Aug 15, 2022  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
    
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog

Public Policy, Ph.D.


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Societal needs-for economic growth, better health care, environmental protection, etc. - and resource limitations challenge policymakers to make difficult public policy choices. The doctoral program in public policy prepares its graduates to conduct original research to help scholars and policymakers understand the trade-offs involved in such choices across a broad range of critical issues. In particular, students can focus on:

  1. Policy analysis and program evaluation: How can we predict the consequences of our policy choices? What values should drive those choices? How can we determine which government and nonprofit programs work - producing benefits that exceed their costs?
  2. Public budgeting and finance: How can governments raise the funds necessary to provide public services in as equitable a manner as possible without impeding economic growth? How should and do governments decide which services and programs to fund? How can taxes achieve socially desirable goals?
  3. Public and nonprofit management: How should functions be divided among the governmental, nonprofit, and for-profit sectors? How should managers allocate financial and human resources to meet public needs? How should managers balance equity and efficiency claims?
  4. Urban and Regional Planning and Development: How can we assess and evaluate the complex and dynamic context and forces that shape the growth of cities, communities, and regions? What strategies can be employed to promote equitable and sustainable development? What roles do systems (e.g. transportation, housing) play in creating the environments and communities we desire?

Students can also choose to focus on such substantive policy areas as health, education, economic development, social policy, and disaster management.

The doctoral program prepares its graduates to take positions as college professors or as research-oriented policy analysts in research centers, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. The program assumes that new students have a master’s degree in public policy, public administration, health policy, or a related field, but students may also fulfill master’s prerequisite courses after entering the program. The core courses in the doctoral program build on those master’s prerequisites, providing a strong foundation in policy analysis, program evaluation, microeconomics, quantitative methods, and research design and implementation. Students choose two fields of specialization in which to focus their coursework and research.

The program is intended primarily for full-time students, and the Andrew Young School has been able to fund virtually all full-time students for at least three years. Graduate research assistants work with individual faculty members or with one of the Andrew Young School’s policy research centers, including the Fiscal Research Center, the International Studies Program, the Health Policy Center, and the Nonprofit Studies Program. Over the course of their studies, most students work on both academic and more practical policy-related research projects. Third- and fourth-year students typically have opportunities to teach undergraduate classes.

In recent years, graduates have taken positions with universities (e.g., Syracuse University, Indiana University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, American University, George Washington University, University of Alabama-Birmingham, Florida International University, Sam Houston State University, and California State University- both the Monterey Bay and Stanislaus County campuses) and research oriented government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and consulting firms (e.g., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Government Accountability Office, the World Bank, the International Food Policy Research Institute, CARE International, RTI International, and BearingPoint).

Georgia State also participates in a joint doctoral program in public policy with Georgia Tech. Students in both programs take core courses on both campuses, but students in the joint program may also major in science and technology policy, economic development policy, and environmental policy - which are also fields of research interest for the Georgia Tech faculty.

A Top Ranked Program: The Andrew Young School of Policy Studies (AYSPS) is nationally recognized as a top school in public policy and management. Its many research centers and community outreach efforts provide opportunities to enhance students’ education, as well as often opening doors to attractive jobs. In its “2020 Edition America’s Best Graduate Schools,” the U.S. News and World Report ranked the AYSPS 19th overall among the top 282 public affairs programs in the United States. It also ranked AYSPS in the top ten programs in urban policy, nonprofit management, public finance and budgeting, local government management, and in the top 25 programs in public policy analysis and public management leadership.

Degree Requirements


Requirements and Regulations for the Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy (Georgia State):


Program Requirements


To earn the Ph.D., a student must satisfactorily complete seven general requirements:

  1. Core master’s-level curriculum or its equivalent;
  2. The doctoral core curriculum;
  3. Seven 3-credit hour core courses in areas of specialization (four in the major field and three in the minor field);
  4. This program requires a minimum of 42 credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree;
  5. Full-time enrollment for one academic year;
  6. Doctoral qualifying examinations; and;
  7. Defense of a dissertation.

Core Master’s Program Curriculum


The core master’s program curriculum consists of nine 3-credit hour courses in the six areas that follow. Students may document completion of the core curriculum through coursework taken elsewhere or may select from the courses listed in the current master’s program of the Department of Public Management and Policy, AYSPS. Alternative courses can be taken with permission of the program director.

