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Choose a program focused on shaping 21st-century public service leaders.

You have a passion for public service. Deepen your influence and create the change you want to see with a DPA from Walden. A Doctor of Public Administration degree prepares students for executive-level leadership roles in government and nonprofit organizations as well as private consulting practice.

Real-World Case Studies

Our DPA degree program is grounded in real-world experience and preparation. Add immediate value with skills relevant to advanced practice in public organizations, such as evidence-based decision making.

in-demand analytics expertise

The DPA curriculum includes courses on applied analytics in the public sector, helping you understand the science and strategy of making data-driven decisions.

hands-on expertise

Your second residency is a charrette-style experience, where you apply what you’ve learned to a real-life business problem and recommend practical solutions.

DPA CAPSTONE

Your DPA capstone writing project involves producing a professional consulting product for the government client presented in your residency.

Faculty Excellence

Our faculty includes 300+ honorees for excellence in teaching and mentorship.

PROGRAM SAVINGS

Receive up to a $5,000 Grant if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on November 29, 2021. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

Get Started Now

Curriculum

Minimum Degree Requirements

  • Doctoral Writing Assessment (0 cr.)
  • Foundation course (3 cr.)
  • Core courses (40 cr.)
  • Research courses (10 cr.)
  • Completion of the Doctoral Capstone
    • Doctoral Capstone writing courses (continuous enrollment in 5 cr. per term for a minimum of 4 terms until completion)
  • Two face-to-face residencies

Walden students have up to 8 years to complete their doctoral program unless they petition for an extension.

In general, students are continuously registered in the dissertation/doctoral study course until they complete their capstone project and it is approved. This usually takes longer than the minimum required terms in the dissertation/doctoral study course shell.

To complete a doctoral dissertation/doctoral study, students must obtain the academic approval of several independent evaluators including their committee, the University Research Reviewer, and the Institutional Review Board; pass the Form and Style Review; gain approval at the oral defense stage; and gain final approval by the Chief Academic Officer. Students must also publish their dissertation on ProQuest before their degree is conferred. Learn more about the dissertation/doctoral study process in the Dissertation Guidebook.

This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-797-9416.

Your Doctoral Journey

At Walden, we’ll guide you every step of the way with a comprehensive suite of support resources designed to help you confidently pursue the finish line, including our Doctoral Degree CoachTM. Since being founded in 1970 for working professionals who want to make a difference, our university has grown to become the No. 1 granter of doctoral research degrees in the U.S.1 Are you ready to reach a higher level in your field?

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Courses

Course Code Title Credits

Doctoral Writing Assessment

DRWA 8880G
Doctoral Writing Assessment

This course is part of Walden's commitment to help prepare students to meet the university's expectations for writing in courses at the doctoral level. In this course, students write a short academic essay that will be scored by a team of writing assessors. Based on the essay score, students will complete or be exempted from additional required writing support needed to meet writing proficiency standards. This required assessment course is free. Students will be enrolled automatically in it at the beginning of their doctoral program.

(0 cr.)

Foundation Course

Choose one course from the following courses:
DDPA 8003
Foundations in Doctoral Studies

Students in this course are introduced to Walden University and to the requirements for successful participation in an online doctoral program and learning environment. Students work toward building a foundation for academic and professional success as scholar-practitioners and social change agents. They assess the relationship of mission and vision to professional goals and develop best practices and strategies for online success. Students also explore resources used throughout the program, such as the online Walden University Library, the Writing Center, and other Walden academic centers. Students engage in course assignments focused on the practical application of scholarly and professional writing, critical thinking, and the promotion of professional and academic excellence as they relate to practice in public policy and administration.

(3 cr.)
OR
DDPA 8003I
Foundations in Doctoral Studies

Students in this course are introduced to Walden University and to the requirements for successful participation in an online doctoral program and learning environment. Students work toward building a foundation for academic and professional success as scholar-practitioners and social change agents. They assess the relationship of mission and vision to professional goals and develop best practices and strategies for online success. Students also explore resources used throughout the program, such as the online Walden University Library, the Writing Center, and other Walden academic centers. Students engage in course assignments focused on the practical application of scholarly and professional writing, critical thinking, and the promotion of professional and academic excellence as they relate to practice in public policy and administration.

