This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. Courses that expose students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning may be added and notification of additional program approvals may be received prior to finalization. General education program content is also subject to change. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

Program mission

The mission of the Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration program is to provide students with the knowledge and skills that will enable them to conduct original and scholarly research in academic institutions, governmental agencies and public policy research institutions. The purpose of the program is to prepare students for scholarly and leadership roles in government, universities, research organizations and other settings where knowledge and research skills in public policy and administration are needed. The doctoral program is committed to accomplishing this mission by creating an intellectually vibrant atmosphere for scholarship involving an active faculty from a broad spectrum of academic disciplines and substantial interaction with government agencies and community groups.

Program goals

  1. Enable students to develop expertise in a particular area of public policy
  2. Enable students to apply their knowledge and skills in order to conduct original and scholarly research

Student learning outcomes

Public policy and administration program outcomes

  1. Students will be able to expertly apply public policy theories, integrating relevant ideas, concepts and approaches from the humanities, social sciences, law and public administration to policy formulation, implementation and analysis.
  2. Students will develop mastery in a concentration area of the appropriate literature and methods that will qualify them to design and conduct original research.
  3. Students will be able to formulate appropriate research questions related to public policy and apply methodological knowledge to develop an appropriate research design for a research proposal.
  4. Students will complete an original research project that will demonstrate the capacity to utilize appropriate methods in addressing major public policy and administration issues.
  5. Students will be able to conduct and defend original and scholarly research on public policy issues.

Public policy concentration-specific outcome

  1. Students will be able to design an academic research study using methods and literature appropriate in the field of public policy

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.