Search button


UCF - Graduate Program Handbooks 2017-2018

Last Updated 2016-07-28

Public Affairs PhD



Together, the Graduate Student Handbook and your graduate program handbook should serve as your main guide throughout your graduate career. The Graduate Student Handbook includes university information, policies, requirements and guidance for all graduate students. Your program handbook describes the details about graduate study and requirements in your specific program. While both of these handbooks are wonderful resources, know that you are always welcome to talk with faculty and staff in your program and in the Graduate College.

The central activities and missions of a university rest upon the fundamental assumption that all members of the university community conduct themselves in accordance with a strict adherence to academic and scholarly integrity. As a graduate student and member of the university community, you are expected to display the highest standards of academic and personal integrity.

Here are some resources to help you better understand your responsibilities:

Introduction

Curriculum

The Doctoral Program in Public Affairs accommodates the needs of both traditional students and working professionals. All course work is offered in the evening hours and selected courses offer reduced seat time.

Students must complete 60 credit hours beyond the master’s degree distributed in the following manner:

  • a three-course, 9-credit required Public Affairs substantive core
  • a six-course, 18-credit required Public Affairs methodological and statistical core
  • a five-course, 15 credit hour Track Specialization
  • a one course, 3-credit required Public Affairs practicum
  • 15 credit hours of dissertation (minimum)

Students are required to take electives as directed by their track adviser. Students may take a maximum of two 3-credit-hour independent study courses to be used as electives with approval.


The Public Affairs PhD program curriculum comprises an interdisciplinary core with advanced studies offered in five tracks: Criminal Justice, Governance and Policy Research, Health Services Management and Research, Public Administration, and Social Work. The program has a community-based focus with an emphasis on collaborative relationships across public, private and nonprofit sectors of the community. 

To ensure that all students have the necessary research and quantitative skills, students are required to take a statistical placement exam during the summer semester prior to their entering the program fall semester.  Students demonstrating deficiencies in statistics must complete the Advanced Quantitative Methods in Public Affairs course prior to registering in PAF 7804 Quantitative I: Multivariate Analysis. The 6000 level course will prepare students for the doctoral level statistical sequence and may be included in the student's program of study as an elective.

A maximum of 6 credit hours of Independent Study may be used as electives with adviser’s approval.

Transfer work will only be accepted by the Public Affairs PhD program if taken as part of an approved plan of study for a doctoral program at UCF or elsewhere. A maximum of 6 credit hours taken at the doctoral level may be considered for transfer. The acceptance of transfer credit into the track for Public Affairs specialization or general elective component is dependent upon the approval of the Track Coordinator in consultation with the PAF Director. Transfer work will not be accepted into the PAF substantive or methodological core components.

A grade of B- or better is required in all courses.  Students receiving a grade of "C+" or lower will be required to repeat the course and receive a grade of B- or better prior to taking the Research Proficiency Exam or Qualifying Exam. Any student who receives more than one “C” in their doctoral course work may be dismissed from the program.   

A minimum of 3.0 graduate status GPA and program of study GPA is required to maintain graduate student status and for graduation.  Students with a GPA less than 3.0 may be dismissed from the program. 

Any student who receives an "F" grade in their doctoral course work will be dismissed from the program. 


Track Curriculum: Criminal Justice

Students must complete 60 credit hours beyond the master’s degree distributed in the following manner:

  • a three-course, 9-credit hour required Public Affairs substantive core
  • a six-course, 18-credit hour required Public Affairs methodological and statistical core
  • a three-course, 9-credit hour required discipline-specific specialization
  • a two-course, 6-credit hour unrestricted elective requirement
  • a one course, 3-credit hour required Public Affairs practicum
  • 15 credit hours of dissertation minimum


A maximum of 6 credit hours of Independent Study may be used as electives with adviser’s approval.

Transfer work will only be accepted by the Public Affairs PhD program if taken as part of an approved plan of study for a doctoral program at UCF or elsewhere. A maximum of 6 credit hours taken at the doctoral level may be considered for transfer. The acceptance of transfer credit into the track specialization or elective component is dependent upon the approval of the Track Coordinator in consultation with the PAF Program Director. Transfer work will not be accepted into the PAF substantive or methodological core components.  

A grade of B- or better is required in all substantive core and methodological core courses.  Students receiving a grade of "C+" or lower will be required to repeat the course and receive a grade of B- or better prior to taking the Research Proficiency Exam and Qualifying Exam.  Any student who receives more than one grade of C+ or lower in their doctoral course work may be dismissed from the program.

A minimum of 3.0 graduate status GPA and program of study GPA is required to maintain graduate student status and for graduation. Students with a GPA less than 3.0 may be dismissed from the program.

Any student who receives an "F" grade in their doctoral course work will be dismissed from the program.

Required Courses—45 Credit Hours

Public Affairs Substantive Core—9 Credit Hours

  • PAF 7000 Foundations of Public Affairs: People, Places, Policies and Paradigms (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7230 Strategic Change and Management for Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7317 Social Inquiry and Public Policy (3 credit hours)

Methodological and Statistical Core—18 Credit Hours

  • PAF 7802 Advanced Research Methodology for Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7804 Advanced Statistics for Public Affairs I: Multivariate Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7805 Advanced Statistics for Public Affairs II: Survey of Statistical Methods (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7820 Qualitative Methods for Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7325 Policy and Program Evaluation for Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
Advanced Methodology

Choose one of the following courses:

  • PAF 7868 Advanced Statistics for Public Affairs III: Continued Survey of Statistical Methods (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7856 Structural Equation Modeling in Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
  • Pre-approved methodological or statistical course (3 credit hours)

Practicum—3 Credit Hours

  • PAF 7947 Practicum in Community Based Research (3 credit hours)

At the end of the required coursework, students will take the Practicum in Community-Based Research course (PAF 7947). Led by a professor, the practicum provides the student with the opportunity to work within an interdisciplinary team to use their substantive learning and apply their methodological and statistical tools to a real community problem. This experiential learning brings the student out to the community while bringing the community into the university.

Track Specialization—15 Credit Hours

Students are required take three of the following courses:

  • CJE 6456 Seminar in Policing Urban Communities (3 credit hours)
  • CJE 6320 Seminar in Police Administration (3 credit hours)
  • CCJ 6XXX Seminar in Police Culture (3 credit hours)
  • CJC 6135 Seminar in Institutional Corrections (3 credit hours)
  • CJC 6165 Seminar in Community Corrections (3 credit hours)
  • CJC 6486 Seminar in Correctional Effectiveness (3 credit hours)
  • CCJ 6XXX Juvenile Justice (Prerequisite: The Juvenile Justice System) (3 credit hours)
  • CJJ 6546 Seminar in Policing and Prevention in the Juvenile Justice System (3 credit hours)
  • CJJ 6124 Seminar in Prosecuting Juvenile Offenders (3 credit hours)
  • CJJ 6126 Seminar in Juvenile Corrections (3 credit hours)
  • CJL 6568 Law and Social Control (3 credit hours)

Choose two additional courses from the following list:

  • See adviser for appropriate methodological elective (3 credit hours)
  • Directed independent study (3 credit hours)
  • Or other course that will add to the student's course of study. Requires approval of adviser. (3 credit hours)

Dissertation—15 Credit Hours

  • PAF 7980 Dissertation Research

Assignment of Faculty Advisers

Upon acceptance of a student into the program, the program director provides students with an initial orientation and a general advising session. The Track Coordinator in conjunction with the PAF Director helps the student throughout the foundation stage of the program, assisting in the clarification of interests and goals and facilitating the introduction of students to faculty and research interests that can advance the student's program of study. Criminal Justice Track students will be advised by the Criminal Justice Track Coordinator. The Track Coordinator assists the student in selecting elective courses, finalizing the program of study, and facilitating discussion with faculty members who have similar research interests. Discussion and review of dissertation topics should take place with the faculty member who has agreed to chair the dissertation committee. The dissertation chair is to be selected by the student prior to commencing the dissertation prospectus.

Research Proficiency Exam and Qualifying Exam

Upon successful completion of the required courses and the required Practicum course, students are required to take a Research Proficiency Exam (RPE) and Qualifying Exam (QE). The Research Proficiency Exam will be taken after the successful completion of the Methodological Core courses. Following successful completion of all PAF core courses (not including Track Specialization courses), students are required to pass a Qualifying Exam. The exam is given following finals in the fall or spring semesters.

Students are given two opportunities to pass the RPE and the QE. Students who fail any section twice are dismissed from the program. Any student who fails any the RPE twice or the QE twice will not be readmitted into the PAF program. This policy includes all tracks and/or any master's to PhD program(s) within the PAF program. Please refer to the student handbook for further information.

Candidacy Status

Students officially enter candidacy when the following work has been accomplished:

  • Completion of all course work, except for dissertation hours.
  • Successful completion of the Research Proficiency Exam and Qualifying Exam.
  • The dissertation advisory committee is formed and has been approved by the PAF Program Director and the College of Graduate Studies. Members of the committee must be approved graduate faculty or graduate faculty scholars.
  • Submittal of an approved graduate program of study.
  • Submission of dissertation prospectus to iThenticate.com. Subsequent results to be within acceptable rating.
  • Successful defense of the dissertation prospectus.
  • All approved documentation has been received by the PAF and Graduate offices.

Equipment Fee

Full-time students in the Public Affairs Program pay a $40 equipment fee each semester that they are enrolled. Part-time students pay $20 per semester.


Track Curriculum: Governance and Policy Research



Students must complete 60 credit hours beyond the master’s degree, including 15 courses (45 credit hours) above the master’s level distributed in the following manner:

  • a three-course, 9-credit required Public Affairs substantive core
  • a six-course, 18-credit required Public Affairs methodological and statistical core
  • a three-course, 9-credit required discipline-specific specialization
  • a two-course, 6-credit hour electives (may be taken outside the student's discipline)
  • a one course, 3-credit required Public Affairs practicum
  • 15 credit hours of dissertation minimum

Students are required to take a statistical assessment the summer semester prior to their entering the program fall semester. This assessment will be used to determine a student's statistical knowledge and competency. Students that receive a passing score will be exempt from taking a 6XXX level statistics course. Those students requiring the 6XXX level course will meet with the Track Coordinator to determine which course will meet the requirement. Students are required to complete and pass the course prior to registering in PAF 7804 Quantitative I: Multivariate Analysis. The 6XXX level course credit hours may be included in the student's program of study as an elective.

A maximum of 6 credit hours of Independent Study may be used as electives with adviser’s approval.

Transfer work will only be accepted by the Public Affairs PhD program if taken as part of an approved plan of study for a doctoral program at UCF or elsewhere.  A maximum of 6 credit hours taken at the doctoral level may be considered for transfer. The acceptance of transfer credit into the track specialization and general elective component is dependent upon the approval of the Track Coordinator in consultation with the PAF Director. Transfer work will not be accepted into the PAF substantive or methodological core components.

A grade of B- or better is required in all courses.  Students receiving a grade of "C+" or lower will be required to repeat the course and receive a grade or B- or better prior to taking the Qualifying Exam. Any student who receives more than one grade of “C+” or lower in their doctoral course work may be dismissed from the Public Affairs program.

