As an exceptional scholar, you want an exceptional graduate program.


The PhD in Public Policy (PPOL) program provides the advanced graduate training you need to successfully launch yourself into a research or related position in academia, government, a nongovernmental organization or the private sector.

You will get the training you need to conduct analytical research, help shape and execute policy and teach the next generation of educators, researchers and practitioners. The program encourages scholarly research that empowers public policy practitioners like you to make informed decisions and be leaders in their fields.

PPOL PhD candidate Todd Gerarden’s fascination with bike mechanics mingled with his love of cycling and the outdoors; what emerged was a budding interest in energy and environmental policy. An undergraduate professor suggested he read Economics of the Environment, a collection of selected readings edited by HKS professor Robert N. Stavins. That suggestion changed the course of his career.

Todd Gerarden PPOL PhD Candidate

The Complete PhD

The PPOL coursework combines core requirements in theory (economics, politics and management and normative theory) and methods (advanced methodology, and analytical and quantitative empirical methods) with primary and secondary concentrations in areas such as:

  • Economic regulatory policy
  • Environmental and energy policy
  • International development
  • International economic policy
  • International security relations
  • Judgment and decision making
  • Science and technology policy

PPOL graduates enter the workplace prepared to teach, research and have profound impact in academia, while for others the degree leads to productive careers in the private sector.