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UNC Public Policy offers the Ph.D. degree to students who aim to contribute new knowledge and address major domestic and global policy problems. The Ph.D. in public policy combines core foundations in theory, empirical and normative analysis, and a policy field area. The curriculum is designed to help each doctoral student develop and use appropriate theoretical and analytical approaches to solve problems in policy areas such as education, innovation and entrepreneurship, labor markets, health and social policy, immigration, environment, national security, international development, and global health and environment.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a distinguished tradition in public policy and is a charter member of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. Our Ph.D. program currently hosts approximately twenty-five students actively pursuing a Ph.D. with a variety of policy interests. UNC Public Policy has developed particular strengths in a range of social science based policy research and our graduate students work closely with faculty on policy-relevant research within our department and throughout the University and Research Triangle. Graduates from our program have gone on to employment at a variety of organizations.


For information on Admission to the Ph.D. in public policy program, please click here.

For the Guidelines for the Ph.D. Program in Public Policy, please click here.

For a full list of our Ph.D. graduates, please click here.


UNC Public Policy PhD graduates have earned fixed term and tenure track faculty positions at the following institutions:


Arizona State University North Carolina State University University of New Mexico
Brigham Young University Saint Augustine’s Unviersity University of North Carolina
Brown University San Francisco State University Asheville
Duke University Stony Brook University University of North Carolina
East Tennessee University Soo Chow University (Taiwan) Chapel Hill
George Mason University Sungkykunkwon University (Korea) University of North Carolina
Indiana University- Bloomington Tung Hai University (Taiwan) Greensboro
John Hopkins University University of Alabama – Huntsville University of Oregon
Leiden University (Netherlands) University of Albany University of Pennsylvania
National Cung Chong University University of California – Irvine University of Southern
(Taiwan) University of Colorado – Denver California
National Open University University of Denver Vanderbilt University
(Taiwan) University of Georgia
National University of Singapore University of Missouri – Columbia


Graduates have also served in federal and state government or quasi-government organizations:

  • Maine Office of Innovation and Science
  • National Youth Commission Minister (Taiwan)
  • Pennsylvania State Education Association
  • United Nations
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • U.S. Department of Energy
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Government Accountability Office
  • U.S. Office of National Coordinator for Health IT
  • White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • World Bank


Additionally, graduates have accepted positions at think tanks and policy research organizations:

  • Abt Associates
  • American Institutes for Research
  • Brookings Institution
  • CEB Global
  • Economic Policy Institute
  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • IMPAQ International
  • Innovative Policyworks
  • Merck
  • RAND
  • RTI
  • RxAnte
  • Scope International
  • Social and Scientific Systems, Inc.


The Philip and Jane Hammer Fund for the Enrichment of the PhD Curriculum in Public Policy was established in 1991 by Jane R. Hammer. The fund aides in the recruitment and support of exceptional graduate students in the PhD program in public policy.  Click here for further information.