Ph.D. Degree Requirements

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 an in-depth study of particular substantive areas of public policy. The academic requirements for the Ph.D. total 54 credit hours with the following key elements:

Curriculum SectionHours Required
Core Curriculum18 Credit Hours
Major Area Concentration12 Credit Hours
Minor Area Concentration9 Credit Hours
Comprehensive Examinations3 Credit Hours
Dissertation Proposal3 Credit Hours
Dissertation9 Credit Hours
All Ph.D. Academic Requirements54 Credit Hours

Information Sessions

Join students and faculty from the Ph.D. in Public Policy to learn more about the program in one of our virtual information sessions. 

  12/8/2023

All sessions will take place at 12 p.m. ET. 

Register for the SPP communications list.

Required Core Courses

You should review the demands of these courses with your advisor. If you have limited background in the study of public policy research you may consider taking preparatory coursework from the MSPP curriculum. You should identify these courses in consultation with your advisor.

  • PUBP 8101 Workshop on Policy Research (one credit hour). Course provides an overview of research and professional socialization. It presents topics partially satisfying Georgia Tech Responsible Conduct of Research policy for in-person training. Student will brainstorm dissertation topics.
  • PUBP 8102 Workshop on Policy Research II (one credit hour). Course provides an overview of public policy research and professional socialization. It completes the sequence of topics satisfying Georgia Tech Responsible Conduct of Research policy for in-person training.
  • PUBP 8200 Advanced Policy Research Methods. The course will cover advanced policy analysis and modeling methods, including regression models, and other topics as time permits.
  • PUBP 8205 Advanced Research Methods II.  Building on Advanced Research Methods I, the course will cover advanced policy analysis and modeling methods, for example, panel data and nonparametric regression. Other policy research methods may be explored as time permits.
  • PUBP 8211 Microeconomic Theory and Applications.  Extensions of microeconomic theory-consumer theory, firm theory, and markets-to situations involving many periods and uncertainty. Introduces students to general equilibrium, externality, and welfare economics.
  • PUBP 8500 Research Seminar in Public Policy.  Exploration of the purpose of and approaches used in public policy research. Requires development of original empirical research.
  • PUBP 8510 Logic of Policy Inquiry. This course presents the conceptual foundations of models of policy inquiry. Topics include the scientific, rational-actor, and ethical models. The ethical values underlying cost benefit analysis, pareto-optimal models, and market models are also examined.
  • PUBP 8520 Scope and Theory of Public Policy. Overview of core literature of public policy including theories of public policy, the history of public policy studies, the institutional structure of policy analysis, the profession of policy research and the intellectual bases of public policy studies.