Changes in public affairs and administration doctoral research, 2000 and 2015

The study collected data from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database for years 2000 and 2015 in order to explore shifts in public affairs doctoral research. Results indicated a dramatic increase for online doctoral dissertations with 20% of all public administration and public policy dissertations produced from online, for-profit institutions by 2015. When public administration is examined in isolation, 36% of all public administration doctoral dissertations are from online institutions. Concomitantly, doctorate of public administration degrees dropped to 2% of total conferred public administration and public policy degrees. The dramatic rise of public policy as a subject, in comparison to declining self-identification of public administration, was noted. A thematic and comparative curriculum assessment for top producers of all degree types was conducted in order to gauge overlaps and dissimilarity between program types. The implications of the findings are discussed in broader context to understand the pedagogical significance of potential shifts for public affairs education.