Placeholder image for Public Policy

Public Policy, Ph.D.

  • Anytime
    Application Deadline
  • 60 months
Cambridge, MA, United States
The PhD in Public Policy trains students to shape new directions in public policy research, and prepares them for careers in academia, government, and research organizations. Candidates develop skills to teach the next generation of educators, researchers, and practitioners in public policy and the social sciences.
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The PhD in Public Policy (PPOL) 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 abets scholarly research that empowers public policy practitioners to make informed decisions. Students' 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 and Technology Policy.
Where our PPOL PhD Graduates Go After HKS:

Our recent PhD in Public Policy graduates have gone on to take academic positions at Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Harvard Business School, New York University, Penn State University, Princeton University, Tufts University, University of California, San Diego, and Yale University.

Others have developed analyst or policy careers with the Inter-American Development Bank, International Monetary Fund, Millennium Challenge Corporation, United Nations Development Programme, World Bank, nongovernmental organizations, and in the private sector.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 60 months
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

Students will need to demonstrate PhD-level proficiency in theory, methods, and a primary and secondary field of interest. The general requirements include distribution requirements in five fields within these areas, with courses and exams listed below:

  • Economics
  • Normative Theory
  • Politics and Management
  • Advanced Methodology
  • Analytic Methods.
  • Quantitative Empirical Methods.

English Language Requirements

You need the following TOEFL iBT ® score:

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120. Read more about TOEFL iBT ®.

    Schedule TOEFL®

General Requirements

Supporting documents

All application materials must be submitted online. If you are interested in applying to the PhD in Public Policy program, you will need to prepare and submit:

  • An online application form
  • The application fee
  • Your CV or résumé
  • Official GRE scores (GMAT is not accepted)
  • Official TOEFL scores, if necessary
  • Official academic transcripts
  • A statement of purpose
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • A research paper, authored by you, that has a policy focus.

Tuition Fee

  • International

    43744 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 43744 USD per year and a duration of 60 months.
  • National

    43744 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 43744 USD per year and a duration of 60 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.
  • Year 1: $43,744.
  • Year 2: $43,744.
  • Year 3: $13,836.
  • Year 4: $13,836.

Living costs for Cambridge

  • 1814 - 3760 USD/month
    Living Costs

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


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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