Jun 16, 2024  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration


The Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration offers opportunities for graduate work in urban affairs, public policy, disaster research, public administration, and historic preservation. The school offers graduate degree programs including: Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.), Master of Arts (M.A.) in Urban Affairs and Public Policy, Ph.D. in Urban Affairs and Public Policy, Master of Science (M.S.) and Ph.D. in Disaster Science and Management, and M.S. and Ph.D. in Energy and Environmental Policy. The school also offers a Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation.

Coursework in the school is organized on a multidisciplinary and policy-oriented basis. Faculty members are drawn from political science, economics, sociology, geography, public administration, planning, law, health policy, environmental poolicy, disaster science, and related fields. In addition, students have numerous opportunities to work on community and policy-related research and service projects undertaken by the school through its various affiliated centers. Students may also work in public and non-profit professional agencies through the school’s internship program. The school is nationally recognized for its integration of theory and practice - “The Delaware Model” of public affairs education.

Requirements for Admission

The admission policy of the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration seeks to foster a diverse student body in terms of age, sex, race, and cultural background. The school, therefore, uses several criteria in assessing a prospective student’s motivation, interests, and ability to perform successfully in its graduate programs. The qualifications of each applicant are considered in the context of the student’s unique background, accomplishments, and interests. While the degrees are aimed at students with different career goals, the admissions committees consider these criteria when evaluating all applicants:

  1. Genuine interest in and motivation to undertake academic work in urban affairs, public policy, historic preservation, disaster science & management, or public administration, as evidenced by application material and, for PhD students, an interview with the program director, or a member of the program admissions committee.
  2. The ability to complete a graduate degree program successfully, as reflected in prior academic work, and letters of recommendation from faculty, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores, and examples of academic or professional written work of the candidate.
  3. Ability to apply previously acquired competencies to problem areas, community, or organizational needs as measured by contributions in and the nature of professional work experience, volunteer service, and/or internships with assessments by faculty, professionals, and/or community leaders. Indicators of the quality and extent of previous professional work experience suggestive of the capability for a public service career are particularly important with regard to admission to the Master of Public Administration program.
  4. For students whose first language is not English, a minimum score of 105 on the computer-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required.

In addition, admission to the Ph.D. program requires completion of a master’s degree. Academic performance at the master’s level, potential for professional achievement, and compatibility of student interests with areas of research specialization in the program are key criteria for admission to the Ph.D. programs.

Admission is selective and competitive based on the number of well-qualified applicants and the limits of available faculty and facilities. Those who meet stated minimum academic requirements are not guaranteed admission, nor are those who fail to meet those requirements necessarily precluded from admission if they offer other appropriate strengths.

Departments and Programs

School of Public Policy and Administration

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