Interested in learning about our PhD in Public Policy program? Why not connect with one of our graduate program advisors in person or online? 

Program Description

The Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy (PhD) offers learning and research opportunities for highly qualified students to advance knowledge and move the study of public policy forward. Students graduating from this program will be in a position to train the next generation of public service professionals and to conduct public policy and management research for government, business, think tanks and other research organizations.

The PhD program involves a combination of course work (culminating in a comprehensive exam) and proposing, writing and defending a dissertation. It is designed so that students can finish in as little as three years of full-time study. Students who are engaged in the program on a full-time basis can expect to receive financial support. Upon entry into the program, each student is assigned a research advisor and an advisory committee.

Students entering the PhD program are required to participate in the Get Connected! academic orientation for new students, which is held in early September.

Research

As one of Canada's leading schools for policy analysis and research, the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy is making a difference by concentrating its research capacity on three main priority areas:

To ensure engagement in these areas of research, JSGS faculty are committed to encouraging student involvement on research projects, grant applications, seminar series, and other opportunities for knowledge translation. As such the school has on average three to five fully funded fellowships to support Master of Public Policy and doctoral students.

Research Supervisors

It is not necessary to find a potential supervisor before you begin an application. The list below though may be helpful to learn about which JSGS faculty are accepting students for the upcoming academic year and in what areas of research focus.

JSGS faculty Campus Availability/Areas of research interest
Loleen Berdahl University of Saskatchewan Loleen Berdahl is currently accepting applications from new MPP students for September 2022 in the following research areas: post-secondary education policy.
Martin Boucher University of Saskatchewan Martin Boucher is currently accepting applications from new PhD, MPP, and GENI students for September 2022 in the following research areas: northern energy transitions, energy justice, post-secondary education policy, and skills and competency advancement.
Cheryl Camillo University of Regina Cheryl Camillo is not currently accepting applications from prospective MPP or PhD students.
Ken Coates University of Saskatchewan Ken Coates is currently accepting applications from new PhD and MPP students for September 2022 in the following research areas: Indigenous governance, rural and remote innovation, rural and small town development, northern Canada/Circumpolar, and post secondary education.
Bruno Dupeyron University of Regina Bruno Dupeyron is currently not accepting applications from new PhD and MPP students for September 2022.
Jim Farney University of Regina Jim Farney is currently accepting applications from new PhD or MPP students in the areas of: education policy, institutional and governance change, and Canadian political development.
Murray Fulton University of Saskatchewan Murray Fulton is currently not accepting applications from new PhD and/or MPP students for September 2022.
Robert Hawkins University of Regina Robert Hawkins is currently not accepting applications from new PhD and/or MPP students for September 2022.
Vince Hopkins University of Saskatchewan Vince Hopkins is currently accepting applications from new PhD and/or MPP students for September 2022 in the following research areas: social policy (including poverty and inequality), behavioural science, and policy implementation.
Margot Hurlbert University of Regina Margot Hurlbert is currently accepting applications from new PhD and/or MPP students for September 2022 in the following research areas: climate change, energy, and sustainability policy with a focus on deliberative democracy and achieving net zero energy emissions by 2050.
Tarun Katapally University of Regina Tarun Katapally is currently not accepting applications from new PhD and/or MPP students for September 2022.
Iryna Khovrenkov University of Regina Iryna Khovrenkov is currently accepting applications from new MPP students for September 2022 in the following research areas: philanthropy and grantmaking, nonprofits and nonprofit finance, taxation.
Justin Longo University of Regina Justin Longo is currently not accepting applications from new PhD or MPP students for September 2022. However, he is accepting applications from new PhD or MPP students for September 2023 in the following research areas: digital governance (especially the use of artificial intelligence and robotics by the public sector), policy analytics, and improving public sector management using technology.
Haizhen Mou University of Saskatchewan Haizhen Mou is currently accepting applications from new PhD and/or MPP students for September 2022 in the following research areas: public finance (which requires a strong economics training).
Peter Phillips University of Saskatchewan Peter Phillips is currently accepting applications from new PhD and/or MPP students for September 2022 in the following research areas: science and innovation policy, especially evaluation of bioscience innovation policy, particularly for students seeking to use quantitative methods (e.g. econometrics, behavioural experimentation, social network analysis, agent based modelling).
Marc-Andre Pigeon University of Saskatchewan Marc-Andre Pigeon is currently accepting applications from new MPP students for September 2022 in the following research areas: co-operatives. 
Jeremy Rayner University of Saskatchewan Jeremy Rayner is currently not accepting applications from new PhD students but may consider applications from new MPP students for September 2023 in the area of clean energy policy.
Yang Yang University of Saskatchewan Yang Yang is currently accepting applications from new PhD and/or MPP students for September 2022 in the following research areas: consumer behaviour, food economics, experimental economics, food policy.
Amy Zarzeczny University of Regina Amy Zarzeczny is currently accepting applications from new MPP students for September 2022 in the following research areas: health law and policy, medical innovation and science policy. Students with an interest in regenerative medicine are particularly encouraged to apply. Zarzeczny is not accepting applications for new PhD students at this time.

