General

  1. What kinds of people are enrolled in the Doctoral Program?
  2. Is student housing available to doctoral students?
  3. How can I learn about the Program?
  4. How can I tell if I am a good fit for the Wagner Doctoral Program?

About the Application Process

  1. When do applications for the Wagner Doctoral Program become available and where can I get them?
  2. What are the application deadlines?
  3. Does the Program admit students mid-year?
  4. What does the admission committee look for?
  5. Do I need a master's degree to apply for the Wagner Doctoral Program?
  6. Do I need strong quantitative skills to be admitted to the Program?
  7. What percentage of applicants is admitted?
  8. When will I be informed of my admissions decision?
  9. May I defer my admission for a year or more after acceptance?

About Financial Aid

  1. What type of financial aid is available?
  2. If I do not receive a merit-based scholarship for my first year, can I re-apply?

About the Program

  1. What are the Doctoral Program requirements?
  2. What fields of study are available at NYU Wagner?
  3. Can Wagner doctoral students take courses in other schools and departments?
  4. Can I transfer credits from other graduate-level work?
  5. What is the average length of time to degree completion?
  6. What types of career will the Wagner Doctoral Program prepare me for?
  7. What types of career services are available at Wagner?
  8. What types of research opportunities are available to Wagner doctoral students?
  9. What types of teaching opportunities are available to Wagner doctoral students?
  10. What types of advisement are available to Wagner doctoral students?
  11. What type of community is available to Wagner doctoral students?

General

What kinds of people are enrolled in the Doctoral Program?

The doctoral student population is rich with diversity and experience. At NYU Wagner, we embrace this diversity as an essential component of our commitment to public service. Better solutions to public issues, we believe, are found by joining people from different backgrounds. Approximately 25 students are enrolled in the Doctoral Program at any one time, providing ample opportunity for students to work together, discuss issues and solve problems in groups that reflect the multicultural composition of communities of the future, and of cities like New York today.

Is student housing available to doctoral students?

Housing is available in the form of University-owned apartment complexes. Apartments are available only to matriculated, full-time students. Both furnished and unfurnished apartments are available. Generally, university housing for couples is not available unless both will be matriculated at NYU. Housing applications are automatically mailed to all accepted students with their official acceptance letter.

Another service offered by the University is the Off-Campus Housing Office, which lists rentals in Manhattan and the outer boroughs, as well as New Jersey.

How can I learn about the Program?

The best way to begin learning about the Doctoral Program is to browse this web site, which contains complete information about the Doctoral Program's academic policies, admissions procedures, degree requirements, fields of study and program resources, as well as information about the NYU Wagner faculty.

After reviewing the web site, you can get more information about the Doctoral Program by contacting wagner.phd@nyu.edu. In addition, at least one webinar information session for prospective doctoral students is held each fall. The dates and times for these sessions will be posted here .

How can I tell if I am a good fit for the Wagner Doctoral Program?

The Wagner Doctoral Program prepares students for careers in research in the areas of public policy, management, and public finance. You should be confident that you are interested in pursuing such a career. As a potential applicant, you should carefully consider both the course requirements and the fields of study offered by the program to see if they provide preparation in your areas of interest. Finally, another critical way to determine if you are a good fit for the Wagner Doctoral Program is to review the Wagner faculty bios. By reading these bios, you can establish if there are faculty at Wagner who share your research interests and have areas of expertise relevant to your intended field of study.

About the Application Process

When do applications for the Wagner Doctoral Program become available and where can I get them?

The application for admission can be submitted online.

What are the application deadlines?

The deadline for all applications is December 1st.

Does the Program admit students mid-year?

No. Students are admitted for the Fall Semester only.

What does the admission committee look for?

Very few students are admitted to the Doctoral Program. The admissions process is designed to identify those applicants who are most likely to succeed in their studies and their careers and for whom there is a good match between their interests and those of the faculty. Decisions are not based on one single indicator. An admission decision will include the following criteria:

  • Prior academic performance, including grades and the quality of the schools attended
  • Relevant course work completed
  • Work experience (professional, internships or volunteer), especially in regards to research
  • Personal statement
  • Recommendations
  • Standardized test scores (GRE or GMAT scores are required for all Doctoral Program applicants)
  • Personal interview, if requested by the Admissions Committee
  • TOEFL and TWE scores for all international applicants

In addition, applicants are encouraged to submit any documentation that they feel will allow the Admissions Committee to understand better their record of accomplishments. Applicants should not feel constrained by the information requested in the application packet.

