Ph.D. in Public Policy & Administration


 

 Female student listens intently in class.

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Programs.

The requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Program.

Completion of 72 credits beyond the baccalaureate or a minimum of 48 credits beyond the master's degree. Students who have completed graduate coursework judged to satisfy program requirements may be granted advanced standing of up to 24 credits toward the overall 72 credits required for the PhD.

Required
Prequalifying core curriculum
PPPA 6013Econometrics for Policy Research I
PPPA 6014Microeconomics for Public Policy II
PPPA 8100Seminar: Literature of Public Administration
PPPA 8101Research Methods
PSC 8229Politics and Public Policy
A written qualifying examination
Core courses
PPPA 8105Public Finance and Human Capital
One of the following to fulfill the quantitative course requirement:
PPPA 8022Econometrics for Policy Research II
ECON 8376Econometrics II
ECON 8377Econometrics III
DNSC 6275Advanced Statistical Modeling and Analysis
One of the following to fulfill the qualitative course requirement:
PPPA 8023Mixed Methods in Research Design
PSC 8104Qualitative Research Methods
EDUC 8122Qualitative Research Methods
EDUC 8131Case Study Research Methods
PUBH 8417Qualitative Research Methods and Analysis
or equivalent course as approved by the program director.
A minimum of 18 credits in one of the following fiields:
Education policy; budgeting and public finance; program evaluation; administration and management; science and technology policy; social policy with specialization in gender, poverty and inequality, race and ethnicity, or urban policy.
A written examination in a policy or public administration field.
Dissertation research
12 to 18 credits in the following courses:
PPPA 8190Philosophical Foundations of Policy and Administrative Research
PPPA 8191Dissertation Workshop
PPPA 8199Dissertation Research (repeated as needed to fulfill dissertation credit requirement)

 Students must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 3.3 to remain in the program.

 Visit the program website for additional information.

PhD Fields of Study

Students enter the PhD program with the intention of completing specialized research in one of the following fields of study:

This field is designed for students who desire a greater depth and breadth of knowledge about those issues surrounding taxation, public expenditure and the management of financial resources. The field generally draws on several intellectual traditions including economics, political science, accounting and public administration. As a student who successfully completes this field of study, you will be prepared to teach a wide variety of general courses in budgeting and public finance, and will have a solid understanding of the research questions and methodologies that have defined this field.

Field Advisors

Dr. Joseph Cordes

Dr. Kate Yang

Curriculum

Students in the Public Budgeting and Finance Policy field must complete four courses; one required core course, and three additional courses selected in consultation with the field advisor of which one course should be a doctoral-level course in accounting, economics, finance, public policy and public administration, or political science. Courses offered in the MBA Program, and in the M.A. in Applied Economics may be substituted for the required doctoral level course with advisor approval.

Public Budgeting and Finance Core

PPPA 6005: Public Budgeting, Expenditure and Revenue Analysis (or equivalent)

PPPA 6015: Benefit-Cost Analysis

Public Budgeting and Finance Accounting, Economics or Political Science Electives

*Nonexhaustive list; other courses may be selected with advisor approval.

ACCY 6701: Government and Nonprofit Accounting and Auditing

ECON 6305: Applied Macroeconomic Theory

ECON 6323: Applied Behavioral Economics

ECON 6330: Applied Macroeconomic and Monetary Policy

PHIL 6231: Economic Justice

PPPA 6015: Benefit-Cost Analysis

PPPA 6016: Public and Nonprofit Program Evaluation

PPPA 6048: Financing State and Local Government

PPPA 6052: Tax Policy

PPPA 6053: Financial Management for Public, Nonprofit and Health Organizations

PPPA 6054: Federal Budget Policy

PPPA 6055: Contracting Out and Privatization

Comprehensive Field Examination

The field examination in Public Budgeting and Finance is administered as a take-home exam (open book, open note) over a 48-hour period.  The examination consists of two parts. One part is made up of questions based on a list of general topics and readings provided by the faculty examiners which is common to all students taking the examination. These general topics will include material from PPPA 8105 and PPPA 8174 in addition to material from the field core and selected field electives. The second part is based on a list of individualized topics and readings developed by each student being examined, which is approved by the examiners. Examples of possible individual topics are fiscal decentralization/federalism; state and local tax policy; performance budgeting, public private partnerships and uses of the tax system for social purposes.