A minimum of 3.0 graduate status GPA and program of study GPA is required to maintain graduate student status and for graduation. Students with a GPA less than 3.0 may be dismissed from the program.

Any student who receives an "F" grade in their doctoral course work will be dismissed from the program.

Required Courses—45 Credit Hours

Public Affairs Substantive Core—9 Credit Hours

  • PAF 7000 Foundations of Public Affairs: People, Places, Policies and Paradigms (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7230 Strategic Change and Management for Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7317 Social Inquiry and Public Policy (3 credit hours)

Methodological and Statistical Core—18 Credit Hours

  • PAF 7802 Advanced Research Methodology for Public Affairs I (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7804 Advanced Statistics for Public Affairs I: Multivariate Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7805 Advanced Statistics for Public Affairs II: Survey of Statistical Methods (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7820 Qualitative Methods for Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7325 Policy and Program Evaluation for Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
Advanced Methodology

Choose one of the following courses:

  • PAF 7868 Advanced Statistics for Public Affairs III: Continued Survey of Statistical Methods (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7856 Structural Equation Modeling in Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
  • Pre-approved methodological or statistical course (3 credit hours)

Practicum—3 Credit Hours

At the end of the required coursework, students will take the Practicum in Community-Based Research course (PAF 7947). Led by a professor, the practicum provides students with the opportunity to work within an interdisciplinary team to use their substantive learning and apply their methodological and statistical tools to a real community problem. This experiential learning brings the student out to the community while bringing the community into the university.

Track Specialization—9 Credit Hours

Students are required take the following three courses and attain a "B-" or higher::

  • PAF 7055 Seminar in State and Local Government Policy Research (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7510 Seminar in Policy Evaluation and Performance Measurement (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7858 Advanced Seminar in Governance and Policy Research (3 credit hours)

Elective—6 Credit Hours

Choose two additional courses from the following courses:

  • PAF 7757 Seminar in Global Governance and Policy Research (3 credit hours)
  • See adviser for appropriate methodological elective (3 credit hours)
  • Directed independent study (3 credit hours)
  • Or other course that will add to the student's course of study. Requires approval of adviser. (3 credit hours)

Dissertation—15 Credit Hours

  • PAF 7980 Dissertation Research

Assignment of Faculty Advisers

Upon acceptance of a student into the program, the PAF Program Director provides students with an initial orientation and a general advising session. The Track Coordinator in conjunction with the PAF Director helps the student throughout the foundation stage of the program, assisting in the clarification of interests and goals and facilitating the introduction of students to faculty and research interests that can advance the student's program of study.  Governance and Policy Research Track students will be advised by the Governance and Policy Research Track Coordinator. The Track Coordinator assists the student in selecting elective courses, finalizing the program of study, and facilitating discussion with faculty members who have similar research interests.  Discussion and review of dissertation topics should take place with the faculty member who has agreed to chair the dissertation committee. The dissertation chair is to be selected by the student prior to commencing the dissertation prospectus.

Qualifying Examination

Following successful completion of all required courses, students are required to pass a qualifying examination. The examination is given following finals during fall and spring semesters. Students are given two opportunities to pass all sections of the exam. Students who fail any section twice are dismissed from the program. Any student who fails any section of the qualifying exam twice will not be readmittted to the PAF program. This policy includes all tracks and/or any masters to PhD program(s) within the PAF program.

Candidacy Status

Students officially enter candidacy when the following has been accomplished:

  • Completion of all course work, except for dissertation hours.
  • Successful completion of the qualifying examination.
  • The dissertation advisory committee is formed and has been reviewed and accepted by the PAF Director.  Members of the committee are to be approved graduate faculty and graduate faculty scholars.
  • Submittal of an approved graduate program of study.
  • Submission of dissertation prospectus to turnitin.com. Subsequent results to be within acceptable rating.
  • Successful defense of the dissertation prospectus.
  • All approved documentation has been received by the PAF and Graduate offices.

Equipment Fee

Full-time students in the Public Affairs Program pay a $40 equipment fee each semester that they are enrolled. Part-time students pay $20 per semester.


Track Curriculum: Health Services Management and Research

Students must complete 60 credit hours beyond the master’s degree distributed in the following manner:

  • a three-course, 9-credit required Public Affairs substantive core
  • a six-course, 18-credit required Public Affairs methodological and statistical core
  • a three-course, 9-credit required discipline-specific specialization
  • a two-course, 6-credit unrestricted elective requirement
  • a one course, 3-credit required Public Affairs practicum
  • 15 credit hours of dissertation minimum


A maximum of 6 credit hours of Independent Study may be used as electives with adviser’s approval.

Transfer work will only be accepted by the Public Affairs PhD program if taken as part of an approved plan of study for a doctoral program at UCF or elsewhere. A maximum of 6 credit hours taken at the doctoral level may be considered for transfer. The acceptance of transfer credit into the track specialization and general elective component is dependent upon the approval of the Track Coordinator in consultation with the PAF Director. Transfer work will not be accepted into the PAF substantive or methodological core components.

A grade of B- or better is required in all substantive core and methodological core courses. Students receiving a grade of "C+" or lower will be required to repeat the course and receive a grade of B- or better prior to taking the Research Proficiency Exam and Qualifying Exam. Any student who receives more than one “C” in their doctoral course work may be dismissed from the program.   

A minimum of 3.0 graduate status GPA and program of study GPA is required to maintain graduate student status and for graduation.  Students with a GPA less than 3.0 may be dismissed from the program.

Any student who receives an "F" grade in their doctoral course work will be dismissed from the program.

Required Courses—45 Credit Hours

Public Affairs Substantive Core—9 Credit Hours

  • PAF 7000 Foundations of Public Affairs: People, Places, Policies and Paradigms (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7230 Strategic Change and Management for Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7317 Social Inquiry and Public Policy (3 credit hours)

Methodological and Statistical Core—18 Credit Hours

  • PAF 7802 Advanced Research Methodology for Public Affairs I (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7804 Advanced Statistics for Public Affairs I: Multivariate Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7805 Advanced Statistics for Public Affairs II: Survey of Statistical Methods (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7820 Qualitative Methods for Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7325 Policy and Program Evaluation for Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
Advanced Methodology

Choose one of the following courses:

  • PAF 7868 Advanced Statistics for Public Affairs III: Continued Survey of Statistical Methods (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7856 Structural Equation Modeling in Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
  • Pre-approved methodological or statistical course (3 credit hours)

Practicum—3 Credit Hours

  • PAF 7947 Practicum in Community-Based Research (3 credit hours)

At the end of the required coursework, students will take the Practicum in Community-Based Research course (PAF 7947). Led by a professor, the practicum provides the student with the opportunity to work within an interdisciplinary team to use their substantive learning and apply their methodological and statistical tools to a real community problem. This experiential learning brings the student out to the community while bringing the community into the university.

Track Specialization—15 Credit Hours

Students are required to take the following three courses:

  • HSA 7116 Theories in Healthcare Management (3 credit hours)
  • HSA 7936 Advanced Seminar in Health Economics (3 credit hours)
  • HSA 7938 Advanced Seminar in Health Services Research (3 credit hours)

Choose two additional courses from the following list:

  • HSA 6108 Healthcare Strategic Management (3 credit hours)
  • HSA 6128 Services Management (3 credit hours)
  • HSA 6342 Healthcare Human Resources Management (3 credit hours)
  • PHC 6000 Epidemiology (3 credit hours)
  • PHC 6146 Health Planning and Policy (3 credit hours)
  • PHC 6160 Healthcare Finance and Insurance (3 credit hours)
  • HSA 7125 Globalization and Health (3 credit hours)
  • See adviser for appropriate methodological elective (3 credit hours)
  • Directed independent study (3 credit hours)
  • Or other course that will add to the student's course of study. Requires approval of adviser. (3 credit hours)

Dissertation—15 Credit Hours

  • PAF 7980 Dissertation Research

Assignment of Faculty Advisers

Upon acceptance of a student into the program, the program director provides students with an initial orientation and a general advising session.  The Track Coordinator in conjunction with the PAF Director helps the student throughout the foundation stage of the program, assisting in the clarification of interests and goals and facilitating the introduction of students to faculty and research interests that can advance the student's program of study.  Health Services Management and  Research Track students will be advised by the Health Services Management and  Research Track Coordinator. The Track Coordinator assists the student in selecting elective courses, finalizing the program of study, and facilitating discussion with faculty members who have similar research interests.  Discussion and review of dissertation topics should take place with the faculty member who has agreed to chair the dissertation committee. The dissertation chair is to be selected by the student prior to commencing the dissertation prospectus.

Research Proficiency Exam and Qualifying Exam

Upon successful completion of the required courses and the required Practicum course, students are required to take a Research Proficiency Exam (RPE) and Qualifying Exam (QE). The Research Proficiency Exam will be taken after the successful completion of the Methodological Core courses. Following successful completion of all PAF core courses (not including Track Specialization courses), students are required to pass a Qualifying Exam. The exam is given following finals in the fall or spring semesters. 

Students are given two opportunities to pass the RPE and the QE. Students who fail any section twice are dismissed from the program. Any student who fails any the RPE twice or the QE twice will not be readmitted into the PAF program. This policy includes all tracks and/or any master's to PhD program(s) within the PAF program. Please refer to the student handbook for further information.

Candidacy Status

Students officially enter candidacy when the following work has been accomplished:

  • Completion of all course work, except for dissertation hours.
  • Successful completion of the Research Proficiency Exam and Qualifying Exam.
  • The dissertation advisory committee is formed and has been reviewed and approved by the PAF Program and the College of Graduate Studies. Members of the committee are to be approved graduate faculty or graduate faculty scholars.
  • Submittal of an approved graduate program of study.
  • Submission of dissertation prospectus to turnitin.com. Subsequent results to be within acceptable rating.
  • Successful defense of the dissertation prospectus.
  • All approved documentation has been received by the PAF and Graduate offices.

Equipment Fee

Full-time students in the Public Affairs Program pay a $40 equipment fee each semester that they are enrolled. Part-time students pay $20 per semester.


Track Curriculum: Public Administration

Students must complete 60 credit hours beyond the master’s degree distributed in the following manner:

  • a three-course, 9-credit required Public Affairs substantive core
  • a six-course, 18-credit required Public Affairs methodological and statistical core
  • a three-course, 9-credit required discipline-specific specialization
  • a two-course, 6-credit unrestricted elective requirement
  • a one course, 3-credit required Public Affairs practicum
  • 15 credit hours of dissertation minimum


A maximum of 6 credit hours of Independent Study may be used as electives with adviser’s approval.

Transfer work will only be accepted by the Public Affairs PhD program if taken as part of an approved plan of study for a doctoral program at UCF or elsewhere.  A maximum of 6 credit hours taken at the doctoral level may be considered for transfer.  The acceptance of transfer credit into the track specialization and general elective component is dependent upon the approval of the Track Coordinator in consultation with the PAF Director. Transfer work will not be accepted into the PAF substantive or methodological core components.

