DPA Handbook


The DPA at WCU focuses on the development of core skills in strategic management, public sector economic and financial decision-making, and policy advocacy and leadership, preparing students to engage in the highest levels of program and policy evaluation. Electives may be selected from different departments, such as Public Policy and Administration, Criminal Justice, Geography and Planning, Graduate Social Work, Health, and Psychology.

Students also complete a series of dissertation seminar courses leading to a piece of applied scholarship that demonstrates a high level of competence in applying the DPA competencies to the solution of an actual organizational or public problem/issue. Recent dissertation research conducted by our students has examined motivation and public service values in law enforcement professionals, university-community partnerships, collaborative government, affordable housing, and long term health care issues.

Many of our DPA students present their resulting work at regional and national conferences. Students are also able to work alongside faculty members on research projects. Recent topics include the Pennsylvania pipeline issue and its impact on local communities, caregiving during COVID, teleworking and managerial styles, and program evaluations related to nonprofit organizations

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