Doctor of Policy, Planning, and Development

Elevating Seasoned Leaders Through Knowledge and Scholarship

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A Unique Doctoral Degree

The Doctor of Policy, Planning, and Development (DPPD) engages you in connecting interdisciplinary research to your area of professional expertise. The program encourages reflection on policy and practice in Los Angeles, a hub of social, political, and policy issues. In the program, you will hone and apply research skills in solving a contemporary problem of practice, resulting in a powerful dissertation project that demonstrates your acquired knowledge.

Application Deadlines
Final Deadline:

Learn about the application process →

Register for an Information Session


DPPD Information Session

Friday, October 7th

3:00 – 5:00 PM


DPPD Information Session

Tuesday, November 8th

3:00 – 5:00 PM

Juliet Ann Musso headshot

Juliet Musso, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Vice Dean for Academic Affairs
Doctoral Programs Chair

Julie Kim

Julie Kim, Ed.D., M.Ed.

Managing Director,
Doctoral Programs

For admissions information, please email [email protected]

Learn From Your Peers and Expert Practitioners

Doctoral students sitting at Commencement 2019

As a DPPD student you will join other established leaders in public, private and nonprofit sectors to design frameworks and strategies for sophisticated problem-solving – not only will you learn from your peers, but from Price’s expert faculty and advanced practitioners with first-hand knowledge of addressing some of the most complex and challenging governance problems of our times.

Your fellow students will covering diverse fields such as water, business, health policy, law, social work and more, each rich collection of leaders brings unique perspectives and conversation to each class. Together, DPPD cohorts forge deep connections with deep bonds.

Preparing to Enroll

Applicants are expected to hold a Master’s degree in planning, public policy, public administration, leadership, real estate development, or a closely related field. Applicants without master’s degrees in an appropriate field will be expected to complete foundation courses prior to entering the degree core courses in consultation with the appropriate degree director. Those admitted without advanced standing complete a total of 60 units.

DPPD 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.


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.


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.