DPA Curriculum

Curriculum Components


Doctoral Study (3 credits)

  • DPA 700 Doctoral Seminar in Public Policy and Administration

Administration Core (12 credits)

  • DPA 701 Advanced Practice and Applied Theories of Public Policy and Administration
  • DPA 702 Strategic Public Management and Governance
  • DPA 703 Advanced Public Sector Economic and Financial Decision Making
  • DPA 704 Advocacy and Leadership in Public Policy and Administration

Methods Sequence (9 credits)

  • DPA 705 Research Design for Program and Policy and Evaluation
  • DPA 706 Quantitative Methods of Program and Policy and Evaluation
  • DPA 707 Qualitative Methods of Program and Policy and Evaluation

Concentration Electives (9 credits)

Electives may be selected from different departments, such as Public Policy and Administration, Criminal Justice, Geography and Planning, Graduate Social Work, Health, and Psychology.

Dissertation (12 credits)

  • DPA 801  Seminar I: Research Questions and Framing the Literature
  • DPA 802  Seminar II: Data and Measurements
  • DPA 803  Seminar III: Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis
  • DPA 804  Seminar IV: Recommendations and Conclusions

DPA Course Descriptions

Graduate catalog

Comprehensive Examination

The DPA Comprehensive Exam covers content from the core public administration courses and the research methods courses.  The initial stage of the examination is a written qualifying exam.  A follow-up oral component of the exam may be required of students with noted deficiencies in the written portion.  Students not passing the comp exam on the first try will be permitted only one additional attempt.  Note that if a student does not submit their answers on time or does not submit their exam at all, this counts as a 'failed attempt'.  Students must successfully pass before they can enroll in DPA803. 

Comprehensive Exam Study Strategy Guide

Comprehensive Exam Dates

Winter 2025: January 4-12, 2025

Spring 2025: May 17-25, 2025

Register for the 2025 comprehensive exam

Students will be notified of the results of their exam no later than 45 days after the submission date.

Dissertation Seminar

The DPA Dissertation Seminar is a series of four courses whereby students demonstrate mastery of required competencies through the completion of a final culminating independent applied research project. Currently, DPA 801 and DPA 802 are completed in a seminar style class. DPA 803 and DPA 804 are independent research courses that are completed individually and under the advisement of a DPA Dissertation Chairperson. The Dissertation Chairperson will guide each student through the dissertation process, aid in committee finalization, and establish research milestones. Students must pass the Comprehensive Exam before enrolling in DPA803. 


Important deadlines, templated for signature pages, preliminary pages and the Graduate School style formatting information are available under "forms" here: https://www.wcupa.edu/thesisdoc.  DPA required forms are available on our “Student Resources and Professional Organizations” webpage. All DPA dissertations should follow the APA Style Guide for formatting.

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