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Quick Facts

  • Top 25% - Ranking among doctoral programs in "Public Policy, Public Affairs and Public Administration" according to the National Research Council
  • 72 - Number of students enrolled in the program in Fall 2016
  • 12 - Number of program graduates in 2015-16

Mission, Vision & Values


The Doctoral Program in Public Affairs prepares future leaders to deal with complex social, health and governance issues that cut across traditional disciplinary boundaries. The curriculum comprises an interdisciplinary core with advanced studies in criminal justice, health, public administration and social work. The program has a community-based focus with an emphasis on collaborative relationships across the public, private and nonprofit sectors of the community. Graduates possess the theoretical, analytical and ethical foundation to produce new knowledge that impacts policies and programs and enhances institutional and community performance.


The College of Health and Public Affairs' interdisciplinary doctoral program is striving to be the premier program in public affairs' education. A competency-based curriculum develops a new breed of leader with integrity, credibility and expertise in professional and academic settings.


As a community of faculty and students genuinely committed to doctoral education, we embrace the following values:

  • We are committed to an interdisciplinary approach to learning and research. We value diversity of perspective and seek out interconnections among disciplines. We strive for integration and synthesis of knowledge by looking for information that cuts across academic fields.
  • We are dedicated to the creation of new knowledge through research and scholarship. We seek to cultivate a questioning spirit that embraces freedom of inquiry and expression and robust exchange of ideas.
  • We support knowledge transmission through teaching and other forms of instruction and communication.
  • We are devoted to the betterment of the human condition in our community and in communities throughout the world. We value partnerships that link academia and practice in order to improve public and private services.
  • We embrace a collegial style of relations. We favor collaborative associations based on mutual trust and respect. We seek cultivation of character based on professional responsibility, and we strive to be fair, sincere and open in our interactions with others.
If we can change the system and bring people together to have the right kind of conversations, then we can really make a long-term change in people's lives -- and that is the goal.
— Nancy Ellis,  Director, Center for Community Partnerships, UCF; Ph.D., public affairs, '07
I am especially proud to be a graduate of the program. The outstanding faculty and multidisciplinary curriculum have provided me with the unique opportunity to enjoy the kind of academic career I always envisioned.
— Joe Saviak,  Assistant Director and Associate Professor, Public Administration Program, Flagler College; Ph.D., public affairs, '07
Our goals are to offer students a venue for exploring interdisciplinary approaches to policy issues, building various skills for the professional work environment and creating comradery among PAF students.
— Lauren O'Bryne,  Doctoral Student and Secretary, Doctoral Program in Public Affairs Student Organization
I like the interactions that I have with my professors as advisors in developing my dissertation because they are critical, yet encouraging at the same time.
— Matt Bagwell,  Doctoral Student and Graduate Research Assistant, Rural Health Research Group
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