Policy Analysis: Two courses covering the policy process, policy formulation and implementation, and an introduction to policy analysis. Options include: PMAP 8011 - Politics and Policy  (3), PMAP 8111 - Public Management & Democracy  (3), and PMAP 8531 - Policy Analysis  (3).

Organizational Analysis: One course offering broad coverage of the theories and concepts of organizational behavior and administrative theory and the analysis of organizational processes. Options include: PMAP 8171 - Public Management Systems and Strategies  (3) and PMAP 8151 - Leadership and Organizational Behavior  (3).

Techniques of Analysis: Two courses that cover basic statistical analysis (descriptive and inferential statistics to include multiple regression analysis), research design, and an applied research experience. Options include: PMAP 8121 - Applied Research Methods and Statistics I  (3) and, PMAP 8131 - Applied Research Methods and Statistics II  (3).

Economics and Public Finance: Two courses that cover the theories and concepts of micro- and/or macroeconomics and an introduction to public finance. Options include: PMAP 8141 - Microeconomics for Public Policy  (3), PMAP 8161 - Public Budgeting and Finance , and ECON 8460 - Economics of the State and Local Public Sector  (3).

Calculus: One course covering differential and integral calculus and matrix algebra. Options include: ECON 6030 - Introduction to Mathematics for Economists  (3) and MATH 2211 Calculus of One Variable I (3).

Program of Study


Core Curriculum.

Building on skills developed at the master’s level, the doctoral core curriculum provides students with an in-depth survey of public policy theory and research; a firm grounding in the philosophy of science; rigorous training in econometric and other quantitative methods, microeconomics, program evaluation, and policy analysis; practical experience in designing and conducting empirical research; and a capstone class to prepare for the dissertation. Core courses are generally offered once a year and are shared between the AYSPS at Georgia State and the School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech. All courses in the core curriculum are three semester credit hours. Students must earn a grade of B or higher in all core courses to maintain their doctoral candidacy.

Research Methods Elective Course (3 Credit Hours)

Choose one course from the following list. Students may also be able to select an alternative course with the consent of the program director.

Major Fields

All doctoral students must complete a minimum of four courses (12) in one of three major fields of study. At least one course must be taken at the doctoral level. The major field may be chosen from the specializations listed below. An alternative field may also be chosen with the consent of the program director:

  • Public Finance and Budgeting
  • Public and Nonprofit Management
  • Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation
  • Urban and Regional Planning and Development
Public Finance and Budgeting

This specialization provides students with the theoretical and empirical tools necessary to analyze the adequacy of tax expenditure policies on income and other disparities; and the fiscal role of governments at different levels.
Required Courses (3 Credit Hours)

Students are required to take the following course, or an equivalent doctoral level budgeting course with the consent of the program director:

Elective Courses (9 Credit Hours)

Choose three courses from the following list. One or more courses may be substituted with an alternative course or directed reading on a topic related to the field through a petition to the program director. Additionally, please note that when taking a master’s level course (specifically PMAP 8261 , PMAP 8501 , ECON 8460 , or ECON 8470 ), students must work with the professor to develop coursework with a Ph.D. level emphasis. Appropriate assignments include more advanced reading, literature reviews, and research on key topics.

Public and Nonprofit Management

This specialization encompasses the legal and political context of public and nonprofit management, the governance and management of public and nonprofit organizations, the management of volunteer and charitable resources, the economics and financing of public and nonprofit organizations, and the process of advocacy and public policy development. Emphasis is given to the roles and relationships of government and nonprofit organizations in civil society, democracy, and the delivery of public services and the functioning of a market economy.
Doctoral Courses

Choose at least one 3-credit hours course. Students may also be able to select an alternative course with consent of the program director.

Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation

This specialization prepares students to conduct research on the design, analysis, and evaluation of public policies. The design of public policies encompasses the choice of tools for pursuing policy goals; the assessment of the influence of the larger economic, political, and governmental context on public policies; and an understanding of the effect of policies on target groups, institutions, and society more generally. Policy analysis, which includes program evaluation, uses theoretical frameworks and empirical methods to assess the potential and actual effects of public policies and their alternatives.
Doctoral Courses

Choose at least one 3-credit hours course. Students may also be able to select an alternative course with the consent of the program director:

Master’s Courses

Students may also be able to select an alternative course with the consent of the program director:

Urban and Regional Planning and Development

This concentration will explore various topics related to urban and regional planning and development, as well as the strategies and government policies designed to stimulate growth. Students in this concentration will understand the challenges of developing regions, cities and communities that are economically dynamic, socially equitable and environmentally sustainable and will be acquainted with the theories, frameworks and methods instrumental in urban and regional analysis.

