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Doctor of Policy, Planning, and Development

Elevating Leaders through Knowledge and Scholarship

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A Unique Doctoral Degree

The Doctor of Policy, Planning, and Development (DPPD) connects interdisciplinary scholarship to professional expertise. The program encourages reflection on policy and practice in Los Angeles, a living laboratory of social, political, and policy issues. Students apply research skills to solve a contemporary problem of practice, resulting in a professional dissertation.

Application Deadline: February 1, 2023

Learn about the application process →

For admissions information, please email [email protected].
For program information, please email Anna Parks [email protected].

Learn from Peers, Scholars, and Expert Practitioners

This program brings together established leaders in industry, government, and nonprofit sectors to design frameworks and strategies for sophisticated problem-solving. Students learn from their peers as well as from the Price School’s expert faculty, who address some of the most complex and challenging governance problems of our time.

Students pursue doctoral studies while simultaneously advancing careers in a diverse range of fields. Examples include public policy, health, real estate, law, civil engineering, philanthropy, and social work. The program’s participatory learning approach leverages students’ professional expertise to deepen critical engagement with theories, models, and emerging data. Courses produce rich debate and analysis as students apply contrasting perspectives to complex problems.

Each cohort enters a dynamic learning community where shared growth, comraderie, and intellectual influence extend far beyond the classroom. Through a rigorous course sequence, interdisciplinary peer engagement, and mentored research, students become scholar practitioners, ready to lead innovation in their fields.

Program Learning Objectives

The DPPD supports students in developing a deeper understanding of their professional practice, supporting the development of networks, and refining skills through a cohort-based model. Learning objectives include:

Explore career highlights and expertise of USC Price’s distinguished faculty teaching in the Doctor of Policy, Planning, and Development program.

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Sol Price Center for Social Innovation

The Sol Price Center for Social Innovation was established with the recent gift to name the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. This new center aims to advance ideas, strategies, and practices that enhance the quality of life for people in urban communities. The center will provide opportunities for direct student engagement across all of the Price School’s primary disciplines.

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Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy

Established in 2000, the Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy promotes more effective philanthropy and strengthens the nonprofit sector to advance public problem solving. Its research focuses on trends and patterns in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector, philanthropic strategies for social impact, and challenges in philanthropic stewardship and leadership.

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Center for Inclusive Democracy

Center for Inclusive Democracy (CID), is a nonpartisan research center serving the U.S. Founded and directed by Dr. Mindy S. Romero, CID moved to the USC Price School, Sacramento in 2018. CID conducts a range of national and multi-state research initiatives exploring voting behavior, civic engagement, electoral and economic research, the intersection of social justice and democracy, and more.

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USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy

The USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy is committed to advancing post-partisanship, where leaders put people over political parties and work together to find the best ideas and solutions to benefit the people. The Institute seeks to influence public policy and public debate in finding solutions, and engages in the following policy areas: education, energy and the environment, health and wellness, and political reform.

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CREATE Homeland Security Center

As the Department of Homeland Security’s first University Center of Excellence, Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Threats and Emergencies (CREATE) serves our nation through creation of advanced models and tools for the evaluation of the risks, costs and consequences of threats to human livelihood and through assessment of strategies to mitigate risks and respond to emergencies.