About the Program

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Public Policy Doctoral Program Student Learning Outcomes

Through participation in and successful completion of the doctorate in public policy, graduates will:

  1. Display scientific literacy, which includes understanding the scientific method, quantitative and qualitative research methods, the ability to evaluate scientific literature and critically apply theories, methodologies, and knowledge to address fundamental questions in public policy.
  2. Understand the history of theoretical knowledge in public policy, and social sciences more broadly, and identify how these conceptual developments reflect broader changes in political, social, economic and cultural values over time.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to synthesize and apply scientific knowledge to create a plan of inquiry, develop new conceptual models and/or research hypotheses. Graduates will justify new questions based on existing literature, select appropriate methodologies to analyze a public policy issue, and indicate potential contributions and informed evidence-based recommendations to make or change policies and processes as a result of research through an original individual research project.
  4. Acquire professional skills in the production of their own ideas. Graduates will exhibit skills in professional communication appropriate to public policy including writing, in a clear, concise, and convincing manner to a variety of audiences, including academic scholars, public policy professionals, legal actors, and the general public, publishing and presenting research at conferences in their field, and through teaching, in both formal and informal venues which may include students, practitioners, and community members.
  5. Respect the principles of scientific ethics and the values of diversity and social justice in public policy research, teaching and service.

Public Policy Research Opportunities

Students and faculty in the program engage in research and policy projects closely connected with several university policy centers and institutes. These nationally and internationally known research centers provide students with opportunities for jobs, internships and other types of assistance including possible dissertation data. Students also have access to activities, events and presentations organized by these policy centers.

Areas of Social Sciences for Student Research

children, youth and family, community development, disability rights and policy, dispute resolution,  economic development, education reform, environmental policy, health policy, homelessness and housing, human rights, immigration policies, labor policy, law and public policy, mental health policy, minority issues, nonprofit organizations, poverty reduction, regional development, welfare reform, women's issues, and more

Part-Time Option Available

Our part-time program is open to applicants who are able to attend daytime classes on a part-time basis.

All core classes are held during the day and require students to have flexible work schedules. Due to the sequence of the curriculum, the first semester requires completion of three courses which is one and one-half days on campus. The remainder of part-time study requires the completion of three courses most semesters, which is typically two days on campus.

Candidates for the part-time program are required to meet the same admissions standards as applicants for the full-time program.


Giving to UMass Boston

Prepare leaders to advance international development, global security, and health with a gift to the Global Policy Studies PhD Program.