USC Price School of Public Policy

Curriculum Overview

The Ph.D. program in Public Policy and Management requires the completion of 60 units of coursework comprising the following elements:
- master core in a substantive field (15-17 units) – not required for students with advanced standing
- theoretical core (11-12 units)
- methodology (10-12 units)
- field courses (12 units)
- teaching seminar (2 units)
- research seminar (4 units)
- dissertation (4 units minimum)

Prerequisites (15-17 units)
While a master’s degree is not required, students entering the doctoral program without a relevant masters degree will be required to complete 15-17 units of prerequisites relevant to their program.

For the Ph.D. in Public Policy and Management, possible courses include:

  • 500 – Intersectoral Leadership
  • 501ab – Economics for Policy, Planning & Development
  • 525 – Statistics and Arguing from Data
  • 540 – Public Administration & Society
  • 542 – Policy & Program Evaluation
  • 555 – Public Policy Formulation & Implementation

Theoretical Core Courses (11-12 units)

  • PPD 711 – Theoretical Foundation of Public Management – 4 units
  • PPD 712 – Seminar in Public Policy – 4 units
  • PPD 715* – Political Economy and Institutional Analysis – 4 units

*Students may petition to substitute PPD 715 with a different theory course derived formal discipline. Examples include MOR 662, ECON 500 or ECON 503, etc.

Methodology Courses (10-12 units)

  • PPD 706 – Paradigms of Research and the Design of Inquiry – 4 units
  • PPD 558 – Multivariate Statistical Analysis OR
    ECON 513 – Practice of Econometrics – 4 units
  • One additional methods course selected with guidance committee approval (2-4 units)

Field Courses (12 units)
Students select 12 units of field courses which can be used to develop disciplinary expertise related to specialization interest, or additional methodological expertise. Fields are developed with qualifying exam committee approval, can include any combination of USC Price and outside courses, and are unique to each student.

Research Seminar (4 units)
Students will take PPD 710ab (2 units each, 4 total units), the USC Price research seminar course.

Teaching Seminar (2 units)
Students will take two semesters of the teaching seminar, PPD 700ab (1 unit each, 2 total units).

Doctoral Dissertation All students will produce a doctoral dissertation based on original research on an issue relevant to public policy, public management, or from an interdisciplinary perspective. The dissertation must adhere to the format prescribed the Graduate School.