Admission Requirements

The Public Policy Program admits only in fall semester and has a priority deadline to be considered for full financial support of February 15th.  Applications received after this time will be considered on a rolling basis and only if slots are available.  For best consideration, please submit your file prior to the deadline.  

Generally, application files considered for admissions will meet or exceed the following guidelines:

  1. A master's degree in a social science or other field related to public policy is required for admission to full standing in the Ph.D. in Public Policy. Students should have a GPA of at least 3.3 in their master’s degree coursework.  Note:  Students with baccalaureate degrees may be admitted on a conditional basis if they have an overall undergraduate GPA of at least 3.5 and are currently enrolled in a master’s level program at UNC Charlotte in a field related to policy studies. But such students will not formally be admitted to the Ph.D. program until completion of the requirements for the master's degree.
  2. Admission to the program will require strong scores on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing sections of the Graduate Record Examination. The Graduate Record Examination is a required part of the application package.
  3. Three strong, positive letters of recommendation.. All letters should be written by individuals in a position to judge the applicant’s likely success in a Ph.D. level program. Letters should address the applicant's suitability for a Ph.D. program and ability to complete the program in a timely fashion.
  4. Admission to the program of students who are not native English speakers will require strong scores on the TOEFL exam.  The TOEFL exam of language ability is a required part of the application package for non-native English speakers.  (If you have completed a degree where instruction is provided in English, we can waive this requirement)
  5. This program emphasizes the quantitative and analytical skills necessary to confront the challenges of contemporary policy dilemmas that communities face at the local, state, federal, and international levels.  The Director and Admissions Committee give preference to applicants who show evidence of coursework or other experience that demonstrates a high level of skill in economics and quantitative analysis.  
Admission Assessment

A key strength of our program is that our student population includes those fresh out of a Master’s program along with professionals who have been working in policy, a corporation or in education for many years. We value education and real-world experience. The Admissions Committee will consider professional experience positively. However, the Program Director may recommend some remedial courses to get the student up to speed, especially if it has been a long time since the student last graduated.

Students might also consider some of the following to strengthen their preparation for the program which can be found at this link to resources.

Application Materials

Payment of the US $65.00 application fee (domestic applicants) or US $75 application fee (international applicants) using a credit card is required before the online application can be submitted. 

  1. The UNC Charlotte Graduate Admissions Application
  2. Official GRE scores (verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing)
  3. Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  4. Three letters of reference from individuals who have taught or worked directly with the applicant.
  5. An essay that addresses professional goals and motivation for pursuing the degree, suitability for the program, career goals following the degree, and the policy specialty the applicant would pursue within the Program
  6. TOEFL scores (if the student is not a native English speaker)
For application materials and more details on admission requirements, please visit the Graduate School's web site.