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PhD in Public Policy?


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Is it just me, or are PhD's in public policy rarely mentioned on this forum?

Anyway, at least I'm thinking about PhD programs! I'm hoping someone here will have some experience with doctoral programs and can help me with some questions.

First, what do PhD's in public policy typically do? I'm concerned that, among academics, a PhD in public policy is not as well regarded as more traditional subjects - economics, political science, sociology, etc. Is this true? And are admissions therefore slightly easier to public policy programs than other comparable subjects?

Secondly, most programs I find seem to be geared towards individuals already holding a Master's, whether it be an MPP, MPA or something related. Has anyone ever applied successfully straight out of undergrad (well, with some work experience, or not)? I graduated from undergrad in 2011, and will be applying to either MPP/MPA or PhD programs to begin in 2013, so I will have some work experience.


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From my experience looking in to PhD programs at most places, they seem to fulfill two purposes: first, an interdisciplinary program to give professionals an edge in research and policy analysis (the approach I will eventually take), and second, a means to obtain an academic position. I don't recommend applying to PhD programs out of undergrad, especially if requirements dictate a master's first. A masters is more than sufficient to get into the field. It will give you a foundation for policy analysis that you will need for work or a PhD program. Professional programs aren't like academic programs, where skipping a masters or doing a masters+doctoral program is common practice.

Edited by mirandaw
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