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Doctoral Program (PhD)

GSPP offers a doctoral degree program for students who seek careers in academia and/or with governments, non-profits, or research institutes. Usually only two or three PhD applicants are admitted each year, including those admitted from the School’s MPP students. Non-GSPP applicants who seek a policy research career and have completed graduate work in public policy comparable to our MPP are also eligible for admission consideration.

The program emphasizes the generation of knowledge, theories, methodologies, and applications appropriate to the advancement of public policy analysis and management. Doctoral students pursue highly individualized programs of study and typically work closely with Goldman faculty members who share the student’s subject matter of interest. The doctoral program provides enormous flexibility in the topics addressed and the program of study, but is directed mainly at training academic social science researchers with an interest in policy issues.

A thorough preparation in policy analysis skills is a prerequisite for the doctorate. Because there is no core program of study, the PhD committee prefers applicants to have completed an MPP or equivalent, either from GSPP or a similar institution. Applicants with a master’s degree in some other field usually must complete the MPP program at GSPP before applying for admission to the doctoral program.

Applicants who have a master’s degree in public policy from another school may be partially exempt from this requirement but may be asked to take certain first-year master’s level courses at GSPP not offered in other such programs.

Visit the PhD Application and Admission page for more information and specific application procedures.