Public Policy and Administration

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Location(s): Foggy Bottom - Main Campus

Program Overview

Our curriculum emphasizes interdisciplinary, applied research in public policy and administration and related subfields as it prepares students for traditional faculty or public-policy research positions.

Trachtenberg School classes are held on the Foggy Bottom Campus. Most classes are in the evenings, enabling full-time and part-time students to pursue their degree while working.

The Ph.D. is a 72-credit program offered through the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration; the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences grants the degree.

The multidisciplinary Ph.D. is designed to develop a range of competencies needed to undertake sophisticated research in public policy and public administration. Core courses cover multiple academic disciplines, including politics, economics, and quantitative and qualitative methods in policy research. Built upon the diversity and strengths of academic departments and faculty distributed throughout TSPPPA and the University community, our program offers an exceptional education across these disciplines.

Graduates of the doctoral program pursue careers in teaching and research related to public policy and administration and as policy researchers and analysts in government and the private sector. Some hold administrative positions in these sectors and many are closely involved in the development and evaluation of public policies.

Master's Degrees

The Trachtenberg School offers a 40-credit Master of Public Administration and a 40-credit Master of Public Administration.


Admission Requirements

Admission deadlines:
Fall – January 15
Standardized test scores:
GRE general exam is recommended but not required for the PHD application (institutional code 5246).
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the PTE Academic is required of all applicants except those who hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a college or university in the United States or from an institution located in a country in which English is the official language, provided English was the language of instruction. 
Minimum scores for the Ph.D. program are:
Academic IELTS: an overall score of 8.0 with no individual band score below 7.0; or
TOEFL: 637 on the paper-based or 110 on the Internet-based.
Recommendations required:
Three (3) recommendations
Prior academic records:
Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript. Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be uploaded to your online application. Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission.

If transcripts are in a language other than English, English language translations must be provided. The English translation alone should be uploaded into your application.
Statement of purpose
In an essay of no more than 750 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study the field. Indicate which of the concentrations you are applying for:
  • Education policy
  • Health Policy
  • Program Evaluation
  • Public Administration and Management
  • Public Budgeting and Finance
  • Science and Technology Policy
  • Social Policy with areas of specialization in:
    • Gender and Social Policy
    • Race, Ethnicity, and Social Policy
    • Urban Policy
    • Poverty and Inequality

The essay should describe your specific research interests within that field and your career plans. You may also discuss your related qualifications, including academic, professional, and community activities, and any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned on your application, or resumé/curriculum vita.
International applicants only:
Please review International Applicant Information carefully for details on required documents, earlier deadlines for applicants requiring an I-20 or DS-2019 from GW, and English language requirements.
For more information on the admission process, please visit the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Frequently Asked Questions page.

Supporting documents not submitted online should be mailed to:
Columbian College of Arts and Sciences – Graduate Admissions Office
The George Washington University
801 22nd Street NW, Phillips Hall 107
Washington DC 20052
Contact for questions:
[email protected] ~ 202.994.6210 (phone) ~ 202.994.6213 (fax)
8:30 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday