Degree Requirements

Master of Global Policy Studies

The curriculum for the Master of Global Policy Studies consists of forty-nine hours of coursework. In addition to required coursework in the student’s specialization, the curriculum combines courses in the development of global policy and principles of international relations, microeconomics, analytical methods, international economics, and a crisis management seminar with a practical applications sequence that includes a client-oriented policy research project and a sequence of professional writing courses. A field experience is appropriate in most specializations, and may be satisfied with a formal internship course, a noncredit internship experience, or other international field study. A typical forty-nine-semester-hour program of study includes seven one-semester, three-hour core courses; a one-hour core course; at least one two-semester policy research project; electives; and an individual writing requirement.

The student must fulfill all academic requirements within six years of his or her entrance into the program. Most students are expected to complete the program in two years of full-time study.

DC program. The DC program option offers a master’s student a unique two-semester curriculum in federal policy making relating to international affairs thereby facilitating entry into federal careers. The track requires completion of forty-five semester hours of coursework. Students attend UT Austin their first two semesters taking twenty-four semester credit hours. After the first year, students will spend the summer and fall in Washington, DC. Coursework will include a unique apprenticeship opportunity in a public or non-profit agency based on the student’s area of policy. The first cohort is expected to matriculate in the fall of 2015 and graduate with a Master of Global Policy Studies degree in December of 2016.

Master of Public Affairs

The curriculum for the Master of Public Affairs normally consists of forty-eight semester hours of coursework. Up to nine hours in core courses may be waived and substituted with approved electives if a student demonstrates prior training and proficiency substantially equivalent to core courses in introductory quantitative methods, microeconomics, and public financial management. The curriculum combines courses in politics and the policy process, economic analysis, empirical methods, and management with a practical applications sequence that includes client-oriented policy research projects; it also allows the student to develop an area of specialization. A public service internship is required in the absence of relevant prior public service experience. A typical forty-eight-semester-hour program of study includes seven one-semester core courses, at least one two-semester policy research project, a twelve-week internship generally completed between the first and second years, six or seven electives, and an optional professional report.

The student must fulfill all academic requirements within six years of his or her entrance into the program. Dual degree programs require additional coursework.

Regular program. Most students are admitted to the regular program, which they are generally expected to complete in two years of full-time study. A student who cannot attend full time may choose to complete the regular program on a part-time basis; the applicant must submit a written request for admission on a part-time basis when he or she applies for admission to the regular program. A student enrolled in the regular program full time may be allowed, for good reason, to change to part-time status.

DC program. The DC program option offers a student enrolled in the master's program a unique two-semester curriculum in federal policy which facilitates entry into federal careers. The track requires completion of forty-five semester hours of coursework. Students attend UT Austin their first two semesters taking twenty-four semester credit hours. After the first year, students will spend the summer and fall in Washington, DC. Coursework will include a unique apprenticeship opportunity in a public or non-profit agency based on the student’s area of policy. 

Executive program. The executive program is designed for public service professionals who wish to gain the knowledge and skills necessary for public leadership. The program requires completion of thirty-two semester hours of coursework over four semesters. The curriculum consists of an intensive gateway course, followed by courses in strategic communications, executive analytics, executive management, and a final research capstone course.

Midcareer program. Each year a small number of applicants with substantial work experience are admitted to the midcareer program. In general, an applicant should have at least five years of experience in substantive policy-level or administrative positions related to the public sector. The applicant must submit a written request for admission to the midcareer program when he or she applies for admission to the school; the request must be accompanied by supporting material detailing the applicant’s public service and policy-level work experience. The midcareer student must complete twenty-seven hours of core courses, and at least nine hours of relevant electives.

Dual Degree Programs

The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs offers the following dual degree programs in cooperation with other divisions of the University. More information is available from the graduate adviser in each program.

Master of Global Policy Studies

Field(s) of Study Degree(s)
Asian studiesMaster of Arts
Business administrationMaster of Business Administration
Energy and earth resourcesMaster of Arts
Information studiesMaster of Science in Information Studies
JournalismMaster of Arts
Latin American studiesMaster of Arts
Middle Eastern studiesMaster of Arts
Public healthMaster of Public Health
Russian, East European, and Eurasian studiesMaster of Arts

Master of Public Affairs

Field(s) of Study Degree(s)
AdvertisingMaster of Arts
Asian studiesMaster of Arts
Business administration Master of Business Administration
Communication studiesMaster of Arts
Community and regional planningMaster of Science in Community and Regional Planning
Energy and earth resourcesMaster of Arts
EngineeringMaster of Science in Engineering
Information studiesMaster of Science in Information Studies
JournalismMaster of Arts
Latin American studiesMaster of Arts
Middle Eastern studiesMaster of Arts
Public healthMaster of Public Health
Radio-television-filmMaster of Arts
Russian, East European, and Eurasian studiesMaster of Arts
Social workMaster of Science in Social Work
Women’s and gender studiesMaster of Arts

Doctor of Philosophy

The doctoral program in public policy requires at least thirty-six hours of coursework beyond the master’s degree (in addition to the dissertation reading and writing courses) and includes supporting work in courses outside public affairs. The supporting work is intended to deepen the student’s understanding of an organized discipline and its application to public policy. A doctoral degree candidate must fulfill the following general requirements: (1) complete four core courses in public affairs, Public Affairs 390C, 390E, 392C, and 392D; (2) complete two research methods courses typically taken in the first two years of study; (3) complete three courses in his or her substantive area of research; (4) pass comprehensive qualifying examinations; (5) defend a dissertation proposal; and (6) write and defend a dissertation. A student without a graduate degree from a policy-related academic or professional program may be required to complete supplementary coursework in addition to the number of hours required for the doctoral degree. Additional information on specific requirements and procedures is available from the school.