The JSGS Ph.D. in Public Policy program prepares graduates to conduct advanced policy research across a variety of sectors. Through inquiry and application of interdisciplinary knowledge, the Ph.D. in Public Policy program equips students to advance public policy knowledge. Graduates are prepared to work as advanced researchers locally and globally in the academic, public, not-for-profit, and corporate sectors to identify innovative strategies to address policy challenges. For more information, please visit School of Public Policy.

Admission Requirements

  • Language Proficiency Requirements: Proof of English proficiency may be required for international applicants and for applicants whose first language is not English. A minimum overall TOEFL score of 86 is required with a minimum score of 20 in each area, or a minimum overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum score of 6.0 in each area, or another approved test as outlined in the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Academic Policies.
  • Master’s degree, or equivalent, from a recognized university in a relevant academic discipline 
  • a cumulative weighted average of at least a 75% (U of S grade system equivalent) in the last two years of study (i.e. coursework required in Master’s program)
  • a personal statement that answers the following four questions:
    • Why do you want to pursue a PhD focusing on public policy?
    • Briefly describe your research background and preparation for policy-related
      research, including both scholarly and practical experience.
    • Describe what you hope to achieve in your research. Briefly describe the
      problem you want to investigate and identify any specific theories or methods
      you want to use.
    • Have you approached any of the faculty at the school? If so, please name them.
  • As you answer these questions, please keep in mind the Admissions Committee is assessing your ability to write  in a clear, coherent, and professional manner; your personal statement should be free of spelling and grammatical errors and properly referenced (if applicable). Please limit your response to each of the questions to no more than 200 words.
  • Three letters of reference

Degree Requirements

All courses taken by students in this program have a minimum passing average grade of 70%. Students must maintain continuous registration in the 996 course.

  • GPS 960.0
  • GPS 961.0, if research involves human subjects
  • GPS 962.0, if research involves animal subjects

A minimum of 12 credit units of core courses, including:

  • JSGS 803.3
  • JSGS 851.3
  • JSGS 865.3
  • JSGS 869.3
  • JSGS 990.0
  • JSGS 996.0
  • Students may take additional courses in a particular subject area if they so wish. The decision to take additional courses over and above that required in the core rests with student's advisory committee.
  • dissertation defense
  • doctoral candidacy assessment