Online PhD in Public Policy Degree Programs

Earning a PhD in public policy online is a convenient way to advance your graduate education if you've already received a master of public administration (MPA), a master of public policy (MPP) or a related graduate degree.

As a student in this program, you will study sociology and ethics, politics and policy, leadership, and research methods. You may also learn about economics and analytics. As a student in an online doctorate in public policy and administration program, you will need to select a specialization. Popular areas of specialization include environmental security, homeland or international security, economic policy and International Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs).

Most people who have earned a doctrate in public policy work in politics as political advisor, elected officials, campaign managers or lobbyists. After graduation, you could also work as a teacher or researcher in a college or university.

What will it take to earn a PhD in public policy online?

  • An online PhD in public policy and administration may take anywhere between 4-5 years to complete.
  • You will be required to take courses that present the theory of public policy, as well as analytical and research methods.
  • Core courses cover politics, government, and electoral and legislative processes.
  • As a doctoral student, you will utilize various learning tools and work with a virtual group to complete assignments.
  • To earn doctoral degree in public policy and administration by distance learning, you will need to complete an in-person residency or a face-to-face residency, depending on the school. This may include seminars, guest lectures, and meeting with fellow students and faculty.
  • You will also need to complete a dissertation that presents a unique piece of research in the field and defend it in front of a team of faculty members.

What should you consider before pursuing a doctorate in public policy degree?

  • Make sure you choose an online school that is accredited, as this will establish the legitimacy of your degree. The schools we’ve listed here are all accredited.
  • Enquire about the school’s residency requirements to ensure that this will fit into your schedule.
  • Consider your career requirements, and think about how this degree will help you move towards your goals.
  • Look into the program’s admission requirements. Doctorate programs require a master’s degree in a certain field, a minimum GPA, a GRE score, reference letters, and a statement of purpose.
  • Stay up-to-date on current events and work on improving your interpersonal and communication skills, as this will help you be successful in obtaining your doctoral degree.

Featured Colleges - Online Doctorate in Public Policy

Walden University

  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Course based - Terrorism, Mediation, and Peace
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Course-based - Criminal Justice
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Course-based - Emergency Management
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Course-based - General
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Course-based - Health Policy
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Course-based - Homeland Security Policy and Coordination
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Course-based - Interdisciplinary Policy Studies
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Course-based - International NGO
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Course-based - Law and Public Policy
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Course-based - Local Government Mgmt for Sustainability
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Course-based - Nonprofit Management and Leadership
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Course-based - Policy Analysis
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Course-based - Public Management and Leadership
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Mixed-Model - Criminal Justice
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Mixed-Model - Emergency Management
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Mixed-Model - Health Policy
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Mixed-Model - Homeland Security Policy and Coordination
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Mixed-Model - Interdisciplinary Policy Studies
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Mixed-Model - International Non Governmental Organization
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Mixed-Model - Law and Public Policy
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Mixed-Model - Local Government Management for Sustainability
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Mixed-Model - Nonprofit Management and Leadership
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Mixed-Model - Policy Analysis
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Mixed-Model - Public Management and Leadership
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Mixed-Model - Terrorism, Mediation, and Peace
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Mixed-model - General


What are your career options?

Most individuals with a doctorate degree in public administration work in politics, as lobbyists, elected officials, legislators or public policy analysts. Positions include mayor, county commissioners, governors etc. The pay range for executive legislators can range from volunteer work to $400,000 a year for the President of the United States. Public relations managers and specialists had a mean annual salary of $57,550 in 2010. This industry is expected to grow by 21% from 2010 to 2020, which is faster than average.

With your doctoral degree, you can also work as a political science college professor. Depending on the specialty, graduates of a doctoral program in public policy may also be able to find work as a sociologist, nurse, or economist.


Related Degree Programs

Online degrees in Political Science: involves the study of government, political processes and behavior and public policy. Most graduates of political degrees work in local, state and federal government agencies.

Online PhD in Public Administration: covers public management, public policy analysis, and quantitative and qualitative research. Most students who complete this program have goals of working in education or research.






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