Ph.D. in Public Policy: How to Apply

How to Apply for a Ph.D. in Public Policy

Learn more about how to join a community of leaders with a future of making a difference.

Prerequisites

A master's degree or its equivalent (for example, J.D.) is required for admission.

Admissions Considerations
A number of considerations (in no particular order) consistently prove to be highly desirable in making positive admissions decisions:

  • Interdisciplinary research abilities
  • Demonstrated intellectual curiosity
  • Strong background in the social sciences
  • Good graduate-level training in research methods and statistics
  • A coherent research plan and clear vision of how the resources available at The University of Texas and the LBJ School are particularly suited to realizing that research plan
  • Proficiency in written and oral expression in English

Application Process

The ApplyTexas application opens in early September. Please review the online application instructions for more details and fee information. Some U.S. or permanent resident applicants may be eligible for an application fee waiver on the basis of documented financial need.

Are you a current or former UT Austin graduate student?
Current and former UT Austin graduate students should not complete the ApplyTexas application. You should submit the Change of Major form. This does not apply to current and former UT Austin undergraduate students, who should submit the ApplyTexas application.

Applications are invited from individuals with superior academic records and a demonstrated commitment to public policy research. Professional work experience is recommended. Only candidates who are judged to have the motivation and intellectual potential for sustained and sophisticated policy research will be admitted to the program. An applicant's record must also show significant likelihood that he or she will complete the Ph.D. program within four to five years. A master's degree or its equivalent (for example, J.D.) is required for admission.

Application Requirements

Transcripts
Please review The University of Texas' instructions for submitting your transcripts.

Test Scores
The GRE is required of all applicants, and the TOEFL is required of international applicants. We do not accept the IELTS. Visit UT's website for more information about test scores.

Letters of Recommendation
Three letters of recommendation are required as part of your application. For the Ph.D. program application, we require three academic references.

Please review the departmental requirements section for more information about electronic submission of letters of recommendation.

Résumé or CV
After submitting your ApplyTexas application, you will receive access to your MyStatus page. You can upload your résumé or CV directly onto your MyStatus page once you receive access. Please note that it will take at least one to two business days for you to receive access to your MyStatus page after submitting your ApplyTexas application.

Statement of Purpose
After submitting your ApplyTexas application, you will receive access to your MyStatus page. You can upload your Statement of Purpose directly onto your MyStatus page once you receive access. Please note that it will take at least one to two business days for you to receive access to your MyStatus page after submitting your ApplyTexas application.

Please address your medium to long-term career goals and how a doctorate will assist in achieving those goals. 

There are no specific formatting requirements, but please try to keep it under the dquivalent of three double-spaced pages in a normal, 12-point font.

Proposed Program of Study
This document should be no longer than two single-spaced pages.

After submitting your ApplyTexas application, you will receive access to your MyStatus page. You can upload your Proposed Program of Study directly onto your MyStatus page once you receive access. 

Please note that it will take at least one to two business days for you to receive access to your MyStatus page after submitting your ApplyTexas application.

Please address the following in your proposed program of study:

  • Specific areas of research
  • Potential dissertation topics
  • Types of courses that would fit into your overall plan
  • The work of individual professors that seem most relevant to your policy interests

Writing Sample
After submitting your ApplyTexas application, you will receive access to your MyStatus page. You can upload your writing sample directly onto your MyStatus page once you receive access. 

Please note that it will take at least one to two business days for you to receive access to your MyStatus page after submitting your ApplyTexas application.

The writing sample (up to 25 pages) can be in the form of an essay, academic or professional report, or published article.

After You Apply
After submitting your application, please check your MyStatus page to ensure we have received all of your materials, and check for additional steps to take after you've applied

Checklist

What to submit:

  • Complete ApplyTexas application
  • Application fee
  • Official transcripts from undergraduate and graduate institutions
  • GRE scores
  • TOEFL scores (for international applicants)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Current résumé or CV
  • Personal statement of purpose
  • Proposed program of study
  • Writing sample

How to Verify Submission

Verify your application submission by visiting your MyStatus page. The UT Graduate and International Admissions Center can assist with technical issues in submitting your application materials.