USC Price School of Public Policy

Curriculum Overview

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DPPD Director Deborah Natoli, Ph.D.

The DPPD curriculum offers a rigorous and applied approach, a course of study that enhanced disciplinary knowledge, practice-based skills, and research capabilities for today’s leaders. Moreover, the program prepares advanced professionals to provide change leadership in social innovation, particularly in urban communities. Doctoral candidates will specialize in a particular domain, one often cutting across disciplinary boundaries, that enables students to align doctoral research with their professional and intellectual interests.

DPPD Course Sequence Matrix

FALL
SPRING
SUMMER
UNITS AND REQUIREMENTS
Year 1 PLUS 650: Public Policy and Globalization
(4 units)
Cohort Class
PLUS 651: Applied Research Design and Inquiry
(4 units)
Cohort Class
Field Course
(4 units)
12 Units Complete Student Review
Year 2 PLUS 652: Place, Institutions, and Governance
(4 units)
Cohort Class
PLUS 653: Leading Change and Innovation in Urban Communities (4 units)
Cohort Class
Field or Methods Courses
(4 units)
24 Units Complete Chair Person Selected
Year 3 Directed Research
(4 units)
Methods or Field Course
(4 units)
Field Course
(4 units)
36 Units Complete Qualifying Exam/Proposal Defense During Year Three
Year 4 PLUS 694abcdz
(2 units)
Cohort Class
PLUS 694abcdz
(2 units)
Cohort Class
July 1st Deadline for Manuscript Submission 40 Units Degree Completion Spring/Summer

DEGREE COURSE SEQUENCE

Core Courses (16 units)

PLUS 650 Public Policy and Globalization, 4 units
PLUS 651 Applied Research Design and Inquiry, 4 units
PLUS 652 Place, Institutions, and Governance, 4 units
PLUS 653 Leading Change and Innovation in Urban Communities, 4 units

Methodology Course (4 units)

Students select one four unit methods course, to be determined and approved by the student’s Professional Advisory Committee.

Field of study (16 units)

In consultation with their faculty advisor and Professional Advisory Committee, students will craft the field of study and identify associated courses related to their professional area of interest.

Qualifying Exam

Students will hold a formal defense of their dissertation proposal at the end of year three as the qualifying examination. Upon successful completion, students advance to doctoral candidacy.

Professional Dissertation (4 units)

The professional dissertation is a research-based study of a policy issue, an administrative process, or other element of professional practice. Units are completed in a capstone class format with their cohort.

Foundation Courses (20 units)

Up to 20 units of foundation core courses are required for students admitted without a master’s degree.