Do I need a master's degree to apply for the Wagner Doctoral Program?

Students without graduate-level training are rarely admitted directly into the doctoral program. However, currently enrolled MPA/MUP students, or students without master's preparation may be considered for provisional admittance.

Current first year Wagner MPA/MUP students who wish to be considered for the doctoral program must submit a formal application by the December application deadline. These students may be granted provisional admission to the Doctoral Program. They must pass the doctoral research methods course with a grade of B or better in the fall of their second year, and the Preliminary Qualifying Exam (PQE) the following spring. Upon completion of the Master's degree and successful completion of these two requirements, students would be admitted to the doctoral program as a second-year student.

Do I need strong quantitative skills to be admitted to this program?

Because this is a research degree, prior quantitative coursework and/or strong quantitative GRE scores are recommended for this program. All students are required to take courses in both qualitative and quantitative methods and to gain expertise one theoretical framework (such as microeconomic theory) during their course of study.

What percentage of applicants is admitted?

The program admits approximately 5 students to the Doctoral Program each year. This comprises a little less than 5 percent of the applicants.

When will I be informed of my admissions decision?

The application review process begins immediately following the December submission deadline. Decisions are typically sent by early March.

May I defer my admission for a year or more after acceptance?

Deferrals are granted only in rare instances. To seek a deferral, send a letter indicating your reason and your intended semester of enrollment to the Assistant Director of the Doctoral Program. In those few cases when a deferral is granted, a deposit is required.

About Financial Aid

What type of financial aid is available?

All doctoral students without alternate funding sources are eligible to receive a four-year research assistantship, which carries a stipend and 100% tuition remission.  The research assistants work up to 20 hours a week with faculty members on research projects during the academic year .  No additional application materials are required for consideration.

Various faculty and research centers at NYU offer paid employment for students. For example, the following research centers frequently offer opportunities to Wagner doctoral students:

Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy

Since its founding in 1995, the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy has become the leading academic research center in New York City devoted to the public policy aspects of land use, real estate development and housing.

More than 15 faculty from the Law School, the Wagner School and NYU's Faculty of Arts and Sciences are involved in the Center's work.

Furman Center doctoral students work on a range of projects, touching on many of the key policy questions facing New York and cities around the country. From the challenge of the increasing numbers of mortgage foreclosures to the causes and implications of neighborhood change, from the critical problem of how to stem large numbers of affordable housing units from expiring out of their subsidy programs to the complicated puzzle of how to build housing in cities with growing populations and a scarcity of land, Furman Center doctoral students work on all aspects of a research project.

Institute for Education and Social Policy

A university-wide, multidisciplinary enterprise, the Institute for Education and Social Policy investigates urban education issues and studies the impact of public policy on students from poor, disadvantaged urban communities. This partnership of the Wagner School and Steinhardt School explores topics such as school finance equity in New York State, opportunities to learn in charter schools, new systems of public accountability for education, the cost effectiveness of small schools and special education in New York City schools. The Institute also collects key educational data and provides training and technical assistance to community groups organizing to improve their schools.

Institute of Human Development and Social Change - PIRT Fellowships

NYU's Institute of Human Development and Social Change (IHDSC) in association with faculty from six academic units - Applied Psychology, Humanities and Social Sciences in the Profession, Teaching and Learning (Steinhardt); Economics and Sociology (FAS); and the Wagner School of Public Service - was recently awarded a five-year, $5 million award to train 28 doctoral students from diverse backgrounds to become outstanding researchers in the educational sciences.

