Florida State University

Askew School of Public Administration

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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Doctoral Degree Requirements

Full handbook here.

The student must complete 45 credit hours beyond the MPA in the following areas:

I. The Ph.D. Core (18 hours). These 18 core course hours encapsulate the Written Preliminary Exams.

A. Substantive (12 hours)

1. PAD 6102 – Administrative Behavior (3)
2. PAD 6109 – Institutions and Society (3)
3. PAD 6054 – Intellectual History and Future of Public Administration (3)
4. PAD 6025 – Theoretical Perspectives in Public Policy (3)

B. Methods (6 hours)

1. PAD 6705 – Analytic Techniques for Administrators (3)
2. PAD 6707 – Logics of Inquiry (3)

II. Methods electives (6)

III. Political Process (3 Hours)

IV. Specializations (18 hours minimum)

V. Professional topics (0 hours)

VI. Dissertation (variable hours)

The Ph.D. program prepares individuals for roles in academic and applied settings where research competencies will be regularly employed. The Ph.D. methods sequence is designed to develop competencies appropriate to the career objectives of each student.

There are a variety of approaches to the conduct of research in public administration and policy. The faculty believes that students should be exposed to a common body of knowledge in methods, allowing for considerable individual choice. Students are encouraged to develop competency in a wide range of methodological approaches, including qualitative as well as quantitative tools. The methods requirement described below is intended to provide students with wide exposure to a variety of techniques and to allow them suitable opportunities to engage in research under the supervision of faculty.

Exemption of PAD 5700-5701

Doctoral students must have completed Master degree requirement of PAD 5700 and 5701. Doctoral students may apply for exemption from PAD 5700 and/or PAD 5701 by submitting a request to the Ph.D. Director. The request must list those courses from other universities which are proposed as substitutes for PAD 5700 and 5701. Those courses should include coverage of the following topics:

A. Basic descriptive statistics (mean, median, mode, variance, standard deviation, frequency distribution, cross-tabulations).

B. Basic research concepts and methods: the nature and process of research, of theory, of data collection and handling, of measurement in the social sciences (validity, reliability, levels of measurement), of sampling (types of samples and random sampling), of formulating research questions and planning research.

C. Basic probability theory: definition of probability and related concepts, independent and dependent events, multiplication and addition rules, permutations and combinations, contingent probabilities, probability distributions.

D. Hypothesis testing concepts: normal curve, binomial distribution, areas under curves as representations of probabilities, critical regions and significance levels, type 1 and type 2 errors, statement and testing of null and alternative hypothesis.

E. Introduction to survey research: planning and conduct of surveys, questionnaire design.

F. Basic research design concepts: control groups, random assignment, experimental and quasi-experimental designs and their validity, as covered in Cook and Campbell , Quasi-Experimentation.

G. Introductory inferential statistical procedures in analysis of variance, correlation and regression, multiple regression, nonparametric statistics (chi-square).

H. Students are required to be able to use a statistical package available at FSU.

I. Students are expected to be proficient in basic mathematics and algebra.

If the Ph.D. Director in consultation with the methods faculty unanimously approves the request, the student is exempted. Any member of that group may require that the student take an examination prepared by this group to verify the student’s mastery of the required topics. The intent of this provision is that students, who clearly can verify their knowledge of the material by demonstrating completion of suitable courses or through other means, can be exempted without an examination. To support their requests students may submit course syllabi, test papers, project papers, and other appropriate materials.

Methods Requirement
(6 Core hours and 6 Elective hours)

Students must complete PAD 6705 – Analytic Techniques for Administrators, PAD 6707 – Logics of Inquiry, and two additional methods courses (6 hours). Students are encouraged to take applied regression analysis as one of their electives. Students are also encouraged to take additional methods courses of all types.

Political Process Requirement
(3 hours)

Students not having prior work in political processes and institutions must take six credit hours of work. At least three hours must be political process or institutions course work in political science. The Ph.D. Director will work with students to select courses that develop competencies appropriate to the career objectives of each student. Students may exempt credit hours to the extent they have appropriate graduate work in political processes and institutions. For example, a student having three hours of advanced graduate work in political institutions and processes but no work in the specific discipline of political science would exempt three hours and be required to take one course in political science.

