Doctorate in Public Affairs

The Truman School offers small classes, close relationships with faculty mentors, and opportunities to participate in ongoing research. Students gain a rich academic experience on the path to successful and fulfilling careers in public affairs.

Interdisciplinary Education

“The interdisciplinary nature of the Truman School allows me to not only gain skills in my area of interest, but also to acquire knowledge and expertise in other policy areas.”
Christal Hamilton,
Ph.D. Student

The Truman School is deeply interdisciplinary. The diverse academic training of our faculty gives students an opportunity to explore many theoretical and methodological perspectives and multiple ways of thinking about social science research.

By the time our students graduate, they are fully-engaged experts in their subfield with broad perspectives.

Outstanding Faculty

Doctoral students take classes and conduct research with faculty from a variety of disciplines in the Truman School and throughout the University of Missouri. Close work with faculty through research assistantships and the dissertation process encourages students to apply varying perspectives to real-world problems and to develop novel ways of addressing issues in public policy and public administration.

“My experience with a broad curriculum and faculty from a variety of disciplines has expanded my interest and perception of research in public policy, both in the American and international contexts.”
Felix Ndashimye,
Ph.D. Student

Truman School faculty conduct rigorous research with an explicit focus on the point where theory meets practice.

Cutting-Edge Scholarship

Are you interested in governance, law, and public policy and understanding the processes by which governing institutions evolve to meet changing social and economic conditions? Dr. Alasdair Roberts is an expert on the politics of governmental reform and on governmental transparency.

Or will you forge a path in child policy? Dr. Irma Arteaga is an expert on program evaluation of early childhood interventions in both national and international contexts. Dr. Arteaga conducts evaluations of social programs designed to reduce poverty, child malnutrition, and gender and ethnic gaps in food insecurity, health, and achievement; she has advised the governments of Guatemala and Panama on health programs aimed to reduce maternal and infant mortality for rural and indigenous population.

“Here at the Truman School, Ph.D. students work closely with faculty and learn how to design research that enables them to analyze important issues in public policy and public management.”
Rajeev Daroilia,
Assistant Professor

Does education policy drive your academic or applied research career aspirations? Dr. Rajeev Darolia is an expert on education policy and consumer credit, including analysis of students’ financial decisions, high school to college transitions, and the effects of student loan programs.

Or is social policy where you will create change? Dr. Colleen Heflin is an expert on food insecurity, nutrition and welfare policy, and the well-being of vulnerable populations. Dr. Heflin’s research has helped document the causes and consequences of food insecurity, identify the barriers and consequences of participation in nutrition programs, and understand the changing role of the public safety net in the lives of low-income Americans.

These are just a few areas of expertise that Truman School faculty represent. For more, see a list of dissertation advisors»


The Truman School funds doctoral students through a mix of research and teaching assistantships, grants, fellowships, and scholarships.

Doctoral students in qualifying appointments earn a stipend of $18,000 for nine months, along with tuition remission and health insurance coverage. This funding ensures that students develop strong and lasting relationships with faculty and peers and receive the support they need to make substantive contributions to the field of public affairs.

The Truman School also gives generous travel funds for graduate students to attend national and international conferences and awards funds for dissertation expenses.

Program Options

Most of our students enroll in the program full time, but a part-time option also exists for students employed full time.

PhD Student Handbook – September 2016 (PDF)

Graduate Success

We prepare thenext generation of scholars.Our interdisciplinary PhD prepares graduates for careers in teaching, research and applied research settings in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

Recently, our doctoral students have presented at the following national conferences:

  • Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management
  • Association for Education Finance and Policy
  • Population Association of America
  • Midwest Political Science Association
  • International Comparative Rural Policy Studies

Graduates and current students have published in journals such as:

  • American Politics Research
  • American Journal of Education
  • Entrepreneurship Research Journal
  • Evaluation and Program Planning
  • Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition
  • State and Local Government Review

Recent graduates have been placed at institutions including:

  • Regent University (School of Government)
  • University of Cincinnati
  • LeHigh University (Economics)
  • University of Texas at Dallas (Public Affairs, School of Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences)


Colleen Heflin