Specialty Areas

Economic Policy

The Policy Field in Economic Policy focuses on the study of policy issues related to market, government, firm, and individual behavior. The specialty allows students to build knowledge regarding economic theory and tools used by economists to consider policy issues. In addition, the specialty offers several courses in which theoretical and statistical tools are applied to specific policy areas, including public economics, urban and regional economics, and health economics.

Health Policy

The Policy Field in Health Policy focuses on applied research in the organization, delivery and financing of healthcare and population-based issues in health (including mental health). A multidisciplinary faculty in epidemiology, health economics and finance, health policy, medical sociology, bioethics, and health law is ideally suited to prepare quantitative health service researchers and health policy analysts. Qualified students without a relevant Master’s degree can prepare for the Ph.D. by completing coursework in the master in health administration (MHA), the MA in medical sociology, or the Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) while enrolled in the Ph.D. with a field specialty in Health Policy.

Governance And Policy Administration

This specialty examines fundamental questions about how individuals, institutions, and interests shape representation, equity, efficiency, and accountability in public policy. Researchers in this area study all stages of the policy process including agenda setting, policy design, policy diffusion, policy adoption, implementation, program evaluation, and policy feedbacks.

Justice And Security Policy

These two related areas examine threats to security from international and domestic sources, crime, and society’s response to dealing with them. Students conduct research and policy analysis on local, state, and national, and international policies and policy initiatives and provide information for policymakers.

Students with interests in Security Policy will learn the theoretical foundations for understanding contemporary security challenges and acquire the skills to apply practical solutions to these challenges. Researchers within the cluster study a variety of topics including terrorism and counterterrorism, insurgencies and interstate conflict, as well as strategic decision making and risk analysis.

Students who focus on Crime and Justice Policy gain analytical skills, an understanding of the nature of criminal behavior and its impact, and knowledge about the criminal justice system as well as knowledge about a variety of issues related to the control of crime. Students in both areas become familiar with the process of making and implementing justice and security policy and those organizations involved in this process.

Social equality and opportunity Policy

The policy field of equality and opportunity policy addresses critical issues in equality and opportunity. It prepares scholars, researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to address crucial social issues facing communities and our nation including social welfare, education, poverty, housing and homelessness and the role of public, nonprofit, and private sectors in alleviating and contributing to such problems. In addition to dealing with these topics in their own right, the social policy field focuses on the complex interrelationships among these issues and the manner in which they are influenced by–and in turn influence–prevailing patterns of racial, ethnic, and gender stratification. The social equality and opportunity policy specialization provide the theoretical background, methodological training, and substantive knowledge that will allow students to make important contributions to the development, implementation, and evaluation of public policies addressing the most vexing and important social issues of our time.

Development and Sustainability Policy

Concentration in Infrastructure, Development, and Sustainability stresses applied and empirical policy research that is grounded in an interdisciplinary theoretical foundation. We have particular strengths in studying the urban environment. Students will be prepared in analytical techniques suitable for research and policy analysis through courses addressing topics at the neighborhood, city, regional levels, or national levels, including: Economic Development; Environmental Policy, Transportation Policy; Urban Planning and Development, Infrastructure Provision; Public Service Delivery; Growth Management; Regionalism and Governance.