A grade of B- or better is required in all courses, including Substantive Core, Methodological Core and Track Specialization/Elective courses.  Students receiving a grade of C+ or below in the Substantive Core or Methodological Core courses must repeat the course and receive an acceptable grade prior to taking the Research Proficiency Exam and Qualifying Exam. Any student who receives more than one “C” in their doctoral course work may be dismissed from the program.

A minimum of 3.0 graduate status GPA and program of study GPA is required to maintain graduate student status and for graduation.  Students with a GPA less than 3.0 may be dismissed from the program. 

Any student who receives an "F" grade in their doctoral course work will be dismissed from the program.

Required Courses—45 Credit Hours

Public Affairs Substantive Core—9 Credit Hours

  • PAF 7000 Foundations of Public Affairs: People, Places, Policies and Paradigms (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7230 Strategic Change and Management for Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7317 Social Inquiry and Public Policy (3 credit hours)

Methodological and Statistical Core—18 Credit Hours

  • PAF 7802 Advanced Research Methodology for Public Affairs I (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7804 Advanced Statistics for Public Affairs I: Multivariate Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7805 Advanced Statistics for Public Affairs II: Survey of Statistical Methods (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7820 Qualitative Methods for Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7325 Policy and Program Evaluation for Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
Advanced Methodology

Choose one of the following courses:

  • PAF 7868 Advanced Statistics for Public Affairs III: Continued Survey of Statistical Methods (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7856 Applications of Structural Equation Modeling in Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
  • Pre-approved methodological or statistical course (3 credit hours)

Practicum—3 Credit Hours

  • PAF 7947 Practicum in Community-Based Research (3 credit hours)

At the end of the required coursework, students will take the Practicum in Community-Based Research course (PAF 7947). Led by a professor, the practicum provides the student with the opportunity to work within an interdisciplinary team to use their substantive learning and apply their methodological and statistical tools to a real community problem. This experiential learning brings the student out to the community while bringing the community into the university.

Track Specialization—9 Credit Hours

Students are required take the following three courses and attain a "B" or higher:

  • PAD 7026 Advanced Seminar in Public Administration (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 7057 Advanced Public Management (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 7827 Network Governance (3 credit hours)

Choose two additional elective courses from the following:

  • PAD 7317 Program Design and Management (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 7707 Advanced Research in Public Administration (3 credit hours)
  • See adviser for appropriate methodological elective (3 credit hours)
  • Directed independent study (3 credit hours)
  • Or other course that will add to the student's course of study.  Requires approval of adviser. (3 credit hours)

Dissertation—15 Credit Hours

  • PAF 7980 Dissertation Research

Assignment of Faculty Advisers

Upon acceptance of a student into the program, the program director provides students with an initial orientation and a general advising session.  The Track Coordinator in conjunction with the PAF Director helps the student throughout the foundation stage of the program, assisting in the clarification of interests and goals and facilitating the introduction of students to faculty and research interests that can advance the student's program of study.  Public Administration Track students will be advised by the Public Administration Track Coordinator. The Track Coordinator assists the student in selecting elective courses, finalizing the program of study, and facilitating discussion with faculty members who have similar research interests.  Discussion and review of dissertation topics should take place with the faculty member who has agreed to chair the dissertation committee. The dissertation chair is to be selected by the student prior to commencing the dissertation prospectus.

Research Proficiency Exam and Qualifying Exam

Upon successful completion of the required courses and the required Practicum course, students are required to take a Research Proficiency Exam (RPE) and Qualifying Exam (QE). The Research Proficiency Exam will be taken after the successful completion of the Methodological Core courses. Following successful completion of all PAF core courses (not including Track Specialization courses), students are required to pass a Qualifying Exam. The exam is given following finals in the fall or spring semesters. 

Students are given two opportunities to pass the RPE and the QE. Students who fail any section twice are dismissed from the program. Any student who fails any the RPE twice or the QE twice will not be readmitted into the PAF program. This policy includes all tracks and/or any masters to PhD program(s) within the PAF program. Please refer to the student handbook for further information.

Candidacy Status

Students officially enter candidacy when the following has been accomplished:

  • Completion of all course work, except for dissertation hours.
  • Successful completion of the Research Proficiency Exam and Qualifying Exam.
  • The dissertation advisory committee is formed and has been reviewed and approved by the PAF Director and the College of Graduate Studies.  Members of the committee are to be approved graduate faculty or graduate faculty scholars.
  • Submittal of an approved graduate program of study.
  • Submission of dissertation prospectus to turnitin.com. Subsequent results to be within acceptable rating.
  • Successful defense of the dissertation prospectus.
  • All approved documentation has been received by the PAF and Graduate offices..

Equipment Fee

Full-time students in the Public Affairs Program pay a $40 equipment fee each semester that they are enrolled. Part-time students pay $20 per semester.


Track Curriculum: Public Administration MPA Dual Degree

The Public Administration MPA Dual Degree track in the Public Affairs PhD program consists of 84 credit hours, including 63 credit hours of required courses, 6 credit hours of electives approved by the student's faculty adviser or program director, and 15 credit hours of dissertation. For required courses, students first complete seven core courses plus the capstone course for the MPA program (24 credit hours), and then take four Public Affairs substantive core courses and six Public Affairs methodological and statistical core courses for the PhD program (30 credit hours), plus three courses (9 credit hours) from the Public Administration track in the PhD program.



A maximum of 6 credit hours of Independent Study may be used as electives with adviser’s approval.

A grade of "B-" or better is required in all courses listed under the MPA requirement and Public Affairs requirements.  Students receiving a grade below a "B-" in the Substantive Core or Methodological Core must repeat the course and receive an acceptable grade prior to taking the Research Proficiency Exam and Qualifying Exam.  Any student who receives more than one grade of "C" in their doctoral course work may be dismissed from the program.

A minimum of 3.0 graduate status GPA and program of study GPA is required to maintain graduate student status and for graduation.  Students with a GPA less than 3.0 may be dismissed from the program.

Any student who receives an "F" grade in their master's level or doctoral course work will be dismissed from the program.

Required Courses—63 Credit Hours

Required Courses for MPA—24 Credit Hours

In addition to the following required courses, the MPA degree will include 6 credit hours of advanced research methods and quantitative methods in Public Affairs and 12 credit hours of electives that are incorporated into the prescribed PhD curriculum.

  • PAD 6035 Public Administration in the Policy Process (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6037 Public Organization Management (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6053 Public Administrators in the Governance Process (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6207 Public Financial Management (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6227 Public Budgeting (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6335 Strategic Planning and Management (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6417 Human Resource Management (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6062 Advanced Concepts and Applications in Public Administration (3 credit hours)

Required Courses for PhD—39 Credit Hours

Public Affairs Substantive Core—9 Credit Hours
  • PAF 7000 Foundations in Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7230 Strategic Change and Management for Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7317 Social Inquiry and Public Policy (3 credit hours)
Methodological and Statistical Core—18 Credit Hours
  • PAF 7802 Advanced Research Methodology for Public Affairs I (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7804 Advanced Statistics for Public Affairs I: Multivariate Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7805 Advanced Statistics for Public Affairs II: Survey of Statistical Methods (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7820 Qualitative Methods for Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7325 Policy and Program Evaluation for Public Affairs (3 credit hours)

Advanced Methodology (Select one course):

  • PAF 7868 Advanced Statistics for Public Affairs III: Continued Survey of Statistical Methods (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7856 Applications of Structural Equation Modeling in Public Affairs (3 credit hours) 
  • Pre-approved methodological or statistical course (3 credit hours)
Practicum—3 Credit Hours

At the end of the required coursework, students will take the Practicum in Community-Based Research course (PAF 7XXX). Led by a professor, the practicum provides the student with the opportunity to work within an interdisciplinary team to use their substantive learning and apply their methodological and statistical tools to a real community problem. This experiential learning brings the student out to the community while bringing the community into the university.

Track Specialization—9 Credit Hours

Students take the following three courses:

  • PAD 7026 Advanced Seminar in Public Administration (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 7057 Advanced Public Management (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 7827 Collaborative Public Management (3 credit hours)

Elective Courses—6 Credit Hours

The two required elective courses (3 credit hours each) offered within the dual degree provide an emphasis on public and nonprofit management; however, other emphases may be developed in consultation with the adviser. With prior approval from the Program Director, up to 6 credit hours of elective course work may be taken from outside the department. Students must show that elective courses taken outside of the department directly support an academic or professional career in public administration. 

Students take two of the following courses:

  • PAD 7317 Program Design and Management (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 7707 Advanced Research in Public Administration (3 credit hours)
  • Methodological elective approved by adviser (3 credit hours)
  • Directed independent study (3 credit hours)
  • Or other course that will add to the student's course of study. Requires approval of adviser. (3 credit hours)

Dissertation—15 Credit Hours

  • PAF 7980 Dissertation Research

Research Proficiency Exam and Qualifying Exam

Upon successful completion of the required courses and the required Practicum course, students are required to take a Research Proficiency Exam (RPE) and Qualifying Exam (QE). The Research Proficiency Exam will be taken after the successful completion of the Methodological Core courses. Following successful completion of all PAF core courses (not including Track Specialization courses), students are required to pass a Qualifying Exam. The exam is given following finals in the fall or spring semesters.

Students are given two opportunities to pass the RPE and the QE. Students who fail any section twice are dismissed from the program. Any student who fails any the RPE twice or the QE twice will not be readmitted into the PAF program. This policy includes all tracks and/or any masters to PhD program(s) within the PAF program. Please refer to the student handbook for further information.

Candidacy

Students officially enter candidacy when the following has been accomplished:

  • Completion of all course work, except for dissertation hours.
  • Successful completion of the Research Proficiency Exam and Qualifying Exam.
  • The dissertation advisory committee is formed and has been approved by the PAF Program Director and the College of Graduate Studies.  Members of the committee are to be approved graduate faculty or graduate faculty scholars.
  • Submittal of an approved graduate program of study.
  • Submission of dissertation prospectus to turn-it-in.com. Subsequent results to be within acceptable rating.
  • Successful defense of the dissertation prospectus.
  • All approved documentation has been received by the PAF and Graduate offices.

Additional Program Requirements

Students initially admitted to the MPA/PhD dual degree program who subsequently decide they only want to receive the MPA degree may have all applicable courses completed as part of the two degree programs applied to the MPA degree program without being counted as transfer courses.  

Equipment Fee

Full-time students in the Public Affairs PhD Program pay a $40 equipment fee each semester that they are enrolled. Part-time students pay $20 per semester.


Track Curriculum: Social Work

Students must complete 60 credit hours beyond the master’s degree distributed in the following manner:

  • a three-course, 9-credit required Public Affairs substantive core
  • a six-course, 18-credit required Public Affairs methodological and statistical core
  • a three-course,  9-credit required discipline-specific specialization
  • a two-course, 6-credit unrestricted elective requirement
  • a one course, 3-credit required Public Affairs practicum
  • 15 credit hours of dissertation minimum


A maximum of 6 credit hours of Independent Study may be used as electives with adviser’s approval.

