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    Jun 25, 2024  
2017-2018 Graduate Bulletin 
2017-2018 Graduate Bulletin [Archived Bulletin]

Doctorate in Public Administration (DPA)

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The Hamline University Doctorate in Public Administration (DPA) is a cohort program that starts every other fall term. A cohort is a group of students who start the program together. This program is available at the Hamline University Saint Paul Campus. The DPA is ideal for professionals who wish to build on the knowledge and experience they have already attained, who are anticipating their next career step, or who want to pursue the highest qualification in their profession.

The DPA is a part-time program designed for working professionals interested in the in-depth analysis of state and local public policy issues. The program integrates theory and practice, service and values to foster students’ critical thinking skills and scholarship. Students completing the DPA program should expect to achieve:

  • Advanced public leadership skills and knowledge, with a focus on critical issues and challenges facing senior managers in governance and politics
  • Mastery of the field of public administration, due to an in-depth exploration of contemporary ideas and practices related to public administration
  • A substantial ability to work with, synthesize, and integrate public administration concepts
  • Enhanced skills as producers and consumers of public administration research, applying this advanced knowledge to the field and to the workplace
  • An improved ability to communicate public administration concepts to diverse audiences
  • Enrichment through interaction with other reflective public administration practitioners

NOTE: Hamline recognizes that many professionals interested in public administration may have received master’s degrees or extensive graduate-level education in fields other than public administration. To accommodate these students, the Hamline University School of Business offers options to prepare academically prior to entering the program.


DPA Degree Requirements (48 credits, exam completion, dissertation completion/defense, and 3.3 GPA):

4 Elective Courses (16 credits)

Choose from any School of Business course level 8500 or above.

Comprehensive Exam:

After completion of core and elective coursework, students must complete and pass the written comprehensive exam before defending a dissertation proposal.

Doctoral Dissertation (8 credits)

The completion and defense of a dissertation is the final requirement in the DPA program. The DPA candidate must demonstrate a high level of academic competence, which typically results in a significant contribution of new knowledge in the field. The DPA dissertation usually focuses on applying theory to practice in the contexts of critical public issues and the student’s professional experience. To advance to degree candidacy, the DPA student is required to complete the Dissertation I course then register for dissertation work (Dissertation II through Dissertation V) for four consecutive semesters. Students must successfully defend the first three chapters (dissertation proposal) after Dissertation III before advancing to candidacy and registering for Dissertation IV and V.

Course Substitution or Waiver

Student requests for substitution of a required course or courses shall be forwarded to the Program Director whose decision on the request shall be final. No more than two (2) required courses may be substituted.

If the basis for the substitution request is having already successfully completed coursework in a different program at Hamline University or another institution, the student must provide the syllabus or syllabi from the course(s) taken and an official transcript showing successful completion unless that transcript is already a part of the student’s application file. Under no condition may the course(s) used as the basis of the substitution have been completed more than ten (10) years prior to admission to the DPA.

Waiver of a required course(s) for reasons of extensive professional experience and expertise, documented to have occurred within the last ten (10) years, is at the sole discretion of the Program Director. No more than two (2) required courses may be waived.

In all instances of substitution or waiver of required courses, the student is required to register and successfully complete another course or courses whose total credits equal the number of credits represented by the substituted or waived required course(s).

Time Limit:

Seven years is the maximum time allowed for students to finish their core and elective coursework in the DPA program. Ten years is the maximum time allowed for students to complete the doctorate in public administration including the dissertation.

New students enter in the fall semester, and normally complete most or all of their core courses together. (Exceptions can be arranged with the approval of a student’s advisor and the program director.) Satisfactory/steady progress is typically completion of one course per term, two or three terms per year. Normally students complete all required core courses within the first three years of study.


These requirements are consistent with other doctoral program requirements (as per the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs Administration Committee on Doctoral Programs, 1993).

DPA Application Requirements:

  • Completed application form (available online at:
  • Personal Statement.  A one- to two-page personal statement, typewritten and double-spaced, detailing:
    • why you have chosen Hamline University and
    • how the degree program will help you meet your career goals
  • Professional résumé or curriculum vitae.
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate work. If your transcripts are in a language other than English, you must submit both the original and an official or a certified course by course English translation. The Hamline University School of Business reserves the right to require applicants to have their academic records evaluated by an academic credential evaluator.
  • Three letters of recommendation, written by people familiar with your academic and/or professional history, detailing your specific qualifications to pursue advanced study (letters from family members are unacceptable).
  • Writing sample. A sample of your academic or work-related writing, typewritten, at least three pages in length, written in the last two years, and written solely by you.

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