Doctoral graduates from the School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech will find employment as university faculty and as senior research analysts in government and the private sector. Colleges and university faculty's demands for public policy Ph.D. graduates is much stronger (relative to supply) than most liberal arts degrees.
Core and Concentrations
The Ph.D. in Public Policy prepares students for advanced professional work or for academic careers. The doctorate degree is based on a core curriculum that stresses intellectual and methodological rigor, using the theories and applications of quantitative analysis; political, economic, and organizational analysis; research design and execution. This core is supplemented with in-depth study of particular substantive areas of public policy. The program focuses on just three substantive concentrations, each a particular strength of the School, and each closely related to Georgia Tech's focus on technology-intensive research and education. These focal areas include science and technology policy, environmental and energy policy, economic development policy, and information and communication technology policy.
Mentoring and Interdisciplinary Studies
In any doctoral program the most important element is not strictly curricular in nature. Individual interaction between a graduate student and his or her thesis advisor remains the cornerstone of the Ph.D. educational process. A well-designed curriculum plays an important role in a student's education by providing depth and breadth in his or her chosen field of study and through interactions between students and faculty. However, the intensely inter-disciplinary nature of public policy makes it impossible to anticipate (or staff) all of the different methodological and substantive demands of a highly motivated and diverse group of students. Consequently, the program places great emphasis on mentoring. Upon admission, each student files a plan of study with their advisor and the School of Public Policy Graduate Committee. This plan includes a proposal for the student's major and minor areas of concentration. The curriculum is flexible enough to accommodate the interests of students in many policy areas. However, students generally focus on one or more of the following as a major area of concentration: environmental policy, science and technology policy, urban and economic development policy, information technology and communications policy, or an individualized program of study. Each concentration has a capstone seminar at the Ph.D. level that majors are required to complete. The minor concentration is an area of study that is distinct from the major and taken with different professors. However, in most instances the major will consist of four classes and the minor will consist of three classes.