Transfer work will only be accepted by the Public Affairs PhD program if taken as part of an approved plan of study for a doctoral program at UCF or elsewhere.  A maximum of 6 credit hours taken at the doctoral level may be considered for transfer.  The acceptance of transfer credit into the track specialization or general elective component is dependent upon the approval of the Track Coordinator in consultation with the PAF Director. Transfer work will not be accepted into the PAF substantive or methodological core components..

A grade of B- or better is required in all Substantive Core and Methodological Core courses.  Students receiving a grade of "C+" or lower will be required to repeat the course and receive a grade of B- or better prior to taking the Research Proficiency Exam and Qualifying Exam. Any student who receives more than one “C” in their doctoral course work may be dismissed from the program.   

A minimum of 3.0 graduate status GPA and program of study GPA is required to maintain graduate student status and for graduation.  Students with a GPA less than 3.0 may be dismissed from the program. 

Any student who receives an "F" grade in their doctoral course work will be dismissed from the program.

Required Courses—45 Credit Hours

Public Affairs Substantive Core—9 Credit Hours

  • PAF 7000 Foundations of Public Affairs: People, Places, Policies and Paradigms (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7230 Strategic Change and Management for Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7317 Social Inquiry and Public Policy (3 credit hours)

Methodological and Statistical Core—18 Credit Hours

  • PAF 7802 Advanced Research Methodology for Public Affairs I (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7804 Advanced Statistics for Public Affairs I: Multivariate Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7805 Advanced Statistics for Public Affairs II: Survey of Statistical Methods (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7820 Qualitative Methods for Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7325 Policy and Program Evaluation for Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
Advanced Methodology

Choose one of the following courses:

  • PAF 7868 Advanced Statistics for Public Affairs III: Continued Survey of Statistical Methods (3 credit hours)
  • PAF 7856 Applications of Structural Equation Modeling in Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
  • Pre-approved methodological or statistical course (3 credit hours)

Practicum—3 Credit Hours

At the end of the required coursework, students will take the Practicum in Community-Based Research course (PAF 7947). Led by a professor, the practicum provides the student with the opportunity to work within an interdisciplinary team to use their substantive learning and apply their methodological and statistical tools to a real community problem. This experiential learning brings the student out to the community while bringing the community into the university.

Track Specialization—9 Credit Hours

Students are required take the following three courses and attain a "B-" or higher:

  • SOW 6383 Social Work Administration (3 credit hours)
  • SOW 7492 Theory Development in Social Work and Applied Social Science Research (3 credit hours)
  • SOW 7494 Conducting Evidence-based Research in Social Work and Allied Fields (3 credit hours)

Electives—6 Credit Hours

Choose two additional courses from the following:

  • SOW 7397 Social Entrepreneurship in Public and Social Sectors (3 credit hours)
  • See adviser for appropriate methodological elective (3 credit hours)
  • Directed reading (3 credit hours)
  • Directed independent study (3 credit hours)
  • Or other course that will add to the student's course of study.  Requires approval of adviser. (3 credit hours)

Dissertation—15 Credit Hours

  • PAF 7980 Dissertation Research

Assignment of Faculty Advisers

Upon acceptance of a student into the program, the program director provides students with an initial orientation and a general advising session.  The Track Coordinator in conjunction with the PAF Director helps the student throughout the foundation stage of the program, assisting in the clarification of interests and goals and facilitating the introduction of students to faculty and research interests that can advance the student's program of study.  Social Work Track students will be advised by the Social Work Track Coordinator. The Track Coordinator assists the student in selecting elective courses, finalizing the program of study, and facilitating discussion with faculty members who have similar research interests.  Discussion and review of dissertation topics should take place with the faculty member who has agreed to chair the dissertation committee. The dissertation chair is to be selected by the student prior to commencing the dissertation prospectus.

Research Proficiency Exam and Qualifying Exam

Upon successful completion of the required courses and the required Practicum course, students are required to take a Research Proficiency Exam (RPE) and Qualifying Exam (QE). The Research Proficiency Exam will be taken after the successful completion of the Methodological Core Courses. Following successful completion of all PAF core courses (not including Track Specialization Courses), students are required to pass a Qualifying Exam. The exam is given following finals in the fall or spring semesters.

Students are given two opportunities to pass the RPE and the QE. Students who fail any section twice are dismissed from the program. Any student who fails any the RPE twice or the QE twice will not be readmitted into the PAF program. This policy includes all tracks and/or any masters to PhD program(s) within the PAF program. Please refer to the student handbook for further information.

Candidacy Status

Students officially enter candidacy when the following has been accomplished:

  • Completion of all course work, except for dissertation hours.
  • Successful completion of the Research Proficiency Exam and Qualifying Exam.
  • The dissertation advisory committee is formed and has been reviewed and approved by the PAF Director and the College of Graduate Studies.  Members of the committee are to be approved graduate faculty or graduate faculty scholars.
  • Submittal of an approved graduate program of study.
  • Submission of dissertation prospectus to turnitin.com. Subsequent results to be within acceptable rating.
  • Successful defense of the dissertation prospectus.
  • All approved documentation has been received by the PAF and Graduate offices.

Equipment Fee

Full-time students in the Public Affairs Program pay a $40 equipment fee each semester that they are enrolled. Part-time students pay $20 per semester.


Timeline for Completion

Fall Cohort - Full-Time Progression of Learning*

First Year

FallSpringSummer
  • PAF 7000
  • PAF 7802
  • Track Specialization Track
 
  • PAF 7317
  • Track Specialization Track
  • PAF 7804
 

 

Semester Total: 9Semester Total: 9Semester Total: 0

Second Year

FallSpringSummer
  • PAF 7820
  • PAF 7325
  • PAF 7805
 
  • PAF 7230
  • Advanced Methodology Course
  • PAF 7947 Practicum
 
 
Semester Total: 9 Semester Total: 9Semester Total: 0

Third Year

Fall
  • Track Specialization Track
  • Track Specialization Course
    • Other Tracks - Elective
     
  • Elective
 
Semester Total: 9

Fall Cohort - Part-Time Progression of Learning*

First Year

FallSpringSummer
  • PAF 7000
  • PAF 7802
 
  • PAF 7317
  • PAF 7804
 

 

Semester Total: 6Semester Total: 6Semester Total: 0-6

Second Year

FallSpringSummer
  • PAF 7805
  • Track Specialization Course
 
  • PAF 7230
  • Advanced Methodology
 

 

Semester Total: 6 Semester Total: 6 Semester Total: 0

Third Year

Fall Spring Summer
  • PAF 7820
  • PAF 7325
 
  • PAF 7947 Practicum
  • Track Specialization Course
    • Other Tracks - Elective
 

 

 

Semester Total: 6    Semester Total: 6Semester Total: 0

Fourth Year

 

Fall Spring Summer
  • Track Specialization Course
  • Track Specialization Course
 
  • Track Specialization Course
    • Other Tracks - Elective
      
 

 

 

Semester Total: 6    Semester Total: 3Semester Total: 0

*The program reserves the right to change course offering or schedules as needed - refer to myUCF for up to date course schedules.

15 credit hours of track specialization and electives are required and may be taken throughout program as indicated above.

Students may not register beyond 9 credit hours of dissertation (PAF 7980) per semester.

Course Schedule

See timeline for completion of degree program. For specific elective course selection, please see track adviser.

Examination Requirements

Research Proficiency Exam and Integrative Qualifying Exam

Upon successful completion of the substantive and methodological required courses, including Practicum, students are required to take a Research Proficiency Exam (RPE) and Integrative Qualifying Exam (IQE).  These exams assess a student’s ability to integrate the curriculum knowledge and apply it in the realm of community problem solving as it relates to policy, administration, governance, and organizations. Students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in the PAF Core Competencies. Every core course contributes to these competencies as articulated in the PAF Core Competencies Matrix.

The Research Proficiency Exam may be taken within one semester after the completion of the Methodological Core Courses. The Integrative Qualifying Exam must be taken either at the end of the semester in which courses are completed or within one semester after the completion of the required substantive core courses. It is, however, recommended that students take the Practicum before the RPC which would necessitate taking both exams at the same time. Students who fail to take the exam within one semester of completing their core courses will be placed on probation for not meeting satisfactory academic progress. Students who fail to take the required exam within two semesters from the date the required courses are complete for the given exam may be discontinued or dismissed from the program. Students who feel that they have a legitimate reason for not scheduling to take or missing the exam should promptly notify the PAF Director to request an extension. Students must notify the PAF office in writing no later than two weeks prior to the exam that they intend to take the exam. Notices of testing dates and requests for responses will be sent to all students by the PAF office.

Both the RPE and the IQE are normally offered on Monday and Wednesday during the week following the university-designated final exam week each fall and spring semester. These exams are not offered during the summer. The dates for these exams will be set by the PAF office and are not negotiable.

The Research Proficiency Exam tests the student’s knowledge of the methodological core classes and the student’s ability to apply this information to real-world examples. The Integrative Qualifying Exam tests the student’s knowledge and ability to integrate and apply course material from the required substantive courses to answer specific case questions.

Each fall and spring semester the PAF program will hold an informational meeting about the exam process as well as the format of the exams. Attendance at this meeting is HIGHLY recommended, but is not required.

A committee made up of faculty will be responsible for creating, reading, and grading exams. The final grading for the exam will consist of a score of “Pass” or “Fail.” The PAF Director will notify students of their exam results through email. All students will have two opportunities to pass the Research Proficiency Exam and the Integrative Qualifying Exam.  Any student failing either exam twice will be dismissed from the program with no opportunity for re-admittance to the PAF program.

This policy includes all tracks within the PAF program. Please note that there are no exceptions to this dismissal policy.

Dissertation Requirements

Dissertation Prospectus Requirements

The Purpose of the Dissertation Prospectus 

The purpose of the Ph.D. program in Public Affairs is to train students to conceptualize, understand, and address the complexities of real world concerns through an interdisciplinary perspective. Towards those ends, the dissertation provides evidence of the student’s ability to independently conduct scholarly research on meaningful social issues resulting in findings that have both applied and theoretical importance. While the former might answer to a specific agency or community concern, the latter represents a clear contribution to knowledge and should include material worthy of publication. Once a student defends the Prospectus, they will obtain candidacy status.   

Dissertation Committee and Chair Selection

The subject chosen by students for study should reflect their interests while making an independent contribution to the body of knowledge. Once students have chosen their topic, they should look for a faculty member within their track who can serve as the Chair of their dissertation committee. The Dissertation Chair is the person who will provide the primary intellectual leadership on the committee as well as be responsible for overseeing the prospectus as it proceeds to defense.

Students may elect to work with faculty based on the similarity of research interests, current research projects, methodological expertise, or other areas of compatibility.  Any graduate faculty in the PAF departments are eligible to serve as a Dissertation Chair.  The student’s Track Coordinator will assist students in identifying an appropriate and willing Chair. Students should recognize that faculty members are limited to serve on no more than ten dissertation committees (chairing a maximum of four) at any one time. Students must submit their committee formation form by the end of the semester immediately following the completion of their RPE and IQE in order to maintain satisfactory academic progress.

