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Public Policy, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 48 months
The aim of the PhD Public Policy program at Nazarbayev University is to provide a doctoral program of international standing which will attract high calibre candidates who will make a contribution to applied public policy.


There are at least three distinctive features of the proposed PhD program. First, it is designed to be a high quality award comparable to those offered in top public policy schools in Asia, North America and the UK. Second, highly qualified, research active, faculty with a breadth of local and international experience will deliver the program and supervise students. 

The teaching and supervision will therefore be research-led. Third, our strategic partnership with Lee Kuan Yew offers extensive potentially global networking opportunities for our PhD students.

Starting from 2017 GSPP launched its first doctorate level degree – PhD in Public Policy (a 4-year program). 

The aims of the PhD Public Policy program at Nazarbayev University are:

  • To contribute to the economic and social welfare of Kazakhstan through the supply of outstanding doctoral graduates in public policy with functional expertise in these areas.
  • To build sustainability into the higher education sector in Kazakhstan through the provision of future faculty trained to international standards of teaching and research.
  • To strengthen the research base of decision making in the public sector in Kazakhstan through the supply of highly trained researchers. 
  • To add to existing scholarship on public policy in Central Asia through peer-reviewed publications emanating from the work of PhD students/graduates. 
  • To raise the profile of GSPP as a School well-known for its research and scholarship. 

The program structure comprises: 10 core courses, 2 electives, a thesis proposal and PhD qualifying examination taken the first two years, followed by the thesis preparation and written submission in years 3 & 4.  The two electives modules will be drawn from an existing list of approved courses currently available at Masters level in GSPP but with different learning outcomes and assessment strategies. The overall 4-year program equates to 240 ECTS.

Work after graduation

  • Public sector - in government, civil service, international organizations, social research and non-profit organizations as policy analysts, policy innovators; staff members for political leaders
  • Private sector - in education administration, HR and public affairs, government relations consultancy 
  • Academia

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 48 months
    • Duration description
      2 years full-time & thesis preparation and submission in years 3 & 4
  • Credits
    240 ECTS
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

4 year program as follows: 

Years 1 & 2: 

  • 10 core courses and 2 electives 
  • Thesis design and proposal PhD qualifying examination 

Years 3 & 4:  

  • Thesis preparation and writing (70,000 words) 
  • PhD Viva Voce examination 
  • Research and teaching assistant opportunities 
  • Opportunity to spend up to 3 months abroad

English Language Requirements

This programme may require students to demonstrate proficiency in English.

General Requirements

  • Master's Degree
  • Application form (essays) 
  •  Resume/CV 
  •  Official diplomas with transcripts 
  •  Valid IELTS
  • Two letters of recommendation 
  •  Employment proof (if applicable) 
  •  Valid GRE/GMAT Test Report (optional) 
  •  Cover letter explaining the motivation to enroll the PhD program
  • Preliminary research proposal (2,000 words)

Tuition Fee

For non-residents, the application fee for PhD - KZT 14,000

Living costs for Nur-Sultan

  • 151250 - 222350 KZT/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Merit based scholarships available

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