The Price School offers two PhD programs. Both the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Public Policy and Management and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Urban Planning and Development degree programs are under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School. Students should also refer to Graduate and Professional Education and The Graduate School sections of this catalogue for general regulations. All courses applied toward the degrees must be courses accepted by The Graduate School.
The PhD programs in the Price School both emphasize rigorous programs of advanced study and research, stressing qualitative or quantitative analysis and the theoretical foundations of their field of study. The programs are designed to provide students with the opportunity to develop their own specialization and expertise in either major field — public policy and management or urban planning and development — while also offering them a breadth of knowledge in an especially rich intellectual environment.
The Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy and Management and the Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Planning and Development are administered by the doctoral committee of the school. The PhD program in Public Policy and Management requires the completion of 64 units of course work, comprising the following elements: master’s core in a substantive field (15–17 units), theoretical core (11–12 units), methodology (10–12 units), field/specialization courses (12 units), directed research (4 units), teaching seminar (2 units), research seminar (4 units) and dissertation (4 units minimum). The PhD program in Urban Planning and Development requires the completion of 64 units of course work, comprising the following elements: master’s core (14–16 units), doctoral core (8 units), methodology (10–12 units), field/specialization courses (16 units), directed research (4 units), teaching seminar (2 units), research seminar (4 units) and dissertation (4 units minimum).
Admission with Advanced Standing
Students entering the doctoral program with a master’s degree from an accredited institution in public management/administration, public policy, planning, or urban development or related field may be admitted with advanced standing to either PhD program. In the Public Policy and Management program, students must complete a minimum of 39–41 units of doctoral classes beyond that graduate degree, exclusive of PPD 794a Doctoral Dissertation , PPD 794b Doctoral Dissertation , PPD 794c Doctoral Dissertation , PPD 794d Doctoral Dissertation , PPD 794z Doctoral Dissertation units, for a minimum of 43–45 semester units. In the Urban Planning and Development program, students must complete a minimum of 40–42 units of doctoral classes beyond that graduate degree, exclusive of PPD 794a Doctoral Dissertation , PPD 794b Doctoral Dissertation , PPD 794c Doctoral Dissertation , PPD 794d Doctoral Dissertation , PPD 794z Doctoral Dissertation units, for a minimum of 44–46 semester units. Additional course work may be required if deemed necessary by the student’s faculty following the screening examination.
A maximum of 6 units of transfer credit may be applied toward a doctoral degree with advanced standing. Only course work not used to complete the master’s degree described above is available for transfer credit. No exceptions are allowed.
Qualifying Exam Committee
Students will form an initial qualifying exam committee by the end of the first fall semester, which officially oversees the development of the student’s academic program through the qualifying examination. Five tenure or tenure track committee members are designated to provide guidance in the field developed by the student. A minimum of three members, including at least one tenured member, must be from among the faculty participating in this Doctor of Philosophy program, and at least one member must be from outside the Price School of Public Policy. Students should refer to the Graduate School section regarding the qualifying exam committee and the outside member. The complete qualifying exam committee must be in place no later than the third semester.
Students must have a 3.3 overall GPA in first-year courses to continue in the program.
At the end of each spring semester, the student submits an academic work plan for the coming year to his or her qualifying exam committee chair. The plan should include courses, degree progress, seminar attendance and what was learned from those, and a research plan that articulates the major research questions being explored. At the conclusion of year one, the chair reviews and approves the work plan and at the end of year two, the chair reviews the work plan and the second year paper.
The qualifying exam committee prepares a comprehensive written examination covering the fields of study. Following completion of the written portion, the entire committee conducts an oral examination of the student, focusing on material both complementary and supplementary to the written examination but relevant to the field and overall program selected by the student. Upon passing both portions of the qualifying examination, the student becomes a candidate for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. The qualifying exam will occur in the fall of year three.
Students are expected to have a proposal defense within one year of passing the qualifying exam.
The dissertation is based on original research. The research is supervised by a dissertation committee of three or more regular USC faculty, at least one of whom must be from outside the Price School of Public Policy. A two-semester minimum registration in PPD 794a , PPD 794b , PPD 794c , PPD 794d , PPD 794z is required of all candidates. Students must maintain continuous registration until completion of the dissertation.
Defense of the Dissertation
Oral defense of the dissertation before the dissertation committee is usually made on a preliminary draft.
Format for Theses and Dissertations
All theses and dissertations submitted in fulfillment of requirements for graduate degrees must conform to university regulations with regard to format and method of preparation. Regulations for Format and Presentation of Theses and Dissertations is available from the Graduate School, Grace Ford Salvatori 315, or online at the Graduate School Website.
Refer to the Graduate School section in this catalogue for policies regarding time limits, leave of absence, scholarship standing and probation.