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Graduate Academic Offerings Database

Community and Public Affairs (PhD)

The interdisciplinary PhD program in Community and Public Affairs (CPA) is designed to prepare students to enter a community of scholars, educators and advanced practitioners who focus on interdisciplinary approaches for addressing complex challenges experienced by individuals, organizations and institutions. Multifaceted research questions about issues such as aging, equity, sustainability, and trauma are strengthened through the integration of diverse theories and methods. Our curriculum draws from varied disciplines (e.g., anthropology, demography, criminology, geography, sociology and psychology) as well as professions (e.g., counseling, human development, public administration, student affairs administration, social work) to research the dynamic interplay among individuals, the organizations serving them, and the institutions in which they are embedded.

Our program guides students to conceptualize their research topics from a social ecological context that reflects specific attention to cultural, structural, and political elements of issues facing individuals, organizations and institutions. Relevant methods particularly suited for social ecological research such as social network analysis, geographic information systems, and visual voices, emphasizing the importance of both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, are also a focus of our program. Students are encouraged to collaborate with faculty across the college and university to support the development of interdisciplinary and methodologically rigorous research on multifaceted issues.

Faculty and students in the CPA program also work collaboratively on interdisciplinary research projects that integrate theories and methods to address real world problems. As a part of their training, students are engaged in a yearlong research experience that involves them in research design, data collection and analysis, as well as publication. These experiences are designed to sharpen research skills, gain experience working with interdisciplinary teams, and to prepare students for their dissertation. Graduates of the CPA doctoral program are trained for careers as researchers in a variety of settings including academia, research foundations, government and nonprofit organizations.

Graduate Degrees Offered

  • PhD - Community and Public Affairs

Related Programs


Application Deadline

  Fall Admission
PhD January 15

Admission Requirements*

The standards maintained by The Graduate School and individual departments and programs are applied to ensure that applicants admitted to the University are well qualified and trained to study at this institution and have a reasonable expectation of successfully completing a graduate program, and who, with the benefit of graduate education, are most likely to contribute substantially to their academic or professional fields.

To be eligible, you must have and provide:

  • A master's degree in counseling, human development, social work, public administration, psychology, sociology, political science, student affairs, education or another related social science or discipline or profession. 
  • Complete set of your undergraduate and graduate transcripts. At minimum, a 3.0 GPA is requiredSee details.

All applicants must submit the following:

  • Online graduate degree application and application fee
  • Transcripts from each college/university you have attended
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicant's academic background and record.
  • Well substantiated written statement of approximately 3-4 pages that describes the applicant's background, interests, and preparation in pursuing an interdisciplinary doctoral studies program.
  • Academic Paper Writing Sample
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae

And, for international applicants:

  • International Student Financial Statement form (PDF)
  • Official bank statement/proof of support
  • Official TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic scores
    • CPA PhD applicant minimum TOEFL scores:
      • 100 on the Internet-based exam
      • 600 on the paper exam
    • CPA PhD applicant minimum IELTS score:
      • 7.0
    • CPA PhD applicant minimum PTE Academic score:
      • 68

*This information is subject to change. While we make every effort to keep it accurate and up-to-date, we recommend you contact the department for program-specific requirements.

How to Apply button


Elizabeth A. Mellin, PhD, LPC
PhD Program Director and Associate Professor
College of Community and Public Affairs
Binghamton University
PO Box 6000
Binghamton, NY 13902-6000

Community & Public Affairs website

College of Community and Public Affairs website

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Last Updated: 12/15/14