Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)


DPA Programme Brochure (PDF version)

Message from the Programme Director

Increasingly complex public problems have rendered a focus on "government" inadequate; effective use of public authority for problem-solving in the public realm requires that one pay attention to the design and operation of "governance". A governance perspective focuses our attention on collaborative management straddling the divides between the state, markets and civil society; collective action at multiple jurisdictional levels and scales; and civic engagement in policymaking and the administration of public affairs.

The Doctor of Public Administration (DPA) degree programme under the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Hong Kong aims to enhance the scholarly expertise of experienced managers in different sectors who are interested in forging ahead with effective governance and leadership. Candidates who pursue a DPA can make significant contributions to the development of knowledge and practice in public affairs. By integrating academic and professional knowledge, candidates will be better equipped to achieve more effective public leadership and meet those challenges arising from the rapidly changing global environment. The DPA programme prepares individuals to assume careers at the highest level of public administration in government and the non-profit sector as well as in academia.

With over 36 years of extensive experience offering academic and professional programmes on public policy and administration, our faculty in the Department of Politics and Public Administration is well-equipped to train the next generation of leaders in public affairs. The University of Hong Kong, as one of the premier institutions in the world, offers an array of incredible opportunities.

We welcome your interest in our DPA programme and look forward to the class of students in 2015.

Wai-Fung LAM
Professor of Politics and Public Administration
DPA Programme Director

Programme Aims and Objectives

The DPA degree is an academically rigorous, applied-research postgraduate degree in the field of public administration that confers the title of “Doctor” to candidates who successfully complete the programme.

It is designed to extend the graduates'' understanding of current critical issues in governance, policy and public administration, and to provide the conceptual knowledge and capacity to enable them to develop their research and analytical skills through the completion of a core curriculum culminating in an original thesis.

Through the integration of scholarly and professional knowledge, candidates will be well-placed to meet those challenges arising from the rapidly changing global environment to achieve more effective public leadership.

Distinctive Features

  • A unique programme The only scholarly-professional doctorate in Public Administration in Greater China
  • Academically rigorous curriculum Structured to provide decision makers with sophisticated tools for decision-making and policy analysis
  • Accomplished faculty and expert practitioners Taught by leading scholars and experts in the field of Public Administration
  • Renowned universityThe University of Hong Kong, situated in the heart of Asia, is one of the most internationally recognized learning institutions in the world
  • Flexible class schedulingAn “intensive semester” mode of coursework delivery brings maximum flexibility in learning schedule

Programme Structure

Programme Design

Our DPA has been carefully designed to accommodate the working professional with candidates expected to complete the programme on a part-time basis within four to six years. A typical cohort size is small, targeting up to 18 students.

The programme will be administered across two stages. In the first two years, candidates focus on coursework and must take and pass 9 courses including a research ethics course for graduate students offered by the Graduate School. In the following years, candidates will conduct research and produce a dissertation in an area of professional public administration practice under the guidance of members of our faculty. The dissertation should be an original contribution to the application of knowledge on the understanding of practical problems and issues in public governance and contain material worthy of publication.

The Intensive Semester Mode

An academic year consists of two semesters, with courses offered in an intensive semester format over both semesters.

DPA students will take two courses per semester with each intensive semester divided into the following components:

  1. a directed preparatory reading period in which students familiarize themselves with the literature (about 4 weeks), and
  2. two days of class time per course scheduled around 3 weekends (a total of 6 days or 36 hours per course). The intensive mode allows students to interact and engage in in-depth discussion.

Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions 2015-16

Study at Chinese Academy of Governance

Study at Chinese Academy of Governance ( April 8-15, 2015)

Programme Faculty

The DPA curriculum is taught by faculty members from The University of Hong Kong as well as by prominent international scholars and distinguished practitioners.

Joseph C.W CHAN (B.Soc.Sc. CUHK; M.Sc. London; D.Phil. Oxford), Professor, The University of Hong Kong
Expertise: confucian political philosophy, contemporary liberalism and perfectionism, ethics and public affairs, human rights, civil society.

Peter T.Y. CHEUNG (B.Soc.Sc. CUHK; M.A. Indiana; Ph.D. Washington), Associate Professor, The University of Hong Kong
Expertise: public policy in Hong Kong, cross-boundary cooperation between Hong Kong and South China, inter-governmental relations in China.

Alan N. LAI (BA., MPA, HKU), Professor of Practice, The University of Hong Kong
Expertise: public governance in Hong Kong.

Peter H.L. LAI (BA. HKU), Honorary Professor, The University of Hong Kong
Expertise: public governance in Hong Kong.

Wai-Fung LAM (B.Soc.Sc. CUHK; Ph.D. Indiana), Professor, The University of Hong Kong
Expertise: public policy analysis, institutional analysis, public management, common-pool resources management, self-governance.

Eliza W.Y. LEE (B.Soc.Sc. CUHK; M.A., PhD Syracuse), Professor, The University of Hong Kong
Expertise: participative governance, civil society organisations, social policy development, public management, and gender issues.

Rosemary O’LEARY (J.D. Kansas; Ph.D. Syracuse), Edwin O. Stene Distinguished Professor of School of Public Affairs and Administration, The University of Kansas
Expertise: public management, environmental policy, collaborative management, dispute resolution, and Law.

James L. Perry (B.A. Chicago; M.P.A., Ph.D. Syracuse), Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Chancellor's Professor, Indiana University, Bloomington
Expertise: public management, public service motivation, community and national service, and government reform.

Beryl A. RADIN (B.A. Antioch; M.A. Minnesota; Ph.D. Berkeley), Professor, Georgetown University
Expertise: public policy analysis, public accountability, public leadership

Larry SCHROEDER (B.A. Iowa; M.A. Northern Illinois; Ph.D. Wisconsin), Professor Emeritus of Public Administration and International Affairs, Syracuse University
Expertise: public finance, development studies, research methods

Ian THYNNE (B.A., Ph.D. Wellington), Visiting Professor, The University of Hong Kong
Expertise: public governance, public organization , administrative law, and organizational change.

DPA Application Process and Admissions

Applicants for admission to the DPA programme shall:

  1. hold a Bachelor''s degree with honours and a taught Master''s degree in Public Administration or the equivalent;
  2. have at least 8 years’ professional experience in public administration or other related disciplines as may from time to time be judged appropriate by the Programme Committee;
  3. satisfy the English language requirements of HKU;
  4. is required to attend an admissions interview with a panel, and
  5. if deemed necessary, shall satisfy examiners in a qualifying examination.

Application Process:

Online application system:
Closing Date: 31 March, 2015

Tuition and Fees:

ApplicationHKD 300 (non-refundable)
Caution MoneyHKD 350
CompositionHKD 110,000 per year (part-time)



SCMP Editorial

SCMP Editorial

Programme Administration & Enquiry

Programme Director

Professor Wai-Fung Lam
B.Soc.Sc., CUHK; Ph.D., Indiana

Logistics Support

Ms. Nicole YUNG
Tel: 3917 5563