The Doctor of Public Administration
(D.P.A.) is a terminal applied-research doctoral degree in the field of public administration
(government). The D.P.A. requires significant coursework beyond the masters level and a dissertation
that contributes to theory or practice. Upon successful completion, the title of "Doctor" is awarded and the post-nominals of D.P.A. or DPA can be used.
Ph.D. vs D.P.A.
Like a Ph.D., a D.P.A. is normally a terminal research degree. The U.S. Department of Education
and the U.S. National Science Foundation
(NSF) recognize the D.P.A. as an academically equivalent degree to the more common Ph.D. and they do not discriminate between the two degrees.
In many cases, D.P.A. programs are identical to Ph.D. programs. Additionally, the D.P.A. dissertation is usually at the same level as a Ph.D. in terms of effort, rigour, contribution to knowledge, supervision and assessment. A study published by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration
titled What's in a Name? Comparing DPA and Ph.D. Programs
"finds few differences between the programs, noting that degree title is more informative about the type of students recruited than outputs" (Journal of Public Affairs Education, v5 n4 p309-17 Oct 1999).
D.P.A. research is both theoretical and practical, but the research focus of the typical D.P.A. addresses applied issues, with the results providing professional outcomes that are of direct relevance to practice.... Read More