The PhD in Public Policy Program provides exceptional scholars with advanced graduate training to prepare them for positions in academia, government, and at research organizations. Candidates are trained to conduct policy analytic research, help shape and execute public policy, and teach the next generation of educators, researchers, and practitioners. 

The program encourages scholarly research that empowers public policy practitioners to make informed decisions. The program offers four tracks: Economics, Institutions and Politics, Judgment and Decision Making, and Science Technology Policy.  Coursework for each track combines core requirements—in theory (economics, politics, and normative theory) and methods (analytical and empirical). 


Students enroll in one of the four tracks: Economics, Judgment and Decision Making, Politics and Institutions, or Science and Technology Policy. 

Students in the Public Policy Program are enrolled in and receive a PhD from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, even though they may work primarily with Harvard Kennedy School faculty. 

Admissions Criteria 

Admissions decisions are based on the excellence of the candidate’s academic record, test scores, recommendations, and a demonstrated ability and motivation to pursue research.  

Applications are reviewed by faculty from the relevant track and by a general admissions committee, which is comprised of faculty from a variety of disciplines.   

Please visit the track pages for specific admissions requirements: Economics, Judgment and Decision Making, Politics and Institutions, and Science and Technology Policy.

Visit the Public Policy Program for more information and GSAS Policies for program requirements. 

Theses & Dissertations

Theses & Dissertations for Public Policy

Public Policy Faculty