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Converting Public Policy Masters to PhD


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Agreed. MPPs and PhDs are very different degrees that get you very different places. The MPP is a terminal, professional degree preparing you for analysis-based roles working in government, companies, and non-profits. The policy PhD is an academic degree preparing you for research-based roles in academia, usually at universities, but occasionally also think tanks and foundations. Decide carefully which one is for you. 

Generally, you can't convert the MPP to a PhD while you're in the middle of your degree. If you decide you want a PhD in the middle of your master's degree, then you finish that MPP and apply for a PhD to start afterwards. In some MPP programs, a very small percent of students go onto do a PhD, usually at the same university. I know of two or three people at Duke who followed that path, and when I was looking into Berkeley Goldman, I found that their PhD track was very limited (5-6 students per cohort) and usually came from their MPP program. It doesn't seem to help to do a MPP before your PhD. If you want the PhD, just go for it. 

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