UMKC Catalog


Public Affairs and Administration
Discipline Coordinator
Nick Peroff, (816) 235-2341,

Click here to see Public Affairs and Administration faculty who are members of the doctoral faculty.

Note: The public affairs and administration discipline is currently accepting applications for the co-discipline only.

Public Affairs and Administration is a discipline in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program administered by the School of Graduate Studies.

Note: The discipline-specific requirements listed here are in addition to the requirements listed in Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Application Procedure and Minimum Criteria for Admission and Minimum Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Academic Regulations and Degree Requirements.

Discipline-Specific Admission Requirements

The doctoral faculty committee in this discipline will consider applications for admission throughout the academic year. To have their credentials included in the review process, applicants should submit GRE scores and all other necessary supporting documentation. 

The public affairs and administration (PAA) discipline in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program is designed to prepare students for research careers in universities, public and nonprofit agencies, or for other roles in which research training is needed. Successful applicants must show evidence of a strong interest in and ability to successfully engage in research, and when appropriate, exhibit promise as skillful teachers. The PAA doctoral faculty supports the development of strong research capacities and requires all Ph.D. students to complete an empirical study for the dissertation. The faculty expects all Ph.D. students to be competent in quantitative research; however, the faculty does not regard quantitative analyses and advanced statistical techniques as the only acceptable form of research.

Applicants are expected to submit scores for the verbal and quantitative portions of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Applicants must also submit official transcripts of coursework from all colleges and universities attended. No specific grade-point averages (GPA) are required. Admission is based on an applicant's overall record of academic achievement and the doctoral faculty's judgment of the applicant's likelihood of successfully completing the Ph.D. We expect that those admitted will have scored well on the GRE and have high GPAs.

Applicants should pay particular attention to the narrative statement that accompanies their application. The PAA doctoral faculty gives substantial weight to this statement. It should provide a clear description of the applicant's intellectual interests, how those interests evolved and should describe the research direction(s) that the applicant intends to pursue. A good statement also discusses the fit between the applicant's interests and the resources available at UMKC (for example, it might identify faculty with whom the applicant hopes to work). Narrative statements need not be limited to one page. Applicants should provide a writing sample (such as a master's thesis or a paper from a graduate seminar) that illustrates writing skills and a potential for scholarly work. Applicants are also encouraged to seek letters of recommendation from people who can address their potential for engaging in scholarly research.

The PAA doctoral faculty seeks to admit only students whose research interests fit the interests and capabilities of the doctoral faculty. We admit only students for whom a member of the doctoral faculty has agreed to serve as interim adviser, and after the student's plan of study is completed, that faculty member should also be willing to serve on the student's Interdisciplinary Ph.D. supervisory committee. This commitment from a member of the PAA doctoral faculty applies to all applicants seeking PAA as a co-discipline. We strongly recommend that applicants communicate with PAA doctoral faculty about their interests and attempt to secure commitments from faculty to serve as PAA co-discipline adviser or supervisory committee member. Since applicants are reviewed beginning in mid-March, applicants should contact faculty by e-mail, telephone or in person before that time.


Suggested Compatible Co-disciplines

Entrepreneurship and innovation, educational leadership, policy and foundations, curriculum and instruction, economics, history, political science.


Core Program Requirements

For those students with PAA as the co-discipline, the core requirements are 4 of the following courses:

PUB-ADM 5525 Financial Accountability and Policy Development
PUB-ADM 5526 The Politics of Administration
PUB-ADM 5530 Public Management
PUB-ADM 5544 Public Policy Evaluation and Analysis
PUB-ADM 5548 Leadership for Public Service

And  PUB-ADM 5510 Research Methods in Public Administration

Typically co-discipline students are expected to complete the above listed courses, plus two electives from the public administration curriculum. Any of the above courses, except PUB-ADM 5510, may be waived if a student has had substantially equivalent courses.

Requirements for Comprehensive Examinations 

The comprehensive examination for each PAA co-discipline student is developed, administered and evaluated by the student's co-discipline faculty adviser and supervisory committee.