Education and training policies play an important role in the economic and social wellbeing of local communities, states and nations. From preschool to graduate school, improving the quality of education is a priority for policymakers worldwide. The education policy track draws on multidisciplinary tools from economics, education, philosophy, political science, psychology and sociology to train researchers and practitioners to: identify education policy problems and opportunities, develop policy alternatives, analyze their costs and benefits, influence policy decisions, plan and guide the implementation of new policies, and evaluate the impacts of education programs and policies.

Field Advisors

Dr. Stephanie Cellini

Dr. Dylan Conger

Dr. Yas Nakib

Curriculum

Students in the Education Policy field must complete two required core courses, plus two additional courses in methods and topics chosen in consultation with their advisor.

Education Policy Core

EDUC 8321: Economics of Education

EDUC 8322: Education Policy Implementation

Education Policy Topics

ECON 8341/42: Labor Economics

ECON 8351/52: Development Economics I

ECON 8358: Urban Economics

ECON 8363/64: Public Finance I

EDUC 6555: Higher Education Policy

EDUC 8320: Politics of Education

EDUC 8323: Policies of Education Equity

EDUC 8325: Policy Design — Education Accountability

EDUC 8340: Methods of Policy Analysis in Education

PPPA 6081: Poverty & Social Policy

PPPA 6048: Financing State & Local Government

PPPA 6049: Urban and Regional Policy Analysis

PPPA 6054: Issues in Federal Budgeting

PSC 8286: U.S. Social Policy

Education Policy Methods

ECON 6291: Methods of Demographic Analysis

ECON 6300: Mathematical Methods for Economics

ECON 8375: Econometrics I

ECON 8379: Applied Econometrics Lab (micro version)

PSC 8122: Longitudinal Analysis

PSC 8124: Multilevel Modeling

PSC 8130: Game Theory I

PSC 8131: Game Theory II

PPPA 6015: Benefit-Cost Analysis

Comprehensive Field Examination

Upon completion of coursework in the field, students take a comprehensive field exam involving two parts:

  1. Content from the core education policy field courses

  2. Content from field electives that typically focus on one of the following areas (area is chosen in consultation with your advisor and will be based loosely on topics covered in your field electives):
    1. Early childhood education
    2. Elementary and secondary education
    3. Higher education
    4. Education finance
    5. Education inequality
    6. Economics of education

The Program Evaluation field is designed for Ph.D. students who wish to develop both quantitative and qualitative research skills that may be applied to analyze and assess the performance of public and nonprofit programs. As a student in this field, you will be exposed to research methods from multiple disciplines that will prepare you for program evaluation and performance auditing professions.

Field Advisors

Dr. Kathryn Newcomer

Dr. Burt Barnow

Curriculum

Students in the Program Evaluation field must complete two required core courses, plus two additional courses in methods and topics chosen in consultation with their advisor.