Professional Topics in Public Administration
(0 hours)

All doctoral students, before admitted to candidacy, are required to enroll in PAD 6930 for zero (0) credit hours each semester. To successfully complete the course, the student must attend a minimum of four approved research oriented events each semester. Approved events include any colloquia sponsored by the School including the Askew School Colloquium Series, dissertation defenses, research presentations by candidates for faculty positions, and annual meetings of professional societies such as the American Society for Public Administration and the American Political Science Association. Travel to professional conferences is encouraged. The School will not take attendance at such events; instead, students must notify the Ph.D. Director at least one week before the end of the semester of the date and nature of the events attended. The notification must be in writing or via e-mail. The course is graded pass or fail (S/U). Students are not permitted to progress to the dissertation defense until the PAD 6930 requirement has been met.

Dissertation
(variable hours)

Ph.D. Candidates must complete a dissertation which makes an original contribution to knowledge. During the period that students undertake the dissertation, ordinarily at least two semesters, they must regularly enroll for dissertation credit for a minimum of 12 semester hours per term if they are in residence and serve as graduate assistants, 12 semester hours per term if they are in residence and not in residence, 12 semester hours per term if they are on fellowships, or 3 semester hours if they are not in residence. Dissertations are expected to be of publishable quality, either in whole or in part, according to the standards of the journals in the study field.

Field of Specializations

All students will have to choose a field of specialization. Courses within the student’s chosen field of specialization are decided upon in consultation with the student’s Major Professor. Students will take a foundation course in the specialization and a minimum of two (2) additional courses (6 hours) that are at the 6000 level in Public Administration.

Specializations and Foundation courses

Institutions & Governance
Foundation course: PAD 6108 Institutions, Policy and Management

Public Management
Foundation course: PAD 6136 Seminar: Management Studies in Government

Public Policy
Foundation course: PAD 6721 Policy Analysis Research Seminar

In consultation with their Major Professor, students may select the remaining minimum of six (6) hours from any department on campus to complete the specialization.

Additional Requirements within the Specialization

Supervised Research PAD 5915 (variable hours).
The student works under the supervision of a faculty member in their specialization to produce a paper of publishable quality. This paper is required to be an individual work of the student. Three or more hours of graded (S/U) Supervised Research credit will be given.

Student Policies

Below are the student conduct code and School EEO, AA, and sexual harassment policies.

The Student Conduct Code
The Askew School exists to prepare students for careers in public service. We strive to produce public servants who will conduct themselves according to high ethical standards. Public servants must act with a sense of responsibility toward others. Such conduct begins with a strong sense of personal responsibility. We, therefore, endorse the essential concept upon which Florida State’s Student Academic Honor Code is based — personal responsibility. The FSU Student Handbook delineates the Honor Code, identifies student rights and responsibilities, the procedures to provide due process, and penalties. The code states that students are responsible for their own academic honesty and that of others. Academic dishonesty as well as student and faculty responsibility is also defined. Breaches of the code are taken very seriously in the School.

Academic dishonesty include

  • cheating on tests
  • plagiarism and unlawful “help” on written assignments;
  • stealing, buying, or referring to an unauthorized copy of an examination before it has been administered; and,
  • assisting in any of the above.

Student responsibility covers

  • abiding by the honor code, to include signing a pledge that you have not violated it;
  • turning themselves in if they have violated it; and
  • reporting or persuading violators to turn themselves in within 24 hours.

Equal Opportunity and Disabilities
Students with disabilities are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Students with disabilities needing academic accommodations should register with the Student Disability Resource Center and bring a letter to class from the center indicating that the student needs accommodations. This should be done within the first week of class.

Sexual Harassment
In a diverse nation and globe such as ours, the future of our children depends upon how well we learn to live together as fellow citizens and human beings. The public servants of a diverse democracy must respect the diversity of those whom we serve. Consequently, we seek to conform to both the spirit and the letter of all laws against discrimination.

