Public Policy Doctorate Info | NSPE | The New School in New York City

Degree Requirements

  • The doctor of philosophy degree is conferred for completion of 60 graduate credits, passing of the qualifying examination, and approval of a written dissertation that advances knowledge in the field.

    The 60 credits normally consist of 30 credits earned in the student's master's degree program and 30 credits taken in residence in the PhD program.

    Students should refer to the official NSPE division catalog to confirm degree completion requirements and should review their academic progress regularly with their faculty advisors.

    Public and Urban Policy Curriculum

    Courses Credits
    Three Required Core Courses
    • Political Economy and Public Policy Analysis I (PEPPA I)
    • Political Economy and Public Policy Analysis II (PEPPA II)
    • Doctoral Research Seminar
    One Required Social Science Foundation Course
    • A course in one of the social science disciplines: anthropology, economics, politics, or sociology. This is usually an upper-level course offered by the equivalent department of The New School for Social Research, but students can review other options with their faculty advisors.
    Two Required Research Methods Courses
    • One course in quantitative methods and the other in qualitative methods, chosen in consultation with the student's advisor.
    Four Electives
    • Any four doctoral-level courses approved by the student's advisor. Electives can include courses offered by other divisions of the university.
    Credits Earned in the Student's Master's Degree Program
    Students with fewer than 30 credits must consult their advisor about appropriate courses to reach the total of 60 credits required for the PhD.
    Total 60

    Qualifying Examination

    In their final semester of courses, students submit a policy analytic paper, a critical survey of the literature on a specific public policy issue, which can be the basis for a dissertation proposal. They can then take the qualifying examination. The examination is based on the content of PEPPA I, PEPPA II, and the Research Seminar. (Minimum grades of B+ in these core courses are a prerequisite for taking the qualifying examination.) Students who pass the qualifying exam can proceed to develop and defend a dissertation proposal.

    The Dissertation

    A dissertation proposal is developed in consultation with the student's faculty advisor and dissertation committee. A Public and Urban Policy dissertation can take the form of either a single book-length manuscript or of three shorter essays (not necessarily directly linked) deemed of publishable quality by the dissertation committee. In either format, the dissertation must be theoretically framed and methodologically sophisticated and present original research that advances knowledge about an important public policy issue.