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The Woodrow Wilson School offers a distinctive curriculum 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 20 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.
M.P.A. and M.P.P. - Must have 3 letters of recommendation: 1 professional letter, 1 academic reference letter, and 1 letter from a faculty member, administrator, or professional who can comment on commitment to public service.
M.P.A , M.P.A. - J.D., M.P.P. - Beyond your resume, personal statement, policy memo, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and GRE scores, we want to get to know you on a more personal and individual basis. Please submit a concise, one-page, double-spaced statement based on the following:
We all come from somewhere and it shapes us - both in who we become and what we value. Tell us your story and what shaped you.
The purpose of the WWS doctoral program is to train top-quality researchers in critical areas of public policy. It offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Public Affairs in two research clusters: Security Studies; and Science, Technology and Environmental Policy (STEP). The goal is to enroll six students per year in 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 politics and econometrics training for social science research. A student in the STEP cluster must take at least eight courses in the first two years, and a minimum of three courses must come from within WWS or from science or engineering departments, selected with approval of the primary adviser and the faculty coordinator of the STEP Ph.D. cluster. A student in the Security cluster takes 12 courses during the first two years. All students are required to maintain an overall grade average of 85 (B) or higher to remain in the Ph.D. program. Full requirements are available on the WWS website.
Writing Requirement. 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. Students in Security must also pass an oral examination. Students in STEP may be required to complete an oral examination, depending on their performance on the written components. 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 the M.A. requirements have been met.
A six-hour teaching assignment (precepting), usually following the general examination, is required.
A written research prospectus 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 (FPO) 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 FPO examination sustained.
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, political, and organizational 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); or urban policy (UP).
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.
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 health policy; science, technology, and environmental policy (STEP); and urban policy.
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.
Integrated Policy Exercise (IPE)
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 core 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 first-year qualifying examination (QE1).
Qualifying Examination 1 (QE1)
In May, at the end of the first year, students are required to take the QE1, a graded exercise that closely parallels the IPE.
The QE1 requires an integrated use of all the analytical skills acquired in the first-year core curriculum.
Qualifying Examination 2 (QE2)
Second-year students are required to take and pass a second qualifying exam (QE2) in May in their chosen field of concentration.
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 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 small number of exceptionally strong candidates, the School will accept applications for a joint program that combines public affairs with the study of business administration. Proposals giving a detailed rationale for such a joint program must be submitted at the time of application. At this time, Stanford’s Graduate School of Business is the only cooperating business school. A joint degree programs will normally shorten by one semester the length of time required to complete each of the individual programs.
Cecilia E. Rouse
Denise L. Mauzerall, Ph.D. program
Richard Rogerson, MPA program
Jacob Shapiro, MPP program
Gary J. Bass
Roland Jean-Marc Benabou
Alan S. Blinder
Charles M. Cameron
Miguel A. Centeno
Christopher F. Chyba
Janet M. Currie
Kathryn J. Edin
Edward A. Felten
Susan T. Fiske
Aaron L. Friedberg
Bryan T. Grenfell
Gene M. Grossman
G. John Ikenberry
Jennifer L. Jennings
Henrik J. Kleven
David S. Lee
Frances E. Lee
John B. Londregan
Douglas S. Massey
Denise L. Mauzerall
Nolan M. McCarty
Atif R. Mian
Helen V. Milner
Sanyu A. Mojola
Andrew M. Moravcsik
Elizabeth L. Paluck
Stephen J. Redding
Esteban A. Rossi-Hansberg
Kim L. Scheppele
Harold T. Shapiro
Jacob N. Shapiro
Patrick T. Sharkey
Stacey A. Sinclair
Paul E. Starr
Shirley M. Tilghman
James Raymond Vreeland
Keith A. Wailoo
Mark W. Watson
Elke U. Weber
Jennifer A. Widner
David S. Wilcove
Deborah J. Yashar
Julian E. Zelizer
Ethan B. Kapstein
Elizabeth M. Armstrong
Alin I. Coman
Rafaela M. Dancygier
Owen M. Zidar
Adam M. Goldstein
Andrew M. Guess
Johannes A. Haushofer
Arun S. Hendi
Patricia A. Kirkland
Melissa M. Lee
Jonathan R. Mayer
C. Jessica Metcalf
Jonathan F. Mummolo
Christopher A. Neilson
Maria Micaela Sviatschi
Andreas B. Wiedemann
Anne C. Case
Frederick D. Barton
Fernando R. Delgado
Mary Beth Goodman
Jean B. Grossman
Brittany L. Holom
Gregory B. Jaczko
Daniel C. Kurtzer
Carol L. Martin
Timothy J. Nelson
Thomas A. Shannon
Henry A. Coleman
Martha B. Coven
Richard F. Keevey
David N. Kinsey
Rebecca L. Perlman
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.