Saint Louis University

Ph.D. in Public and Social Policy Curriculum

Required classes
All students complete seven core classes: 

Core: Policy Analysis and Methods of Inquiry
SOC/POLS 5850 Policy evaluation and assessment
SOC/POLS 5060 Qualitative research
SOC/POLS 6100 Regression analysis and non-linear models
SOC 5650 Introduction to GIS

Core: Policy Theory
POLS 6310 Policy process
POLS 6330 Public finance theory 

A core class specific to the area of concentration [More information on concentrations]

Students complete four more classes (12 hours) in the area of concentration, selected in cooperation with their mentor and the program director.

Students must register for 12 hours of dissertation research.

From the time they enter the program, students participate in a research pro-seminar, which meets monthly. Participation in the research seminar is required throughout students' time in the program, and credit will be given once the dissertation is defended.

Additional requirements
Written comprehensive exam: Once students complete the seven core classes, they will be required to sit for a written exam that covers the core classes. In order to continue in the program, students must attempt the qualifying exam no later than the next regular semester following the completion of core course requirements, and they must pass the exam by the end of the second regular semester after completing the core course requirements. A student may attempt the examination twice. Examinations are offered twice a year. This examination will be administered by a five person committee.  

Oral dissertation defense: Once a student has completed the core requirements, he or she may submit a dissertation proposal. The proposal must be submitted no later than the next regular semester following the completion of all course requirements and successfully defended no later than the end of the second regular semester following the completion of all course requirements. The proposal defense will be evaluated by a five person committee. Students will advance to candidacy after passing the proposal defense.

Defense of the dissertation: After readers have approved the general content of the dissertation, a public, oral presentation and defense of the dissertation will be scheduled. Once students have successfully defended the dissertation and required coursework, they will have fulfilled the requirements of the Ph.D.


Higher purpose. Greater good.
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