Doctoral Courses

One required doctoral level class (3 credit hours) Students may also be able to select an alternative course with the consent of the program director.

Master’s Courses

Students may also be able to select an alternative course with the consent of the program director.

Minor Fields

All doctoral students must also complete a minimum of three courses (9) in a minor field of study. At least one course must be taken at the doctoral level. Students are strongly encouraged to construct their minor field in one of the following ways:

  • Select a minor field from the specialty fields described above. One might, for instance, use Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation as a methods field.
  • Select a minor field in a different substantive policy area, such as health policy, education policy, or emergency management.
  • Select a minor field in a discipline that supports the student’s main course of study, such as economics, political science, or psychology.

Graduate Assistantship


Graduate assistants are required to enroll for a minimum of 12 credit hours each semester. These credit hours consist of course required for the prescribed 42 credit hours program of study, as well as additional hours of PMAP 9901 - Dissertation Research . PMAP 9901  involves faculty -supervised research.

Full-time Residency Requirement


Before taking the final written qualifying examination, a student must complete one year (two consecutive semesters) of full-time residency. For this requirement, full-time enrollment is 12 credit hours per semester and must include three credit hours of research assistantship or directed research experience. In addition, throughout the period before completing the prescribed coursework, a student must take at least 12 credit hours in every twelve-month period.

Doctoral Qualifying Examination and Major Area Paper


Students must pass a core comprehensive qualifying examination within one year of completing the prescribed coursework. The comprehensive qualifying examination will consist of:

  1. Written Qualifying Examinations
    Students will take one written examination in the theory and methods of public policy studies. The exam will be given twice per year, and students must notify the program director in writing of their intention to take the examinations one month before they occur.
  2. Oral Qualifying Examination.
    At the discretion of the Examining Committee, an oral examination may be required as part of the qualifying examination process prior to a determination as to whether the written examination is satisfactory.
  3. Students will only be permitted a second attempt to pass any qualifying examination they fail upon the recommendation, by majority vote, of the group of faculty members who graded the examination. A maximum of two attempts is permitted.
  4. Students must pass a major area paper after completing their field coursework according to the timeline described below. Also, in some cases, as identified in the grading rubric, students will be allowed to revise a major area paper that does not initially receive a passing score within a 2 month timeframe. 

After finishing the classes in their major field, students are required to write a major area paper. This paper should identify an area in the major field defined in the student’s program of study that is of interest to the student. The student should not review this major field in its entirety but instead focus on a single area. The student should provide a critical review of the literature in this area. The review should not simply summarize the findings from individual studies but instead seek to synthesize them, allowing the student to identify in their discussion well-supported findings as well as potential gaps in the literature. This paper is broader in scope than a dissertation proposal, seeking to provide an overview of one area in their major field and a synthesis of the literature rather than a proposal that supports the investigation of a particular research question. This exercise is expected to be productive - the gaps and questions identified should help to identify potential dissertation topics. The text of this major area paper should be double-spaced and about 25-30 pages in length. In addition, it should include an additional discussion of about 5 pages that presents 2 or 3 potential research questions drawn from this literature review. These questions may form the basis for a dissertation proposal.

This paper will be reviewed by a committee formed by the group of tenured/tenure-track faculty who have taught the student courses in their major field. At the discretion of the committee, an additional faculty member with relevant expertise may be asked to become a member. In some cases, this additional faculty member may replace one of the faculty who have taught a course in the student’s major field. When relevant, the student should use insights from courses taken in the major field in their MAP. In some cases, only a few such connections will occur.  This is acceptable since the scope of our coursework is limited. While the committee may work with the student in identifying a particular area of focus, the remainder of the project (the identification of the relevant studies, the synthesis of this material, and the identification of potential research questions) must be done by the student on their own. The committee will evaluate the student according to whether the paper successfully meets the following 5 criteria:

  1. Adequately identifies important components of study within this area
  2. Successfully identifies key findings in the literature
  3. Successfully identifies potential shortcomings in the literature
  4. Provide a sophisticated synthesis of the literature rather just a summary of the results of previous research in a piecemeal fashion.
  5. Successfully identifies and provides support for 2 or 3 potential research questions

