Ph.D. Curriculum

Professor McLanahan and students

The Woodrow Wilson School offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Public Affairs in two research clusters: Security Studies; and Science, Technology and Environmental Policy (STEP).

Security Studies:

  • Five-year program; residence required (absence for approved field research)
  • 12 courses during the first two years, including:
  • WWS 550, the gateway course in security studies  
  • Ph.D. seminar in research design
  • Non-credit research ethics and integrity seminar  
  • An overall grade average of 85 (B) or higher
  • Completion of an original research paper of publishable quality
  • General examination: two written exams and an oral exam
  • Six-hour teaching assignment (precepting) usually following the general examination
  • Oral defense of a dissertation prospectus
  • A dissertation of original scholarly research
  • A final public oral examination

Science, Technology and Environmental Policy (STEP):  

  • Five-year program; residence required (absence for approved field research)
  • Minimum of eight courses during the first two years, including one course each in economics, econometrics and political analysis
  • Other science and applied policy courses determined in collaboration with a faculty advisor for each individual student
  • Ph.D. seminar in research design
  • Non-credit research ethics workshop or seminar  
  • An overall grade average of 85 (B) or higher
  • Completion of an original research paper of publishable quality
  • General examination: two written exams and possibly an oral exam
  • Six-hour teaching assignment (precepting) usually following the general examination
  • Oral defense of a dissertation prospectus
  • A dissertation of original scholarly research
  • A final public oral examination