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Core Courses

All students in the PhD program take a common set of public policy courses that reflect the interdisciplinary and applied nature of the degree. These courses are intended to introduce students to a core theoretical literature about the nature of political, economic and social institutions and systems, approaches to modeling how policy interventions translate into policy outcomes, and frameworks for normative evaluation of both processes and outcomes.

All students are required to satisfy the following policy core course requirements:

Political Economy of Public Policy (PubPol 901)

A one-semester course to be taken in the first semester of the program intended to introduce students to a core set of social science ideas relevant to public policy. These include theories of collective action, institutions and governance, all of which draw from economics, political science and sociology. The goal of the course is to provide students with a broad framework for evaluating market, political and social failures; identifying possible policy interventions; and predicting the ways in which such interventions would translate into policy outcomes.

Ethics of Public Policy (PubPol 902)

A one-semester course to be taken in the second semester of the program intended to introduce students to normative frameworks for evaluating public policies and governance processes. The course draws on social choice theory, political theory and social theory. The goal of the course is to provide students with normative and analytical bases to evaluate the public good, tradeoffs between efficiency and equity, political legitimacy and justice.

Microeconomics

Microeconomic thinking is a central skill for understanding how individual preferences and behaviors translate into certain forms of collective action. Therefore, it is a key analytic tool for public policy, as it is for political science and economics. Every student is required to reach a level of proficiency in microeconomics. Following are the microeconomics requirements for our various concentrations:

Economics Concentration Students

  •  ECON 701 (Microeconomics I)
  • ECON 702 (Microeconomics II)

Political Science or Sociology Concentration Students

  • PUBPOL 810 (Microeconomics and Public Policy Making)
  • PUBPOL 811 (Microeconomics: Policy Applications)
  • Associated PhD-level discussion sections and problem sets.