code 2204.

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Required Application Materials

A student’s application is complete when all of the following materials have been received.

  • University of Missouri Graduate School online application (application fee required)
  • Statement of interest (500 words)
  • Curriculum vitae/Résumé
  • Writing sample
  • Personal data sheet
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Unofficial undergraduate and graduate transcripts (official will be required after admitted)
  • Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score report (must be sent by ETS)
  • Official TOEFL score report (must be sent by ETS; required of applicants whose native language is not English)

Entrance Exams

  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required of all applicants.
  • Applicants whose native language is not English must achieve a score of 625 (107 iBT) in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
  • Use the following codes to submit test scores to the Truman School:
    • University of Missouri-Columbia Institution Code: 6875
    • Truman School Department Code: 2204

Cost of Attendance and Financial Aid

Prospective students should visit the Graduate School's financial information and support web page for current information about tuition and fees. The University’s Office of Student Financial Aid provides information about other types of aid students can obtain, including federally financed student loans. 

PhD Contact: Jacob Owen
(573) 882-2062

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