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The University of La Verne’s Doctor of Public Administration (DPA) curriculum reflects the complex roles and challenges facing the public executive.

How the Program Works

The DPA Program accommodates the professional adult with a Saturday schedule. The complete curriculum totals 54 semester hours of course work, followed by additional semester hours of dissertation units (2 units to 22 units). Typically, students will take one course in the morning and one in the afternoon. Some class sessions may be offered online or as more experiential assignments (hybrid or blended format).

The curriculum is designed so that each individual engages in coursework as a first year, second year, or third year student. Students must successfully complete the entire curriculum for each year before progressing to the next; academic progress is evaluated every term. Students engage in more applied projects and dissertation proposal development in the third year. Students are required to produce and defend a dissertation of publishable quality after finishing coursework.

DPA Instructional Model

The scholarly practitioner model of the Doctor of Public Administration Program is unique among other doctoral programs in the country with its focus on civic professionalism, civic engagement, and applied learning. Our small class sizes in each new cohort enhance student interaction and development.

Philosophical Overview

The University of La Verne’s Doctor of Public Administration Program assists professionals who are motivated to improve their leadership, management, and decision-making skills. The DPA Program engages the professional in a unique process where students play an integral role in the management of learning. The program is inter-disciplinary in design and incorporates diverse perspectives.

Program Values

La Verne’s Department of Public and Health Administration has built an educational environment that empowers students to become scholarly practitioners and dynamic individuals who can combine substantial knowledge and thoughtful understanding of theory with capable, practical management and leadership. The Department continuously provides high quality, student-oriented learning by seeking and fostering qualified, responsible, dedicated faculty who believe in and can deliver its key values: ƒ

  • educational excellence;
  • personal and professional success for students; and
  • relevant course work.

The DPA Student

The Doctor of Public Administration Program at the University of La Verne currently limits its enrollments to about 14 new students each year. Our DPA students and alumni reflect the diversity of our region. The University of La Verne has been designated as an Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). Historically, about 10% have been international and many of our students have been the first in their families to obtain a graduate-level education. Our students come from a variety of occupations in the public and nonprofit sectors.


The DPA academic year consists of three, 10-week terms per year (Fall, Winter, and Spring). Students enter in the Fall term that typically begins in late August and ends in early November. Classes resume in early January with Winter term. There is a one-week break between the Winter and Spring terms. The Spring term ends in late May. Students complete two courses each term, for a total of six courses per year.

The Doctor of Public Administration Program is designed to develop scholarly practitioners as leaders and civic professionals. Students learn to consciously integrate and apply current theoretical, moral, and institutional perspectives that contribute to the disciplined analysis and resolution of organizational and community issues.


Applicants should possess a master’s degree, ideally in Public Administration or a closely related field. Applicants must also have a minimum of five years of work experience.

Requirements: 55 semester hours minimum
Program Coursework: 54 semester hours
Dissertation Units: 1-22 semester hours

The program requires a minimum time commitment of three years of coursework which includes six units each term. After successfully completing coursework students are required to produce and defend a dissertation of publishable quality.

First Year (Two Courses per Term)

Code Course Title Units
PADM 609 Nature of Inquiry 3
PADM 610 Constitutional Foundations 3
PADM 611 Scope of PA 3
PADM 612 Qualitative Analysis 3
PADM 613 Quantitative Analysis 3
PADM 677 Ethics and Decision Making 3

Second Year (Two Courses per Term)

Code Course Title Units
PADM 665 Economic Perspectives in Administrative and Policy Analysis 3
PADM 651 Policy 3
PADM 667 Urban Theory and Governance 3
PADM 674 Program Evaluation and Performance Measurement 3
PADM 664 Public Sector Collaboration 3
PADM 620 Organizational Development 3

The DPA comprehensive exam will be taken after successfully completing the second year coursework.

Third Year (Two Courses per Term)

Code Course Title Units
PADM 670 Dissertation Seminar 3
PADM 668 Civic Engagement I 3
PADM 686 Research Specialization I 3
PADM 669 Civic Engagement II 3
PADM 687 Research Specialization II 3
PADM 688 Research Specialization III 3


Post Coursework Terms 10-12

Students must be continuously enrolled in either Dissertation I or II coursework until they have successfully completed their dissertation and it has been posted.

Code Course Title Units
PADM 697C Dissertation I 1

Post Coursework Terms 13-24

Code Course Title Units
PADM 697D Dissertation II 2