Program Evaluation Core (covered on field exam)

PPPA 6016: Public and Nonprofit Program Evaluation OR

PPPA 6085-14: Advanced Topics in Impact Evaluation

PPPA 8164: Seminar on Program Evaluation

Program Evaluation Electives (choose 2)

ANTH 6331: Research Methods in Development Anthropology

DNSC 6275: Advanced Statistical Modeling and Analysis

HSML 6276: Exploratory and Multivariate Data Analysis

ECON 8375: Econometrics I

ECON 8376: Econometrics II

EDUC 8122: Qualitative Research Methods

PPPA 6015: Benefit-Cost Analysis

PPPA 8023: Mixed Methods in Research Design

SOC 6232: Qualitative Methodology: Doing Field Research

STAT 6287: Modern Theory of Sample

STAT 6291: Methods of Demographic Analysis

STAT 8265: Multivariate Analysis

STAT 8266: Topics in Multivariate Analysis

STAT 8281: Advanced Time Series Analysis

STAT 8288: Surveys

This field is for Ph.D. students with a generalist’s orientation towards conducting research on complex problems in public policy and administration. Students specializing in this field may carry out research on a variety of themes such as public and nonprofit management, and issues that lie at the intersection of traditional fields such as social policy, program evaluation, public budgeting and finance, education policy, health policy, and public administration.

The purpose of completing the field coursework is two-fold:

  1. To develop an overarching and integrated perspective on public and nonprofit management
  2. To develop theoretical knowledge and methodological competencies that will be useful in conducting scholarly research in public and nonprofit management.

Students who have not already completed a Master of Public Administration/Policy (MPA/MPP) degree, either at The George Washington University or at another university, will be expected to complete selected MPA/MPP core courses before taking more advanced coursework in this field.

In this field, the field advisors will work with you on an individual basis in identifying the appropriate coursework. Although most of your coursework will consist of public policy and administration courses, you may also include courses from other GW departments as well as courses at other universities participating in the Consortium of Washington Area Universities upon consultation with your advisor.

Field Advisors

Dr. Lori Brainard

Dr. Sanjay K. Pandey

Curriculum

Students are required to take 4 field courses — The field has one required course and three elective courses.

Required: PPPA 8164: Seminar in Program Evaluation Doctoral seminar on theory and practice in public and nonprofit program evaluation

The choice of elective field courses should be guided by the field coursework purpose.  Given the scope of Public and Nonprofit Management, both in academe and in practice, we do not offer a closed master-list for choosing field elective courses. Rather, students must abide by the following guidelines:

 

  1. Student should consult with an appropriate field advisor about field electives and communicate the agreement about field courses to all field advisors (e-mail is sufficient).  If this plan gets updated, changes in plan should be communicated as well.
  2. For the consultation meeting with one of the field advisors, student should prepare a list of candidate courses.  This list should be prepared with the following criteria in mind:    
    1. The proposed list should be made of doctoral courses (review doctoral seminars offered by other fields in the doctoral program, doctoral courses offered at Washington Metropolitan Area Consortium schools/programs, as well as doctoral-level methods courses. Other departments and programs may also have relevant courses.)
    2. If a Masters-level course is proposed, students need to propose and obtain prior approval, from the instructor of the course, for additional assignments/activities that will make it a worthwhile doctoral elective. 
    3. Elective courses may be used to take methodologically-oriented courses that will prepare you to carry out dissertation research. 
    4. Students may also use elective course for directed readings courses with faculty they want to request to serve as their dissertation director.  Students are, of course, encouraged to consider doing directed readings with other Trachtenberg School faculty as well.
Comprehensive Field Examination

Purpose: 

The purpose of the field examination is to assess student preparedness to undertake dissertation research in public and nonprofit management. Students are encouraged to seek faculty guidance and feedback on ways in which the field examination can advance their dissertation interests.

 

Coverage:

Students are expected to have a deep knowledge of material covered in core courses, field courses, and academic literature relevant to student’s dissertation research interests.  Further, students are expected to stay current and be conversant with the scholarly peer-reviewed literature in their field of study.

The Science and Technology Policy field focuses on the interactions among scientific development, technological change, and governmental and private-sector activities at the domestic and international levels. This field of study trains students to understand and manage issues at the intersection of science, technology, industrial strategy and structure, and government policy. The field emphasizes a comparative approach to science and technology policy, founded on the twin poles of in-depth understanding of domestic policies and continuous coverage of policy developments around the world. As a student in this field, you will have frequent opportunities for involvement in the activities of the Elliott School's Institute for International Science and Technology Policy and Space Policy Institute.