Once selected, the student, in conjunction with the Dissertation Chair, will assemble the dissertation committee. Committee members should be chosen to maximize the ability to provide a meaningful contribution on substantive and/or methodological areas related to the proposed study while ensuring interdisciplinary representation amongst committee members. While the student is the author of the prospectus and dissertation, the committee is expected to provide guidance in shaping this work. In this sense, the prospectus and dissertation are both a learning opportunity for the student as well as a demonstration, by its successful completion, that the student can independently engage in meaningful original research.

The committee must be composed of a Dissertation Chair and two additional committee members who are listed as graduate faculty from the discipline-based track.  The fourth member must be outside of the student’s track discipline to ensure the interdisciplinary nature of the study. Note: “Discipline" includes persons outside the faculty department who are representing the same discipline as the track department.  “Discipline” includes all cognate areas within a field (such as using a lawyer on a criminal justice dissertation or a medical doctor on a health service management and research dissertation). Where a decision is made to include someone not listed in the Graduate Faculty register, the Chair can nominate that person to be included as a Graduate Faculty Scholar by completing and submitting the necessary paperwork to the PAF program. Students may review a list of approved dissertation faculty from the Graduate Studies website (www.graduatecatalog.ucf.edu/GradFaculty/).   

It is important for students to realize that as their study evolves or faculty staffing changes, it may be appropriate to add or drop members from the dissertation committee including, at times, the Dissertation Chair. Students should seek guidance from their committee members, Chair and/or their track coordinator and PAF Director. If there is any change in the committee membership, a formal request has to be submitted to the PAF office for approval by the PAF Director via a change of committee form which must be completed and turned into the PAF office. 

Prospectus Components

Once successfully defended and approved by the student’s committee, the prospectus in the Public Affairs doctoral program serves as a “contract” between the student and the faculty to conduct research and write the dissertation. A successful prospectus must meet three criteria before it can be approved. First, it must demonstrate that the proposed study will significantly add to the knowledge base in the candidate’s discipline. Second, it must show the student’s capability to conduct this research through the theoretical foundation and research design. Finally, the prospectus must provide evidence that the study is feasible and can be successfully completed in the manner and under the time constraints noted in the proposal. 

A prospectus should provide a theoretically informed framework to guide the empirical study that will make this a significant and substantive contribution to the body of scientific knowledge in public affairs.  At a minimum, a satisfactory prospectus contains six basic components outlined below. Students are advised to take PAF 7981 Dissertation Prospectus as an elective in their GPS and/or PAF 7919 Doctoral Research as credits during semesters they prepare their prospectus.

The committee must be composed of a Dissertation Chair and two additional committee members who are listed as graduate faculty in the college and usually are faculty in the discipline-based track.  The fourth member must be outside of the student’s track discipline to ensure the interdisciplinary nature of the study. Note: “Discipline" includes persons outside the faculty department who are representing the same discipline as the track department.  “Discipline” includes all cognate areas within a field (such as using a lawyer on a criminal justice dissertation or a medical doctor on a health service management and research dissertation). Where a decision is made to include someone not listed in the Graduate Faculty register, the Chair can nominate that person to be included as a Graduate Faculty Scholar by completing and submitting the necessary paperwork to the PAF program. Students may review a list of approved dissertation faculty from the Graduate Studies website (www.graduatecatalog.ucf.edu/GradFaculty/).

It is important for students to realize that as their study evolves or faculty staffing changes, it may be appropriate to add or drop members from the dissertation committee including, at times, the Dissertation Chair. Students should seek guidance from their committee members, Chair and/or their track coordinator and PAF Director. If there is any change in the committee membership, a formal request has to be submitted to the PAF office for approval by the PAF Director via an updated PAF Committee Formation Form, which must be completed and turned into the PAF office. This form also must be submitted to and approved by the College of Graduate Studies.

Prospectus Components 

Once successfully defended and approved by the student’s committee, the prospectus in the Public Affairs doctoral program serves as a “contract” between the student and the faculty to conduct research and write the dissertation, meaning that significant deviation from the approved study must be approved by the committee. A successful prospectus must meet three criteria before it can be approved. First, it must demonstrate that the proposed study will significantly add to the knowledge base in the candidate’s discipline. Second, it must show the student’s capability to conduct this research through the theoretical foundation and research design. Finally, the prospectus must provide evidence that the study is feasible and can be successfully completed in the manner and under the time constraints noted in the proposal.

A prospectus should provide a theoretically informed framework to guide the empirical study that will make this a significant and substantive contribution to the body of scientific knowledge in public affairs.  At a minimum, a satisfactory prospectus contains six basic components outlined below. Students are advised to take PAF 7981 Dissertation Prospectus as an elective in their GPS and/or PAF 7919 Doctoral Research as credits during semesters they prepare their prospectus.

1.  Abstract

An abstract is a short summary of the study including the research question that is under investigation as well as the procedures that will be used to answer that question. The abstract should be short, clear, and concise.  Because an abstract is a description of the entire prospectus, many students find it easier to compose once they have completed writing this document. 

2. Introduction  

What is the dissertation about? The prospectus should begin by stating the central research question(s) that is to be addressed in the dissertation. The question(s) should be phrased precisely since it will determine what is or is not germane to the dissertation. Whether the query is, "How does participation in a network affect performance within a health center?", “Does electronic participation increase citizen trust in local government?”, “What is the impact of abstinence only intervention programs on adolescent drinking?”, "Do state adolescent reproductive health policies affect teen pregnancy outcomes?", or “Are mentally disturbed offenders more violent than non-disturbed offenders?,” the central research question(s) should be stated clearly and succinctly.  This is also the appropriate place to identify the general approach that will be adopted by this study including a brief discussion on the research methods that will be implemented to answer this question (e.g., sample that will be used, research design implemented, time period covered, outcomes collected, etc.). Students should think of this section as akin to an abstract. 

3. Literature Review

This part of the prospectus addresses the question, "So, what?" In other words, why should one devote a dissertation to the question set out in the preceding section? An effective answer requires two distinct arguments. First, the student must build a logical argument for the need of this study. This must be done through the existing literature. A thorough review of the literature is, therefore, essential in making a convincing argument that the subject has not yet been researched (or that there remains significant gaps in the research) but needs to be in order to continue to build our understanding in this area. The literature review should include all pertinent literature, conceptual and research, that relates to the student’s interest. It is important at this point not to cherry pick the research literature by including only those studies supporting the research endeavor. Instead, the student should be thorough and, where existing research points to a conclusion other than the student’s, be prepared to make a persuasive argument for why their perspective is the more appropriate one in these circumstances.

In this section students will tie their study to a theoretical/conceptual perspective. Students should think of this as the explanatory framework guiding the research and providing predictions regarding later results. This includes making a clear and convincing argument for the choice of the selected theory along with identifying the strengths and weaknesses associated with this perspective as grounded in the relevant literature. Students must make sure that the theory is appropriate to the research question(s) and clearly specify the contribution that this research will make to their discipline.  When the Literature Review has been completed, it must clearly demonstrate the need for answering the research question(s) posed.

4. Research Design  

By providing specific information on how the question(s) defined in the Introduction will be answered in this study, the student will demonstrate that they are capable of conducting this research.  As such, this section provides specifics on the process that will be used to examine the research question(s).  Depending on the subject, this part will cover different elements but all will need to address the following: What specifically will be done and what does each step contribute to the project as a whole? If the investigation is empirical, what sort of evidence will be considered? If theoretical, what material will be covered and what will be done with it?  

A review of relevant research literature must be included to support each of the steps taken in the process including the choice of variables, outcomes, models, measures, and such.  Knowing what has been done previously and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of these studies can provide important clues for better ways to proceed in defining and selecting the sample, setting up the research design, choosing specific measurement instruments and such.   

This section of the prospectus should therefore provide the following information:

Research Hypotheses: This should contain the specific research hypotheses being tested. It must also include the rationale for developing these hypotheses.   

Proposed Research Design:  The student should provide specific information on the design that will be implemented along with the reasoning for its use.   

Population and Sample Selection: The student will need to clearly specify the population being targeted along with how, why, and when individuals, agencies, or other entities being sampled would be included or excluded (as well as the reasons for these criteria) in the study.  The student should provide information on the method of sampling along with the size of the sample including, again, a justification for each of the steps being implemented. 

Data Collection: What is the raw material for the analysis? How will it be obtained? All information that can be provided pertaining to interviewing, observing, surveying, coding, etc. strengthens the prospectus.  If the student is using a database, a thorough discussion of this database and the variables that will be used in the study must be included.  A clear connection must be made between the variables needed to answer to the research question(s) and those being used in the database, survey, or interview.  

Measurement Instrument(s):  Include the measurement instruments that will be used including all information on their reliability and validity. The prospectus is strengthened to the extent that it provides a justification for implementing these measures (e.g., Have they been used successfully in past studies?).  In choosing measures, the student should make sure that the measures provide the necessary information to answer the research question(s).   

Data Analysis: The student should provide a framework for how they intend to approach the data analyses indicating with as much specificity as possible the analytical model(s) that they will be using. Students must ensure that the analyses used are consistent with the objectives and design employed.  

In the end, the student must ensure that the methodology implemented can answer to the research question(s) posed. As an example, if comparing the post-prison adjustment of mentally disturbed to non-disturbed offenders, a sample including only the latter will leave the student unable to answer the research question posed.  

5. Feasibility 

This part of the prospectus speaks to the student’s ability to complete the study in the manner suggested and within the timelines provided. A student may have a great idea for a study and be able to demonstrate that they have the necessary skill set to conduct that study. Unfortunately, if the agency responsible for providing access to the population under study is unwilling to allow the research as designed, the student will never be able to successfully complete their dissertation.  Therefore, establishing that the dissertation is feasible is just as important as every other step in this process.

Ethics: The student must address the issue of whether the study meets ethical standards by providing information on the provisions that will be implemented to ensure confidentiality to respondents and safety in the storage of the data. The student should also check that the research is free from bias.  Finally, depending upon the nature of the study, IRB approval may or may not be needed. It is up to the student to investigate this and, if required, to have IRB approval prior to implementing the study. 

Pipeline: The prospectus will need to provide information on how many individuals or other entities being sampled meeting the characteristics as noted in the sample selection section could be expected daily, weekly, or monthly.  This is necessary to demonstrate that a sufficient sample can be obtained in a reasonable time period.  Please note that it is common in community level studies that the target population is smaller or more difficult to reach than as first anticipated. Providing documentation of the numbers of individuals meeting sample criteria will strengthen the prospectus. 

Anticipated Response and Retention Rates: The student should have some way of estimating the response and retention rates based on either past research studies on similar populations or the agency or institution’s expectations.  

Agency Cooperation/Participation: If the student requires cooperation from an individual, agency, or group, then the prospectus should include documentation that these entities know what is expected of them and that they are willing to cooperate. Please note that a legal Letter of Agreement or Letter of Cooperation is not necessary. However, a letter from a person in authority giving their consent to participate in the ways set forth in the prospectus should be attached.

Costs: The prospectus should provide an itemized listing of all anticipated costs associated with completing the dissertation as well as how these costs will be covered.  