Courses

Students at the U of S campus must also complete (in their first term of study) GPS 960 Introduction to Ethics and Integrity. This is a non-credit, online course required by the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and is at no cost to the student.

*Once an applicant has been admitted, the program of studies (i.e., selection of appropriate courses based on above) will be determined.

Students who have taken one or more of these courses previously (i.e., in a master's program) will be required to substitute an additional course or courses. Students may take additional courses in a particular subject area if they wish, subject to the approval of their advisory committee.

Application Qualifications

Applicants to the PhD program must have a based master’s degree in public policy, public administration or in a cognate discipline such as economics, political science, political sociology or educational administration, with a minimum average of 75 per cent in that program.

Please note that because the number of applications received greatly exceeds the number of available places, not all qualified applicants will be offered admission (we typically admit two to three students a year). Indeed, successful candidates will typically have an average well in excess of 80 per cent (or lower first class).

To apply to the program, applicants are required to submit a research program statement that outlines the research that they would like to pursue in the area of public policy. This should include a well-defined problem statement, a review of the appropriate literature, an initial methodology and a statement indicating the significance/relevance of such a research program. While students will not be held to the research program that they outline, the document will serve to guide the student and their committee with the courses and the material they explore through their course work.

Exams

Students entering the PhD program are required to pass a qualifying exam. This exam may be waived for students with a master’s degree (with thesis) in public policy from a recognized university and for students with a master’s degree (with thesis) in a cognate field (e.g., economics, political science, political sociology, public or educational administration). Normally this examination is administered within the first year, preferably within the first four months, of a student beginning the PhD program.

Students will complete a comprehensive exam following their prescribed course work. The comprehensive exam involves both written and oral components. The exams will cover general public policy topics, as well as material linked to the student’s research program. Following successful completion of the comprehensive exam, students will move to the development of a dissertation proposal and, upon its approval, to the dissertation research. Students will be given the option of using either the standard dissertation structure or the three-paper model.

Funding and Tuition

Funding

Highly qualified PhD students who are engaged in the program on a full-time basis will automatically be considered for funding at a competitive rate.

In addition to potential funding from the school, there are scholarships and awards available for students at the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan.

Tuition

Tuition and fees are subject to change. Should there be a discrepancy between the information posted on the institution's website and information posted on the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy website, the institution website should be viewed as accurate.

University of Saskatchewan campus

The tuition rate for PhD program at the University of Saskatchewan campus is $1,619.00 (per term) for the 2021/22 academic year (September 1, 2021 to August 31, 2022), plus graduate student fees, as well as an international surcharge (if applicable, $1,227.75 per term). Continuous registration for all students in the PhD program is required—that is, students must register in all three terms each academic year until their program is completed.

University of Regina campus

The tuition rate for PhD program at the University of Regina campus is $1,619.00 (per term) for the 2021/22 academic year (September 1, 2021 to August 31, 2022), plus graduate student fees, as well as an international surcharge (if applicable, $1,239.50 per term). Continuous registration for all students in the PhD program is requiredthat is, students must register in all three terms each academic year until their program is completed.