Fields of Specialization

Each Ph.D. student, in consultation with his or her faculty advisor, selects two fields of specialization from the fields offered by the department and completes at least six credit hours in each of the two fields.

Although only six credit hours of coursework relevant to a field are required, it is unlikely that a student without previous training in a field will be prepared for the Comprehensive Examination without appropriate coursework beyond the required six-credit minimum.

Within these fields of specialization, faculty and PhD students work in a number of research areas. The list below provides examples of these areas.

Download the PhD Student Handbook for guidelines on coursework planning.

Development Policy and Administration

Subject matter: Globalization, governance and development; health policy, population policy; decentralization; urban development; civil society, participation and development; international organizations; public finance in developing countries; development and the environment.

Field Faculty

Suggested Courses

  • PAI 600: Stabilization and Growth in Emerging Markets
  • PAI 600: International Macroeconomics and Finance
  • PAI 707: Culture in World Affairs
  • PAI 713: Governance and Global Civil Society
  • PAI 716: Economic Dimensions of Global Power
  • PAI 717: International Security
  • PAI 719: Fundamentals of Post-Conflict Reconstruction
  • PAI 730: Health and Development
  • PAI 756: Policy and Administration in Developing Countries
  • ANT 756: Development Anthropology
  • PAI 757: Economics of Development
  • PSC 700: Political Economy of Development
  • PSC 757: Non-State Actors in World Affairs

There are many relevant development-oriented courses taught in other Maxwell Departments, including Geography, Economics, Political science, and Anthropology.

Environmental Policy and Administration

Subject matter: Environmental policy, law and administration; natural resources and energy policy; sustainable development; environmental governance; state and local environmental services and management; economics of environmental policy.

Field Faculty

Suggested Courses

  • PAI 730: Climate Change: Science, Perceptions and Policy
  • PAI 775: Energy, Environment and Resource Policy
  • PAI 777: The Economics of Environmental Policy
  • FOR 665: Natural Resources and Environmental Policy
  • FOR 687: Environmental Law
  • FOR 689: Natural Resources Law and Policy
  • GEO 700: Graduate Seminar: Environmental Politics
  • PSC 700: Transnational Environmental Politics
  • PSC 718: Politics and the Environment
  • EST 626: Concepts and Principles of Sustainable Development

There are many other relevant environmental policy courses in other Maxwell Departments, including Political Science, Anthropology, and Geography.

Also check out courses at SUNY-ESF, the College of Law, the School of Management, and the Newhouse School of Public Communications. See Maxwell’s brochure on Environmental and Natural Resource Policy for more information.

Public Finance, Budgeting and Financial Administration

Subject matter: Public finance theory; taxing and spending; capital spending and borrowing; government accounting; auditing and financial reporting; state and local finance; budgeting; financial markets and intergovernmental finance relations.

Field Faculty

Suggested Courses

  • PAI 812: Ph.D. Seminar in Public Finance
  • PAI 730: Tax Policy & Politics
  • PAI 730 / ECN 610: Public Finance: An International Perspective
  • PAI 731: Financial Management in State and Local Governments
  • PAI 735: State and Local Government Finance
  • PAI 749: Financial Management in Non-Profit Organizations
  • PAI 786: Urban Policy
  • ECN 731: Public Expenditures
  • PAI 786: Urban Policy
  • ECN 732: Taxation

Organization Theory and Public Management

Subject matter: Inter-organizational relations; formal organization structures; organization design motivation and leadership, organization technology and innovation; management information systems; management science; public employee unions; bargaining and negotiation; structure of the federal service and personnel mobility; legal context.

Field Faculty

Suggested Courses

  • PAI 730: Data-Driven Decision-Making within Organizations
  • PAI 730: Collaborative and Participatory Governance
  • PAI 741: Social Media in the Public Sector
  • PAI 747: Human Resource Management
  • PAI 748: Non-Profit Management and Governance
  • PAI 785: Policy Implementation

Social Policy

Subject matter: Design, management and evaluation of human resource programs for at-risk populations in the areas of health, aging, education, and welfare; distributional equity and equality of opportunity and access; social, economic and health problems of the aged; the family and public policy; the effects of the demographic aging of modern industrial societies; evaluation and alleviation of poverty, material deprivation and discrimination in American society; public policy toward the health care industry and health care reform.

Field Faculty

Suggested Courses

  • PAI 781: Social Welfare Policy
  • PAI 782: Health Services Management
  • PAI 783: Changing American Health Care System
  • PAI 784: Education Policy
  • PAI 786: Urban Policy
  • PAI 787: Child and Family Policy
  • PAI 786: Urban Policy
  • PSC 602: Public Policy Analysis
  • PAI 786: Urban Policy
  • SOC 664: Aging and Society
  • PAI 786: Urban Policy
  • SWK 782: Social Welfare Policy and the Workplace
  • PAI 786: Urban Policy
  • ECN 751: Labor Economics I