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I am thinking about eventually getting a Ph.D. in public policy, but am wondering if it is smart to get an MPP first or apply directly to the Ph.D. program. There are not a ton of schools who offer the phd, so I am wondering what difference in funding is between the two programs. Does anyone have any idea if it is easier or harder to secure funding in either program? Will already having an MPP make it easier to get into a better phd program?


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  • 2 weeks later...

From my (admittedly limited) experience, it depends on the program. I just started a PhD program in public policy this fall, and I don't have an MPP. I wanted to go directly to the PhD partially to save money. At the schools that I applied to that did not require an MPP, funding was much more generous for the PhD than for the MPP program. As far as getting in to a good program, again that depends. Some programs require an MPP, but for those that don't, I don't think getting an MPP actually gives you that much of an edge. Of my entering class, a few have master's degrees, but none of them are in public policy. I think in general it depends on the focus of the PhD and the MPP; a more professionally-focused MPP probably won't help you get into a more academically-focused PhD (although it certainly won't hurt you either). I'd say focus on what schools you are interested in, and look at their requirements and recommendations.

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