In each of these areas, students will receive a rating from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest), with the following designations: (1) unsatisfactory (2) needs improvement in many areas (3) needs improvement in a few areas (4) meets expectations (5) exceeds expectations. Students must receive an overall score of at least 15 to receive a passing grade on this paper. Students receiving an overall score below 10 will receive a failing grade. Those students receiving an overall score that ranges from 10 to 14 will be allowed once to revise and resubmit their paper for an additional review by the committee.  This major area paper must be completed 4 months from the start of the following semester after students complete their final course in their major field. Thus, if a student completes their final course in their major field in the fall, then they will have 4 months from the start of the spring semester to complete this paper. If students receive a score allowing a revision of the paper, they then will have an additional 2 months to complete this paper. This 2 month period begins as soon as the student is notified of their score.  If students fail to complete this paper within this timeframe, then they will receiving a failing grade. If students are still required to successfully complete their core comprehensive exams after completing their courses in their major field, then this 4 month time limit will begin at the beginning of the following semester. Under extraordinary circumstances, students are allowed to petition the doctoral committee to request additional time to complete this paper.

The Dissertation


The dissertation allows the Ph.D. candidate to demonstrate his or her ability to conduct a research program leading to a significant contribution to the candidate’s discipline. Students must obtain approval of their dissertation proposal within one calendar year after completing their comprehensive exams. Dissertation guidelines are available at aysps.gsu.edu/oaa/dissertation-guidelines.

At the time the electronic version of the student’s dissertation (ETD) is posted on the Georgia State University Library server, students must choose the availability option, “Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide,” unless they have received approval to restrict distribution from the AYSPS Associate Dean. A letter showing this approval, which will be granted only for a maximum of one year, must be on file in the Office of Academic Assistance prior to graduation.

  1. The Dissertation Committee.
    After successfully completing the two qualifying examinations, the student forms a Dissertation Committee. The Dissertation Committee consists of a chair plus three or four additional members. Students are encouraged to include outside members on their committees as appropriate. Students will choose a committee chair with the advice and approval of the program director and will choose the remaining members of the committee with the advice and approval of the committee chair and program director. Once the committee is chosen, the student may change the membership of the committee only with the advice and approval of the program director.
  2. The Dissertation Proposal and Oral Defense.
    1. In consultation with the Dissertation Committee, the student will develop a dissertation proposal. The proposal should include a summary of the following: the purpose of the study; the nature of the subject to be investigated and its importance; a brief review of the literature; the nature of the hypotheses to be developed or tested; the empirical methodology, techniques, and data sources, if any, to be used; and a time frame for completion of the dissertation. Normally, the proposal should not exceed 40 pages.
    2. The student will present and defend the dissertation proposal in a public presentation that will be open to faculty and graduate students from both schools and announced two weeks prior to the date it is scheduled. The Dissertation Committee will question the student in a two-hour oral examination, and then vote to determine whether the student has a satisfactory research topic and design. A unanimous decision by the student’s Dissertation Committee is required. The approving members will sign the dissertation proposal defense approval form. Upon submission of the proposal defense approval form, the student is admitted to candidacy for the degree.
    3. Submission of the approval form does not constitute a contractual agreement between the students and the Dissertation Committee. It is within the scope and function of the Dissertation Committee to recommend modifications to the research as it proceeds.
  3. The Final Dissertation Defense.
    When the candidate’s Dissertation Committee judges that the dissertation is complete, the student must defend it orally in a final dissertation defense, subject to rules governing Georgia State University graduate study. At least two weeks before the final dissertation defense, the student must submit an abstract of the dissertation to the program director, who will issue an announcement of the scheduling of the candidate’s dissertation defense. Any interested faculty member or graduate student may attend the examination and participate in the discussion. At the completion of the oral defense, members of the dissertation committee will vote on the dissertation’s approval or disapproval. Unanimous approval is required.

