DPhil in Public Policy

Do you want to help improve governments by providing them with research-based evidence? Are you motivated to carry out in-depth academic research that can make a positive contribution to public policy?

Solving policy challenges

Our Doctorate in Public Policy or DPhil (as a PhD is known at the University of Oxford) in Public Policy is structured as a full-time course over three years (there is a part-time option for candidates in exceptional circumstances). The course has an emphasis on solving pressing public problems and provides robust training for understanding particular policy challenges and for evaluating, devising or implementing policy solutions.

At the Blavatnik School we focus on question-driven research: this means that the focus is on analysing and finding solutions to policy issues and challenges that governments face around the world. As a DPhil student, you will concentrate on research that answers policy questions, drawing on rigorous concepts, theory and methods from multiple disciplines, rather than developing new theories or methods in a particular discipline.

At the end of your studies, you will be expertly qualified to conduct research, whether as an academic, in a governmental role, or in other influential policy organisations, institutes and think tanks.

Aims of the DPhil

The DPhil in Public Policy aims to:

  • Hone your research skills in ways that are relevant to policy-focused research.
  • Develop your interdisciplinary understanding of policy challenges.
  • Equip you to be able to design and undertake original research which makes a real contribution to the development and/or analysis of public policy.
  • Enhance your ability to communicate your research findings to the policy community in a way that ensures real world impact.
  • Enable you to present a lucid and scholarly thesis for examination.

You will have the opportunity to attend an impressive set of seminars within the Blavatnik School and across the University of Oxford, where you will learn in a multidisciplinary environment and present your research proposals to relevant audiences. You will also benefit from being part of an extraordinary network of peers to share ideas and advice, while meeting and interacting with prominent public policy practitioners who will help you root your research into practical issues.

After the DPhil

Our DPhil alumni have gone on to build successful careers in various sectors – from working on critical EU negotiations at the European Commission to establishing a leading law firm in Colombia. With its emphasis on the real-world application of policy knowledge, our DPhil specifically prepares you for a high-level career in public service, government and non-governmental organisations, as well as academia and the private sector.

Oxford graduates are highly sought-after by employers across the world and the career prospects for you after completing your DPhil in Public Policy are excellent. At the Blavatnik School you will develop the skills required to succeed in your career as well as benefit from a programme of career-focused events. Collaborating with your fellow students and faculty will help you discover career paths and opportunities in public service and academia. We also offer an outstanding programme of speaker events at which many visitors discuss their careers, and outside of the School there are many events organised by departments, centres, societies and colleges – all of these provide opportunities to meet with global specialists and develop your network of contacts.

You will be interacting and sharing opinions with fellow DPhil students and other Blavatnik School students – forging relationships that will last well beyond the time you will spend at the School. As your career develops, being part of this community will mean you have a shared learning experience with like-minded peers throughout the world.

The Blavatnik School’s alumni form a close-knit community providing them with social connections, professional guidance and a trusted source of advice. These connections also serve as powerful reminders for all of us of our shared commitment to public service and our desire to make a positive, real difference in the world.

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Learn more

Learn more about the course details, the fees, funding options and how to join our community.