PhD in Public Policy
Starting from 2017 GSPP launched its first doctorate level degree – PhD in Public Policy (a 4-year program). The aims of the PhD Public Policy program are:
- To provide a doctoral program of international standing which will attract high calibre candidates who will make a contribution to applied public policy.
- To contribute to the economic and social welfare of Kazakhstan through the supply of outstanding doctoral graduates in public policy with functional expertise in these areas.
- To build sustainability into the higher education sector in Kazakhstan through the provision of future faculty trained to international standards of teaching and research.
- To strengthen the research base of decision making in the public sector in Kazakhstan through the supply of highly trained researchers.
- To add to existing scholarship on public policy in Central Asia through peer-reviewed publications emanating from the work of PhD students/graduates.
- To raise the profile of GSPP as a School well-known for its research and scholarship.
The program structure comprises: 10 core courses, 2 electives, a thesis proposal and PhD qualifying examination taken the first two years, followed by the thesis preparation and written submission in years 3 & 4. The two electives modules will be drawn from an existing list of approved courses currently available at Masters level in GSPP but with different learning outcomes and assessment strategies. The overall 4-year program equates to 240 ECTS.
The taught courses will prepare students with substantive public policy expertise through specialist courses alongside research methods modules, at the end of which the students will be well placed to write the doctoral thesis in years 3 & 4 of the program.
A key feature of the program is that in years 3 & 4, students will undertake teaching assistant duties under the mentorship of their supervisors as a way of ‘learning the craft’ of teaching and to build their CVs for a future academic/research career.
Students may be offered a 3-month international placement, subject to resources, in an institution identified as having research expertise in the subject of their thesis. In the first instance, given our strategic links with Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and their supervision and mentoring role with PhD students and GSPP Faculty respectively, the placement option is likely to be in Singapore. However, It may be the case that the topic of the dissertation lends itself to placement at a Public Policy School in Europe or North America, the selection of which will be informed by the student’s supervisors. During the 3-month period, PhD students will conduct field research, offer a seminar on their topic in their host institution, and attend and present their work-in-progress at an international conference. In addition, students will use this period to gain access to a breadth of international literature and expertise which might not have been easily available to them in Nazarbayev University.
There are at least three distinctive features of the proposed PhD program. First, it is designed to be a high quality award comparable to those offered in top public policy schools in Asia, North America and the UK. Second, highly qualified, research active, faculty with a breadth of local and international experience will deliver the program and supervise students. The teaching and supervision will therefore be research-led. Third, our strategic partnership with Lee Kuan Yew offers extensive potentially global networking opportunities for our PhD students.
The learning outcomes of the PhD program are:
- Critically apply theories, methods and knowledge to address fundamental questions in the area of public policy, public administration and public management.
- Conduct relevant applied research by formulating, testing and generating hypotheses in key areas of enquiry.
- Collect, synthesize and analyse public policy data.
- Develop and demonstrate skills in oral and written communication, consistent with presentations and research papers disseminated at the doctoral level.
- Add to the body of academic discourse on public policy in Central Asia.
- Respect the principles of academic ethics and integrity.
- Develop and demonstrate academic research and leadership skills.
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