This interdisciplinary fellowship program is designed to train the next generation of quantitative educational researchers in methodological techniques developed to more accurately identify educational effects. These techniques include the utilization of randomized experimental designs, quasi-experimental methods, and other statistical approaches appropriate for causal inference and the analysis of multi-level data on students, teachers, schools, and developmental contexts. For more informaiton, please visit: http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/ihdsc/iespirt

About the Program

What are the Doctoral Program requirements?

Successful completion of the doctoral degree requires 72 academic course credits with a B+ or better average, completion and passing of the Preliminary Qualifying Examination, completion and passing of two comprehensive exams, a third-year research paper and a completed dissertation.

What fields of study are available at Wagner?

The Doctoral Program has the following established fields of study:

  • Education Policy
  • Health Policy
  • International Development
  • Management
  • Public Finance and Financial Management
  • Public Policy
  • Urban Policy

Can Wagner doctoral students take courses in other schools and departments?

The Wagner Doctoral Program encourages students to take courses in other NYU schools and departments. In addition, many doctoral students invite non-Wagner and non-NYU professors to be on their dissertation committees.

Can I transfer credits from other graduate-level work?

Credit toward the degree for courses taken at other institutions may be awarded under certain conditions and must be approved by one's faculty advisor and the Director of the Doctoral Program. Decisions regarding transfer credits are not made prior to matriculation and are based on the relevancy of the coursework and on the student's performance in the class.

A maximum of 40 credits out of the 72 course credits required by the Doctoral Program may be transferred from appropriate graduate coursework in another program.

What is the average length of time to degree completion?

Full-time Doctoral Program students should finish the degree in 5-6 years.

What types of careers will the Wagner Doctoral Program prepare me for?

The program prepares graduates for careers at academic institutions, in think tanks, research firms, and research units of public, quasi-public and private organizations, as well as for other positions with substantial responsibilities for the supervision and administration of research.

What types of career services are available at Wagner?

NYU Wagner's Office of Career Services (OCS) offers resources for students and alumni to develop appropriate strategies that lead to successful careers in academia, research and public service. OCS has partnered with the Doctoral Program administration to develop guideline materials and workshops specifically aimed at Wagner doctoral students seeking academic positions.

What types of research opportunities are available to Wagner doctoral students?

There are many research opportunities available to students through research centers affiliated with the Wagner School. All doctoral students are encouraged to seek research opportunities. Furthermore, many faculty are conducting research in a variety of areas of interest to doctoral students. In some cases, there are funded opportunities for research assistants. Doctoral students are urged to discuss specific research opportunities with the faculty.

What types of teaching opportunities are available to Wagner doctoral students?

An important feature of the Wagner Doctoral Program is the wide range of opportunities for students to obtain the skills and experience necessary to become effective teachers. There are many paid opportunities for doctoral students to work with full-time faculty as tutors, teaching assistants and, eventually, as primary instructors in courses in the master's curriculum.

For more information, please see our section on teaching experience.

What types of advisement are available to Wagner doctoral students?

Three types of formal advisement are available to Wagner doctoral students. Upon entry into the program, students engage with the Doctoral Program Director to clarify the administrative requirements of the program and help the student map out an initial plan of study. In addition, all new students are assigned a faculty advisor who shares common research interests and will further help the student organize a study plan. When a student completes the requisite coursework and has taken two comprehensive exams, s/he will begin work on the dissertation under the guidance of a dissertation advisor. The dissertation advisor may be, but is not necessarily, the student's faculty advisor. This advisor works in concert with the student and a dissertation committee throughout the dissertation process.

The Program Assistant Director is also available to assist doctoral students with course registration at Wagner as well as other graduate divisions of the university; to answer questions regarding degree requirements, dissertation guidelines, comprehensive exam and preliminary qualifying examination registration; and to clarify academic policies and procedures of the school and university.

Finally, entering students are provided with peer advisors, fellow doctoral students who can provide support in the transition to doctoral student life.

What type of community is available to Wagner doctoral students?

The Doctoral Program offers numerous opportunities to meet fellow doctoral students and Wagner faculty. Some of these opportunities are social in nature, while others are to help students strengthen their skills.

Membership in professional organization is encouraged for doctoral students, and funding to present professional conferences is available.

For more information about the Wagner doctoral student community, please see our section on community, events and resources.