2019–2020 Walden University Catalog (September 2019) 
    Aug 17, 2022  
2019–2020 Walden University Catalog (September 2019) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)

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The DPA program is designed to prepare students to engage in and address the problems and challenges associated with the administration of public and nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and the world. Through their coursework, students explore the practice of public administration, management, and applied research in a global context, thereby enabling them to gain expertise in solving the complex problems that public organizations encounter. Graduates with a DPA degree are positioned for career opportunities in applied research, management, leadership, and the administration of public and nonprofit organizations; they can also pursue careers in consultancy with organizations that contract with public entities. Students in this program may choose from several specializations, including Geographic Information System (GIS) systems.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Doctor of Public Administration (DPA) program, students will be able to:

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

Minimum Degree Requirements

  • Doctoral Writing Assessment
  • Professional Development Plan and Program of Study
  • Foundations course (3 cr.)
  • Core courses (40 cr.)
  • Research courses (10 cr.)
  • Specialization courses (15 cr.) [Note: Not required for the General program.]
  • Completion of the Doctoral study
    • Doctoral Study completion course (5 cr. per term for a minimum of four terms; taken continuously until completion of the doctoral study)
    • Quarter Plans
  • Two face-to-face residencies


Specialization Courses (15 cr.)

These courses are dependent upon the particular specialization. Please see the course list on each specialization page.

Residency Requirements

  • Complete residency 1 face-to-face in Terms 3 or 4.
  • Complete residency 2 face-to-face in Terms 6 or 7.

Completion of the Doctoral Capstone

Course Sequence

Students undertake courses in the following sequence.

Quarter Course Credits
1 DDPA 8003 - Foundations for Doctoral Studies  OR DDPA 8003I - Foundations for Doctoral Studies for International Students   3 cr.
DDPA 8405 - Ethics and Social Justice   5 cr.
2 DDPA 8390 - Strategic Context of Public Management and Leadership   5 cr.
RSCH 8110 - Research Theory, Design, and Methods♦   5 cr.
  Complete Residency 1 face-to-face in Terms 3 or 4.  
3 DDPA 8382 - Public Policy and Finance   5 cr.
DDPA 8200 - Management Techniques for the Public Sector   5 cr.
4 DDPA 8111 - Leadership and Organizational Change   5 cr.
RSCH 8210 - Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis♦   5 cr.
5 DDPA 8112 - Governance and Public Policy   5 cr.
Specialization course 1 5 cr.
  Complete Residency 2 face-to-face in Terms 6 or 7.  
6 DDPA 8210 - Analytics for Evidence-Based Decision Making   5 cr.
Specialization course 2 5 cr.
7 Specialization course 3 5 cr.
DDPA 8300 - Writing Applied Research and Funding Proposals   5 cr.
8+ DDPA 8400 - Professional Administrative Study * 5 cr. per term for a minimum of 4 terms; taken continuously until completion

*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. 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 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 doctoral study on ProQuest before their degree is conferred. Learn more about the dissertation process in the Dissertation Guidebook.

Doctoral Writing Assessment

Students who start or readmit to doctoral programs at Walden University in the university catalog for academic year 2017 or later will complete the university’s required doctoral writing assessment. Designed to evaluate incoming doctoral students’ writing skills, this assessment aims to help prepare incoming doctoral students to meet the university’s expectations for writing at the doctoral level.

8-Year Maximum Time Frame

Students have up to 8 years to complete their doctoral degree requirements (see Enrollment Requirements). Students may petition to extend the 8-year maximum time frame, but an extension is not guaranteed.

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