Societal needs—for economic growth, better health care, environmental protection, etc.—and resource limitations challenge policymakers to make difficult public policy choices. The doctoral program in public policy prepares its graduates to conduct original research to help scholars and policymakers understand the tradeoffs involved in such choices across a broad range of critical issues. In particular, students can focus on:
- Policy analysis and program evaluation: How can we predict the consequences of our policy choices? What values should drive those choices? How can we determine which government and nonprofit programs work – producing benefits that exceed their costs?
- Public budgeting and finance: How can governments raise the funds necessary to provide public services in as equitable a manner as possible without impeding economic growth? How should and do governments decide which services and programs to fund? How can taxes achieve socially desirable goals?
- Public and nonprofit management: How should functions be divided among the governmental, nonprofit, and for-profit sectors? How should managers allocate financial and human resources to meet public needs? How should managers balance equity and efficiency claims?
Students can also choose to focus on such substantive policy areas as health, education, economic development, social policy, and disaster management.
The doctoral program prepares its graduates to take positions as college professors or as research-oriented policy analysts in research centers, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. The program assumes that new students have a master’s degree in public policy, public administration, health policy, or a related field, but students may also fulfill master’s prerequisite courses after entering the program. The core courses in the doctoral program build on those master’s prerequisites, providing a strong foundation in policy analysis, program evaluation, microeconomics, quantitative methods, and research design and implementation. Students choose two fields of specialization in which to focus their coursework and research.
The program is intended primarily for full-time students, and the Andrew Young School has been able to fund virtually all full-time students for at least three years. Graduate research assistants work with individual faculty members or with one of the Andrew Young School’s policy research centers, including the Fiscal Research Center, the International Studies Program, the Health Policy Center, and the Nonprofit Studies Program. Over the course of their studies, most students work on both academic and more practical policy-related research projects. Third- and fourth-year students typically have opportunities to teach undergraduate classes.
In recent years, graduates have taken positions with universities (e.g., Syracuse University, Indiana University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, American University, University of Alabama-Birmingham, Florida International University, Sam Houston State University, and California State University- both the Monterey Bay and Stanislaus County campuses) and research-oriented government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and consulting firms (e.g., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Government Accountability Office, the World Bank, the International Food Policy Research Institute, CARE International, RTI International, and BearingPoint).
Georgia State also participates in a joint doctoral program in public policy with Georgia Tech. Students in both programs take core courses on both campuses, but students in the joint program may also major in science and technology policy, economic development policy, and environmental policy – which are also fields of research interest for the Georgia Tech faculty.
A Top Ranked Program: The Andrew Young School of Policy Studies (AYSPS) is nationally recognized as a top school in public policy and management. Its many research centers and community outreach efforts provide opportunities to enhance students’ education, as well as often opening doors to attractive jobs. In its 2009 Edition America’s Best Graduate Schools,” the U.S. News and World Report ranked the AYSPS 27th overall among the 269 public affairs schools in the United States. It also ranked AYSPS in the top dozen programs in public finance and budgeting, city management and urban policy, and information and technology management and in the top 25 programs in nonprofit management, public policy analysis and public management administration.
Doctoral Program Information
|Deadline – January 15|
*Online applications must be submitted and all materials received by the deadline to be reviewed for admission.
Applicants who want to apply for fall 2018 will be able to start their application in August. Please complete the information request form to be notified when the application is open.
All applicants must apply and submit all materials online.
A completed application includes:
- Submitted Online Application. All online applications must be submitted by the deadline. Paper applications are not available.
- Application fee: A nonrefundable fee of $50 is required for each application. This fee must be paid online by credit card.
- Statement of Interest: Two to three page, typed statement of interest covering personal and professional goals as they relate to the Ph.D. in Public Policy, including desired area of specialization, research interests, and faculty with whom applicant would like to work. Statement should discuss your reasons for applying to the doctoral program, expectations for completion of the coursework and dissertation, and prospective employment. Include special circumstances, if any, or other information not covered in the application that you think would be helpful in evaluating your application.
- Biographical Statement: Two page Biographical Statement that includes biographical information and defines how you have prepared yourself for doctoral study, uploaded within the “writing sample” section of the online application. It may include schools attended, areas of study and formative experiences (particularly those that are relevant to pursuing a Ph.D.). This statement is intended to help the committee better know the applicant and to see why pursuing a doctoral program is the next logical step.
- Official GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores: Official scores must be reported to institution code 5251. More information can be found at our Admissions FAQ page or, to schedule the test, at www.gre.org.
- TOEFL or IELTS Academic scores (International applicants only): All international applicants are required to submit official TOEFL or IELTS Academic scores.
- Three letters of recommendation: All letters should be submitted through the online application. If not submitted online, letters must be in sealed envelopes from recommender and sent to the Admissions Office address.
- Copies of Official Transcripts from each post-secondary college/university attended:
- Official transcripts are not required at this stage of application review.** Do not send paper copies unless instructed to do so.
- Transcripts should be uploaded to the Educational Information section of the online application and must be copies of university transcripts. This can either be an official electronic transcript, or a paper copy that you have scanned and uploaded.
- Copy of transcript must have one or more of the following features: registrar’s seal, registrar signature, or watermark of the institution.
- Documents such as self-printed academic histories, web-based academic evaluations, and anything hand-written are not acceptable for review process and should not be uploaded. Doing so will significantly delay the review of your application.
- Submit one copy of transcript for each post-secondary institution attended, regardless of length of time you attended, your status, whether grades are listed, or where your final degree(s) were received. This would include community colleges, study abroad programs and AP credit. If you received college level credit, a transcript should be submitted for review.
**Official transcripts will only be required if an applicant is admitted to the program.
If you issues with your online application, please email GradAYS@gsu.edu.
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