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The Woodrow Wilson School offers a distinctive educational approach that strikes a careful balance between theory and practice. Graduate students spend time developing analytical skills and acquiring a substantive knowledge about the world's most important domestic and international issues.
The School has a diverse faculty representing a wide range of disciplines and expertise, with 19 affiliated research centers and programs.
The Wilson School's resources enable students to earn graduate degrees without incurring indebtedness, thereby making it more feasible to pursue careers of public service in the public and nonprofit sectors.
The principal graduate program of the school is a two-year curriculum leading to the degree of Master in Public Affairs (M.P.A.). Students can earn a dual degree in public affairs and law (M.P.A./J.D.) after four years of study in the Woodrow Wilson School and a collaborating law school. The School also has a graduate program leading to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in public and international affairs, as well as a one-year Master in Public Policy (M.P.P.) for mid-career professionals.
Ph.D. – 25 page sample of research. Applicants are required to select a cluster when applying.
M.P.A. – Course list. 4 page policy memo. Applicants applying to a joint degree program are required to submit a 2 page joint degree statement. Applicants are required to select a field when applying.
M.P.A. – J.D. – Course list. 4 page policy memo. 2 page joint degree statement. Applicants are required to select a field when applying.
M.P.P. – 4 page policy memo. Applicants are required to select a field when applying. Mid-career professionals are required to have a minimum of 7 years’ experience.
The purpose of the WWS doctoral program is to train top-quality researchers in these critical areas of public policy, and it offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Public Affairs in two research clusters: Security Studies; and Science, Technology and Environmental Policy (STEP). Six students per year on average are admitted to the program, with three in each research cluster.
Core courses and individual requirements are determined by the faculty in each cluster. Both clusters require advanced economics and econometrics training for social science research. Typically a student takes between eight and twelve courses during the first two years, depending on the cluster. All students are required to maintain an overall grade average of 85 (B) or higher to remain in the Ph.D. program.
Students are required to complete an original research paper of publishable quality.
The examination covers two fields identified by the student in consultation with a faculty committee and includes two written components and may include an oral component. Students are expected to complete all parts of the general examination by the end of the second year.
The Master of Arts (M.A.) degree is normally an incidental degree on the way to full Ph.D. candidacy and is earned after a student successfully completes all coursework and the general examination. It may also be awarded to students who, for various reasons, leave the Ph.D. program, provided that these requirements have been met.
A six-hour teaching assignment (precepting), usually following the general examination, is required.
After a candidate successfully completes the general examination and defends the written prospectus, the Ph.D. program committee approves entry into the dissertation phase of the program.
The student prepares a dissertation for review by the faculty. Departmental acceptance of the dissertation qualifies the candidate for the final public oral examination. The final public oral examination is required by University regulations, and is conducted after the dissertation has been recommended for acceptance by the Woodrow Wilson School.
The Ph.D. is awarded after the candidate’s doctoral dissertation has been accepted and the Final Public Oral (FPO) examination sustained.
Some students may wish to combine the School's program in public affairs with study for a degree in a related professional field.
A joint M.P.A.-J.D. degree program that combines public affairs with the study of law is offered in cooperation with the law schools of New York University, Columbia, Stanford, and Yale. On occasion, joint programs with other law schools have been possible when approved by the Woodrow Wilson School and the cooperating law school.
The joint program shortens the time involved in obtaining the two degrees and makes possible an effective combination of the several disciplines involved in public policy analysis. Participating students spend five semesters at the cooperating law school and three semesters at the Woodrow Wilson School, thus reducing by two semesters the normal time required to earn the two degrees. Enrollment in the joint program requires separate application and admission to each school.
For a limited number of exceptionally strong candidates, the School is prepared to accept joint programs that combine public affairs with the study for a degree in fields such as business management, engineering, and public health. Proposals giving a detailed rationale for such a joint program must be submitted to the faculty chair of the M.P.A. program. Because combined fields entail overlapping study, joint degree programs will normally shorten by one semester the length of time required to complete each of the individual programs.
The Woodrow Wilson School offers a one-year Master in Public Policy (M.P.P.) degree for mid-career professionals who are rising leaders in international and domestic public policy. This residential program is designed for mid-career professionals with seven or more years of public service experience in government agencies or nonprofit organizations in the United States and abroad.
