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For any questions related to the PhD in Public Policy Program’s application process or deadlines, contact the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Office of Admissions directly.
How long does it take to complete the PhD in Public Policy?
It takes about five years on average.
How long do students need to be in-residence?
We require our PhD candidates to be on-campus at Harvard for a minimum of three years.
May I study part-time or is distance learning available?
No, we are a full-time program and do not offer part-time or distance learning options. All coursework must be completed in-residence at Harvard.
What is meant by “full course” and “half-course”?
A “full course” is a year-long course that meets several times a week (there are few full courses, all of which are taught at the undergraduate level). A “half-course” is a semester-long course that meets several times a week, which is standard at Harvard. There are some half-courses that are taught during the entire academic year, and must be taken for the full year to receive the half-course credit.
Do I need to have a faculty advisor or mentor before I enroll?
No, the Standing Committee will assign advisors to all newly admitted students. This committee is comprised of faculty members who focus on the rules and regulations of the doctoral program.
What kind of careers do PhD in Public Policy graduates have once they finish the program?
Our PhD Career Placement Archive provides a complete list of where our graduates receive job placements. Roughly 50 percent of our graduates go into academia, 25 percent take government positions, and 25 percent work in consulting.
Does the PhD in Public Policy Program offer fellowships?
Yes, up to 12 incoming students may receive fellowships each year, which cover tuition and health fees for four years, and include a stipend for the first and second years.
Are applicants automatically considered for financial assistance?
Yes, all applicants are automatically considered for financial assistance when their applications are reviewed by the Admissions Committee.
Do students work while pursuing their PhDs?
Yes, students often work as teaching fellows or research assistants starting their second year. We strongly discourage students from taking any consulting jobs outside Harvard.
How many candidates apply to the PhD in Public Policy Program? And how many are accepted?
We expect to receive about 250 applications, and about 12 students on average enroll in the program every year.
Are the application deadlines the same for the PhD in Public Policy and PhD in Political Economy and Government?
No, these two programs have different deadlines. The PhD in Public Policy application and supporting documents were due December 1, 2014 by 5 p.m. EST, while the PhD in Political Economy and Government application and supporting documents were due January 2, 2015 by 5 p.m. EST.
Should I submit my writing sample online?
Yes, all documents that support your application, including your writing sample, must be submitted online.
May I submit a writing sample in a language other than English? Can it be co-authored? Is there a word limit?
No, we only accept writing samples that are in English. We want to see a research paper that you authored on your own and that has a policy focus; it cannot be co-authored. Writing samples should not be more than 10,000 words.
May I submit my GMAT scores instead of the GRE?
No, our program only accepts the GRE. We do not accept the GMAT.
What are the TOEFL requirements?
The TOEFL is not required if international PPOL applicants hold bachelor's degrees from institutions where English is the primary language of instruction.
The TOEFL is only required of international applicants who are non-native English speakers if they hold master’s degrees even from institutions where English is the primary language of instruction. These applicants are required to take the TOEFL’s Internet-based test (iBT) and score at least 103-104, to demonstrate their English proficiency.
Where should I send my GRE and TOEFL scores?
Applicants will need to send their GRE and TOEFL scores directly to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Office of Admissions, using ETS code 3451. A department code is not required.