The Doctor of Public Administration degree at West Chester University is designed to meet employer and student needs by preparing individuals to advance the practice of public affairs and administration at the highest levels. The Administration Core focuses on strategic management, public sector economic and financial decision-making, and policy advocacy and leadership. The Methods Sequence adopts a research and evaluation focused lens, which assists students in identifying the most effective and efficient solutions to the problems they encounter in practice. Electives may be selected from different departments, such as Public Policy and Administration, Criminal Justice, Geography and Planning, Graduate Social Work, Health, and Psychology. In their dissertation, students demonstrate a high level of competence in applying the D.P.A. student learning outcomes through applied research.

At the end of the D.P.A. program, students will be able:

  1. Advance public service values and demonstrate the ability to be advocates and leaders
  2. Evaluate and design public policy and administration research
  3. Develop skills in critical thinking, analysis, and decision making
  4. Communicate a public service perspective effectively and productively with diverse constituencies
  5. Exemplify diversity, equity, and inclusion values
  6. Recognize and uphold ethical principles

Interdisciplinary at its core, the DPA program allows students to select a concentration (in consultation with an advisor) from among departments such as Public Policy & Administration, Criminal Justice, Geography and Planning, Health, Psychology, and Graduate Social Work. Recent dissertation research conducted by our students has examined motivation and public service values in law enforcement professionals, University-community partnerships, collaborative government, affordable housing, and long term health care issues. Students also complete a series of dissertation seminar courses leading to a piece of applied scholarship that demonstrates a high level of competence in applying the DPA competencies to the solution of an actual organizational or public problem/issue. Many of our DPA students present their resulting work at regional and national conferences. Students are also able to work alongside faculty members on research projects, such as a recently published collaborative piece on the pipeline issue that is impacting local communities in PA.

View a printable summary of the program and application process.

Emily Devereaux’s Video Tutorial

Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Public Policy and Administration is to provide high-quality, accessible education for a diverse community of emerging and existing public service leaders.  Our faculty and students advance the practice of public administration through community partnerships, academic scholarship, and applied research—spanning the public, nonprofit, and private sectors.

Public Service values are a distinctive feature of our profession and are at the heart of the public administration curriculum. Values not only inform our attitudes about the ends to which we should aspire, but they also present standards of conduct that inform how we ought to go about achieving those ends.  These values involve action motivated by a concern for democratic, professional, ethical and human values, which are also reflected in the NASPAA Standards and Policy and the WCU Mission Statement.  To learn more about the WCU Department of Public Policy and Administration's values, please read our WCU PPA Social Justice Statement .

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