Regulations for the Degree


  1. Oversight.
    An Admissions and Coordinating (A & C) Committee, consisting of five tenure-track faculty, four from the Department of Public Management and Policy and one from the Department of Economics, has jurisdiction over and is chiefly responsible for policy relating to admissions, program curriculum, rules and regulations, and operations of the degree program. The faculty of the Department of Public Management and Policy, in accordance with its procedures and bylaws, select members of the A & C Committee.
  2. Scholastic Warning and Termination.
    The doctoral grade-point average (GPA) is defined as the GPA for all courses numbered 6000 or higher taken after admission to the doctoral program. Each student must maintain a 3.30 doctoral GPA (B average). The doctoral GPA could differ from the GPA calculated by the university and reported on the student’s official transcript, since the university GPA could also include the grades from all courses taken at Georgia State before admission to the doctoral program. For graduation, a student may have a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or above in all courses at Georgia State taken at the graduate level, regardless of the degree program.
  3. Standards of Performance.
    To continue in the program, a student must make reasonable and timely progress toward the degree in terms of coursework completed and examinations. A determination that a student is not making satisfactory progress and should be terminated from the program may be made at several points in his or her program, including failure to achieve and maintain a doctoral GPA of at least 3.30, failure to pass 12 credit hours within a twelve-month period, failure of the comprehensive qualifying examination, or failure to successfully defend a dissertation proposal or dissertation. In all such cases, a recommendation of dismissal must be made to the Admissions and Coordinating Committee, which will review the case and issue a final decision regarding termination from the program.
  4. Appeals.
    All student appeals regarding grades and other faculty actions affecting students will be adjudicated through the appeals process governing the Andrew Young School. If the appeal concerns an Admissions & Coordinating Committee action, the student must appeal the action to the Chair of the Department of Public Management and Policy, then to the Academic Program Committee of the school (with approval required to overturn the action), then to the Dean of the school.
  5. Time Limits for the Degree.
    These time limits should be interpreted as the maximum amount of time students may take to complete each of the degree requirements. It is anticipated that most students will complete the requirements much earlier than the maximum time limits specified below:
    1. All required coursework and both written examinations must be completed within four years from the semester of entry into the doctoral program.
    2. Both qualifying examinations must be successfully completed within one year after completion of coursework.
    3. The Dissertation Committee must be appointed and the dissertation proposal must be defended and approved within one year after completion of comprehensive examinations.
    4. All requirements for the degree, including the dissertation, must be completed within seven years from the semester of entry into the doctoral program.

Requirements and Regulations for the Joint Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy (Georgia State & Georgia Institute of Technology)


Program Requirements


To earn the joint Ph.D., a student must satisfactorily complete eight general requirements:

  1. A core master’s-level curriculum or its equivalent;
  2. The doctoral core curriculum;
  3. Seven courses in two elective fields (areas of specialization);
  4. Full-time enrollment for one academic year;
  5. This program requires a minimum of 42 credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree;
  6. At least three courses with faculty from each school;
  7. Doctoral qualifying examinations;
  8. Defense of a dissertation.

Core Master’s Program Curriculum


The core master’s program curriculum consists of nine courses in the following areas. Students may document completion of the core curriculum through coursework taken elsewhere or may select from the listed courses offered in the master’s program at either institution. Alternative courses can be taken with permission of the program director.

Policy Analysis: Two courses covering the policy process, policy formulation and implementation, and an introduction to policy analysis. Options include: PMAP 8011 , PMAP 8111 , PMAP 8531 , [PUBP 6012], and [PUBP 6018].

Organizational Analysis: One course offering broad coverage of the theories and concepts of organizational behavior and administrative theory and the analysis of organizational processes. Options include: PMAP 8171 , and [PUBP 6014].

Techniques of Analysis: Two courses that cover basic statistical analysis (descriptive and inferential statistics to include multiple regression analysis), research design, and an applied research experience. Options include: PMAP 8121 , PMAP 8131 , PMAP 8521 , PMAP 8551, [PUBP 6112], and [PUBP 6114].

Economics and Public Finance: Two courses that cover the theories and concepts of micro- and/or macroeconomics and an introduction to public finance. Options include: PMAP 8141 , PMAP 8161 , ECON 8460 , [PUBP 6116], and [PUBP 6118].

Calculus: One course covering differential and integral calculus and matrix algebra. Options include: ECON 6030 , MATH 2211.

Program of Study


Core Curriculum.

Building on skills developed at the master’s level, the core doctoral curriculum provides students with an in-depth survey of public policy theory and research; a firm grounding in the philosophy of science; rigorous training in econometric and other quantitative methods, microeconomics, program evaluation, and policy analysis; practical experience in designing and conducting empirical research; and a capstone class to prepare for the dissertation. Core courses are generally offered once a year and can be taught on either campus. All courses are three semester credit hours. Students must earn a grade of B or higher in all core courses to maintain their doctoral candidacy.

Required Courses (24 Credit Hours)

Major Fields

All doctoral students must complete a minimum of four courses (12 credit hours) in their major field of study. At least one course must be taken at the doctoral level. The major field may be chosen from the specializations listed below. An alternative field may also be chosen with the consent of the program director.

