Frequently Asked Questions:
USC Price Doctor of Policy, Planning, and Development Program

Who may be interested in the DPPD Program?
Within the context of our ever-changing and global world, the USC Price School of Public Policy is launching a newly-revised professional doctorate degree program more fully attuned to practitioners actively seeking to enhance interdisciplinary knowledge and research skills for a practice-based approach to creative and innovative problem-solving in the professional domain.

The DPPD program positions mid-range and executive leaders already in public, private, and non-profit sectors within policy, planning, or development fields to become academic practitioners, bridging theory with practice to implement knowledge of an applied nature for improvement of practice and policy reform.

Will a master’s degree in a related field be of benefit toward DPPD degree unit requirements?
A student entering the DPPD program with a master’s degree in a related field will likely be awarded ‘advanced standing status,’ applying a blanket twenty credit units from the previous master’s degree toward the 60-unit DPPD doctoral program requirement. These 20-units will be credited and applied to the transcript after the student passes the qualifying examination, the presentation and approval of the research proposal usually at the end of the third year of study, thus indicating a 40-unit total program requirement. With advanced standing, the DPPD degree is a full-time, four-year program with expectation students enroll in one course per semester for a coherent cohort experience.

Who will be my program advisor?
The program director serves as curriculum advisor during a student’s DPPD degree progress. A faculty advisor will also be assigned to each student upon admission to the DPPD program. The faculty advisor may likely serve as the professional dissertation chairperson during the year-four capstone course.

What is the DPPD Capstone?
After successful completion of the qualifying exam, the presentation and defense of the written research proposal at the end of year three, DPPD candidates enroll in the capstone course. There is peer collaboration and feedback during the year-long research and writing process. The capstone instructor serves as the second member of all DPPD professional dissertation committees. Please see our “DPPD Professional Dissertations” link on the homepage for examples of projects-of-practice completed by former USC Price Professional Doctorate students.

When are applications due? What is the admissions process timeline?
DPPD Application Deadline — February 1, 2016
DPPD Candidate Interviews (Round One) — April 9, 2016
DPPD Candidate Interviews (Round Two) — April 16, 2016
DPPD Decision Letters — Early May, 2016
DPPD Program Begins — August 2016

What is the purpose of the DPPD Candidate Interview?
After admissions committee review and top-tier applicant selections, potential candidates will be invited to the USC Price School for an in-depth introduction to the program, personal interview with the DPPD Faculty Degree Committee and potential faculty advisors, and a peer group writing and discussion exercise. As collaboration with colleagues who are experienced leaders in private, public, and non-profit sectors is a key strength of our cohort model and intensive course format, a day of engagement with potential peers and Price faculty is indicated for goodness of fit.

Can the DPPD Program accommodate distance or on-line student populations?
The Price Professional Doctorate is not an on-line program. Students with capabilities to travel monthly to Los Angeles to attend required intensive-format core classes, and who understand and accept limitations that remaining elective courses will be of intensive format, may be interested in pursuing the DPPD degree.

What is the cost of the DPPD degree?
Please see the Admissions page for description of estimated costs for the four-year degree program. Funding is not available through the Price School for Professional Doctorate students.

Who do I contact for further information?
Ms. Marisol Rios, Director of Admissions, marisolr@price.usc.edu
Dr. Deborah Natoli, Faculty Program Director, natoli@price.usc.edu