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Joint MPA-PhD/EdD

Application Deadline: 12/1/23

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Program Information

Approximately four to six years are required to complete the Educational Leadership and Policy/MPA degree. Students must meet the Graduate School's minimum enrollment requirements of 9 hours per semester for two consecutive semesters. Students are encouraged to remain in residence throughout the program.

Students should apply and must be accepted by both the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy and the MPA programs. To enter the joint-degree program, students must gain admission to both programs within a year.

Curriculum Guidelines

Educational Leadership Course Requirement - Students are required to take 68 semester hours or more of 6000 and 7000 level course work with one-half (50%) of this work at the 7000 level.

Educational Leadership and Policy, EdD - The EdD in Higher Education Administration Program includes four major dimensions:

a) Inquiry coursework

b) The Higher Education Theory and Practice Core required coursework

c) Academic specializations course work and practicum and

D) field-based capstone project. Throughout the program students will progress through a series of courses aimed at developing knowledge and skills needed to analyze and solve problems encountered by educational administrators and to prepare them to conduct a capstone field-based project. 

Theory and Practice Core (12 credits) (Completed during 1st & 2nd yr.) 

ELP 7480 – Leadership & Social Justice Theory 

ELP 7490 - History & Philosophy of Higher Education 

ELP 7540 - Introduction to Higher Education Administration 

ELP 7590 - Higher Education Finance, Budgeting, and Planning 

Inquiry Core (9 credits) (Completed during 1st & 2nd yr.) 

ELP 6960 (3) - Introduction to Inquiry 

ELP 7040 (3) - Quantitative Research Methods 

ELP 7060 (3) - Qualitative Research Methods 

Specialization Core (15-20 credits) (Completed during 2nd & 3rd yr.) 

ELP Department Course Offerings (12 credits) 

Practicum (3 – 9 credits) 

Capstone (18 credit) (Completed 3rd and 4th yr.) 

Students should work closely with the program director for the Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration to create a specific program of study for the joint Ed.D./MPA program. 

MPA Program Requirements:

Credit Requirements - The MPA Program normally requires a minimum of 42 semester hours for completion of the degree. Students in the joint Ph.D.-MPA Program must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours in the MPA program.

Core Course Requirements - The MPA program requires 30 semester credits (27 core and 3 elective) of course work. With supervisory committee approval, courses in education administration may be substituted for particular core courses; however, approval should be obtained from the MPA Director or MPA Program Manager before the courses are taken.

The required MPA core courses are: 

PADMN 6300 – Administrative Theory 

PADMN 6289 – Research Design 

PADMN 6550 – Nonprofit/Non-governmental Organizations 

PADMN 6380 – Public Budgeting, and Finance 

PADMN 6360 – Public Human Resource Management 

PADMN 6210 – Public Administration and Law 

PADMN 6335 – Governance and the Economy 

PADMN 6870 – Seminar, Public Administration and Ethics 

PADMN 6890 – Capstone Seminar in Public Administration 

PADMN – MPA elective 

Major Research Paper - For students accepted into the joint Ph.D.-MPA program, the Ph.D. dissertation or Ed.D. Capstone Project replaces and fulfills this requirement. 

MPA Prerequisite - Students must have taken, or will take before beginning the MPA, an introductory course in American National Government (Poli Sci 1100 or an equivalent). 

 MPA Internship - Students who have not had appropriate administrative experience are required to complete an internship. This requirement may be met through a practicum experience in educational administration, upon approval of the MPA Program Manager. 

Students accepted into the joint degree program will select a supervisory committee composed of five University faculty members.

(Students give should members from both programs adequate notice of when they are beginning preparation for qualifying exams, as well as for dissertation proposal, review and defense.)

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At a Glance

Program Emphasis
Higher Education
Credit Hours
Application Deadline
Application Fee
Degree Conferred


Application Procedures and Requirements - Students should apply and must be accepted by both the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy and the MPA programs.  Application information and requirements for each program can be found in respective Departments and Departmental websites, as application timelines and requirements for each degree vary. Students may apply to both programs simultaneously. In addition, students currently enrolled in the MPA program may apply to the Ph.D. program at a later date. 

Educational Leadership and Policy 

Admission to the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy depends on the following:

  • Your GPA
  • Professional & leadership experience
  • Letters of recommendation,
  • Statement of intent,
  • Situation paper

Public Administration – MPA admission is based on:

1. Graduate Slate application. 

3. Undergraduate GPA of 3.2 or higher

4. Letters of reference (3) evaluating applicant's professional & academic capacity. 

5. GRE test scores

6. Letter of intent, 2-3 pgs. stating reasons for applying to the MPA program. 

7. Resume outlining professional and volunteer work. 

Transfer Credit - All transfer work must be approved by the student's supervisory committee and conform to policy guidelines and requirements of the University. (only 6 total transfer credits can be accepted). 

Application Materials and Further Information - For information on each program, students should contact the following: 

Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Educational Leadership and Policy
1721 Campus Center Dr., Room 2220 SAEC
(Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts and Education Complex)
University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9254 

(801) 581-6714 

Program Director
Master of Public Administration

332 S. 1400 E., Room 236
(Building 73, Old Law Building)
University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT 84112

(801) 581-6781 


Dr. Irene Yoon - Program Director

Marilynn Howard - Graduate Student Coordinator