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PhD in Public Policy and Administration

PhD program Director

PhD Administrative Assistant
Silvia Acquati 


The PhD in Public Policy & Administration is a 4-year PhD program completely taught in English, which started in the academic year 2014-15.  The program is designed for highly qualified and motivated students who wish to acquire knowledge of the constantly evolving frameworks used to understand the dynamics of public policies, as well as cutting edge research skills used to evaluate both public policies and the social dynamics that are implicated in them.  A key feature of the program is the combination of multi-disciplinary training in both theory and methods and an evidence-based approach.  A core theme of the program is the implications of globalization and the need for an international comparative perspective for understanding policy formation, implementation, and outcomes.  The program strives for maximum social relevance and emphasizes specialisations that are highly valued for both academic and non-academic employment (e.g., NGOs, governmental agencies, the EU, UN departments, think tanks and public policy consultancies).  Successful graduates will be uniquely qualified for high-level policy analysis in sub-national, national, and international organizations.

Beginning 2018-2019, the program is organized around advanced study in two tracks: political and social science and public management

The political and social science track is designed for students primarily interested in political, social, and economic processes and outcomes and the role that public policy plays in shaping social change.  The program is particularly oriented to those interested in political and economic dynamics on a global scale and the importance of the international arena for policy development and implementation.  Program faculty has particular strength in areas of comparative politics, demography of family and fertility, economic history, electoral processes, gender, global epidemiology, and political economy.

The public management track emphasizes the organization and inter-relations among public management organization and how these influence the delivery and efficacy of public policies.  This field provides students with an opportunity to shape the direction of public policy research on issues such as the environment, international economics, science and technology, security, regulation, and development.  The faculty has particular expertise in health care management, innovation and technology in the public sector, public finance and economics, and public sector governance.

In the first year, all students take a common set of courses to acquire or hone basic skills in mathematics, research methods and statistics, as well as develop a multi-disciplinary base of knowledge in the social and policy sciences.  In the second year, students choose a track and a topic concentration.  The second year includes a common set of advanced courses in economic and political institutions, social dynamics, and public administration, an advanced methods course, an advanced policy course, as well as four elective courses that should build competence towards their topic concentration.  Students will also work closely with a chosen faculty member to further develop their topic expertise.  The second year ends with a two-course research seminar where students will develop and execute their own research and produce a journal length paper.  The third and four years are dedicated solely to dissertation research and include participation in a research workshop, participation in a field specific reading group, and attendance of department seminars with internationally known researchers.  In the third and fourth years, students will also have opportunities for international exchange.

The program is open to Master’s level graduates in the social and management sciences (e.g., economics, political science, management and sociology), but also accepts applicants with other backgrounds (e.g., engineering, life sciences, philosophy) as long as students have demonstrated abilities for successful completion of the program.

Last modified 05/12/2017 - 17:01:52