Field Advisors

Dr. Henry Hertzfeld

Professor of Space Policy and International Affairs

Stand-in Director, Space Policy Institute

(t) 202-994-6628

[email protected]   

Dr. Nina Kelsey

Dr. Allison MacFarlane

Dr. Scott Pace 

(currently on leave for government service)

Professor of the Practice of International Affairs

Director, Space Policy Institute

(t) 202-994-7292

[email protected]  

Dr. Nicholas Vonortas

Curriculum

Students in the Science and Technology Policy field are required to take 4 field courses — 2 are electives and 2 are core requirements.

Science and Technology Policy Core

IAFF 6141: International Science and Technology Policy Cornerstone

IAFF 6158: Science, Tech, and Policy Analysis OR

IAFF 6085: Seminar in Science and Technology Policy [offered every 2-3 years]

 

Science and Technology Policy Electives

Students may also propose other courses of relevance to their designated specialization. Such courses may be offered by the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences (Economics, Political Science), the School of Business (Strategic Management and Public Policy, International Business), the School of Engineering (Engineering Management), and others. Proposed courses will be evaluated by the Program Director.

ECON 6255: Economics of Technological Change

IAFF 6142: Technology Creation/Diffusion

IAFF 6145: U.S. Space Policy

IAFF 6146: Space Policy

IAFF 6151: Environmental Policy

IAFF 6153: Science, Technology & National Security

IAFF 6158.11: Science and Technology Policy Analysis

IAFF 6158.013: Climate Change and Energy Policy

IAFF 6158: International Issues in Energy

IAFF 6158: Science and Technology Development

Comprehensive Field Examination

Upon completion of coursework in the field, students will take a comprehensive field exam. The exam is offered once or twice in an academic year, following a petition from students. The examination relies on the content of the science and technology policy field core courses (cornerstone, capstone, and seminar) and the field electives. In addition, the exam will reflect the specific courses taken by the student and their individual areas of interest. We write an exam that reflects the courses taken by the student and their individual areas of interest. Expectations for students during the examination include:

  • Staying current and being conversant with the scholarly peer-reviewed literature and important gray literature (i.e. literature produced by different governmental and non-governmental bodies such as relevant federal agencies, the World Bank, Brookings, Rand, EU, OECD, UN Agencies, etc.).

  • Discussion should go beyond the readings covered in class.
  • Mastery of course material, a demonstrated command of major concepts and literature in the field, and an ability to think beyond concepts directly covered in classes.

The format of the exam is as follows:

  • Take home, open book, open notes exam.
  • Two sections (select three of four questions in each section):
    • One on Science and Technology policy theory
    • One on specific areas of interest
  • Time frame – three days

Two graders read each answer and confer on a final grade. One of the two graders is related to the specific area of interest of the student.

The Social Policy field of study offers students the opportunity to study how the actions and decisions of government within the contexts of gender, ethnicity, or urban settings influence the wellbeing of individuals and of society, with a particular focus on poverty and income inequality. Most public policy discussions-local, national, or international-include explicit or implicit assumptions about gender, race and location. Scholarship across various disciplines has demonstrated the importance of studying the interconnections among gender, race, class, and other forms of social inequality. Conflicts associated with these topics affect all institutions and social interactions of every type, and frequently dominate a range of policy debates.

Drawing on interdisciplinary theories and methodologies, as a student in this field, you will gain a broad understanding of: historical trends in poverty and inequality, scholarship illuminating the causes of consequences of poverty and inequality, the current landscape of social welfare programs (defined broadly), and the politics of poverty and inequality in America. In addition, students choose an area of specialization from the following: (a) gender and social policy, (b) race, ethnicity, and public policy, or (c) urban policy.  This specialization provides a theoretical lens for examining social policy.

