Graduate Programs

Ph.D. Program in Urban Studies and Public Affairs

Program Mission and Purpose

The Ph.D. in Urban Studies and Public Affairs program seeks to graduate scholars who are prepared to research, teach, and practice reflectively in positions related to urban studies and public affairs, in universities and public policy organizations. It aims for graduates to have a strong theoretical and methodological foundation within the field, together with the in-depth knowledge required to be able to recognize, identify and articulate the frontiers of scholarship within a specialization field. Successful completion of the degree means that the faculty has determined that you are able to construct, execute, and present scholastically sound, independent research of either a theoretical or applied nature that expands the frontiers of knowledge.

Many students in the program are returning to academia after significant experience in the workplace; many continue to work while pursuing their degree. Over half of our student body attends on a part-time basis. Nevertheless, the program places heavy emphasis upon continuing contributions by every student to the intellectual life of the program, the college, and the university. This includes participation in research projects, attendance at seminars, conferences, and workshops, and publication of ongoing research.

Academics

The program places a heavy emphasis upon theory, research methods and literature, effective professional communications to both expert and lay audiences, and an interdisciplinary approach that accounts for all of the significant dimensions of the issues and problems in the field of urban studies and public affairs. The student’s understanding is informed by political theory and philosophy, economics, statistical and mathematical model building, research methods, concentration in an important substantive domain of public concern, as well as real-world knowledge of specific circumstances, cases, and issues. The areas of specialization in the doctoral program include communication, public administration, and urban policy development.

Areas of Specialization:

Degree Requirements:

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Educational Experience

Your doctoral education serves as an “apprenticeship” to provide you with the knowledge and experience that will enable you to move easily and confidently into advanced positions in the fields of urban studies, public administration, economic development, environmental policy and administration, and/or housing and neighborhood development. You will have opportunities to develop professionally and academically through coursework and a variety of classroom and research experiences. You will progress from basic prerequisite courses on public affairs, statistics, economics, geography, and public policy, to core courses on theory, epistemology, statistics, and research methods, and into specialization courses. Along the way you will gain both scholarly and practical experiences inside and outside the University that will provide you with valuable knowledge and insight into the field.

As a student in the program, you will be evaluated in classes and at the end of your coursework through a comprehensive examination in your specialization. The comprehensive examination will assess your progress and readiness for advancement to candidacy. Advancement to candidacy is the next step in the journey toward professional competence as a researcher and scholar, and occurs when you have met all of the coursework requirements and have passed the comprehensive exam. The next step is the dissertation, an original contribution to the theory, methods, and substance of knowledge in the area of your specialization. It builds on the best of what has been discovered and understood by scholars who came before, and it provides a foundation for further inquiry and additional understanding. It is in many respects the central element of your doctoral experience.
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Dissertation Process

Receiving the Ph.D. in Urban Studies and Public Affairs is a privilege, not a right. Satisfactory progress in the program is not simply a matter of doing well in coursework. Perhaps the largest difference you will notice between your doctoral program and your previous academic work is the amount of time and energy you are expected to devote to study that is not associated with formal assignments.

As a quality doctoral program, the faculty’s objective is to contribute to expanding the knowledge base in the field. Hence, the development of your knowledge, skills and abilities to conduct inquiry and do research are of primary importance. Students are expected to familiarize themselves with the research projects of program faculty, staff, and other students by attending colloquia, brown-bag-lunch presentations, and other informal research reviews.

As your research interests crystallize, you should ask to participate in projects in which you bring not only substantive knowledge of specific and related topics but also a set of methodologically relevant analytical skills, and the flexibility to learn new ones. By the end of the second year in the program, doctoral students are also expected to author or co-author a manuscript for an appropriate journal or professional conference. The faculty believes that peer-reviewed published research is an important indicator of the student’s capabilities. Professionally refereed publications are a central part of a scholar’s curriculum vitae presented for advanced professional employment. Working with faculty is an important route toward published work.

See dissertation topics from previous Ph.D. candidates

See the Ph.D. program handbook for dissertation information: Dissertation
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Advising

To ensure that you develop the necessary skills for successful completion of your degree, you will work with a faculty advisor from your first semester in the program. You are responsible, in collaboration with your advisor and other faculty, for progress in the program and for the development of your own education. The faculty will participate as your partners, counselors, evaluators, teachers, mentors, and supervisors, but in the end it is your education and its full development is your responsibility. The journey will be demanding and difficult, and we hope that you will find it to be exciting, challenging, and intellectually fulfilling.
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Student Involvement in the Learning Process

Receiving the Ph.D. in Urban Studies and Public Affairs is a privilege, not a right. Satisfactory progress in the program is not simply a matter of doing well in coursework. Perhaps the largest difference you will notice between your doctoral program and your previous academic work is the amount of time and energy you are expected to devote to study that is not associated with formal assignments. As a quality doctoral program, the faculty's objective is to contribute to expanding the knowledge base in the field. Hence, the development of your knowledge, skills and abilities to conduct inquiry and do research are of primary importance. Students are expected to familiarize themselves with the research projects of program faculty, staff, and other students by attending colloquia, brown-bag-lunch presentations, and other informal research reviews. As your research interests crystallize, you should ask to participate in projects in which you bring not only substantive knowledge of specific and related topics but also a set of methodologically relevant analytical skills, and the flexibility to learn new ones. By the end of the second year in the program, doctoral students are also expected to author or co-author a manuscript for an appropriate journal or professional conference. The faculty believes that peer-reviewed published research is an important indicator of the student's capabilities. Professionally refereed publications are a central part of a scholar's curriculum vitae presented for advanced professional employment. Working with faculty is am important route toward published work.
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Student Life

Many students in the program are returning to academia after significant experience in the workplace; many continue to work while pursuing their degree. Over half of our student body attends on a part-time basis. Nevertheless, the program places heavy emphasis upon continuing contributions by every student to the intellectual life of the program, the College, and the University. This includes participation in research projects, attendance at seminars, conferences, and workshops, and publication of on-going research.
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Contact Information

Faculty Program Director: Helen Liggett

Prospective students please contact:
Lindsey Hobson, Levin College Admission Recruiter
Telephone: (216) 687-4506 / E-mail: urbanprograms@csuohio.edu

Current students please contact:
Dave Arrighi, Levin College Graduate Advisor
Telephone: (216) 523-7522 / E-mail: d.arrighi@csuohio.edu