(3 cr.)

Core Courses

DDPA 8405
Ethics and Social Justice

Ethics is a foundational element of leadership. In this course, students examine the philosophy of ethics as well as responsibility and social justice—basic tenets of public service. Students explore the complex social, political, and related ethical challenges leaders face as they seek to meet the needs of diverse constituents. They examine ethics and social justice related to economic disparity, power, and privilege. Students also assess demographic data and current social trends and themes to understand, analyze, and address ethical and social justice issues that impact service delivery in a global community. Applying concepts presented in the course, students engage in an in-depth assessment of an emerging or persistent ethical or social justice issue, through which they demonstrate their ability to make recommendations for improvement or change.

(5 cr.)
DDPA 8390
Strategic Context of Public Management and Leadership

Students in this course engage in a collaborative study of the changing strategic context of public administration. Students apply a systems perspective to construct a public enterprise "mental" model of a public organization to understand the strategic context for practical action and the stakeholder relations involved. Students demonstrate their knowledge of the interrelated flows of money, knowledge, and influence as they weave these elements in their model. They engage in readings and practical assignments that emphasize management and leadership in a time of unprecedented and unpredictable change. Students also work toward developing professional-action habits for pragmatic action-learning in the practice of public administration.

(5 cr.)
DDPA 8382
Public Policy and Finance

Public policymakers often rely on microeconomic and macroeconomic models to formulate new policies and reevaluate existing polices. In this course, students examine the use of such models in the public policy setting and assess how public finance influences policy choices as well as implementation alternatives. Through weekly analytical writing assignments and peer discussions, students explore tax policies and tax incentive models; budgeting; public/private models; market influences on policy; the impact of government expenditures on income redistribution; and economic considerations of welfare, food stamps, workers' compensation, Social Security, and outsourcing of public programs. Synthesizing course content and applying critical-thinking skills, students assess a local government jurisdiction, examine the decisions of policymakers, and recommend improvements based on economic models.

(5 cr.)
DDPA 8200
Management Techniques for the Public Sector

Students in this course are introduced to evidence-based practices and analytic techniques for decision making in the public sector.  Learning focuses on building a tool kit of analytic methods related to budgeting, problem solving, and utilization of data to inform leaders of areas for improvement in the delivery of public goods and services.  

(5 cr.)
DDPA 8111
Leadership and Organizational Change

Successful organizations in a rapidly changing and complex world require leaders who embrace change and are able to engage others in change. In this course, students use traditional literature, current articles, and interactive media to explore the qualities, characteristics, and skills of effective leaders as well as the theories, models, and relationships between leadership and organizational change. They assess the ethical issues and standards as well as the opportunities and challenges related to leading diverse organizations through change. Students also examine how current leaders employ leadership and organizational change to contribute to social change, and they consider how to use these lessons to make further positive changes within an organization or their own community. 

(5 cr.)
DDPA 8112
Governance and Public Policy

Students in this course engage in an in-depth analysis of how societies are governed and how public policies are formulated, evaluated, adjudicated, and implemented. Students examine governance and public policy from theoretical and practical perspectives using ancient and classical voices as well as more modern and critical literature. Advanced techniques and research tools for policy analysis are used to illustrate various contemporary policy issues. With the aid of these techniques and research tools, students develop a policy plan to address a significant public policy concern or social issue of personal interest. Students also explore their future role in the field of public policy and administration.

(5 cr.)
DDPA 8210
Analytics for Evidence-Based Decision-Making

Analytics, as used by government and public administrators, is the practice of using statistics and computer analysis together to manipulate and gain insight from very large datasets. Analytic processes addressed in this course include data mining, machine learning, the use of neural networks as a decision-making tool, and exploration into computer-simulated and generated models for public decision-making. Analytics are used to understand past events and predict future events. This course emphasizes the development of critical thinking and data literacy skills for public administrators. Students will further develop the capability to communicate the results of analytics to various stakeholders.

