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PhD in Public Policy and Management

Prepare for university careers in teaching and research, and for senior-level research roles in government, consulting and nonprofit organizations.

The Glenn College’s selective, research-oriented doctoral program provides a foundation for careers in multidisciplinary research environments and advanced knowledge in fields specific to your interests.

Program Highlights

Our doctoral alumni hold leadership positions in some of the top public affairs programs in the country. Recent placements include:

  • Faculty positions at Arizona State University, Florida International University, Louisiana State University, University of Kansas and Virginia Tech
  • Research positions at Washington University in St. Louis and Johns Hopkins University/NIST
  • Government positions in the Department of Homeland Security and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Individualized approach to fit your specific interests
Thorough grounding in disciplinary knowledge from fields such as economics, political science, and sociology
Emphasis on diverse and advanced methodological training, including both quantitative and qualitative approaches.
Focus on public policy and management solutions to the world’s most pressing public problems

Specialization and Research Areas

The Glenn College includes a core faculty, many with experience in government or private research organizations, who cover a wide range of academic disciplines, professional fields and public policy areas. Your research interests may align with one or more of our faculty members.

  • Energy and environmental policy
  • Education and workforce policy
  • Food policy
  • Housing policy
  • Health policy
  • Information technology policy
  • Management science
  • Nonprofit management
  • Public sector economics
  • Public finance

Take advantage of the breadth and depth of expertise at The Ohio State University. Our doctoral students have access to numerous research centers and initiatives to collaborate on funded research projects, access data and resources, attend seminars, and collaborate with faculty and students from other departments.

Ohio State Research Centers 



The doctoral curriculum includes foundation, content area, research design and methods courses. In addition to the required curriculum, students are also required to take at least four additional methods courses and three focus-area courses. 

As course offerings may vary from year to year, work with your advisor to determine appropriate course schedules for your dissertation and future research interests.

Foundation Course Summary

Public Policy and Management: Foundations and Approaches (PUBAFRS 8000)

In-depth introduction to interdisciplinary public policy and management research and theory. It familiarizes students with major research streams, issues and debates in the field. A primary purpose is to help students plan their research paths.

First-, Second- and Third-Year Doctoral Seminars (PUBAFRS 8890.01-8890.03)

Seminar sequence imparts knowledge and skills to help Glenn College doctoral students succeed as scholars.

Content Area Courses

Seminar in Public Policy (PUBAFRS 8030)

Designed to heighten graduate students’ ability to think critically about public policy processes and policy analysis. It emphasizes the critical assessment of public policy research on policy formulation, implementation and evaluation. Three credit hours.

Seminar in Organizational Theory (PUBAFRS 8040)

Provides an in-depth introduction to research and theory about public management. Survey of the major perspectives in organizational theory and their application to public management. Three credit hours.

Seminar in Public Sector Economics (PUBAFRS 8050)

The applications of rational choice modeling to public policy analysis, and organizational decision-making. Three credit hours.

Research Design

Policy Modeling (PUBAFRS 8782)

Survey of methods and tools underlying scholarly products to help students plan a doctoral dissertation or a paper publishable in an academic journal. Three credit hours.

Methods Elective Courses

Students are required to take at least four additional methods courses, two of which should be statistics or econometrics courses.

Students without a strong background in econometrics should begin with PUBAFRS 7571, Multivariate Data Analysis (ECON 5410, Econometrics I, may be substituted for PUBAFRS 7571 if a scheduling conflict prevents a student from enrolling in PUBAFRS 7571).

The second course should be an advanced econometrics course, such as Econometrics II in the Economics Department (ECON 5420) or a comparable course in another department.

The Doctoral Studies Committee can grant a waiver from two of these four required methods courses if students have completed coursework that is equivalent to ECON 5420.

Focus-Area Elective Courses

Every student will take at least three focus-area courses that provide in-depth study of a particular research area. With advisor approval and in consultation with the Doctoral Studies Committee, each student identifies specialized coursework that advances their research pursuits. The objective is for students to develop sufficient depth in a focus area to be able to work successfully as researchers and scholars in their chosen fields.

We are currently not accepting applications.

We will resume accepting applications in fall 2022 (for students to begin the program in fall 2023) to ensure we have faculty capacity to continue providing students with one-on-one support. Our “high touch” program prioritizes student guidance and support to maximize completion rates and employment in tenure-track and other research positions. Please feel free to reach out to Program Director Stephane Lavertu with any questions.

Application Requirements

Application Deadlines:
Domestic students: Dec. 1
International students: Nov. 1

The status will first become available two to three days after your application is received. Visit to check the status of your application during the admissions process.

Applicants previously enrolled in other graduate programs at Ohio State do not need to submit an online application. Contact for more information.

