Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)
Our Doctor of Public Administration (DPA) programme enables students to achieve their doctorate while continuing their professional career.
The DPA at STEaPP deploys cross-disciplinary methods into real-world policy settings and students carry out a research project within a policy-oriented organisation as part of the programme.
Details and how to apply
The DPA uses a modular doctorate model, with students completing 240 credits for programme completion. Research is undertaken under the direct supervision of at least two members of UCL academic staff and will typically take four years.
Applying research in practice
Students will be trained in specific cross-disciplinary skillsets, but also in how to design and execute their research initiatives so they are relevant and usable for external partners.
The DPA thesis consists of an applied piece of work incorporating an account of research done during the programme and its use and application to a real-world engagement experience carried out in an institution external to UCL.
Students undertake a policy placement for a large part of their candidature (approximately 70%). DPA candidates are expected to be employed in a policy-oriented organisation and to receive support to undertake doctoral research 'on the job'.
- Research topics
STEaPP welcomes expressions of interest from potential research students in any areas related to our current research.
Our research focuses on the intersection of a set of focal societal challenges (e.g. sustainability) and a growing set of practices that enable the mobilisation of expertise across disciplines, challenges, and scales of governance scales (e.g. science advice).
Research topics: Challenges
In our first three years, STEaPP has developed active portfolios of research on the challenges of sustainability and urbanisation. Our work on sustainability ranges broadly across energy use and systems; climate change mitigation and adaptation; ecosystems services; the nexus of water, energy and food; natural resource management; and green innovation. At the same time, STEaPP is emerging as an important hub of investigation for urban policy. Active research includes projects on the governance of urban infrastructure; the impact of universities on city governance and economics; city leadership; and the cross-cutting influence of international city networks. Research is also emerging on how knowledge mobilisation and us is shaping urban policy and decision-making.
The department is now actively building three additional challenge-oriented research portfolios in the areas of development; digital and cyber governance; and humanitarian and crisis management. Several early research projects in these areas are building out of our existing research strengths; for example, focusing on the interface of energy and development, or on science advice for digital governance. Over the course of the next several years, new projects will expand our portfolios in these areas.
Research topics: Practices
Underpinning and cross-cutting our challenge-oriented portfolios are our practice-oriented research programmes. In our first three years, STEaPP has focused primarily on developing the areas of science advice, science diplomacy, and impact. Current projects in these areas focus on: charting the dynamics of science advisory activities in national and city governments; examining the use of scientific knowledge and expertise within international diplomacy; and exploring how research and researchers impact the democratic functions of legislatures such as the UK parliament. These investigations are laying the foundation for the analysis and development of practices research that enables the mobilisation of expertise across disciplines, across societal challenges and across governance scales. With these as exemplars, other practice-oriented research programmes STEaPP is actively exploring include: risk; innovation; engineering policy; modelling for policy; foresight & games; and socio-technical analysis.
Prior to application:
- Candidates must identify a research topic and Principal Supervisor.
- Each student is also required to have a Subsidiary Supervisor from another BEAMS department (the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, the Faculty of Engineering Sciences or the Faculty of Mathematical and Physical Sciences). Only an indication of potential Subsidiary Supervisor or their departments is needed at this stage - they do not yet need to be contacted.
Obtaining a supervisor
As well as consulting our research topics (see above), you should consider how your project ideas relate to the research interests of potential supervisors.
All prospective applicants, including those applying for studentships, are encouraged to send an informal research enquiry prior to application. This should either be sent directly to the academic you are interested in working with or the programme director.
Making a research enquiry helps define your interests, contributes to making your application successful, and also serves to ensure the identification of the best possible supervisor for your needs.
Doctoral programme director
- Michele Acuto
- Jason Blackstock
- Madeline Carr
- Adam Cooper
- David Hornsby
- Yacob Mulugetta
- Arthur Petersen
- Jeremy Watson
- Finance and funding opportunities
Tuition fees for 2018/19 are:
- £5,210 (FT, 4 years) / £3,650 (PT, 6 years) for UK/EU students
- £24,450 (FT, 4 years) / £16,670 (PT, 6 years) for overseas applicants
There are no studentships available for the DPA.
- £5,210 (FT, 4 years) / £3,650 (PT, 6 years) for UK/EU students
- How to apply
STEaPP welcomes expressions of interest for the DPA programme from applicants who are self-funded or funded by their own or another organisation.
Submitting your application
Please make sure that your application is complete before submission, as incomplete applications will not be considered. It is essential that you include full details of your qualifications (full transcripts) and ensure that your chosen referees are available to provide a reference.
- A Master’s degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, is preferred. All applications require the completion and submission of the Graduate Application Form through PRiSM.
- If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency. The English language level for this programme is: Advanced (7.5 with at least 6.5 in each sub-test).
Your application will be assessed by two academics with relevant expertise and you may be invited for interview, which may take place in person, by telephone/video or by email, to explore further your ideas, skills, experience and commitment to doctoral research.
Further details can be provided by the Programme Administrator, Joe Fitzsimons.
Expressions of interest are accepted on a rolling basis.
The DTP programme (covering both the PhD and the DPA) will have at most ten places in the 2019/20 cohort, with a start date of 23 September 2019, so early application is advised. Note that places may be very limited for applications received after 1 February 2019, the deadline for the first round of admissions.
Please note that applications completed online may take some time to reach the department.
How to apply
- Applications should be made here
- Interested applicants are advised to make initial informal enquiries via email to Professor Arthur Petersen, Director of Doctoral Studies.