Nearly all of our students will go on to exercise some form of organizational authority over others. Nearly all will become supervisors themselves. Consequently, we strive to represent and perpetuate high standards with respect to the use of power and authority.

Sexual harassment, for example, is not tolerated in any form; it is a violation of an individual’s human rights and a form of discrimination based upon sex. Male and female employees and students who engage in sexual harassment are subject to applicable disciplinary processes, and acts of sexual harassment which also constitute sexual battery will be referred to the appropriate authorities for prosecution.

The School’s policy on sexual harassment illustrates, through one of our own operating policies, how the School seeks to encourage responsible use of organizational authority while protecting the rights of all concerned.

The central principles that underlie appropriate faculty-student relationships are professionalism, respect, fairness, and concern. Faculty must avoid manipulation, coercion, or exploitation of students (especially acts directed at securing monetary, ego, or sexual gratification) and should demonstrate a sensitivity of cultural and personal diversity by avoiding racial, sexual, religious, and ethnic discrimination.

A particularly egregious form of exploitation is sexual harassment. Sexual harassment refers to unwanted sexual attention. The key elements of sexual harassment are that (a) there is a power imbalance between the faculty member and the student, with the faculty member taking advantage of this institutional authority and (b) there is emphasis in one way or another on the sexual identify of the harassed. What is violated is not only a relationship of authority but also one of trust. Sexual harassment has consequences for its victims that range from being psychologically upsetting to causing the victim to change disciplines or drop out of school.

Every student has the right to enjoy an academic environment free of unwanted sexual attention. Students’ academic prospects suffer when they are sexually harassed. We should not force the injured students to carry the burden of stopping sexual harassment. Preventing sexual harassment, and stopping it when it occurs, is a collective responsibility of the faculty. Trivializing it and not taking it seriously makes us an arm of the people who do it because the authority relations make the faculty member dominant and the student subordinate. Romantic alliances that seem consensual to a faculty member may be construed as coercive by a student. Students may fear that they will suffer retaliation if they confront a faculty member who makes sexual overtures to them. They may fear that they will not be believed if they complain to other authorities within the institution.

Because of the power imbalance, a student’s consent may mean consent to a condition of submission, and this power imbalance never goes away as long as one is faculty and the other is student. In addition, being labeled the “professor’s girlfriend or boyfriend” may be corrosive of the student’s professional development. The student may become isolated from the student community, have less support from cohorts, and be looked upon with suspicion.

Society and this institution have placed faculty in a position of trust and we in turn owe students the exercise of good faith in performing our professional duties. Faculty-student relationships that are other than professional represent a conflict of interest. Men and women in an educational community may interact in many appropriate ways (as teachers and students, advisers and advisees, and scholars and practitioners)–not, however, as romantic or sexual partners. Sexual relationships and dating between a faculty member and a student currently enrolled in the faculty member’s course, or under the supervision or direction of the faculty member, are prohibited. Because other students may believe that a student currently involved with a faculty member or romantically involved in the past may benefit from favoritism in obtaining academic rewards, the school strongly discourages sexual relationships and dating between a faculty member and any student in the school.

The faculty fully supports the University and College policies related to sexual harassment. Students are encouraged to notify the respondent (alleged perpetrator) in writing in an attempt to end the harassment, but this is not required before filing a complaint. Under the University’s policy a student should report incidents to the Office of Audit Services. In addition to the processes and procedures provided in the University’s policy on sexual harassment, additional channels of reporting violations of this policy are to report to the Director of the School or to the Dean of the College.

The complainant should provide the following information to facilitate a prompt and thorough investigation:

  • The names, addresses, telephone numbers, administrative unit, and position or status of the complainant and the respondent, if known;
  • Specific acts alleged, including dates, times, and locations;
  • Names, addresses, and phone numbers of potential witnesses;
  • The effect the alleged acts have had on the complainant;
  • Actions the complainant may have taken to attempt to stop the harassment;
  • Complainant’s suggestion of proposed action to address or resolve the harassment; and,
  • Other information the complainant believes is relevant.

The full range of sanctions available to the School, the College, and the University will be considered available when a faculty member violates this policy. Complete information about the University’s policy can be found online at:

University Sexual Harassment Policy