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Mission and Learning Outcomes

Oregon State University offers the Ph.D. in Public Policy to graduate students interested in the study and practice of policy. Graduates of the Ph.D. in Public Policy program will have the capacity to shape the future direction of public policy, participate in original public policy research and analysis, and train the next generation of teachers and researchers for programs in public policy and related social sciences. Program graduates will also be qualified to be leaders in the public and non-governmental sectors.

To successfully complete the program, students entering with an MPP degree (or equivalent) will be expected to takes courses, pass exams, complete a dissertation, and teach as follows:

  • Coursework will include an established core of research methods and theory, courses in an area of concentration, and elective courses. Most students will complete coursework by the end of year two.
  • Students must complete a written preliminary exam (covering theory, methods, and the student's substantive concentration area) and an oral preliminary exam. These exams will be developed and assessed by the student's dissertation committee. Most students will complete the preliminary exams by the end of year two. The student will become a doctoral candidate upon completion of required course credits and the preliminary exams.
  • Students will write a dissertation proposal to be defended in front of their committee. After successfully defending the dissertation proposal, the student will research and write a doctoral dissertation, which will be submitted for oral defense in front of the student's committee. With all other degree requirements fulfilled, the student will be awarded the Ph.D. upon successful defense and submission of the dissertation. Most students will complete this requirement by the end of year four.
  • Students will also fulfill a teaching requirement, which can include classroom instruction or related activities.

Through successful completion of the Public Policy Ph.D. program, students will graduate with:

  • The ability to conduct original policy research that extends the knowledge of both policy and other social science disciplines. This will be demonstrated through mastery and application of critical thinking, and application of standard and innovative policy theory and methods in both coursework and an individual research project.
  • Substantive knowledge in an area of concentration that allows for immediate immersion in a relevant policy arena.
  • Skills and experience in teaching and/or public scholarship. This will be demonstrated through university teaching assignments, development and implementation of community outreach/training programs and professional development seminars, and/or presentations at professional conferences.
  • Knowledge of ethical standards and practices in public policy research, teaching, and service. This will be accomplished through participation and training in research methods courses, professional development seminars, and core courses in public policy and administration.

PhD Assessment Plan