Doctoral Program

The Ph.D. program at George Mason University’s School of Public Policy is one of the nation’s largest, and takes advantage of the school’s status as the leading university-based public policy institution in the Washington, D.C., metro area, to attract candidates who want the best education from experienced, national and international faculty.

Students and faculty advisors work together to design a personalized curriculum appropriate to each student’s academic and professional background and goals. This allows candidates to tie their doctoral studies directly to their current and future careers, while taking advantage of the extensive resources available in the nation’s capital.

The program’s flexibility also fosters a culturally and philosophically diverse community of policy practitioners and scholars, where the true marketplace of ideas is embraced and innovation is encouraged. It offers an unprecedented degree of academic freedom rooted in a shared commitment to making the world a better place.

And while certainly rigorous, the program operates on the principle that there are no preset fields of study or research, that there are always opportunities to improve current methods and explore new fields of study.

Students and faculty work side by side to explore the intersection of technology, culture, organizational dynamics, international affairs, and public policy, conducting research that influences decisions at the local, national, and multinational levels.

The Ph.D. program produces candidates who are able to tackle the full spectrum of public policy challenges, fully prepared for senior-level careers in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

SPP Employer Brochure cover

Request More Information

SPP's faculty and student and career services team are committed to helping students make excellent use of the academic and professional opportunities offered by Mason Policy, George Mason University, and the Washington region. Advising services are comprehensive and accessible when students need them.

More than 70% of SPP students pursue their degrees while continuing to work full- or part-time. Classes are offered in the late afternoon and early evening to accommodate the busy schedules of professional students.

In addition to top-notch courses, Mason Policy students can take advantage of professional development opportunities offered by faculty and staff. Whether it's networking with Mason Policy alumni, brushing up on resume and interviewing skills, or learning how to get on the career fast-track, the tools that rising policy-makers need to get ahead are at SPP students' fingertips.

In-state students receive a better education at SPP for a fraction of the cost of private institutions in the D.C. area; tuition for out-of-state students is lower as well. Scholarship opportunities are available for highly-qualified applicants and continuing students.