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The University of Texas at Dallas
Graduate Admissions

Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy and Political Economy


Professors: Sheila Amin Gutiérrez De Piñeres, Brian J. L. Berry, Ronald Briggs (emeritus), Lloyd J. Dumas, Euel W. Elliott, Donald A. Hicks, Irving J. Hoch (emeritus), Murray J. Leaf, Lawrence J. Redlinger, Richard K. Scotch
Associate Professors: Bobby C. Alexander, Simon M.
Fass, Jennifer S. Holmes, Sheryl L. Skaggs
Clinical Assistant Professors:
Rodolfo Hernandez Guerrero

Mission Statement

The mission of the Ph.D. program in Public Policy and Political Economy is to prepare our students for professional positions in research, teaching, and practice in fields related to public policy and political economy, and in both academic and nonacademic settings. We prepare students through instruction in social science and public policy concepts, advanced methodological knowledge, applied social research techniques, and professional communication skills. PPPE students and faculty are encouraged to promote an inclusive and diverse environment that is committed to continued scholarship and service.


         Students will demonstrate the ability to apply social science and public policy theories and concepts.

         Students will develop competency in advanced methods of social science and public policy research and analysis.

         Students will develop basic skills in professional communication appropriate to the public policy and political economy research and analysis.


Students have access to the computing faculties in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences and University’s Computing Center. The School has two computing laboratories that have over 50 computers that are network linked and equipped with major social science software packages, including E-Views, R, Rats, SPSS and Stata. A geographic information system, the Lexis Nexis database, and Westlaw are also available for student use. The University’s Computing Center provides personal computers and UNIX Workstations. Many important data and reference materials are also available online via the library and the school’s memberships in numerous organizations.

Admission Requirements

The PhD. in Public Policy and Political Economy seeks applications from students with a baccalaureate degree from an accredited university or college. An undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.2, and a combined verbal and quantitative GRE score of 1200, or equivalent score on the GMAT, are desirable. Students may also wish to consider submitting their score from the writing component of the GRE test as additional evidence of their writing skills. Standardized test scores are only one of the factors taken into account in determining admission. Students should also submit all transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a one-page essay outlining the applicant’s background, education, and professional objectives.


While there are no specific course prerequisites, entering students will benefit from exposure to undergraduate courses in economics, political science, sociology, calculus, statistics, and research design.

Degree Requirements

The PhD in Public Policy and Political Economy requires a minimum of 75 post-baccalaureate graduate credit hours. Full-time students can complete the degree in an average of 5 years.

Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA in their graduate courses in the degree program, and earn a grade of at least 3.0 (B) for all core courses. If placed on probation, students will have one semester to bring their cumulative grade point average to a 3.0 or greater. Any student who receives two Cs will not be allowed to continue in the program.

Students must complete the following:

         33 hours of core courses

         12 hours of field courses (six hours in two fields of the student’s choice)

         6 hours area of specialization (in one of the fields of the student’s choice)

         A Methods Qualifying Examination in Quantitative Methods and Research Design

         Matriculation to the dissertation phase

         Successful completion of a dissertation

         Successful completion of 75 credit hours including electives

The requirements are outlined in further detail below:

I. Core Requirements (33 hours)

Students complete a core sequence of courses as follows:

1. Six hours of coursework in Government and Public Policy:

POEC 6313 Public Policymaking and Institutions

POEC 6329 Ethics, Culture, and Public Policy

2. Six hours of Theories of Political Economy

POEC 6312 Social Economic Theories

ECON 5321 Microeconomic Theory for Applications

or POEC 6390 Innovation and Public Policy

3. Fifteen hours of Empirical Methods

   Methods Core (Algebra-based or Calculus based)

Algebra-based series

EPPS 6313 Introduction to Quantitative Methods
EPPS 6316 Applied Regression


Calculus-based series

EPPS 7313 Descriptive and Inferential Statistics
EPPS 7316 Regression and Multivariate Analysis

Students are strongly encouraged to take the calculus-based sequence, which is better preparation for the methods qualifying exam and more advanced methods courses. 

Students will also take at least three additional courses from a set of courses approved by the relevant graduate program committee. Students may obtain a list of those courses from the program office.

