What is Public Policy?
What should I expect in a Public Policy PhD Program?
How would you describe
your doctoral program?
The PhD Program
in Public Policy at UMass Boston offers challenging courses that provide
a solid background in economics, policy analysis, political theory, and
research methods. We offer a hands-on approach to real-world issues
through research and policy projects, as well as internship and practicum
opportunities. Our focus is on local and state policy and multicultural
approaches to urban issues.
you offer financial aid?
All full-time first and second-year students in the program
are typically offered full tuition waivers, partial fee waivers, health insurance and assistantship
stipends to cover educational expenses and to
help defray living costs. In return for a full stipend award (currently
$13,658), students are expected to provide 20 hours of research, teaching
or administrative assistance per week to the campus. Smaller awards and
pro-rated work requirements are also available (1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 time
awards). Second-year financial assistance is
dependent upon satisfactory performance during the first year.
Third-year students are normally offered full tuition waivers
based on their internship/field work on applied public policy projects.
your Public Policy Program from others?
Interdisciplinary Study: The program provides interdisciplinary
study at both the theoretical and the applied levels, drawing on the disciplines
of community planning, economics, law, management, philosophy, political
economy, political science, public administration, and sociology.
Our curriculum offers a solid grounding in a wide range of political
and economic philosophies and theories of public policy and emphasizes
a commitment to multicultural perspectives and a focus on state and local
Small Classes: UMass Bostons
Public Policy Program is dedicated to the personal and intellectual growth
of a small group of students. A maximum of ten to twelve students
are enrolled in a new cohort each year.
We offer graduate
assistantships with full tuition waivers, partial fee waivers, and stipends
up to $13,658 per year to all full-time first and second year students
with tuition waivers available in year three.
Students and faculty in the program engage in research and policy projects
closely connected with several University policy centers and institutes:
- Center for Social Policy
- Center for Democracy and Development
- Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy
- Center for Survey Research
- Center for Social Development and Education
- Institute for Asian-American Studies
- Mauricio Gaston Institute for Latino Community Development
- William Monroe Trotter Institute for the Study of Black Culture
to name few.
These nationally and internationally
known research centers provide students with opportunities for jobs, internships,
and other types of assistance including possible dissertation data. Students
also have access to activities, events, and presentations organized by
these policy centers.
the qualifications of the faculty?
With one exception, all
our faculty hold doctoral degrees in policy-related fields. They
also have applied policy experience working with the urban, public sector
on projects involving policy development, implementation or analysis.
are changing the face of public policy in local, state, national and international
arenas in specialized fields in applied sociology, dispute resolution,
education, economics, management, philosophy, and political science.
Each year the Chancellor of UMass Boston honors one faculty member for
his or his distinguished scholarship. We are proud to announce that
Professor Randy Albelda received this prestigious honor in 2004.
Please visit our Faculty
and Staff page for portraits of our UMass Boston Public Policy
faculty and their areas of expertise.
How would your students describe your
In a recent survey, our current students praised the
- commitment and quality of faculty
- supportive academic environment
- balance of quantitative and qualitative components
- applied research focus
- diversity of students in terms of gender, ethnicity, and personal and professional backgrounds
- variety of courses based on real-world issues
- small classes
- affordable tuition
- financial aid offered to students
What do your graduates
Graduates will be prepared for professional positions in state and local government, community organizations, public and private research firms, non-profit agencies as well as teaching positions in universities and colleges.
For further details, please see our Careers
How would you characterize your current
About 1/4 of our current students are African-American, Latino, or Asian; more than half are women; and ten percent are international students. Students range in age from 24 to 69, with a median age of 39 at admissions.
Most students come to us as mid-career professionals and typically have experience in government, the nonprofit sector, or in advocacy and research organizations. More than 2/3 have previously completed a Masters degree.
Sixty six percent (66%) of current students are married/partnered and 45% have children.
percent (76%) of our graduates are female and 40% are people of color
including 28% minority students.
What are your students'
Primary areas of research interest are:
- children, youth and family
- community development
- disability rights and policy
- dispute resolution
- health policy
- homelessness and housing
- immigration policies
- labor policy
- law and public policy
- mental health policy
- minority issues
- poverty reduction
- regional development
- welfare reform
- and women's issues.
our Students and Graduates for
profiles of our doctoral candidates and alumni.
am interested in returning to my home country for teaching and policy work, does the program prepare students for international work?
We are primarily a state and local policy program but many
international students have taken the lessons learned from US models and comparative studies in class and applied them to international issues like domestic violence prevention in the Caribbean, poverty reduction in Nepal, and HIV/AIDS policies in Kenya, to name a few.
When are classes offered?
The Public Policy doctoral program is primarily a full
time day program (for the first two years) followed by full- or part-time
coursework in subsequent years. Fall and spring classes meet
one or twice a week. Morning classes are typically scheduled Mondays through
Thursdays from 9:00-11:30 a.m. or 10:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; while afternoon
classes are offered from 1:00-2:15 p.m. or 4:00-6:30 p.m.
Please see our Courses
page for details on full- and part-tme schedules and current course
I be able to keep my full-time job?
Since we are a full-time program, our students cannot work full-time so as to devote the proper attention to their studies. Also, students who accept a full-time assistantship are expected to work as a research or teaching assistant for twenty hours per week each semester.