Prerequisites

  • DDPA 8200
  • RSCH 8210T

(5 cr.)
DDPA 8300
Writing Applied Research and Funding Proposals

Students in this course propose an applied research project related to a specific field of study. Students focus on two objectives: first, to draft a Prospectus Form for the doctoral Professional Administrative Study (PAS); and second, to explore how research can be applied to solve problems in the practice of public administration. Students further gain exposure to funding opportunities to support public and nonprofit organizations.

Prerequisites

  • DDPA 8210

(5 cr.)

Research Courses

RSCH 8110
Research Theory, Design, and Methods

In this research course, students are provided with core knowledge and skills for understanding, analyzing, and designing research at the graduate level. Students explore the philosophy of science, the role of theory, and research processes. Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research designs and data collection methods are introduced. The alignment of research components is emphasized. Students also explore ethical and social change implications of designing and conducting research. Students demonstrate their knowledge and skills by developing an annotated bibliography.

Prerequisites

Doctor of Social Work

  • SOCW 8110 or SOCW 8110W

PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision

  • COUN 8001
  • COUN 8110
  • RESI 8801C

PhD in Social Work

  • SOCW 8110 or SOCW 8110W

All Other Programs

  • RESI 8401

(5 cr.)
RSCH 8210
Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis

In this research course, students are provided with the opportunity to develop core knowledge and skills for designing and carrying out quantitative research at the doctoral level, including the application of statistical concepts and techniques. Students explore classical common statistical tests, the importance of the logic of inference, and social change implications of conducting quantitative research and producing knowledge. Students approach statistics from a problem-solving perspective with emphasis on selecting appropriate statistical tests for a research design. Students use statistical software to derive statistics from quantitative data and interpret and present results.

Prerequisites

Doctor of Social Work

  • RSCH 8110K or RSCH 8110W

PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision

  • RSCH 8110
  • RESI 8801C

PhD in Social Work

  • RSCH 8110K or RSCH 8110W

All Other Programs

  • RSCH 8110 or RSCH 7110 or RSCH 6110
  • RESI 8401

(5 cr.)

Completion of Doctoral Capstone

DDPA 8400
Professional Administrative Study

The Professional Administrative Study (PAS) results in a formal manuscript designed and written to address a problem in public administration practice. Each DPA student is required to complete a PAS. The PAS involves students completing an applied research study that addresses an actual administrative problem or need faced by a client organization. Students complete the PAS independently, with the guidance of a supervisory committee chair, a committee member, and a University Research Reviewer (URR). Students complete a prospectus, proposal, research ethics review, and a final written PAS. Oral presentations are required both after the proposal and final projects are approved by the committee. The PAS paper takes the format of a consulting report and, at a minimum, includes the following sections:AbstractIntroduction to the ProblemConceptual Approach and BackgroundData Collection Process and AnalysisEvaluation and RecommendationsDissemination Plan

Prerequisites

  • All prior coursework

Note: Students take this course for a minimum of four quarters and are continuously enrolled until completion of their doctoral study with final chief academic officer (CAO) approval.

(5 cr. per term for a minimum of four terms until completion)
VIEW ALL COURSES Less Courses

Tuition and Fees

Curriculum Requirements Cost Total *
Tuition-Coursework 53 quarter credits  $630 per quarter hour for coursework credits $33,390^
Tuition-Doctoral Study/Project  20-125 quarter credits $630 per quarter hour for doctoral study/project credits $12,600-$78,750*
Technology Fee $160 per quarter $1,600-$5,120*
Residency Fee Two Residencies

$1,375 (virtual)
$1,475 (in-person: travel, lodging and other expenses are additional)                          

$2,750-$2,950
Estimated Range:     2.5-Year 8-Year
 
$50,340
$120,010*+
(assuming completion in a 2.5-year timeframe) (assuming completion in an 8-year timeframe)

These are ranges of what a student can expect in terms of time and tuition cost to complete a degree. It does not include other fees, nor is it adjusted for tuition increases over time. Walden faculty has concluded that generally students who do not complete their program in eight years are unlikely to complete and only allow students to exceed that time frame when a student petitions for an extension and provides good reason for the delay and assurances that obstacles to completion can be overcome. Time is calculated using the time allowed for each semester or unit that the student completes. Students are encouraged to work continuously during the program so as not to extend the time needed to complete the degree as work can become stale and students lose focus. Students who earn two grades of “Unsatisfactory,” who repeatedly drop a course before a semester or unit has been completed, or are unable to complete in the eight year time frame, should expect that they may be dismissed from the program. Walden believes that it is in the best interest of a student who is unable to complete the degree in the stated ranges to strongly consider withdrawal or obtaining a lesser degree.

Time to completion and cost are not estimates of individual experience and will vary based on individual factors applicable to the student. Factors may be programmatic or academic such as tuition and fee increases and/or the student’s transfer credits accepted by Walden; program or specialization changes; unsuccessful course completion; credit load per term; writing, research and editing skills; use of external data for their doctoral study/dissertation; and/or individual progress in the program. Other factors may include personal issues such as the student’s employment obligations; care giving responsibilities or health issues; part-time vs. full-time enrollment; leaves of absence; and/or other personal circumstances.

Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included. Students may incur additional costs for remedial writing assistance, if necessary.

^This assumes students successfully complete their coursework on the first attempt.

Based on a 2.5-year minimum completion requirement and an 8-year maximum timeframe as outlined in Walden academic policy.

*Tuition and fees will be higher if students petition to extend the 8-year maximum timeframe or choose to take more expensive elective courses.

+Tuition and time to complete may be reduced if transfer credits are accepted, or if you receive grants, scholarships or other tuition discounts. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 844-768-0109.

FINANCIAL AID

Many Walden degree-seeking students—67%—receive some form of financial aid.* Create a customized plan that makes sense for you.

*Source: Walden University’s Office of Financial Aid. Data reports as of 2018.

Find Ways to Save

PROGRAM SAVINGS

Receive up to a $5,000 Grant if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on November 29, 2021. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

Get Started Now

Admission Requirements

To be considered for this doctoral program, you must have a master’s degree from an accredited college or university and meet the general admissions requirements. All applicants must submit a completed online application and transcripts. Depending on program specialization, additional requirements may apply. More information for international applicants.

Grow as a Leader

In Walden’s DPA degree program, you’ll learn to think and work like an executive and broaden your leadership skills. Gain focused insight on building strategies for success in public administration and nonprofit leadership. Develop 21st-century skills that make you more marketable to today’s public sector organizations, including evidence-based decision making, basic grant writing, and data analytics.

Learning Outcomes

As a graduate of Walden’s online Doctor of Public Administration program, you will be prepared to:

  • Evaluate effective leadership/management principles (including theory, concepts, and practices) utilized in the public sector.
  • Evaluate solutions to practical problems in public administration using evidence-based practices and research.
  • Apply ethical concepts of public administration within organizations.
  • Apply culturally sensitive public administration research to meet the needs of diverse populations at local, state, national, and international levels of government.
  • Utilize analytic methods in making decisions related to public administration that contributes to positive social change.
  • Engage in scientific inquiry to advance practice in the field of public administration.

What’s the Career Impact of Earning a Doctor of Public Administration?

Lead the Way to a Brighter Tomorrow

Today more than ever, communities need strong, civic-minded leaders to keep our nation moving forward. Additionally, as governments utilize evidence-based decision making, managers and leaders with analytical skills will have the upper hand. Gain the insights you need to open new doors and increase your impact with a DPA degree from Walden.

What Can I Do With a DPA Degree?

A DPA gives you a distinctive credential and a competitive edge in pursuing senior and leadership roles in government and nonprofit organizations. Depending on your prior experience, possible career roles may include:

  • Social and community services manager
  • Government affairs director
  • Mayor, city manager, county manager
  • Senior policy analyst
  • Executive director
  • Division chief

Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this Doctor of Public Administration online degree program.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of social and community service managers is expected to grow by

17%

through 2029.1

Enhance Your Earning Potential

A Doctor of Public Administration degree could potentially lead to higher earnings. According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary for certain doctoral-level jobs are as follows:1

  • Division chief: $140,543
  • Executive director: $120,304
  • Director of public affairs: $97,078
  • City manager: $63,388
  • Policy analyst: $58,926
  • Social and community services manager: $50,150

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