Requirements | Policy Area Focus | Discipline Concentrations


  1. Complete the equivalent of 16 courses (minimum), equaling 48 credits. (List below.)
  2. Complete a set of core public policy course requirements:
    • Political Economy of Public Policy
    • Social Choice and the Political Economy of Policy Making
    • Microeconomics
  3. Complete disciplinary concentration and research methodology requirements, including sub-field requirements, in one of the following areas:
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
  4. Complete at least one course in each of above four disciplines (Economics, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology).
  5. Regularly attend and participate in a weekly seminar in which faculty present their research as models of the kind of interdisciplinary work relevant to public policy.
  6. Complete a course of study focusing on a particular policy area. (Course of study must be approved by the PhD Director of Graduate Studies.)
  7. Complete a yearlong (two-course) research seminar leading to the dissertation proposal.
  8. Attain dissertation status by the end of the third year. (Includes meeting qualifying requirements and passing the preliminary exam.)
  9. Pass final exam.
    • The final examination consists of an oral defense of a dissertation to an approved supervisory committee.
    • This is typically completed by the end of the fifth year.

Required Courses

Political Economy of Public Policy (PUBPOL 901)
Social Choice and the Political Economy of Policy Making (PUBPOL 902)
Microeconomics 1
Microeconomics 2
Disciplinary concentration 1 – Research Methods
Disciplinary concentration 2 – Research Methods
Disciplinary concentration 3 – Subfield Elective
Disciplinary concentration 4 – Subfield Elective
Disciplinary concentration 5 – Subfield Elective
Policy area elective 1
Policy area elective 2
Policy area elective 3
Non-concentration social science 1
Non-concentration social science 2 (for disciplinary concentration of Economics) OR Elective (for disciplinary concentration of Political Science, Psychology or Sociology)
Dissertation proposal seminar 1
Dissertation proposal seminar 2

All students in the PhD program take a common set of public policy courses that reflect the interdisciplinary and applied nature of the degree.

Find out more information about the core courses.

Additional Opportunities

Sanford Seminar Series - Wednesdays, 11:45AM - 1PM

The series is open to faculty, researchers, and Public Policy PhD students for the presentation and discussion of current research projects. Presenters rotate between Sanford faculty and advanced doctoral students. Occasionally this time is used for presentations from faculty search candidates. 

Graduate Research Workshops - Fridays, 10:45AM- 11:45AM

Graduate Research Workshops provide a forum for graduate students to present policy-relevant and in-progress research. It is a great opportunity to present a work in progress that is at a stage where it would benefit from friendly, constructive comments.  Select Fridays of the academic year.