4. Six hours of Research Design

EPPS 6310 Research Design I
EPPS 6342 Research Design II

II. Field Courses (12 hours)

Students take a two course introductory sequence in two of the following five fields.  The fields and required courses are as follows:


POEC 6354 Theories and Issues of Development (Required), and:

Select one of the following:

POEC/PSCI 6335 Institutions and Development

POEC 6360/ECON 6352 World Political Economy

POEC/PSCI 6362 Political Development

POEC 6364 Development Economics

POEC 6368 Population and Development

POEC 6392 Management and Practice of International Development

International Conflict and Security (Select two of the following):

POEC/PSCI 6361 Political Violence and Terrorism

POEC 6369 National and International Security Strategies and Policies

PSCI 6300 Proseminar in Comparative Politics and International Relations

International Political Economy (Select two of the following):

PSCI 6300 Proseminar in Comparative Politics and International Relations

PSCI 6309 International Political Economy

PSCI 6316 International Organizations

POEC 6360/ECON 6352 World Political Economy

Social Policy

SOC 6340 Domestic Social Policy

SOC 6350 Social Stratification

Students may request that alternative courses be substituted in a particular field with the approval of the program director. Moreover, students may, in consultation with the Program Director, define a new field provided that appropriate coursework is available in a coherent research literature is identified. *Note: (1) Students may only count POEC 6360 World Political Economy as a field course for either Development or International Political Economy, not for both.  

III. Area of Specialization (6 hours)

The student takes at least six hours of additional coursework in one of the field areas as defined above. The specific required courses are designated by the faculty associated with that area of concentration and may be obtained from the program office. The student completes a dissertation in one of the two fields (see above) and must successfully defend the dissertation before a duly constituted dissertation committee, in accordance with the requirements of the University and the UT System.

IV. Methods Qualifying Exam and Matriculation to the Dissertation Phase

To advance to the dissertation stage of the program, students are evaluated by the Program Committee based on (a Methods Qualifying Examination :

1) A qualifying examination in methods:

This examination will evaluate the students’ methodological skills in areas covering probability, statistics, regression analysis, and research design. The exam will be graded by the Methods Examination Committee as Unsatisfactory, Satisfactory or Excellent. The exam will be administered at the end of a full time student’s first year, or the equivalent point in a part time student’s career. A student receiving a grade of unsatisfactory may take the exam for a second time at the start of the fall semester of the second year. All students are required to take the methods qualifying exam by the end of their second year to be allowed to continue in the doctoral program.

2) A workshop paper prepared for a research workshop offered in PPPE or a related program that includes at least the following elements: a statement of the question, a literature review, and a research design to address the question. .

The workshop paper will be submitted to a committee appointed by the program director, who will review the paper and advise the student of any deficiencies or potential problems. The committee will assess whether the candidate’s workshop paper demonstrates that the student has the skills and knowledge necessary to write a dissertation. If the paper is assessed as satisfactory, the student will be designated as doctoral level. Alternatively, the committee could recommend remedial or additional work in a specific area and specify a time frame for the completion of such work.  A detailed discussion of the workshop paper requirement can be found in the PPPE Advising Guide.  Students are urged to read and make sure they understand what is expected of them. The Advising Guide is available through the Public Policy and Political Economy program office and on the program’s webpage.

If, in the judgment of the committee, the student is not prepared to write a dissertation, the student will either be asked to complete remedial work or will be designated as Masters level. Receipt of a Masters level designation means the student is not allowed to proceed to the doctoral stage. The student may continue taking courses and may pursue one of the school’s Master’s programs by completing the appropriate degree requirements.

IV. Dissertation Seminar

Students must register for POEC 8398 Dissertation Seminar for a minimum of one semester after passing the MQE and workshop paper requirements. The aim of the Dissertation Seminar is to assist students in the formulation of a dissertation topic, and prepare a dissertation topic for submission to a dissertation Committee and defense of the proposal before the committee. The Dissertation Seminar is to be taken as an independent study course under the supervision of the student’s likely dissertation supervisor. Students seeking advising concerning a suitable dissertation topic or appropriate supervisor are encouraged to consult with the program director.

VI. Electives

Students take free electives in areas of interest to fulfill the 75-hour PhD requirement.

Ph.D. students should note that they are eligible to receive Master’s degrees offered by the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences while they matriculate toward the doctorate. These degrees include the Master of Public Affairs, Master of Public Policy, M’S’ in Applied Sociology, M’S’ in Criminology, M’S’ in Economics, M’S’ in Geographic Information Sciences and the MS in International Political Economy. Students interested in obtaining one of these degrees should consult the catalog requirements or the graduate advisor.

Last Updated: July 18, 2012