Doctor of Philosophy with a Major in Public Policy

The PhD in Public Policy is a research-oriented program that prepares students for advanced professional work or for academic careers. Georgia Tech houses two PhD programs in Public Policy, including one offered jointly with Georgia State University. The programs stress intellectual and methodological rigor, building upon the theory and applications of political and organizational analysis, research design, quantitative analysis, and economics.

All students must have completed the equivalent of the core courses for the Master of Science in Public Policy (see description of the MS degree) before they begin the doctoral core curriculum. The doctoral core curriculum consists of six three-credit-hour courses (seven in the joint program). These courses are designed to provide students with a theoretical and methodological foundation for conducting public policy research. Core courses include:

  1. PUBP 8200 Advanced Research Methods I
  2. PUBP 8205 Advanced Research Methods II
  3. PUBP 8211 Microeconomic Theory and Applications
  4. PUBP 8500 Research Seminar in Public Policy
  5. PUBP 8510 Logic of Policy Inquiry
  6. PUBP 8520 Scope and Theory of Public Policy

Additionally, for the joint program, students must take PUBP 8813, Advanced Topics in Analysis and Evaluation. Details on the requirements of the joint program, including equivalent courses at Georgia State University, are available on the website.

This core is supplemented with in-depth study of a substantive area of public policy. The Georgia Tech program focuses on science and technology policy, environmental and energy policy, and urban and regional economic development policy. The joint program includes several additional majors, including health policy, policy and program evaluation, and public finance. Students may pursue concentrations with groups of courses already developed by the faculty or an individualized concentration with the written approval of the student's advisor and the Graduate Committee.

In the Georgia Tech program, the major area of concentration consists of four courses and has a capstone seminar at the PhD level that majors are required to complete. The minor concentration is a three-course area of study, preferably taken outside the School of Public Policy.

Other requirements for the PhD include completion of the one-year residency requirement; admission to candidacy for the degree through successful completion of qualifying exams and a dissertation proposal; and completion and successful defense of a doctoral dissertation (9 credit hours).

In summary, the credits required for the PhD are usually as follows:

  1. Core 18 hours (twenty-one for the joint program)
  2. Major twelve hours
  3. Minor nine hours
  4. Qualifiers 3 hours (written exam)
  5. Colloquium 3 hours (oral exam: presentation of dissertation proposal)
  6. Dissertation nine hours

Total 54 hours (57 for the joint program)

This total assumes that a student already has satisfied the core requirements of the master's degree (at most an additional twenty-five hours).

Financial Aid

Most PhD students receive financial assistance, chiefly through sponsored research projects and teaching assistantships.