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What will I learn?

The Ph.D. in Public Policy and Management (PPM) produces researchers and scholars who provide innovative solutions to societal problems and improve governance. Through a rigorous core of institutional, policy, and management theory and strong methodological training, PPM students develop the foundation to advance knowledge in public affairs.

The PPM education emphasizes student engagement in world-renowned research centers, faculty mentoring, faculty-student collaboration in research, and a strong multidisciplinary perspective. Research and teaching seminars along with faculty-student workshops to support dissertation development ensure that graduates are prepared for positions at leading research universities and institutes through the U.S. and the world.

PhD-PPM Program Learning Objectives

The mission of the Ph.D. in Public Policy and Management is to train leading scholars in public policy and management with foci on various policy areas like the environment, housing, and education and public management issues including inter-sectoral governance, civic engagement, and nonprofit management. We achieve that mission through Ph.D. education that emphasizes student engagement in research throughout their time in the degree program, faculty mentoring, faculty-student collaboration in research, and a strong multidisciplinary perspective that provides students with the theoretical and methodological depth needed to pursue dissertation research.

The learning objectives of the Ph.D. in Public Policy and Management are listed below.

Students will acquire the critical thinking and research skills to become independent scholars, at a level comparable to those who obtain faculty positions at universities classified by the Carnegie Foundation as “research universities / very high research activity.”

Students will learn advanced required coursework in the theoretical literatures that underpin modern theories of public management and public policy, and are required to master at least one disciplinary theoretical framework, usually drawn from economics, political science, sociology, or organizational theory.

Students will learn research methods ranging from quantitative and deductive methods to qualitative and inductive methods.

Students will master the knowledge of two sub-fields of public policy and management, at the breadth and depth that is characteristic of being able to establish scholarly leadership in those subfields and being able to teach a masters level course on the sub-field topics. The sub-fields will be chosen by the student under the guidance of and in consultation with their advisor and a qualifying exam committee.

Students will master a specific set of methods appropriate to their dissertation, with the depth needed to produce methodologically rigorous research.

Which department am I in?

USC Sol Price School of Public Policy

Study options

Full Time (60 units)

Tuition fees
US$57,256.00 per year
Start date

Expected January, August 2023


University of Southern California

University Park Campus,



90089, United States

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Applicants must have a Bachelor degree earned at an institution recognized by the Ministry of Education.

For international students

Admission to the Ph.D. programs is highly selective and recommended by the USC Price Doctoral Admissions Committee to the Graduate School of the university. Criteria considered for admission includes:

an evaluation of grades from both undergraduate and graduate work

Applicants to doctor's programs who have attained an Internet Based TOEFL (iBT) score of 100, with no less than 20 on each sub-score; or an IELTS score of 7, with no less than 6 on each band score.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


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