Public Engagement

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Degree Requirements

  • The doctor of philosophy degree is conferred for completion of 60 graduate credits, passing of the qualifying examination, and approval of a written dissertation that advances knowledge in the field.

    The 60 credits normally consist of 30 credits earned in the student's master's degree program and 30 credits taken in residence in the PhD program.

    Students should refer to the official SPE division catalog to confirm degree completion requirements and should review their academic progress regularly with their faculty advisors.

    Public and Urban Policy Curriculum

    Courses Credits
    Three Required Core Courses
    • Political Economy and Public Policy Analysis I (PEPPA I)
    • Political Economy and Public Policy Analysis II (PEPPA II)
    • Doctoral Research Seminar
    One Required Social Science Foundation Course
    • A course in one of the social science disciplines: anthropology, economics, politics, or sociology. This is usually an upper-level course offered by the equivalent department of The New School for Social Research, but students can review other options with their faculty advisors.
    Two Required Research Methods Courses
    • One course in quantitative methods and the other in qualitative methods, chosen in consultation with the student's advisor.
    Four Electives
    • Any four doctoral-level courses approved by the student's advisor. Electives can include courses offered by other divisions of the university.
    Credits Earned in the Student's Master's Degree Program
    Students with fewer than 30 credits must consult their advisor about appropriate courses to reach the total of 60 credits required for the PhD.
    Total 60

    Comprehensive Examination

    The comprehensive exam is taken after successful completion of coursework. It consists of a qualifying paper and a weekend take-home qualifying exam. The qualifying paper is a critical survey of the literature on a specific public policy issue, which must be approved by the student's advisor. The qualifying exam consists of questions that are tailored to each student and are designed to show the student's understanding of the essential theoretical, institutional and empirical content covered in the program's core courses. Students who pass the comprehensive exam earn the Masters of Philosophy (MPhil) degree and are eligible to proceed to the dissertation stage.

    The Dissertation

    A dissertation proposal is developed in consultation with the student's faculty advisor and dissertation committee. A public and urban policy dissertation can take the form of either a single book-length manuscript or a set of three papers (normally 40-70 pages each, inclusive of figures, tables, endnotes, and references). In either format, the dissertation must present original material that advances knowledge about important public policy problems.