Public Policy, PhD


Alan Clayton-Matthews, PhD
Graduate Program Director
310 Renaissance Park

Julie Switkes, Graduate Program Administrator, 617.373.2891,

CSSH Graduate Programs General Regulations

This is an interdisciplinary social science program that combines several social science and legal theoretical perspectives with both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. The wide-ranging faculty in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs can support students’ research and dissertations in many fields—urban policy and regional economic development; sustainability and climate change; health policy; crime, social justice, and inequality; and the intersection of law and policy. Students work with faculty members to formulate a plan of study within their field of concentration by choosing courses from graduate programs offered in the policy school, the College of Social Sciences and Humanities, and in other colleges and schools at Northeastern University. Students also study a common body of knowledge developed in core courses on policy, research methods, and law. The school’s research centers and faculty members’ research projects provide opportunities for students to develop insight, experience, and synergies to help with their own research goals. The college and school offer a high level of support allowing all students to be devoted full-time to their studies and research.

Doctoral Degree Candidacy 

Complete all required course work with a minimum 3.500 grade-point average (GPA) in the core courses and pass the comprehensive examinations. Students entering without a JD or master’s degree must complete 55 semester hours.

Complete all courses and requirements listed below unless otherwise indicated.


Comprehensive examination
Annual review
PhD candidacy
Dissertation committee
Dissertation proposal
Dissertation defense

Core Requirements

A grade of B+ or higher is required in each course.

POLS 7204Seminar in Public Policy4
PPUA 7976Directed Study1-4
Research and Statistical Methods
INSH 6500Statistical Analysis4
INSH 6302Qualitative Methods4
INSH 6300Research Methods in the Social Sciences4
Advanced Methods
Complete one of the following. An additional concentration elective may be taken in lieu of the advanced methods elective:4
Advanced Quantitative Analysis
Advanced Methodological and Quantitative Techniques

Experiential Research Residency

A PhD research residency or waiver is required.

PPUA 9980Experiential PhD Research Residency0


Complete one of the following concentrations:

Sustainability and Resilience

PPUA 7511
Law Requirement
Complete 3 semester hours from the following:3
Environmental Law
LW 7494
LW 7514
LW 7580
Complete 24 semester hours from the following:24
Critical Infrastructure Resilience
Cities, Sustainability, and Climate Change
Science, Technology, and Public Policy
Security and Resilience Policy
Critical Infrastructure Resilience
Land Use and Urban Growth Policy
Advanced Spatial Analysis of Urban Systems
Urban Coastal Sustainability
Social Capital and Resilience
Resilient Cities
Directed Study
Political Ecology of Global Capitalism
Environment, Health, and Society

Health Policy and Management

PPUA 7247Seminar in U.S. Health Policy and Management4
Health Organization
HRMG 6220Health Organization Management3
Business Elective
Complete 3 semester hours from the following:3
Strategic Management for Healthcare Organizations
Managing Healthcare Supply Chain Operations
Healthcare Finance
Law Requirement
LW 7335Health Law3
Complete a minimum of 18 semester hours from the following:18
Topics in Applied Economics
Techniques of Program Evaluation
Comparative Public Policy and Administration
Health Policy and Politics
International Development Administration and Planning
Sociology of Health and Illness
Environment, Health, and Society
Social Movements in Health
PHTH 6000-9999 (public health elective, by advisement)

Urban and Regional Policy

PPUA 7521
Law Requirement
LW 7655Advancing Economic and Social Equity through Municipal Policy and Law2
Complete 24 semester hours from the following:24
Globalization, Development, and Social Justice
Race and Ethnic Relations
Urban Sociology
Globalization and the City
Police and Society
Immigration and Crime
Crime and Community Context
Advanced Topics in Methods
Environmental Systems
Applied Microeconomic Policy Analysis
Workshop in Applied Econometrics
International Economic Development
Urban Economic Systems
Urban Economic Development
Regional Economic Theory
Economics of Government
Economics of Law and Regulation
Applied Econometrics 2
Labor Market Analysis
Advanced Quantitative Techniques
Contemporary Issues in Third World Development
Social Networks
The 21st-Century City: Urban Opportunities and Challenges in a Global Context
Urban Development and Politics
Techniques of Program Evaluation
Institutions and Public Policy
Advanced Spatial Analysis of Urban Systems
Directed Study

Exam and Dissertation

Exam Prep
Only needed for PhD students who have completed all course work but have not yet passed the comprehensive exam. Not repeatable.
LPSC 8960
Complete the following (repeatable) course twice:
Dissertation Continuation
Following completion of two semesters of LPSC 9990, registration in the following class is required in each semester (excluding summers) until the dissertation is completed:
Dissertation Continuation

Program Credit/GPA Requirements

55 total semester hours required
Minimum 3.500 GPA required