  • Environmental Policy
  • Health Policy
  • Policy Design and Evaluation
  • Public Finance and Budgeting
  • Public and Nonprofit Management
  • Science and Technology Policy
  • Urban and Regional Economic Development
Environmental Policy

Environmental issues increasingly confront policymakers and affect economic development. This program of study is designed to prepare students to evaluate the impact of various environmental policies and acquire the necessary tools to develop new policies that address environmental issues and needs.
Doctoral Courses

Choose at least one course. Students may also be able to select an alternative course with the consent of the program director.

Master’s Courses

Students may also be able to select an alternative course with the consent of the program director.

  • 3 Credit Hours
  • 3 Credit Hours
  • [PUBP 6300] Earth Systems
  • [PUBP 6310] Environmental Issues
  • [PUBP 6312] Economics of Environmental Policy
  • [PUBP 6314] Policy Tools for Environmental Management
  • [PUBP 6320] Sustainable Systems: Concepts and Measures
  • [PUBP 6324] Environmental and Technological Risk Management
  • [PUBP 6326] Environmental Values and Policy Goals
  • [PUBP 6329] Environmental Policy and Implementation
  • [PUBP 6330] Environmental Law
Health Policy

The courses in this specialization link health-related research, policy, and programs by focusing on knowledge utilization, policy implementation, and outcome evaluation. Central issues are contributors to health, issues of equity, and understanding of social and economic contexts of health. Prerequisite: master’s level health economics course (HA 8250  or equivalent).

Doctoral Courses

Choose at least one course. Students may also be able to select an alternative course with the consent of the program director.

Master’s Courses

Students may also be able to select an alternative course with the consent of the program director.

Electives at Georgia State

Students may also be able to select an alternative course with the consent of the program director.

* Law courses have the first year of law school as a prerequisite, so they will not be appropriate for most students.

Electives at Georgia Tech

Students may also be able to select an alternative course with the consent of the program director.

  • [PUBP 6324] Environmental and Technological Risk Management
  • [HS 4001] Introduction to Health Systems
  • [HS 6000] Introduction to Healthcare Delivery
  • [HS 6100] Healthcare Delivery Systems Models
  • [HS 6200] Healthcare Financial Management
  • [HS 6300] Healthcare Information Systems
  • [HS 6400] Health Systems Practice
  • [MGT 6788] Legal Issues in Biomedical Engineering
  • [MGT 6789] Technology Transfer in Biomedical Engineering
Policy Design, Analysis and Evaluation:

This specialization prepares students to conduct research on the design, analysis, and evaluation of public policies. The design of public policies encompasses the choice of tools for pursuing policy goals, the assessment of the influence of the larger economic, political, and governmental context on public policies, as well as an understanding of the larger economic, political and governmental context on public policies, as well as an understanding of the effect of policies on target groups, institutions, and society more generally. Policy analysis, which includes program evaluation, involves the use of theoretical frameworks and empirical methods to answer questions applied to substantive policy issues about the potential and actual effects of public policies as well as the valuation of policy alternatives.
Doctoral Courses

Choose at least one course. Students may also be able to select an alternative course with the consent of the program director.

Master’s Courses

Students may also be able to select an alternative course with the consent of the program director.

Public Finance and Budgeting

This specialization provides students with the theoretical and empirical tools necessary to analyze the adequacy of tax expenditure policies on income and other disparities; and the fiscal role of governments at different levels.
Required Courses

Students may also be able to select an alternative course with the consent of the program director.

Elective Courses (6 Hours)

Choose two courses from the following list. One or more courses may be substituted with an alternative course or directed reading on a topic related to the field through a petition to the program director.

Public and Nonprofit Management

This specialization encompasses the legal and political context of public and nonprofit management, the governance and management of public and nonprofit organizations, the management of volunteer and charitable resources, the economics and financing of public and nonprofit organizations, and the process of advocacy and public policy development. Emphasis is given to the roles and relationships of government and nonprofit organizations in civil society, democracy, and the delivery of public services and the functioning of a market economy.
Doctoral Courses

Choose at least one course. Students may also be able to select an alternative course with the consent of the program director.

Master’s Courses

Students may also be able to select an alternative course with the consent of the program director.

Science and Technology Policy

Through this program of study, students examine the interaction between science, technology, and the policy process. Students will explore the range of policies used by the governments in promoting and regulating science, technology, and innovation across the globe. Coursework will cover the sources and stimuli for innovation, the roles of universities, industry-government agreements, joint R&D ventures, and technology transfer. Students will also examine science and technology as social institutions. Particular attention is given to understanding the production and diffusion of scientific and technological knowledge.
Doctoral Course

Students may also be able to select an alternative course with the consent of the program director.