Is it possible to
complete the program on a part-time basis?
We offer a part-time program for state employees only. This part-time program is designed only for full-time state workers who are eligible for flexible work schedules and who can use their state benefits for tuition coverage.
See our Graduate Program
page for more details.
long will it take me to earn the Ph.D.?
Students are required to complete a minimum of 76 credits including 42 credits of core coursework, 24 credits in electives and a minimum of ten (10) dissertation credits.
The University specifies that students should complete all degree requirements in a maximum of eight years. Most students are able to complete the degree in five to seven years.
you offer any specialized concentrations?
We currently offer three concentrations in
- Leadership in Special Education and Disability Policy
- Regional Development, and
- Dispute Resolution.
Other concentrations in health policy and environmental policy are currently being considered.
Please see our Graduate
Program page for more details.
On what basis do you assess admissions
Admission to the program is selective. A faculty-student committee
considers each application weighing such factors as the match between
student interest and our curriculum and faculty research specialties,
prior academic preparation, letters of recommendation from former professors,
and GRE scores. Applicants' career goals and areas of policy interest
are also weighed heavily in initial screening and during the interviews
scheduled with finalists.
For more complete details, please see our Admission page.
applicants are admitted every year?
Each year we admit between 10-12 full-time students (plus a small
number of part-time students).
Do I need a Masters degree to
apply for the Public Policy Ph.D. Program?
No, students holding a bachelors degree are eligible for admissions.
FYI: Our PhD candidates earn a Master of Science
degree in Public Policy after successful completion of core coursework
and the comprehensive examinations.
are applications due? If I meet the required deadlines, when can
I expect to receive
a decision? Applications
are due January 15 for the following fall semester. Please note
that a new policy now requires that applicants submit their entire
application complete in one mailing to the Office of Graduate Admissions
by the date noted above.
of the Admissions Committee begin review of completed files in late January.
Interviews are conducted in March and final decisions are sent
to Graduate Admissions by April 1. However, if you receive a decision
from another school earlier than ours, please notify us as soon as possible
and we will try to expedite the notification process to you.
the GRE required if I already have a Master's degree?
If you took the GRE (or
GMAT) test within the last five years, we will accept an official notification
of that score. Otherwise, all candidates must take the GREs.
(The General test is given year-round at computer-based testing centers. For more information on the GRE tests, visit www.ets.org/gre.)
FYI: UMass Boston offers GRE Review Courses (12 sessions, twice per week, $450), please call 617-287-700 for details or visit www.ccde.umb.edu/testprep/.)
do I have to score on the GRE to be accepted?
We do not require a minimum
GRE score, but it is an important component of our competitive selection
Do I need to choose an
advisor during the application process?
No. All first year students receive group academic advising by a designated faculty member and the assistant director. This year-long advising orients new students to the field of public policy and to doctoral study, in general, and allows students to make connections to University colleagues as well as Centers and Institutes.
During the second year, students will choose their own advisors to assist in academic advising and other research, mentoring and career development activities.
What if my application
is incomplete on the deadline date?
We urge you to present a complete application to be fully competitive
with other highly qualified applicants. This
is especially true of GRE scores; we urge you to sign up for a testing
date (at www.gre.org) in early fall because November and December testing
slots fill up very quickly.
Must I begin in the fall semester?
Yes, due to the sequence of courses, there is no spring admission.
Once accepted, may I defer my
admission a semester or two?
Students who are admitted who cannot enroll in the year for which they
applied will have to compete in the following years applicant pool
. They will be ranked no lower than the finalist
pool in the subsequent year; they will be guaranteed an
interview but will not be guaranteed admission.
Is it possible to transfer credits from
previous graduate work?
Yes, students entering our program with a relevant masters
degree completed within the past seven years (of the date of matriculation
in the PhD Program) are eligible to waive 12 elective credits for graduation.
Relevant advanced degrees would include masters received
in social sciences, public administration, public policy, social work,
labor relations, public health, education, and criminal justice.
We would also consider a JD relevant and some MBAs
depending on the focus of the program attended. In addition,
we would not rule out other fields in which the degree
program had significant policy content (e.g. international relations).
Petition can be made to accept degrees completed prior to seven years
ago, and/or in other fields.
In addition, with permission of the Academic Affairs Committee,
students who have completed graduate course work at other accredited institutions
may transfer towards the completion of a graduate degree at UMass
Boston up to the equivalent of six (6) credits from courses: 1)
in which the student received a grade of B or higher; 2)
which have not been used to fulfill requirements for another
degree; and 3) which were earned no more than seven years prior to the
students matriculation at UMass Boston.
Does UMass Boston
have student housing?
The University of Massachusetts
Boston does not currently student housing.However, we do provide housing
referral assistance and have a partnership with several area apartment
complexes. Please call 617-287-6011 or consult www.umb.edu/students/housing
for more information on prices and availability.
For additional resources to find an apartment
or room rental, consult UMass Boston's classified ads, The
Community Front Page, or boston.com.
How can I learn
more about your program?
If you live or plan to
be in the area, we would be happy to arrange an informational interview
and/or a campus visit at your convenience or put you in touch with a student
or faculty member who shares your research interests.
Contact our Assistant Director, Ms. Barbara Graceffa at 617-287-6937 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
you want to change the face of public policy?
us at email@example.com
for more information.