Funding Sources: If appropriate, the prospectus should specify all granting/funding agencies which have been or will be applied to for funding as well as the outcomes on these proposals.  

Timeline: The student will need to provide a realistic timeframe for completing the dissertation given the many factors involved in completing their particular study.  

6. References 

The student should provide a full reference section using APA style. The student should make sure that all citations included in the text are listed in this section and, conversely, that the reference section does not contain any materials not included in the text. 

Even at this earliest of stages in the dissertation, the prospectus should be constructed using a chapter-by-chapter organization of the project.  This will facilitate the committee’s ability to ensure that the prospectus includes all the necessary components. Additionally, as the dissertation is organized in a similar manner, the student will find this format beneficial as they can build off this foundation when completing their dissertation.   

In preparing the prospectus, the student should consult with their Dissertation Chair and other members of the committee for guidance.  Additional guidance on the contents of a dissertation prospectus can be found in James E. Mauch and Namgi Park’s Guide to the Successful Thesis and Dissertation or David R. Krathwohl and Nick L. Smith, How to Prepare a Dissertation Proposal. Students may want to consult Diana Ridley, The Literature Review for additional guidance 

Completing the Prospectus and Scheduling a Defense

While a student is actively working on the prospectus with their faculty advisors, they must be registered in at least one credit of Doctoral Research in those semesters. It is expected that students will register for at least one credit in the semester they defend their prospectus.  During this time, students can choose to register for PAF 7919 Doctoral Research and complete any remaining electives. Students will not be eligible to defend their prospectus until they are course complete and have passed their RPE and IQE. Please note that course complete requires that the PAF core and track requirements have all been successfully passed.

Students should expect to form a committee approximately one semester after passing their RPE and IQE. Once students have identified their committee members, they must request the PAF Committee Formation form from the PAF office. Students will use this form to collect signatures from all committee members and then submit the signed copy to the PAF Office. Students cannot schedule their prospectus defense until there is an approved dissertation committee on file for them.

While writing the prospectus, the student should work closely with their Dissertation Chair. When the Chair determines that the prospectus is ready, they will send it out to the committee members for their feedback. Once the feedback has been returned, the Chair will review the comments with the student and/or ask that the student speak directly with the committee member(s).

The student will revise the prospectus in compliance with the comments made by the members of the committee. Once the prospectus is completed to everyone’s satisfaction (which may require several rounds of review), final feedback will be given by committee members. Only when all committee members have signed the Prospectus Defense Assessment Form will the PAF office schedule a firm date for the defense.

At least 4 weeks prior to the anticipated defense date, students will submit one hard copy of the prospectus and the completed and signed Prospectus Defense Scheduling Request Form. The PAF office will verify the committee member names listed on the scheduling form with the names on file listed as their dissertation committee. Students must defend their proposal in time to meet the enrollment deadline for the following semester, which is the Wednesday before the first day of class in the following semester.The PAF office will ensure all parties have the appropriate defense forms and reserve the room for the defense. The PAF Director must have the opportunity to read the completed prospectus before signing off on the prospectus defense approval form.

Ideally, the prospectus defense is held before the end of the semester while classes are in session in order to ensure that faculty are available to attend in person, and that the required documentation can be processed in time to allow for entering candidacy and enable enrollment in dissertation hours the following semester. Students must notify the PAF office if any committee members will be attending virtually so that technology arrangements can be made.

If there are any substantial changes to the submitted prospectus copy before the defense, then the student must submit those changes to the PAF office. Significant changes after the defense will be accepted at the discretion of the committee. The PAF must have had the opportunity to read the completed prospectus before signing off on the prospectus defense approval form.

Prospectus Defense

The dissertation prospectus must be defended orally.  Full Time students must submit and defend their Prospectus within twelve months after passing the Qualifying Exam.  Part Time students must submit and defend their Prospectus within eighteen months after passing Qualifying Exam.  Exceptions to this timeline must be approved by the dissertation committee and PAF Program Director.  All committee members should be physically present at the prospectus defense unless extenuating circumstances prohibit attendance. When this occurs, members of the committee can participate by video link (such as Skype). The chair of the committee and student must always be present on the UCF campus at the defense. The PAF Director, along with the COHPA Associate Dean, Academic Affairs may attend the prospectus defense.  

A defense is typically 60-90 minutes and the format requires a presentation of the full work by the student and a question and answer session directed by the committee members. At the close of the question and answer period, the student and any guests will leave the room allowing for discussion and evaluation of the presentation in front of the committee. The PAF Director and Dean’s representative also may make comments for consideration by the committee at this time. The committee, in their deliberation and by majority vote, will make a determination whether the defense is a Pass, Conditional Pass, or Fail. Where a student is judged to pass, committee members can sign off on the forms at the time of the defense.  Where there are minor revisions needed, the committee will give a Conditional Pass, indicating the conditions that must be met for the prospectus to pass and may sign the forms. Where a Fail is given, the committee members, through the Dissertation Chair, must indicate what the student must do to get the prospectus up to doctoral standards so that it can be approved by the committee at a later date. Students should be notified immediately of the determination of the committee.  

In the cases of a fail, the chair, within no more than one week following the defense, will provide the determination and all conditions in writing to committee members for their review and approval. The Chair will then send out a revised memo to the student and PAF office. The student should expect to receive a written determination no more than two weeks from the date of the defense. The committee determines if the student should re-defend after revisions are made. If the committee does not agree to a re-defense, the student may be dismissed from the program. The committee must notify the PAF Program Director of their decision about a re-defense.   

Approval of the prospectus is equivalent to passing the candidacy exam as required by the UCF College of Graduate Studies. Once all committee members have signed the form, and the PAF Director and Dean’s office have approved, the Notification of Passing Candidacy Exam form will be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies and students may register for dissertation credit hours. Failure to meet any Program, College, or University deadlines will prevent moving into candidacy and being allowed to register for dissertation hours.

Candidacy Status

The university requires all doctoral students to participate in the Academic Integrity Training program. This training, along with all related components, must be completed prior to the student being admitted to candidacy. (Information will appear on the student’s To Do” list in myUCF.)

Students officially obtain candidacy status when they have successfully completed all course work, passed the research proficiency and qualifying exams, formed their Dissertation committee, successfully defended their Prospectus, and all required paperwork has been completed and submitted. Once they have obtained Candidacy status, students can register for dissertation hours.

Candidacy Status paperwork must be submitted no later than the Wednesday before classes start in the semester the student expects to begin dissertation research. There are no exceptions to this deadline. This will allow time for Graduate Studies to change a student’s status from Non-Candidacy, to Candidacy Status. Students must be admitted to candidacy prior to the first day of classes in any given semester in order to enroll in PAF 7980 Dissertation.  There are no exceptions granted by the Graduate School. If the deadline is missed, the student will have to wait until the next semester to enroll in dissertation credits. It is not allowed to change doctoral to dissertation research inside of a semester.

Dissertation

Doctoral Dissertation Registration 

Students wishing to take dissertation credit hours (PAF 7980) must have obtained Candidacy Status. Doctoral candidates must enroll in PAF 7980 Dissertation continuously (including summers) until they defend their Dissertation. Students will need to complete and submit a Registration/Elective Approval Form in order to register for PAF 7980 each semester. Candidates are not permitted to register in excess of 9 dissertation credit hours in any given semester and must take at least three credit hours.  Candidates who have met the 15 credit hour dissertation requirement and have not defended their Dissertation must continue to register in subsequent semesters in order to meet the UCF College of Graduate Studies requirement of continuous enrollment; at which point, students can enroll in one credit hour each semester.  Candidates should speak with the PAF Academic Support Services Coordinator for additional guidance about the option to register for less than 3 credit hours in their graduating semester. Candidates need to remember that they must graduate within seven years from the date of admission into the doctoral program

University Dissertation Requirements

The College of Graduate Studies Thesis and Dissertation page contains information on the university’s requirements for dissertation formatting, format review, defenses, final submission, and more. A step-by-step completion guide is also available at Completing Your Thesis or Dissertation.

All university deadlines are listed in the  Academic Calendar. Your program or college may have other earlier deadlines; please check with your program and college staff for additional deadlines.

The following requirements must be met by dissertation students in their final term:

  • Submit a properly formatted file for initial format review by the format review deadline
  • Submit the Thesis and Dissertation Release Option form well before the defense
  • Defend by the defense deadline
  • Receive format approval (if not granted upon initial review)
  • Submit signed approval form by final submission deadline
  • Submit final dissertation document by final submission deadline

Students must format their dissertation according to the standards outlined at Formatting the ETD. Formatting questions or issues can be submitted to the Format Help page in the Thesis and Dissertation Services site. Format reviews and final submission must be completed in the Thesis and Dissertation Services site. The Dissertation Approval Form is also available in the Thesis and Dissertation Services site.

The College of Graduate Studies offers several thesis and dissertation Workshops each term. Students are highly encouraged to attend these workshops early in the dissertation process to fully understand the above policies and procedures.

The College of Graduate Studies thesis and dissertation office is best reached by email at editor@ucf.edu.

Use of Human Subjects

All dissertations that use research involving human subjects, including surveys, interviews, experiments, and such must obtain approval from UCF's Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to starting the research. Students must have an approved prospectus before submitting for IRB approval. Students, not their advisors, must submit this approval request as part of their independent research work. Again, it is up to the student to investigate whether their study needs to receive IRB review and, if required, to have the Board’s approval prior to implementing the study.

The IRB approval process includes a number of steps and people prior to getting to the stage of IRB review. The IRB generally meets the third Wednesday of every month. Candidates should consider the IRB review schedule when developing timelines for their dissertation research. Information on the IRB process can be obtained on-line from the Office of Research at http://www.research.ucf.edu. 

Completing the Dissertation and Scheduling a Defense

It is only after being admitted to candidacy that the Dissertation can be completed.  Again, the dissertation demonstrates the candidate’s ability to select and masterfully approach an issue in their respective field by conducting independent research, analyzing and interpreting results, and placing the study and its findings into a larger context.  The defense also establishes the candidate’s capability to skillfully communicate this process and its results.  

As with the prospectus, candidates will continue to work with their Dissertation Chair and committee members to complete the Dissertation.  When finished, it should reflect the format outlined in the Prospectus and include chapters reflecting these items and headings:  1) An introduction with a statement of the problem; 2) A thorough review of the literature, once again indicating the specific contribution that the study makes as well as providing a theoretical framework for interpreting the results; 3) A thorough discussion of the research methodology including research design, sample specification and selection, data collection, measurement instruments, and such; 4) Discussion of the collected results and their implications in terms of both their theoretical context as well as its fit in the larger research literature; and 5) A conclusion discussing  the major findings and their importance, including the study’s limitations and prospects for future research. (Students are referred to the earlier section on the dissertation prospectus.) Dissertations are prepared in APA style.

Candidates should expect to follow a similar collaborative process as was done with the prospectus. That is, they will work with their Dissertation Chair and committee members in completing their dissertation. Their Chair will provide them with feedback and consultation.  Committee members will then provide their feedback to the Chair who will share it with the candidate and/or direct the candidate to speak directly with the member.

Once the Chair determines that the dissertation can be successfully defended, the following PAF process is observed. Additional steps are required by the College of Graduate Studies and are noted in the Milestones table.

  1.  The most recent version of the dissertation, along with the Dissertation Defense Scheduling Request Form will be sent to each member on the committee.    
  2. Once the chair and at least 2 of 3 committee members approve, the signed Dissertation Defense Scheduling Request Form will be forwarded to the PAF office. 
  3. At that time, the PAF Office will schedule a defense. 
  4. Two hard copies (3-hole punched and format reviewed by the Graduate School) and an electronic copy of the dissertation will be submitted to the PAF office at least 4 weeks before the defense date. If students plan to graduate the same semester they defend, they must be mindful of the published Dissertation Defense deadline listed on UCF Academic Calendar. If students defend after the published deadline, they will be required to wait until the following semester to graduate and enroll in at least one credit hour of dissertation. There are no exceptions to these rules and deadlines, as they are established by the College of Graduate Studies. 
  5. Students will submit a notice of their defense to the PAF office which includes the title and abstract for distribution by the PAF office to students and faculty. 
  6. Two copies of the dissertation will be forwarded to the PAF Program Office for the PAF Program Director and the COHPA Associate Dean, Academic Affairs. Both must have sufficient time to read in order to sign the approval forms authorizing the defense.  
  7. The electronic copy will be submitted to ithenticate.com and the resulting score will be given to the PAF Program Director, the dissertation committee chair, and the COHPA Associate Dean, Academic Affairs for review. 
  8.  The COHPA Graduate Services office will send out a college-wide notice of the defense 2 weeks prior to the defense date. This is the official notice on behalf of the College of Graduate Studies that the dissertation has been deemed by all parties as ready to defend.Program Guidelines for Review of Doctoral Dissertation

Dissertation Defense 

 Candidates cannot defend their dissertation until all program requirements have been met, including the minimum requirement of 15 credit hours of PAF 7980 Doctoral Dissertation.

The College of Graduate Studies policy on defenses can be found here: http://www.graduatecatalog.ucf.edu/content/policies.aspx?id=5696#Dissertation_Requirements

The dissertation defense is an oral presentation and defense of the written dissertation describing the student’s research. The advisory committee will evaluate and judge the dissertation defense. Successful students must demonstrate that they are able to conduct and report original independent research that contributes substantially to the discipline in which they study. The defense is a formal academic requirement and should be accorded respect and dignity, and thus, no refreshments or other distractions should be served during the defense. 

The dean of the college or his/her designee will normally attend all dissertation defenses. Dissertations will be approved by a majority vote of the dissertation advisory committee. Further approval is required from the Dean or Dean designee and the UCF College of Graduate Studies before final acceptance of the dissertation in fulfilling degree requirements. 

The candidate and Chair must be present at the defense. Graduate Studies allows for a virtual defense and the policy can be found at the link above.  Current COHPA and PAF Program policy requires that even in a virtual defense the Chair and student must be present on the UCF campus for the defense. Additional policy modifications may be made on this subject. The PAF Director and COHPA Associate Dean, Academic Affairs will attend the dissertation defense.  Students, faculty, staff and other interested parties may attend as silent visitors unless discussion is permitted by the Chair.

Deliberations will be conducted by the committee members, led by the Chair. Dissertations must be approved by the majority of the committee members. The PAF Director and COHPA Associate Dean, Academic Affairs also will be allowed to provide comments to the committee regarding their approval of the defense. The determination is by vote of the committee.  Where a determination is made that revisions are necessary, members can withhold signing the dissertation until additional modifications have been completed or leave it to the discretion of the Chair.  The PAF Director and the COHPA Associate Dean, Academic Affairs will not sign off on the Dissertation Approval Form until a final approved version of the dissertation has been submitted into the PAF office. Once this has been completed, the Dean of COHPA will be asked to approve the dissertation.  It will further be approved by the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies before the dissertation can be accepted as fulfilling degree requirements.  Students must submit their final dissertation to the College of Graduate Studies once their committee has signed off.  This is the responsibility of the student. 

Guidelines for Review of Doctoral Dissertation 

These guidelines are designed to assist doctoral candidates and faculty members serving on dissertation committees. As guidelines, they can be used in a number of ways. For example, doctoral candidates can use them as a self-guide in their development of their dissertation proposals and completion of their dissertations. Dissertation chairs can use these guidelines to help prepare candidates for beginning work on their dissertation and as tools to evaluate the quality of a candidate's dissertation drafts. The dissertation committee as a whole can use these guidelines to help evaluate the candidate's dissertation proposal as well as completed dissertation. Finally, these guidelines can be used in appropriate courses in the doctoral program's curriculum.

Please note that these guidelines are not intended to result in the computation of a numerical score. Rather, this is merely a list providing an overview of what should be checked as the candidate proceeds with their study and, later, writes their dissertation. Faculty can also use this list to identify areas of particular strength and weakness as the candidate completes their dissertation.

1. ABSTRACT

a. Clearly summarizes the topic area and objective of the study.

b. Does not include abbreviations without first explaining their meaning.

c. Clearly states the research question(s), methodology, sample size, and findings.

d. Ends with a brief statement regarding how the research fits into the larger research study area.

2. INTRODUCTION

a. Significance of Research

i. Topic is related to a body of knowledge recognized as broadly relevant to public affairs (practice, policy or research).

b. Originality

ii. Contribution is different from work previously done, is clearly stated, and is the product of the candidate's own thinking.

3. LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL FOUNDATION

a. Literature Review

i. Demonstrates a mastery of the literature in the field.

ii. Clearly defines all terms and, where controversial, justifies the particular way in which they are being defined.

iii. Reviews all pertinent literature, conceptual and research, with the most important studies included.

1. Provides a clear summary of each study, highlighting the similarities and differences as it relates to the focus of this research.

9. If there is no literature on the problem, the candidate has reviewed research close to the problem and provides a logical bridge to this literature.

iv. Clearly outlines the statement of the problem and then uses the literature to provide a clear and convincing need for the focus of their particular study.

1. Provides recent statistics (where applicable) justifying the need for this study.

2. Includes scope and background of the problem and previous and/or current efforts to address it.

v. Literature relates and makes a clear connection to the research question(s) and/or hypotheses.

b. Theoretical Foundation

i. Outlines existing theoretical/conceptual perspective closely related to the research question(s) and/or hypotheses, providing a convincing rationale for the choice of the theory(ies) being selected.

1.Clearly links the theoretical framework to the research question(s) and/or hypotheses.

2. Provides the strengths and weaknesses of this theoretical perspective overall as well as its fit to the study underway.

4. RESEARCH DESIGN

a. Research Question(s) and Hypotheses

i. The research question(s) and hypotheses are clearly stated and any sub-question(s) just as clearly articulated.

1. All concepts included in the research question(s) and hypotheses are defined and, where controversial, these definitions are justified.

ii. Research question(s) and hypotheses flow clearly from the problem statement.

iii. Research question(s) build on the review of the research and practice literature.

iv. The rationale and assumptions that underlie the research question(s) and hypotheses are made explicit.

b. Design, Concepts and Measures

i. Design of the study answers to the research questions(s) asked.

ii. Provides justification for the chosen design.

10. All issues relevant to the adequate implementation of the design are fully addressed (Remember-- Transparency is the obligation of a good researcher).

iii. Clearly specifies and justifies all indicators of concepts being investigated.

iv. Justifies all measures used including their fit to the research question(s) as well as their validity and reliability.

11. Population and Sample

i. Provides justification for the sample size drawn (power analysis) and ensures that the sample selected will answer the research question(s) asked.

ii. Clearly specifies the method of sampling and the rationale for the sampling methods chosen.

1. Adequately describes the who, what, where, when, and the recruitment process.

a). Include problems, if any, with the way in which the sample was eventually obtained (e.g., difficulty in gaining necessary subjects meeting sample criteria, difficulty in using the methods originally specified in recruiting sample, etc.).

iii. Provides sample size obtained as well as the rate of attrition and, where unexpected, all reasons for difficulties in retention.

iv. Provides an assessment of whether the sample obtained (either in terms of numbers or   characteristics) was adequate to address research question(s).

12.   Procedures and Data Collection

i. All variables are clearly described and relate logically to the research question(s).

ii. Provides justification for choice of instruments including their fit in assessing variables under study (including reliability and validity issues).

iii. Methods of data collection are appropriate for the population (including relevance to gender, ethnicity, educational level, and such).

iv. Procedures of data collection are described with sufficient detail to understand relevance for practice and allow future replication.

v. Procedures (if any) to enhance access to and cooperation of subjects are specified.

vi. If appropriate, a pretest or a pilot test was conducted.

13. Data Analysis

i. Analyses are consistent with the objectives, design, sampling, methods and assumption of the statistical models employed.

ii. The analysis is clear, complete and meaningful.

14.   FINDINGS AND DISCUSSIONS

a.     Findings are provided such that they clearly answer to the research question(s) originally proposed.

b.    All findings are discussed including those which run counter to expectations.

c.     Findings are tied to the theoretical perspective(s) provided.

d.    Findings are tied to the larger literature and implications for future research are noted.

e.    The limitations of the findings (i.e., generalizability, validity, etc.) are fully discussed  along with their implications.

f.     The strengths and weaknesses of the study's methods are identified.

g.    Ways to address the research's methodological weaknesses are included.

15.   ETHICS

a.     The research is free from obvious error and bias.

b.    IRB approval, where needed, was obtained and all consent forms are included.

c.     The research was approved by all organizations involved in the study.

d.    The researcher made adequate provisions to ensure continued confidentiality of data.

e.    The researcher made adequate provisions to ensure collected data is stored in compliance with IRB rules, including noting how long the data will be kept and how it will be safely destroyed.

7.   DISSERTATION PRESENTATION

a.     The dissertation has been carefully proofread and is free from typographical and spelling errors.

b.    The study is well edited with adequate attention to grammar, sentence structure, logic, and non-sexist language.

c.     The dissertation is written in APA style.

d.    All citations noted in the dissertation are included in the reference section.

e.    The reference section does not include any references not included in the text.

f.      Major topics are separated under appropriately devised subheadings.

g.    Format is tailored to meet demands of the topic.

h.    Copies of relevant materials such as test instruments, interview schedules, consent forms, directions to subjects, criteria for selection of experts, and pilot test data are appended.

i.      Letters of cooperation or permission are appended.

i.      For datasets not in the public domain, permission to use is documented.

ii.     For instruments not in the public domain, permission to use is documented.

iii.    Letters of cooperation from agency(ies) used for the study are included.

8.  ORAL PRESENTATION

a.     Candidate is able to demonstrate that the study has a logical, easily understandable sequence from initial statement of the problem to findings and conclusions.

b.    Candidate understands all aspects of their research and its findings.

c.     Candidate demonstrates mastery over their subject area and is able to comfortably answer questions.

Graduate Research

Visit the COHPA Office of Research for information regarding research in the discipline including the COHPA Research Council, the faculty summer research institute, research funding opportunities and more.