Application Fee:

  • $60 for domestic applicants
  • $70 for international applicants
  • This fee is nonrefundable

Application Fee Waivers (U.S. applicants only)

If you feel you qualify for an application fee waiver based on your participation in any of the diversity initiatives through the Graduate School Program or Ohio State’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, or if you feel you qualify because of economic hardship, please select the appropriate box(es) under the application fee waiver section of the online application. 

  • You must submit proof in order to qualify for an application fee waiver. 
  • Qualifying criteria are listed at
  • You cannot submit your online application until your application fee waiver request is approved or your application fee is paid. You will be notified if your application fee waiver request is not approved, at which time you should return to the online application and submit the application fee.

Indicate your academic and career goals, your interest in the John Glenn College of Public Affairs, and how your education and work experience qualify you for admission. Most personal statements are two to five single-spaced pages. 

*If you are an internal transfer student who started an Ohio State degree that you do not plan to complete before entering the Glenn College, please describe why you do not plan to complete your current degree (e.g., unable to pass qualifying exams, change in research interests), and why you think that the Glenn College is a better fit.

Resume or CV: Be sure to include work experience, volunteer activities, academics and professional honors, honorary societies, extracurricular activities, offices held, any publications and other significant activities.


Three letters of recommendation are required and should reflect the academic and, if relevant, job capability and experiences of the applicant. The letters should speak to the applicant’s ability to excel in an academic professional program. 


  • Letters must be submitted electronically using the online application (select “Public Policy and Management”).
  • While completing your online application, please provide your recommender’s name and email address. The Office of Graduate & Professional Admissions will send an email to the recommenders instructing them to complete a short assessment and upload a PDF recommendation letter. 
  • Inform your letter writers that they will receive an email from Ohio State once you submit the online application. It is the responsibility of the applicant to make sure letters of recommendation are completed by posted deadlines. 
  • If recommenders experience difficulties accessing the link or using the online system, please contact the Office of Graduate & Professional Admissions directly at
  • Letters of recommendation sent directly to the Glenn College will not be accepted.

Upload transcripts from ALL of the universities and colleges you attended with your online application as an attachment. 

  • Transcripts are required, even if classes transferred to another institution, if you attended during high school or completed through a study abroad program.
  • Transcripts are not required for coursework completed at Ohio State. 
  • Submit copies (front and back) of official transcripts. Please submit only scanned images of paper official transcripts issued by your institution’s registrar. Ohio State will not accept web reports, advising reports, self-reported scores or transfer credit on another school’s transcript.

Transcripts submitted with the online application are considered unofficial and, if admitted, you will be required to submit an official set of transcripts with statement of degree (if appropriate) prior to enrolling at Ohio State.

The GRE is optional for all PhD applications unless the applicant’s GPA for the last degree earned is less than 3.0. 

GMAT and LSAT scores will be accepted on a case-by-case basis.

Official GRE and GMAT Codes:

  • GRE Institution Code: 1592; Department Code: 2204
  • GMAT Program Code: ZLJ-GT-29 Master in Public Policy


The Glenn College offers a variety of merit-based funding opportunities for incoming MPA students. In order to be eligible for fellowship and assistantship funding consideration, students must apply by the priority deadline for an autumn semester start to their degree program. Students who apply after that deadline may be considered for scholarship funding. Students who start the program in off-terms (spring and summer) are not eligible for funding. 

The priority-funding deadline for an autumn start is Dec. 1 (domestic) and Nov. 1 (international).

Graduate Assistantships 

Positions that provide a tuition waiver and monthly stipend, while requiring a work commitment of 20 hours per week. In addition to research and administrative positions within the Glenn College, many of our GA students have the opportunity to gain practical policy experience by working 20 hours per week at agencies such as the Columbus City Council and Franklin County Board of Commissioners. Typically, GA recipients have an undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or higher.


The Glenn College is also pleased to offer a number of meritbased scholarships. These awards are fixed amounts that are paid out over one or more years of graduate study. All MPA applicants who meet the Dec. 1 deadline will be considered.

The Ohio State University awards University Fellowships annually on a competitive basis. Fellowships provide a tuition waiver for the first year of graduate study as well as a monthly stipend. University Fellowship recipients typically have an undergraduate GPA of 3.6 or higher.

In addition to University Fellowships, Ohio State also offers Graduate Enrichment Fellowships to students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. Enrichment Fellowship recipients typically have an undergraduate GPA of 3.2 or higher.

For more information about fellowships and the selection process, visit the Graduate School Fellowship page.

Application must be completed by Dec. 1 (Nov. 1 international)

In addition to merit-based financial assistance through the Glenn College, students may also be eligible for loans, universitywide scholarships and other forms of financial aid. For more information, please contact the Ohio State Financial Aid Office or call them at 614-2920300 regarding these matters.

Click here for financial aid and funding information provided by the Graduate School at Ohio State.

Questions? Contact the Doctoral Program Advisor