Curriculum

Students in the Social Policy field must complete one common field course, required courses in their area of specialization, and one or more additional courses selected from electives suggested for that specialization or other courses chosen with advisor approval, to equal a total of 12 credits in the field.

Social Policy Core Requirement

PSC 8286: U.S. Social Policy (or advisor-approved alternative)

Gender and Social Policy Specialization

Field Advisors

Dr. Cynthia Deitch

Dr. Ivy Ken

Curriculum

Along with the Social Policy field core course, students in the Gender and Social Policy specialization must complete two specialization core courses and one additional elective.

Gender and Social Policy Cor

WGSS 6221: Research Issues in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies

WGSS 6240: Gender and Public Policy

Gender and Social Policy Electives

AMST/HIST/WGSS 6431: Gender, Sexuality and American Culture

ANTH 6501/WGSS 6257: Gender and Sexuality

PHIL/WGSS 6238: Feminist Ethics and Policy Implications

SOC/WGSS 6268: Race, Gender, and Class

SOC/WGSS 6271: Gender and Society

WGSS 6220: Fundamentals of Feminist Theory

WGSS:  6225: Contemporary Feminist Theory

WGSS 6230: Global Feminisms

WGSS 6241: Gender, Law, and Politics

WGSS 6265: Women, Welfare, and Poverty

WGSS 6283: Practicum in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Comprehensive Field Exam

The Purpose of the field exam in Gender and Social Policy is for students to demonstrate proficiency in the major themes, methods, and debates in the field.  It provides an opportunity for students to confirm the breadth and depth of their knowledge and their readiness to make an original contribution to the field.

In consultation with the field advisors, each student develops 3 reading lists as follows:

  • One list includes readings related to WSTU 6221: Research Issues in Women's/Gender Studies (a required field course) plus selected readings from other field courses that have influenced the student’s intellectual trajectory but do not appear on the other lists.
  • The other two lists cover two substantive areas related to gender policy that best fit the student’s research interests and academic work in the field.  One of these lists could be closely related to the student's expected dissertation topic.  Both lists should include classic texts and current journal articles.  While students are encouraged to include relevant readings from field courses, they should also move beyond coursework in their selections.

The exam is a take-home, open-book, essay exam that usually takes three days to complete. The questions are based on the reading lists. Students answer a total of three essay questions. Typically, in Part A, the student is presented with two questions and must choose one to answer. In Part B, the student is presented with three or four questions and must choose two to answer.   

The student should write seven to 10 pages, double-spaced, for each essay.  The essays should draw on the reading lists and do not require the student to go beyond those lists (though other materials are allowed). 

Students may choose exam dates in consultation with the field advisors.

Race, Ethnicity and Public Policy Specialization

Field Advisors

Dr. Gregory Squires

Dr. Steve Tuch

Curriculum

Along with the Social Policy field core course, students in the Race, Ethnicity and Public Policy specialization must complete 2 specialization core courses and one additional elective.

Race, Ethnicity and Public Policy Core

SOC 6245: Race Relations

SOC 6248: Race and Urban Redevelopment

Race, Ethnicity and Public Policy Electives*

AMST/HIST 3350: U.S. Social History

HIST 3360: African American History

LAW 6595: Race, Racism and American Law

LAW 6596: Law of Race and Slavery

PSC 8211: Urban Politics

PSC 8212: Urban Policy Problems

PSYC 8236: Minorities and Mental Health

SOC 6250: Urban Sociology

SOC 6252: Special Topics (with approval)

SOC 6268: Race, Gender, and Politics

Comprehensive Field Exam

The comprehensive exam is based on materials covered in the two required field courses and the one elective field course as well as associated scholarly literatures. An initial reading list compiled by the student is reviewed and supplemented by the field advisors. The reading list should be submitted a minimum of 3 months prior to the date of the exam. Students are also asked to provide field advisors with a list of faculty from whom they have taken their field courses so questions can be solicited from those faculty. Field advisors then compile the exam. The format of the exam is a five-day, open book take-home consisting of 3 or 4 questions, with some choice factored in. Students will be provided with the questions at noon on Wednesday and be required to submit their answers by noon the following Monday. Answers typically range from 10-15 pages per question. Two readers evaluate each question and submit a single grade for each question they grade. Field advisors then submit a single grade for the exam.

