Doctor of Public Administration

Develop skills and apply research to address multidisciplinary public service issues within your community.

Enhance competencies in public sector organizational design, leadership, and program evaluation that create public value and new theories in public administration. Advance skills in the use of resources; application of analysis, policy, and politics to societal issues; interaction with stakeholders in policy and regulations; and exemplary ethical practices. This program is designed for professionals who want to pursue leadership or faculty positions in the fields of public administration, public affairs, and political science.

Outcome goals and graduates' proficiency levels

Each doctoral program and specialization is designed around expected learning outcomes (see Expected Program Outcomes below). End of program performance is determined during the comprehensive exam and dissertation process. Because the work is unique to each learner's dissertation or research topic and the criteria for evaluation are aligned to that work, we do not collect data on proficiency levels for doctoral programs.

Doctor of Public Administration (DPA) specialization

  • General Public Administration

Quality and Professional Relevance

  • The DPA program was designed around national public administration curriculum standards.
  • Students will learn from faculty experts that bring both academic and professional experience into the courseroom from public administration and across the public service segments.

Expected Program Outcomes

  1. Evaluate current theories and practices in the public administration field.
  2. Conduct valid, reliable and ethical public administration research.
  3. Create public value through public administration policies, administrative processes, and leadership.
  4. Integrate citizen involvement and community advocacy in public sector decision-making.
  5. Evaluate and apply professional ethics and integrity.
  6. Create equitable solutions for diverse populations in the global community.
  7. Think critically and communicate effectively across the public administration discipline.

Doctoral Public Service Leadership Degree Program Graduates

Data from graduates across all Public Service Leadership doctoral programs have been combined for these Career Outcomes results.

The graphs below show some key findings from Capella's Alumni Outcomes Survey. We use this information to help improve our courses, programs and services and to give you an idea of how alumni are using their degrees.

Satisfaction with Job Doctoral Degree Graduates

Percentage of respondents who answered "strongly agree" or "agree."
Source: Responses to the Alumni Outcomes Survey one year after graduation. The data were collected during Q2 2014 – Q1 2015.


Career & Professional Accomplishments Doctoral Degree Graduates

Percentage of respondents who indicated they had accomplished each item.
Source: Responses to the Alumni Outcomes Survey one year after graduation. The data were collected during Q2 2014 – Q1 2015.

Doctoral Public Service Leadership Degree Program Graduates

Data from graduates across all Public Service Leadership doctoral programs have been combined for these Student Experience results.

The graphs below show some key findings from Capella's Alumni Outcomes Survey. We use this information to help improve our courses, programs and services and to give you an idea of how alumni feel about Capella and what general skills and abilities they gained.

Satisfaction with Capella Doctoral Degree Graduates

Percentage of respondents who answered affirmatively.
Source: Responses to the Alumni Outcomes Survey one year after graduation. The data were collected during Q2 2014 – Q1 2015.

Improvement in Skills and Abilities Doctoral Degree Graduates

Percentage of respondents who rated themselves as "proficient" or "exceptional" on ability to demonstrate the skill or ability on the job.
Source: Responses to the Alumni Outcomes Survey one year after graduation. The data were collected during Q2 2014 – Q1 2015.


Expense, completion, & career information (Gainful Employment)

Capella believes in being clear about the real cost, time, and value of a Capella degree The Gainful Employment disclosures, required by the US Department of Education (ED) (under 34 CFR 688.6 ), provide some information about completion, expenses and occupations based on learners who graduated between July 2013 and June 2014. Most of our students are part-time so they might not take a full course load or attend all 4 quarters each year. We took that into account in calculating these data. For example, we define program length for certificates and master's and doctoral degrees as the number of calendar quarters it takes a typical student to complete a program. The ED has defined time to complete for a Bachelor's degree as 4 years. Program cost is based on the specific pricing structure for each program which is either a cost per credit or a cost per active quarter.

Other related information may be found on the Learning Outcomes, Career Outcomes, and Student Experience tabs on this page.

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Learn more about these values and how they are calculated»

See Gainful Employment data for this program's specializations

Earn Your Doctoral Degree

Become an expert in your field. Enroll in an online PhD, PsyD, or EdD program at Capella.


Alumni Success Story Quote

Photo of Laura Pettler, PhD Laura Pettler, PhD

"Another aspect that was very important was the partnership Capella has with the Federal Bureau of Investigation— it lent credibility to the program."

Watch Laura's story »