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. Coursework reflects this approach by combining core requirements—in theory (economics, politics and management, and normative theory) and methods (advanced methodology, analytical, and quantitative empirical)—with primary and secondary concentrations in areas including:

  • Economic Regulatory Policy

  • Environmental and Energy Policy

  • International Development

  • International Economic Policy

  • International Security Relations

  • Judgment and Decision Making

  • Science, Technology, and Policy Studies

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 Requirements

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. Solid quantitative skills are an important part of successful applications.

All applicants must submit a 10,000-word writing sample in English that has a policy focus. The writing sample must be single-authored. The writing sample does not need to be a published paper. 

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

Theses & Dissertations

Theses & Dissertations for Public Policy

Public Policy Faculty