PhD Field in Public and Nonprofit Management

Public and Nonprofit Management (Previously named Public Administration and Management)

Field Advisors: Professor Lori Brainard ([email protected]); Professor Sanjay Pandey ([email protected])

This field of concentration is for Ph.D. students seeking a focused background in a core public administration sub-field or topic such as public and nonprofit management, government regulation and reform, administrative processes, technology, and state-society relations.  It is important that students pursue a focus that is related to strengths in the Trachtenberg School.  For example several members of the faculty are currently conducting research related to collaborative governance and civil society. 

Students who have not already completed the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree either at The George Washington University or at another university’s accredited MPA program will be expected to include as part of their coursework selected MPA core courses before taking more advanced coursework. The field faculty advisors will work with students on an individual basis in identifying coursework appropriate for them. Although most coursework will consist of Public Administration courses, the students' individually tailored fields may also include courses from other GW departments and well as courses at other universities participating in the Consortium of Washington Area Universities.

General Examination Core

All students will be expected to take PPPA 8100, which will form part of their general examination core. Upon finishing their field coursework, students will be required to pass a comprehensive take-home examination based on the four courses comprising their individually tailored field.

Choice of Public and Nonprofit Management Field Courses:
The purpose of completing the field coursework is two-fold:
1) Develop an overarching and integrated perspective on public and nonprofit management.

2) Develop competencies and knowledge that will be useful in conducting scholarly research in public and nonprofit management on dissertation and other relevant themes.

Students are required to take 6 field courses; 4 are elective and 2 are required of all students. The 2 required courses are:

• PPPA 8164  Seminar in Program Evaluation: Doctoral seminar on theory and practice in public and nonprofit program evaluation

• PPPA 8174  Public Management:  Doctoral seminar covers public organization theory and behavior. Organizations and management are central not only to administration but to other areas of inquiry in public policy and public administration. In addition to substantive public management themes and theories, the course also covers the art and craft of organizational research.

The choice of elective field courses should be guided by the field coursework purpose outlined earlier. Given the scope of Public and Nonprofit Management, both in academe and in practice, we do not offer a closed master-list for choosing field elective courses.  Rather, students must abide by the following guidelines:

  1. Student should consult with an appropriate field adviser about field electives and communicate the agreement about field courses to all field advisers (email is sufficient). If this plan gets updated, changes in plan should be communicated as well.
  2. For the consultation meeting with one of the field advisers, student should prepare a list of candidate courses. This list should be prepared with the following criteria in mind:
  • The proposed list should be made of doctoral courses (review doctoral seminars offered by other fields in the doctoral program, doctoral courses offered at Washington Metropolitan area consortium schools/programs, as well as doctoral-level methods courses. Other departments and programs may also have relevant courses.)
  • If a Masters-level course is proposed, students need to propose and obtain prior approval, from the instructor of the course, for additional assignments/activities that will make it a worthwhile doctoral elective.