Financial Support

The COHPA Graduate Studies Office and the UCF College of Graduate Studies offer a number of opportunities to receive fellowships and other means of support for full-time students. For complete list of fellowships and more information on the UCF guidelines, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website.  Visit the Scholarship Opportunities in Health and Public Affairs  for support opportunities for students in the discipline.

Graduate Financials

Students with qualifying assistantships or university-wide fellowships will receive financial packages that include an assistantship or fellowship stipend, tuition remission, and health insurance. Qualifying fellowships are accompanied by tuition waivers. Qualifying assistantships include single appointments of at least .50 FTE (20 hrs/week) or two appointments of at least .25 FTE (10 hrs/week). Tuition remission is in the form of either tuition waivers or tuition payments that cover in-state (resident) tuition. Non-resident students with financial packages are not charged out-of-state tuition or the non-resident financial aid fee.

For additional information about funding for graduate school, please visit the College of Graduate Studies Funding website. 

If you are interested in applying for loans or externally funded need-based awards, visit the Office of Student Financial Assistance website at finaid.ucf.edu and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is available January 1 each year.

Other Special Fellowships

UCF Alumni Association Scholarships

The UCF Alumni Association awards more than $40,000 in scholarships each year to undergraduate and graduate students. See www.ucfalumni.com for information on how to apply.

Assistantships

Graduate Student Assistantships

Graduate Student Assistantships pay students to teach or otherwise facilitate instruction (GTA), or to work on funded research projects (GRA). Students who are receiving tuition waivers must be attending fulltime (9 credit hours fall and spring  with the exception of students in candidacy.  These students must take a minimum of 3 credit hours). Students receiving a tuition waiver are paid a stipend and must work 20 hours per week. GTAs and GRAs are normally contracted Fall and Spring semesters. 

In the College of Health and Public Affairs, all students receiving fellowships must work in the program providing funding. The purpose of this employment is to support the program providing the funding and to provide teaching, research and administrative experiences of benefit to the student. For public affairs students, this may involve work for the doctoral program or in one of the contributing programs, departments or schools. Graduate assistantships may be funded by the public affairs program or by a contributing track. All students applying for financial assistance are automatically considered for every type of funding opportunity; it is not necessary to apply for specific awards.

Graduate Student Associations

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is UCF's graduate organization committed to enrich graduate students' personal, educational and professional experience. To learn more or get involved, please visit www.gsa.ucf.edu. For individual department or graduate program organizations, please see program advisor.

Organization for Public Administration  provides developmental and educational opportunities for its members and to promote student interest and involvement in Public Administration.

Lambda Alpha Epsilon Pre-professional Criminal Justice Fraternity  promotes professional, academic, and public awareness of criminal justice issues; To prepare students for their selected careers in the criminal justice field through speakers, training, and experiences.

Health Service Administration Student Association provides a vehicle for constructive student involvement in the health care administration community and to create networking opportunities for students within the field.

Professional Development

The University of Central Florida and the College of Health and Public Affairs are dedicated to the development of skills that relate to the career goals of student’s. A graduate student’s professional development goes beyond completing course work, passing exams, conducting research for a thesis or dissertation, and meeting degree requirements. Professional development also involves developing the academic and non-academic skills needed to become successful in the field of choice. A description and website link is supplied for the professional development resources at the University of Central Florida.

Professoriate Program

Sponsored by Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning:

The Professoriate Graduate Certificate program is designed to prepare doctoral students to be future professors. This innovative graduate program proposes to prepare future faculty to understand all of the responsibilities of university professors: designing effective learning environments, remaining active in research and attracting funding, and supporting the governance and administration of their school. The graduate certificate program works in conjunction with UCF doctoral programs to provide exemplary experiences for students in all disciplines. See http://www.fctl.ucf.edu/

GTA Certificate Program

Sponsored by Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning

The Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning offers several programs for the professional development of Graduate Teaching Assistants at UCF. The two-day GTA Training is mandatory before any graduate student will be permitted to teach. Every semester the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning sponsors a noncredit program for 12 weeks to provide Graduate Teaching Assistants with advanced training in pedagogical theory, methods, and discussions. Participants who fulfill the course requirements are granted a Certificate and gain skills that can be utilized in careers in academia. See www.fctl.ucf.edu/events/GTAprograms/index.htm.

Career Services

Graduate career development issues are unique and include evaluating academic and nonacademic career choices, discussing graduate school effect on career choices, as well as learning, evaluating, and refining networking and interviewing skills. Whatever your needs, the career services and experiential learning center offer services and resources to aid in the career exploration and job search of Master and Doctoral students in every academic discipline. See www.career.ucf.edu.

Pathways to Success Workshops

Coordinated by the College of Graduate Studies, the Pathways to Success program offers free development opportunities for graduate students including workshops in Academic Integrity, Graduate Grantsmanship, Graduate Teaching, Personal Development, Professional Development, and Research. For more information and how to register, please visit www.students.graduate.ucf.edu/pathways/.  

Graduate Research Forum

Sponsored by the College of Graduate Studies

The Research Forum features poster displays and oral presentations representing UCF’s diverse colleges and disciplines. The Research Forum is an opportunity for students to showcase their research and creative projects and to receive valuable feedback from faculty judges. Awards for best poster and best oral presentation in each category will be given and all participants will receive recognition. The College of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Student Association invite all UCF students, community, and employers to attend the Graduate Research Forum. See www.graduate.ucf.edu/ResearchForum.

Graduate Awards of Excellence

Award for Excellence by a Graduate Teaching Assistant

UCF sponsors this award in order to recognize excellence by Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs), who are not instructors of record, but who provide teaching support and assistance under the direction of a lead teacher. This award focuses on the extent and quality of the assistance provided by the student to the lead instructor and the students in the class. Excellence in serving as a GTA may be demonstrated by evidences such as (but not limited to): lead teacher evaluations, student letters attesting to teaching excellence (limited to no more than five pages), a typical lab syllabus, a sample project/assignment for which the GTA was responsible for grading. Each academic college may nominate one student for consideration for the university-level Award for Excellence by a Graduate Teaching Assistant.

Award for the Outstanding Dissertation

UCF sponsors the Award for the Outstanding Dissertation in order to recognize doctoral students for excellence in the dissertation. The focus of this annual award is on the quality and contribution of the student's dissertation. Excellence of the dissertation may be demonstrated by evidences such as, but not limited to: publications in refereed journals, awards and recognitions from professional organizations, and praise from faculty members and other colleagues in the field. Each academic college and each independent school not housed within a college may nominate one student for consideration for the university-level Award for the Outstanding Dissertation.

Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching

This award recognizes excellence in teaching by Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) who have independent teaching responsibilities. It focuses on the quality of the student's teaching activities and the academic contributions to those activities. Each academic college may nominate one student for consideration for the university-level Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching.

Job Search

GRADUATES

The Public Affairs program has 76 graduates since 2002. The majority of our graduates have careers in academic institutions either as faculty or as researchers. We also encourage our graduate students to participate in national scholarly meetings. Annual funds are devoted to support students who present at these conferences. Those not in academic institutions generally work in federal and state government agencies or in the private sector in non-profit research organizations, service organizations and consulting groups. Recent alumni occupy positions in the following areas:

  • Faculty and researchers at educational institutions.
  • Researchers in non-profit organizations.
  • Policy analysts in federal and state governments.
  • Research in contract research firms.

In short, the market for our graduates has been strong and current evidence indicates a continued high demand for our graduates. 

UCF’s Career Services department offers a wide range of programs and services designed to assist graduate students. These services include preparation for the job search and job search resources. To learn more, visit their website at www.career.ucf.edu.

Forms

  • Change of Address Form
    Complete this form to change your local address in your student record at UCF; mail or fax to UCF Graduate Studies.
  • Change of Name Form
    Complete and return this form to the Registrar's Office or UCF Graduate Studies to change your name in your student record at UCF.
  • College of Graduate Studies Forms
    A listing of general forms and files for graduate students including student services and records and graduation forms.
  • Graduate Petition Form
    Required form for graduate students who wish to request an exception to university policy.
  • Special Leave of Absence Form
    A Special Leave of Absence may be granted to a student in order to temporarily waive the continuous attendance requirement.
  • Traveling Scholar Form
    Required form for graduate students who wish to attend another institution as a Traveling Scholar.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the act of taking someone else’s work and presenting it as your own. Any ideas, data, text, media or materials taken from another source (either written or verbal) must be fully acknowledged.a) A student must not adopt or reproduce ideas, opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of another person without acknowledgment.b) A student must give credit to the originality of others whenever:

  1. Directly quoting another person's actual words, whether oral or written;
  2. Using another person's ideas, opinions, or theories;
  3. Paraphrasing the words, ideas, opinions, or theories of others, whether oral or written;
  4. Borrowing facts, statistics, or illustrative material; or
  5. Offering materials assembled or collected by others in the form of projects or collections without acknowledgment.

When using the ideas, opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of another, students must give credit to the original source at the location or place in the document where that source's material is found as well as provide bibliographic information at the end of the document. When students are verbally discussing the ideas, opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of another, they must give credit to the original source at the time they speak about that source. In this manner, students must make clear (so there is no doubt) within their written or verbal materials, which parts are gained from other sources, and which are their own original ideas, theories, formulas, graphics, and pictures.The Office of Student Conduct has a set of criteria that determines if students are in violation of plagiarism. This set of criteria may be set to a higher standard in graduate programs. Therefore, a student may not be found in violation of plagiarism by the Office of Student Conduct, but a professor or program requiring higher standards of attribution and citation may find a student in violation of plagiarism and administer program level sanctions. The standard in doctoral programs should be the highest as students earning these degrees are expected to be experts in their fields and producing independent work that contributes knowledge to their discipline.

Example of Material that has been appropriately cited:

Paraphrased Material

Source: Osborne, Richard, ed. How to Grow Annuals. 2nd ed. Menlo Park: Lane, 1974. Print. Page 24: As a recent authority has pointed out, for a dependable long-blooming swatch of soft blue in your garden, ageratum is a fine choice. From early summer until frost, ageratum is continuously covered with clustered heads of fine, silky, fringed flowers in dusty shades of lavender-blue, lavender-pink or white. The popular dwarf varieties grow in mounds six to twelve inches high and twelve inches across; they make fine container plants. Larger types grow up to three feet tall. Ageratum makes an excellent edging.

Use and Adaptation of the Material:

You can depend on ageratum if you want some soft blue in your garden. It blooms through the summer and the flowers, soft, small, and fringed, come in various shades of lavender. The small varieties which grow in mounds are very popular, especially when planted in containers. There are also larger varieties. Ageratum is good as a border plant (Osborne 24).

Explanation:

The writer has done a good job of paraphrasing what could be considered common knowledge (available in a number of sources), but because the structure and progression of detail is someone else’s, the writer has acknowledged the source. This the writer can do at the end of the paragraph since he or she has not used the author’s words.

The above example was provided by Northwestern University.

Northwestern University, Sept. 2016. “Academic Integrity: A Basic Guide.” Accessed 20 September 2017.

For more information about Academic Honesty, Click here.

Useful Links