The M.P.P. program provides rigorous training in economic, behavioral, and political analysis. Students may also choose to specialize and earn a certificate in one of the following: health and health policy (HHP); science, technology, and environmental policy (STEP); urban policy (UP) or urban policy and planning (UPP).
To qualify for the degree, M.P.P. candidates must successfully complete eight courses.
A typical M.P.P. program of study will include a specialization in one of the school’s four fields of concentration:
All M.P.P. students begin with a seven-week summer program that includes intensive courses in microeconomics and statistics, and a policy analysis and leadership seminar.
The summer program is designed to enhance students’ preparation for graduate-level courses. The seminar aims to introduce them to the approaches they will encounter in WWS courses during the academic year, while also helping them get to know their peers and refine their learning objectives for the year.
The Master in Public Affairs (M.P.A.) offers rigorous preparation for international and domestic policy careers.
This two-year, full-time residential program cultivates among its students and graduates a lasting commitment to public service.
Through its core curriculum and a wide variety of elective courses, students learn analytical skills that address the political, economic, quantitative, behavioral and normative aspects of complex policy problems. The program also promotes understanding of the distinctive historical, institutional and cultural contexts of domestic and international policy making.
Each M.P.A. candidate selects a policy field in which to specialize from the school’s four fields of concentration: international relations, international development, domestic policy, and economics and public policy. Students may also earn a joint degree in public affairs and law (M.P.A./J.D.), or other professional degree programs, by special request. Certificate programs offer additional areas of specialization in fields such as demography; health policy; science, technology, and environmental policy (STEP); and urban policy or urban policy and planning.
Significant financial aid resources are dedicated to permitting the majority of WWS students the opportunity to receive graduate degrees without incurring loan indebtedness and to launch them into public service careers in the public and nonprofit sectors.
The curriculum of the M.P.A. program includes six required core courses that address skills and techniques needed for the systematic study of public policy problems. The courses cover political analysis, quantitative methods, and economic and behavioral analysis.
Graduate policy workshops are a unique part of the Woodrow Wilson School graduate curriculum.
Policy workshops provide students with an opportunity to use the analytical skills they have acquired in the first year in the program to analyze complex and challenging policy issues, usually for real clients. Each workshop consists of 8 - 10 students who work in teams to evaluate a policy challenge.
The workshops emphasize policy implementation, and it is this emphasis that distinguishes them from regular courses. The goal of the workshops is to understand a policy issue in great depth and to make policy recommendations that are both creative and realistic, given the relevant institutional and political constraints.
In January, at the end of the first semester, first-year M.P.A. students are required to take part in a policy project called the Integrated Policy Exercise, or IPE.
The IPE requires students to apply the skills they acquired in the fall term analytic courses. They are given briefing materials to review in advance and are then required to submit a comprehensive memo in response to a set of specific policy questions. The IPE is a trial run for the qualifying examination or QE1.
In May, at the end of the first year, students are required to take a qualifying exam, the QE1, a graded exercise that closely parallels the IPE.
The QE1 requires an integrated use of analytical skills acquired in the core curriculum during the first year, and it also includes behavioral analysis of the policy issue.
Second-year students are required to take and pass a second qualifying exam (QE2) in May in their chosen field of concentration.
