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Public Administration (PhD)

Our PhD program in Public Administration prepares you for research and leadership roles in government, universities and other institutions.

You'll gain an in-depth understanding of issues in comparative policy and governance and assist faculty members while you pursue your own externally-funded research. Our key fields of study are organizational studies, comparative policy and governance.

This is a full-time program. Students usually spend at least 75% of regular work time dedicated to studies.

Expected length Project or thesis Course-based
3-5 years (9-15 academic terms) Yes No

Quick facts

Program options:
Study options:
Full-time study
Program delivery:
On-campus, Online, Other: Combination


PhD in Public Administration students will:

  • work with experienced faculty members at the forefront of a wide variety of fields, including public policy analysis, governance and management
  • master basic research methods (e.g. foundational statistics, qualitative methods, quantitative methods and evaluation)
  • acquire in-depth academic understanding of issues in comparative policy, governance and organizational studies
  • participate in research projects through the school
  • build externally-funded research programs of their own
  • be prepared to conduct further leading-edge research after graduation
  • be prepared to take on leadership roles in government, universities and/or other public institutions

Find a supervisor

PhD students must have a faculty member who serves as their academic supervisor. When you apply:

  • You must list a potential supervisor on your application.
  • This faculty member must agree to be your supervisor and recommend your admission.
  • Include an email from your supervisor with your application.

To find a supervisor, review the faculty contacts. When you’ve found a faculty member whose research complements your own, contact them by email.

Astrid Brousselle

Professor Evaluation approaches and methods, Planetary Health, theory-based evaluation, ecological transition, public health, health system analysis, collaborative/participative/community based approaches, qualitative methods

David Castle

Professor Science, technology and innovation policy , Open science and research data

Dr. Sarah Marie Wiebe (she/her)

Assistant Professor Environmental justice, Public engagement, Critical policy studies, Climate emergencies and displacement, States of emergency, Interpretive research and arts-based methods, Community development, Indigenous community engagement and governance

Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly (he/his)

Professor & Jean Monnet Chair Border studies: border disputes, border security, border management, management of cross border regions; European Union: regional and urban policies, immigration and border security policies; Canada - United States border policies

Evert Lindquist

Professor Public sector and public service reform, Designing and implementing policy interventions, Digital and collaborative governance, Horizontal governance and administration to support policy interventions, Organizing for policy and administrative innovation, Role and influence of think tanks in policy networks, Competing values in public sector leadership and reform

Heather Castleden

Professor, Impact Chair in Transformative Governance for Planetary Health Transformative governance; Planetary health; Decolonizing energy; Decolonizing the academy; Climate justice; Social justice; Environmental racism; Health equity; Indigenous-settler relations; Research ethics, relationality, and accountability; Community-based participatory research

Helga Hallgrímsdóttir

Acting Deputy Provost and Professor

J. Barton (Bart) Cunningham

Professor Human resource issues, Leadership, Organizational behaviour and change, Insight problem solving, Stress and mental health, Action learning and research

Jason Hicks

Assistant Professor Occupational Regulation, Public Policy, Labour Economics, Economic History

Katya Rhodes

Assistant Professor Multi-attribute climate policy analysis, Political economy of climate policy, Pro-environmental behaviour, Survey-based methods, Energy-economy modelling, Comparative climate policy

Kimberly Speers

Assistant Teaching Professor and Graduate Advisor

Lynne Siemens

Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator

Richard Marcy

Acting Director and Associate Professor

Rob Gillezeau

Assistant Professor Economic history, Labour Economics, Public Policy

Robert Lapper, KC

Lam Chair in Law and Public Policy Justice system policy and reform, Access to Justice, Indigenous law and legal issues, Technology and design in law and policy

Susanne Thiessen

Assistant Professor and Academic Undergraduate Advisor

Tamara Krawchenko

Assistant Professor Comparative public policy; regional development; sustainability transitions

Tara Ney

Associate Professor

Walter Lepore

Assistant Professor Organizational analysis and design, Organizational performance assessment, Program and policy monitoring and evaluation, Strategic planning, Transparency, accountability, corruption and conflict of interests in the public sector, Public sector reforms, Mixed methods research, Experimental research designs, Community-based participatory research, Capacity development in participatory research, Community-university research partnerships, Community development

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