 

Poverty and Inequality Specialization

Field Advisors

Dr. Dylan Conger

Dr. Elizabeth Rigby

Curriculum

Along with the Social Policy field core course, students in the Poverty and Inequality specialization must complete the specialization core course and two additional field electives.

Poverty and Inequality Core

PPPA 6081: Poverty and Social Policy

Poverty and Inequality Electives (choose 2)

ECON 6330: Applied Macroeconomics and Money

ECON 6340: Applied Labor Economics and Public Policy

EDUC 8323: Policies of Education Equity

HIST 6011: History and Public Policy

LAW 6595: Race, Racism and American Law

LAW 6596: Law of Race and Slavery

PHIL 6230: Ethical Issues in Policy Arguments

PHIL 6231: Economic Justice

PHIL 6238: Feminist Ethics and Policy Implications

PHIL 6242: Philosophy, Law and Social Policy

PPPA 6015: Benefit-Cost Analysis

PPPA 6054: Issues in Federal Budgeting

PPPA 6065: Federalism and Public Policy

PPPA 6076: Federal Government Regulation of Society

PPPA 6085: Comparative Public Policy

PSC 8211: State and Urban Politics

PSC 8212: Urban Policy Problems

SOC 6250: Urban Sociology

SOC/WGSS 6265: Women, Welfare, and Poverty

SOC 6268: Race, Gender, and Class

WGSS 6240: Gender and Public Policy

Comprehensive Field Exam

No less than three months in advance of the desired date of the field examination, students should notify the field advisors of their intent to take the exam, as well as the relevant courses the student has taken. Exams are written take-home exams, tailored to student interest.

 

Urban Policy Specialization

Field Advisors

Dr. Leah Brooks

Dr. Hilary Silver

Curriculum

Along with the Social Policy field core course, students in the Urban Policy specialization must complete two specialization core courses and one additional elective.

Urban Policy Core

PPPA 6081: Poverty and Social Policy

PSC 8212: Urban Policy Problems

Urban Policy Electives (choose 2)

AMST 6495: Historic Preservation — Principles & Methods I

AMST 6520: Economics of Preservation

AMST 6525: Politics of Historic Preservation

ECON 8341: Labor Economics I

ECON 8342: Labor Economics II

ECON 8357: Regional Economics

ECON 8358: Urban Economics 

ECON 8363: Public Finance I

ECON 8364: Public Finance II

EDUC 8323: Policies of Education Equity

GEOG 6243: Urban Geography Seminar

GEOG 6244: Seminar — Urban Sustainability

GEOG 6290: Principles of Demography

PPPA 6042: Managing State and Local Governments

PPPA 6043: Land Use Planning, and Community Development

PPPA 6048: Financing State and Local Government

PPPA 6051: Governmental Budgeting

PPPA 6054: Issues in Federal Budgeting

PPPA 6085: Homelessness

PSC 8211: Urban Politics

PSC 8388: Selected Topics in Comparative Politics

PSYC 8246: Personnel Evaluation Technology

SOC 6245: Race Relations

SOC 6248: Race and Urban Redevelopment

SOC 6250: Urban Sociology

SOC 6259: Criminology

SOC 6262: Corrections

SOC 6263: Race and Crime

Comprehensive Exam

No less than three months in advance of the desired date of the field examination, students should notify the field advisors of their intent to take the exam, as well as the relevant courses the student has taken. Exams are written take-home exams, tailored to student interests.

 

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