Cecilia E. Rouse
David S. Wilcove
Denise L. Mauzerall
R. Douglas Arnold, Public Affairs, Politics
Gary J. Bass, International Affairs, Politics
Roland Benabou, Public Affairs, Economics
Alan S. Blinder, Economics, Public Affairs
Carles Boix, Public Affairs, Politics
Charles M. Cameron, Public Affairs, Politics
Brandice Canes-Wrone, Public Affairs, Politics
Anne C. Case, Public Affairs, Economics
Miguel A. Centeno, Sociology, International Affairs
Thomas J. Christensen, International Affairs, Politics
Christopher F. Chyba, International Affairs, Astrophysical Sciences
Janet M. Currie, Public Affairs, Economics
Christina Davis, International Affairs, Politics
Jan De Loecker, International Affairs, Economics
Christopher L. Eisgruber, Public Affairs, University Center for Human Values
Edward W. Felten, Computer Science, Public Affairs
Susan T. Fiske, Psychology, Public Affairs
Marc Fleurbaey, Public Affairs, University Center for Human Values
Aaron L. Friedberg, International Affairs, Politics
Noreen J. Goldman, Public Affairs, Demography
Bryan Grenfell, Public Affairs, Ecology and Environmental Biology
Gene M. Grossman, International Affairs, Economics
G. John Ikenberry, International Affairs, Politics
Oleg Itskhoki, International Affairs, Economics
Harold James, History, Public Affairs
Robert O. Keohane, Public and International Affairs
Atul Kohli, International Affairs, Politics
Stephen M. Kotkin, History, International Affairs
Alan B. Krueger, Public Affairs, Economics
David S. Lee, Public Affairs, Economics
John B. Londregan, International Affairs, Politics
Alexandre Mas, Public Affairs, Economics
Douglas S. Massey, Public Affairs, Sociology
Denise L. Mauzerall, Public and International Affairs, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Nolan M. McCarty, Public Affairs, Politics
Sara S. McLanahan, Public Affairs, Sociology
Atif R. Mian, Public Affairs, Economics
Helen V. Milner, International Affairs, Politics
Andrew M. Moravcsik, Politics, International Affairs
Michael Oppenheimer, International Affairs, Geosciences, Princeton Environmental Institute
Elizabeth Levy Paluck, Psychology, Public Affairs
Grigore Pop-Eleches, Public Affairs, Politics
Deborah A. Prentice, Psychology, Public Affairs
Stephen J. Redding, International Affairs, Economics
Uwe E. Reinhardt, Public Affairs, Economics
Richard Rogerson, Public Affairs, Economics
Thomas Romer, Public Affairs, Politics
Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, International Affairs, Economics
Cecilia E. Rouse, Public Affairs, Economics
Kim Lane Scheppele, Public Affairs, University Center for Human Values, Sociology
Eldar B. Shafir, Psychology, Public Affairs
Harold T. Shapiro, Public Affairs, Economics
Jacob N. Shapiro, International Affairs, Politics
Paul E. Starr, Sociology, Public Affairs
Marta Tienda, Public Affairs, Sociology
Shirley M. Tilghman, Molecular Biology, Public Affairs
Keith A. Wailoo, History, Public Affairs
Leonard Wantchekon, Politics, International Affairs
Mark W. Watson, Public Affairs, Economics
Elke U. Weber, Public Affairs, Psychology, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment
Jennifer Widner, International Affairs, Politics
David S. Wilcove, Public Affairs, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton Environmental Institute
Daniel C. Kurtzer, S. Daniel Abraham Visiting Professor in Middle East Policy Studies
Elizabeth M. Armstrong, Sociology, Public Affairs
Rafaela M. Dancygier, International Affairs, Politics
Alexander Glaser, International Affairs, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Markus Prior, Public Affairs, Politics
Emily Pronin, Psychology, Public Affairs
Alin I. Coman, Public Affairs, Psychology
Will S. Dobbie, Public Affairs, Economics
Adam M. Goldstein, Public Affairs, Sociology
Michal Kolesár, Public Affairs, Economics
Melissa M. Lee, International Affairs, Politics
C. Jessica E. Metcalf, Public Affairs, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Benjamin Moll, International Affairs, Economics
Eduardo Morales, International Affairs, Economics
Christopher A. Neilson, Public Affairs, Economics
Rory O. Truex, International Affairs, Politics
Tom S. Vogl, International Affairs, Economics
Keren Yarhi-Milo, International Affairs, Politics
Stanley N. Katz, Public and International Affairs
Adel A. Mahmoud, Molecular Biology
Amy Craft, also Economics
Edward Freeland, Public and International Affairs
Jean Baldwin Grossman, Public and International Affairs, Economics
Jeffrey S. Hammer, Public and International Affairs
Nathan Scovronick, Public and International Affairs
João Biehl, Anthropology
Markus K. Brunnermeier, Economics
David P. Dobkin, Computer Science
Nick Feamster, Computer Science
Paul Frymer, Politics
Martin I. Gilens, Politics
Alison E. Isenberg, History
Ilyana Kuziemko, Economics
Stacey A. Sinclair, Psychology
Courses listed below are graduate-level courses that have been approved by the program’s faculty as well as the Curriculum Subcommittee of the Faculty Committee on the Graduate School as permanent course offerings. Permanent courses may be offered by the department or program on an ongoing basis, depending on curricular needs, scheduling requirements, and student interest. Not listed below are undergraduate courses and one-time-only graduate courses, which may be found for a specific term through the Registrar’s website. Also not listed are graduate-level independent reading and research courses, which may be approved by the Graduate School for individual students.