Evans School of Public Policy & Governance

Advance your research career with the Evans Ph.D.

Are you interested in using sophisticated research methods and an interdisciplinary perspective to study society’s most significant challenges? Do you want to use data and evidence to improve policy decisions and the management of public organizations to improve the life of individuals and communities?

Policy and management research examines:

  • the effects of laws and regulations on people, communities, and organizations;
  • processes for creating equitable and inclusive democratic governance;
  • management of multi-sectoral (government, nonprofit, and private) partnerships, and;
  • equitable provision of public goods and services.

The Evans School Ph.D. program is a rigorous and supportive educational experience for those interested in pursuing applied research careers in academic, government, and nonprofit organizations. We train sophisticated analysts and scholars with a deep understanding of the institutional, historical, normative, and economic factors shaping policy design, implementation, and evaluation.

You can also pursue a credentialed degree option in Data Science or Advanced Data Science through the eScience Institute as part of your Ph.D. training.

  • The Evans Ph.D. program is in a top-ranked school of public affairs within a preeminent university. The Evans School—top 10 among public affairs schools in the U.S.—promotes values of equity, service and courage by educating leaders, generating knowledge, and hosting communities. We have a diverse body of students from around the world who bring interdisciplinary backgrounds. The University of Washington—#7 among global universities—is a vibrant, diverse public university committed to education and scientific knowledge.  
  • The Evans Ph.D. trains students to be leaders in public policy and management research. The core curriculum provides a foundation in microeconomics, statistics, institutional and public administration theories, policy making processes, and more. Students then work closely with faculty advisors to select electives that provide depth in policy fields, methods, and theories of their choosing.  
  • The Evans Ph.D. offers all students secure funding. We admit a small cohort of 4-5 new students each year. Each admitted student is offered a five-year financial support package—including tuition, stipend, and health insurance—through part-time employment as a research or teaching assistant. We also offer travel support for professional conferences.  
  • The Evans Ph.D. provides team mentoring from world renown scholars of policy and management. Students are assigned a primary advisor but encouraged to develop advising and mentoring relationships with multiple faculty members at the Evans School and across the University of Washington. The Evans School faculty includes highly-regarded scholars of social, environmental, and criminal justice policy, budgeting and contracting, leadership and equity, and international development. 

At the Evans School, doctoral students acquire a broad and deep set of skills essential to understanding policy and management, including: 

  • advanced data, methods, and data science techniques through classes at the Evans School, the  Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology, the Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences, and the Paul G Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, 
  • depth in an area of specialization chosen by the student from offerings anywhere on campus, including top-ranked programs in education, computer science, public health, social work, and sociology,  
  • teaching experience as teaching assistants or instructors of record, and 
  • professional and career development skills, including networking, publishing, grant writing, and conference presentations. 
  • pursue a credentialed degree option in Data Science or Advanced Data Science through the eScience Institute as part of your Ph.D. training.

Evans Ph.D. students also have the option to pursue UW graduate certificates in over 50 topics and benefit from additional training through UW research initiatives including the eScience Institute, Ocean Nexus, the Population Health Initiative, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, and the Program on Climate Change. 

Starting in the first year of the program, Evans Ph.D. students work closely with internationally recognized faculty to research pressing policy and management topics, including:  

Before graduating, Evans Ph.D. students publish in academic and popular media outlets, such as: Housing Policy Debate (Fowle), Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory (Scott, Tyler), Journal of Environmental Management (Hsueh), The Conversation (Finchum-Mason, Freitag), and The Washington Post (Sederbaum). 

Our graduates hold positions as: 

  • academic faculty, teaching and conducting research in departments of public policy, public administration, political science, environmental science and policy, and business administration at Arizona State University, KDI School of Public Policy, Pennsylvania State University, University of California, Davis, and University of Michigan
  • government analysts at the US Government Accounting Office, the Oregon Department of Revenue, and the San Francisco Unified School District
  • researchers at contract research and advocacy organizations, including MDRC, Oxfam, and The Nature Conservancy

Are funding or scholarships available?

We offer all students admitted into our doctoral program four to five years of full funding through a mix of research and teaching assistantships at the Evans School. Full funding consists of a tuition waiver, a monthly stipend of approximately $2300-2600, and health insurance coverage. Research and teaching assistantships have a 20 hour a week work obligation. Students are assigned to a research assistantship with an Evans School faculty member in their first year in the program, and then complete a mix of research and teaching assistantships in subsequent quarters. Evans School doctoral students serve as teaching assistants for six quarters on average while in the program.

I haven’t previously taken calculus. Can I still apply?

Yes. If you haven’t previously taken a college-level course in calculus, you can detail your plan to do so if admitted into the program in this section of the application. However, having previously taken a course in calculus can help to make your application more competitive.

Are there minimum GRE scores?

The GRE is not required and there is no minimum GRE score. Applicants to the Evans School must submit either official GRE scores or a Quantitative/Analytic Resume. We review applications holistically, taking into account your prior coursework and grades, your letters of recommendation, your research experience and writing sample, your personal statement, and your test scores or quantitative/analytic resume. We are looking for evidence of quantitative and analytic preparation and aptitude. We recommend that applicants submit official GRE scores if they have not had prior coursework in economics, statistics, quantitative methods, or other quantitative subjects.

Can I see job placements of previous Ph.D. graduates?

You can see the profiles of our Ph.D. graduates, with their current positions listed.

I have a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a U.S. institution. Do I need to submit TOEFL scores?

If you will have a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a U.S. institution by the time you would start in the program, you do not need to submit TOEFL scores as part of your application.

If you have a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an institution in Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, or the United Kingdom and where English is the medium of instruction, you do not need to submit a TOEFL score. Please see Graduate School English Language Proficiency Requirements for the full list of options for demonstrating English proficiency.

I have an MPA/MPP. Can I waive out of courses/credits in your Ph.D. program?

Our Ph.D. program is an academic degree program designed to prepare graduates for careers as tenure-track academics or senior researchers at think tanks or NGO’s. The curriculum of the program focuses on research skill development and professional development within the academic field. For that reason, the curriculum of our Ph.D. program differs in its focus from MPA/MPP programs, and an MPA/MPP is not equivalent to the first two years of doctoral coursework. Students in our doctoral program earn a Master of Science in public policy and management degree upon completion of their first two years of coursework and their Major Area Paper (the literature review of the dissertation proposal).

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