Public Policy PhD FAQs | The New School Milano School
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PhD FAQ

  • How do I apply for admission to the PhD program?

    Write a statement of purpose (1,250 words maximum) discussing your academic and professional interests and goals and explaining why you plan to pursue a doctorate and why the Milano School's PhD in Public and Urban Policy is a good fit for you. Prepare your statement of purpose in two parts: an autobiographical essay (200-500 words) and an academic interest essay (500-750 words). Make sure that each essay includes a header with your name, essay identification (1 or 2), and page numbers.

    1. In a short autobiographical essay, tell us about yourself. You can write about your family, your education, your talents, your passions, significant places or events in your life, books you have read, people you have met, or work you've done. You may wish to describe what you consider to be your strengths and explain anything that might be perceived as a weakness, such as lack of prior education or experience in the field, a low GPA, or any significant interruption in your work or studies. The most important thing is that the essay be informative and well written and reflect your own voice. Avoid flowery prose, and don't write about yourself in the third person.
    2. In the academic interest essay (500-750 words; three pages), describe your previous education and explain how your intellectual interests, progress, and achievements have contributed to your decision to obtain the PhD degree. The essay should include a thoughtful statement about your plan of study at the Milano School as you envision it, including examples of the kind of research you intend to pursue, and about what you expect to do after completing the degree. Include a frank self-assessment of your work as a scholar, examining both strengths and weaknesses. If you have been out of college for more than five years, discuss the challenges and opportunities you foresee in returning for a PhD and explain how you expect the advanced degree to affect your career path. Please confine this essay to the subjects described above.

    The following items must accompany your application essays:

    • Official transcripts from every college or university you have attended, including all undergraduate and graduate degrees awarded (sent directly from the institution)
    • Three letters of recommendation, preferably including at least two from professors with whom you worked as a graduate student (sent directly to the Office of Admission by your references)
    • A sample of your academic writing, such as an article from a scholarly publication or a graduate course term paper
    • Your curriculum vitae
    • The completed and signed application form
    • The nonrefundable application fee
    • GRE scores (not strictly required but strongly suggested)

    Applicants submitting transcripts from colleges and universities outside of the United States must arrange for evaluation of their credentials by a NACES-approved evaluation service. The evaluation must be received by the Office of Admission by the application deadline.

    Visit the Office of Admission Web pages for more information about required application materials.

    What does the admission committee look for in students?

    Being a small program, we are looking in particular for students whose research and career interests overlap with those of our faculty. Prospective applicants should visit the Milano School website to learn about the academic and policy work of the full-time faculty.

    What is the deadline for submitting an application?

    The absolute deadline to apply is January 15. Milano admits students to the PhD program only for the fall semester. Applications that are still incomplete after January 15 will not be reviewed. (Those who miss the deadline may be asked if they wish to have their application reviewed for the following academic year.) The Admission Committee starts reviewing the applications in early February and completes the process in mid-March. You may be asked to come to The New School for a personal interview if the committee feels it would help them make a decision.

    How many credits do I have to take each semester? Is it possible to study part-time?

    A full-time graduate student takes at least nine credits (three courses) each semester. You can study part-time but must take a minimum of six credits (two courses) per semester to remain in good standing.

    Can I transfer credits from other graduate schools?

    Of the 60 credits required for the PhD, a maximum of 30 can be transferred, provided the courses are deemed relevant to the Milano Public and Urban Policy program. At least 30 credits (10 courses) must be taken in residence.

    Students who wish to transfer credits earned at a graduate school outside of the United States must provide a course-by-course evaluation of their international transcripts prepared by a NACES-approved evaluation service. The evaluation must be received before courses can be reviewed for transfer of credits.

    How many credits must I complete before I can take the qualifying examination?

    You must complete 60 credits (including at least 36 credits in residence) before you are eligible to take the qualifying examination.

    What kind of financial aid is available for students in the PhD program?

    An admitted student can apply for a two-year scholarship that includes a partial tuition remission and/or a modest living stipend as long the student remains in good academic standing. Awards are based on the applicant's financial need and academic merit and the Milano School's budget. Financial aid decisions are made by the director of the PhD program in consultation with each new student after admission. We strongly recommend that all students applying to a doctoral program seek outside funding.

    Are there required courses in the PhD program?

    All students must take six core courses (18 credits): Political Economy and Public Policy Analysis I and II (6 credits); a foundation course in a social science discipline (such as economics, politics, or sociology) (3 credits); two research methods courses, one in quantitative and the other in qualitative methods (6 credits); and the Dissertation Seminar (3 credits).

    Does The New School have housing for graduate students? What if I have a family?

    Certain New School residence halls are open to single graduate students. There is no university housing for families at this time. Information about university housing is sent to all accepted students by the Office of Admission. You can apply for housing on the Student Services website as soon as you have an admission decision. Early application is strongly encouraged. The Office of University Housing will also assist you in finding off-campus accommodations. Contact the housing office through the website or call 212.229.5459 for more information.

    What kinds of jobs are available for PhDs in public and urban policy?

    Recent graduates have found positions in private research institutions, such as MDRC, and tenure track faculty positions at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Simon Fraser University in Vancouver (Canada), and Brooklyn College-CUNY.

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