Curriculum & Requirements

All students must complete a minimum of eight courses chosen from each of the four categories below. A minimum of three courses relevant to the student’s interests, either from within the School or in another department, should be selected with approval of the primary advisor and the STEP cluster coordinator.

Quantitative Analysis Course

  • SPI 508c: Econometrics and Public Policy (or an approved Ph.D.-level substitute) meets the STEP quantitative analysis requirement.

Economics (Two Courses Required)

  • Microeconomic Theory: SPI 511c: Microeconomic Analysis for Policymakers (Advanced)
  • Advanced Economic Analysis: One of the following with the approval of the primary faculty advisor and the STEP cluster coordinator:
    • SPI 523: Legal and Regulatory Policy Toward Markets
    • SPI 524: Advanced Macroeconomics: Domestic Policy Issues
    • SPI 525: Microeconomic Analysis of Government Activity
    • SPI 543: International Trade Policy
    • SPI 562c: Economic Analysis of Development (Advanced) or a course from the SPI 581/2 series, including SPI 581c: Energy Economics

Politics (Two Courses Required)

SPI 595b: Ph.D. Seminar in Research Design or POL 506: Qualitative Methods (or an approved substitute) and one of the following:

  • SPI 521: Domestic Politics
  • SPI 541: International Politics
  • SPI 561: The Comparative Political Economy of Development
  • An approved substitute.

Paper Requirement

An advanced policy paper must be written either in an independent reading course or as the term paper for a fourth course (beyond the three taken to fulfill the core and focus area requirements) related to the student’s interests. This paper should be of publishable quality and ideally submitted for publication.

General Examinations

There are two topical written examinations in areas selected by the student. An oral exam may follow if needed.

Dissertation Prospectus

A written prospectus outlining the research plan needs to be presented and approved by faculty, typically in the third year of the program.

Cluster Coordinator
Denise L. Mauzerall