  • [PUBP 8530] Advanced Topics in Technology and Science Policy
Master’s Courses

Students may also be able to select an alternative course with the consent of the program director.

  • [PUBP 6401] Science, Technology, and Public Policy
  • [PUBP 6402] Research Policy and Management
  • [PUBP 6414] Technological Innovation and Government Policy
  • [PUBP 6415] Technology, Regions, and Policy
  • [PUBP 6417] Critical Perspectives on Science and Technology
  • [PUBP 6418] Comparative Science and Technology Policy
  • [PUBP 6421] Development of Large-Scale Socio-Technical Systems
Urban and Regional Economic Development

At the heart of this program is an exploration of government policies designed to stimulate economic development. Particular emphasis is given to exploring the competitiveness of small business and the modernization of manufacturers. Students will also explore the physical urban infrastructure such as water, sewer, transportation, and waste disposal systems. They are also presented the policy tools for analyzing this class of public issue.
Doctoral Courses

Choose at least one course. Students may also be able to select an alternative course with the consent of the program director.

Master’s Courses

Students may also be able to select an alternative course with the consent of the program director.

Minor Fields

All doctoral students must also complete a minimum of three courses (9 credit hours) in their minor field of study. At least one course must be taken at the doctoral level. They are strongly encouraged to construct their minor field in one of three ways:

  • Select a minor field from the specialty fields described above. One might, for instance, use Policy Design and Evaluation as a methods field.
  • Select a minor field in a different substantive policy area, such as education policy or emergency management.
  • Select a minor field in a discipline that supports their main course of study, such as economics, political science, or psychology.

Full-time Residency Requirement


Before taking the final written qualifying examination, a student must complete one year (two consecutive semesters) of full-time residency. For this requirement, full-time enrollment is 12 credit hours per semester and must include three credit hours of research assistantship or directed research experience. In addition, throughout the period before completing the prescribed coursework, a student must take at least 12 credit hours in every twelve-month period.

Joint Enrollment Residency Requirements


Students must satisfactorily complete (with a grade of “B” or better) at least nine credit hours of coursework taught by Georgia State faculty and at least nine credit hours of coursework taught by Georgia Tech faculty (exclusive of dissertation credit). Courses taught jointly by Georgia Tech and Georgia State faculty may be counted toward fulfillment of either requirement. Courses that are simply cross-listed in both schools will not meet the standard of being jointly taught.

Doctoral Qualifying Examinations


Students must pass all parts of a comprehensive qualifying examination within one year of completing the prescribed coursework. The comprehensive qualifying examination will consist of:

Written Qualifying Examinations. Students will take two written examinations, one in the theory and methods of public policy studies and one in their major area of specialization (elective fields). Examinations will be given twice per year, and students must notify the program director in writing of their intention to take the examinations one month before they occur.

Oral Qualifying Examination. At the discretion of the Examining Committee, an oral examination may be required as part of the qualifying examination process prior to a determination as to whether the written examination is satisfactory.

Students will only be permitted a second attempt to pass any qualifying examination they fail upon the recommendation, by majority vote, of the group of faculty members who graded the examination. A maximum of two attempts is permitted.

The Dissertation


The dissertation allows the Ph.D. candidate to demonstrate his or her ability to conduct a research program leading to a significant contribution to the candidate’s discipline. Students must obtain approval of their dissertation proposal within one calendar year after completing their comprehensive exams. Dissertation guidelines are available at aysps.gsu.edu/oaa/dissertation-guidelines.

At the time the electronic version of the student’s dissertation (ETD) is posted on the Georgia State University Library server, students must choose the availability option, “Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide,” unless they have received approval to restrict distribution from the AYSPS Associate Dean. A letter showing this approval, which will be granted only for a maximum of one year, must be on file in the Office of Academic Assistance prior to graduation.

The Dissertation Committee. After successfully completing the two qualifying examinations, the student forms a Dissertation Committee. The Dissertation Committee consists of a chair plus four additional members. At least three members must be core faculty of the joint doctoral program, meaning faculty of the School of Public Policy at Georgia Institute of Technology or the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. The committee must include at least one member from each School. Students are encouraged to include outside members on their committees as appropriate. Students will choose a committee chair with the advice and approval of the program director and will choose the remaining members of the committee with the advice and approval of the committee chair and program director. Once the committee is chosen, the student may change the membership of the committee only with the advice and approval of the program director.

