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Common to Earn Master's before Public Policy PhD?


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As I've been browsing through student profiles for some of the top public policy PhD programs, I've seen a surprising number of students who earned a professional/terminal master's before starting their PhD program. This seems atypical--any thoughts on why this might be the case?

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Well, I am hoping to be one of those students, so I'll chime in. I got my MPA hoping that I could find work in the field I wanted (policy analysis) without having to do a PhD. After graduating and finding a job, I realized that researching what the state government requests is not necessarily what I want to be doing. My personal interest is in crime, but I have worked on taxes and economic development for the past year and a half. Without a PhD, I can only move up so far in most research organizations, or I could take a position in government administration (which now that I am involved with it, I do not want to do). With a PhD, I have a wider range of opportunities. Now I'm applying to PhD programs in public policy/social policy.


That's just what happened to me, but I imagine that a lot of people that focused on analysis or research in their terminal masters programs probably came to the same conclusions. 

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