We accept part-time and full-time students.

Admission Requirements

For Fall 2024 applications, the program has a priority deadline to be considered for full financial support of March 1st. Applications received after this time will be considered on a rolling basis and only if slots are available. For best consideration, please submit your file prior to the deadline. Please click here to be taken to the Graduate Application Portal

Generally, application files considered for admissions will meet or exceed the following guidelines:

  1. A master’s degree in a social science or other field related to public policy is required for admission to full standing in the Ph.D. in Public Policy. Students should have a GPA of at least 3.3 in their master’s degree coursework.
  2. While students may provide scores on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing sections of the Graduate Record Examination, they are not required to do so.
  3. Three strong, positive recommendations. Instructions for recommendations are included in the online application process. Personal letters of reference can be uploaded with your additional application documents. All letters should be written by individuals in a position to judge the applicant’s likely success in a Ph.D. level program. Letters should address the applicant’s suitability for a Ph.D. program and ability to complete the program in a timely fashion.
  4. Admission to the program of students who are not native English speakers will require strong scores on the TOEFL or IELTS exams. The TOEFL exam of language ability is a required part of the application package for non-native English speakers. (If you have completed a degree where instruction is provided in English, we can waive this requirement.)
  5. This program emphasizes the quantitative and analytical skills necessary to confront the challenges of contemporary policy dilemmas that communities face at the local, state, federal, and international levels. The Director and Admissions Committee give preference to applicants who show evidence of coursework or other experience that demonstrates a high level of skill in economics and quantitative analysis.

Admission Assessment

A key strength of our program is that our student population includes those fresh out of a Master’s program along with professionals who have been working in policy, a corporation or in education for many years. We value education and real-world experience. The Admissions Committee will consider professional experience positively. However, the Program Director may recommend some refresher courses to get the student up to speed, especially if it has been a long time since the student last graduated.

Students might also consider some of the following to strengthen their preparation for the program which can be found at this link to resources.

Application Materials

Payment of the US $75.00 application fee using a credit card is required before the online application can be submitted.

  1. The UNC Charlotte Graduate Admissions Application.
  2. Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.
  3. Three completed forms of reference from individuals who have taught or worked directly with the applicant.
  4. An essay that addresses professional goals and motivation for pursuing the degree, suitability for the program, career goals following the degree, and the policy specialty the applicant would pursue within the Program.
  5. TOEFL or IELTS scores (if the student is not a native English speaker).

For application materials and more details on admission requirements, please visit the Graduate School’s web site.