The Dissertation Proposal and Oral Defense.

  1. In consultation with the Dissertation Committee, the student will develop a dissertation proposal. The proposal should include a summary of the following: the purpose of the study; the nature of the subject to be investigated and its importance; a brief review of the literature; the nature of the hypotheses to be developed or tested; the empirical methodology, techniques, and data sources, if any, to be used; and a time frame for completion of the dissertation. Normally, the proposal should not exceed 40 pages.
  2. The student will present and defend the dissertation proposal in a public presentation that will be open to faculty and graduate students from both schools and announced two weeks prior to the date it is scheduled. The Dissertation Committee will question the student in a two-hour oral examination, and then vote to determine if the student has a satisfactory research topic and design. A unanimous decision by the student’s Dissertation Committee is required. The approving members will sign the dissertation proposal defense approval form. Upon submission of the proposal defense approval form, the student is admitted to candidacy for the degree.
  3. Submission of the approval form does not constitute a contractual agreement between the students and the Dissertation Committee. It is within the scope and function of the Dissertation Committee to recommend modifications to the research as it proceeds.

The Final Dissertation Defense. When the candidate’s Dissertation Committee judges that the dissertation is complete, the student must defend it orally in a final dissertation defense, subject to rules governing Georgia Institute of Technology and Georgia State University graduate study. At least two weeks before the final dissertation defense, the student must submit an abstract of the dissertation to the program director, who will issue an announcement of the scheduling of the candidate’s dissertation defense. Any interested faculty member or graduate student may attend the examination and participate in the discussion. At the completion of the oral defense, members of the dissertation committee will vote on the dissertation’s approval or disapproval. Unanimous approval is required.

Regulations for the Degree


Joint Oversight. An Admissions and Coordinating (A & C) Committee, consisting of six tenure-track faculty, three from Georgia State University and three from Georgia Institute of Technology, has jurisdiction over and is chiefly responsible for policy relating to admissions, program curriculum, rules and regulations, and operations of the joint degree program. The faculties of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies and the School of Public Policy, in accordance with their procedures and bylaws, select members of the A & C Committee.

Scholastic Warning and Termination. The doctoral grade-point average (GPA) is defined as the GPA for all courses numbered 6000 or higher taken after admission to the doctoral program. Each student must maintain a 3.00 doctoral GPA (B average). The doctoral GPA could differ from the GPA calculated by the universities and reported on the student’s official transcript, since the university GPA could also include the grades from all courses taken at Georgia State or Georgia Tech before admission to the doctoral program. For graduation, a student may have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or above in all courses at Georgia State taken at the graduate level, regardless of the degree program.

Standards of Performance. To continue in the program, a student must make reasonable and timely progress toward the degree in terms of coursework completed and examinations. A determination that a student is not making satisfactory progress and should be terminated from the program may be made at several points in his or her program, including failure to achieve and maintain a doctoral GPA of at least 3.00, failure to pass 12 credit hours within a twelve-month period, failure of the comprehensive qualifying examination, or failure to successfully defend a dissertation proposal or dissertation. In all such cases, a recommendation of dismissal must be made to the Admissions and Coordinating Committee, which will review the case and issue a final decision regarding termination from the program.

Petitions. Where a student believes that unusual circumstances invalidate any of the regulations or requirements relating to the degree in his or her particular case, the student may write to the A & C Committee and request exemption from or change in the policy. The petition by the student must be submitted with accompanying justifications. In all such cases, the A & C Committee will review the case and issue a final decision regarding the petition.

Appeals. All student appeals regarding grades and other faculty actions affecting students will be adjudicated through the appeals process governing the School where the action occurred. If the appeal concerns an A & C Committee action or other joint program action, the student must appeal the action first to the faculties of both schools (with approval from both required to overturn the action), then to the graduate committees of both institutions (with approval from both required to overturn the action).

Time Limits for the Degree. These time limits should be interpreted as the maximum amount of time students may take to complete each of the degree requirements. It is anticipated that most students will complete the requirements much earlier than the maximum time limits specified below:

  1. All required coursework and both written examinations must be completed within four years from the semester of entry into the doctoral program.
  2. Both qualifying examinations must be successfully completed, the Dissertation Committee must be appointed, and the dissertation proposal must be defended and approved within one year after completion of coursework.
  3. All requirements for the degree, including the dissertation, must be completed within seven years from the semester of entry into the doctoral program.

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