Degree Overview

The Ph.D. in Public Policy at UNC Charlotte prepares students to be researchers, decision makers and policy analysts in local, state or federal governments, not-for-profit agencies, for-profit institutions, and academia.  The Program stresses applied and empirical policy research grounded in an interdisciplinary theoretical foundation. Students will become versed in analytical techniques suitable for research and policy analysis to address substantive issues and problems in varied geographic and political contexts. The intellectual focus of the Program is guided by three overarching themes: 

  1. Interdisciplinary Perspective: Effective policy analysis and policy formation are not informed by any single discipline. Rather, public policy requires knowledge of the historical, cultural, political, institutional, geographic, and economic dimensions of policy problems facing any community

  2. Applied and Empirical Policy Analysis: Public policy is an inherently applied endeavor that seeks practical solutions and cogent analysis. While theory informs all research and analysis, the purpose of policy research is to elevate public discourse and improve public decision-making.

  3. Place-Based Research: To exercise applied policy analysis in an interdisciplinary context, policy research must be place-based. Real policy analysis, based on real data, applied to actual geographic and political settings is a strength of the Program.