Aug 17, 2019  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 

Doctor of Public Policy

Plan Description

This degree is a professional doctorate. It is designed for individuals interested in developing skills in policymaking and policy implementation at all levels of government. Completion of this degree will prepare students to conduct policy analysis, advocate for public policies and community-based solutions, or serve in decision-making positions. Its focus is to integrate what is known about the policy process into a set of skills and abilities so individuals can be competent actors in the policy arena. Course delivery is very structured with courses offered in a very specific sequence on Fridays and Saturdays over five semesters.

For more information about your program, including your graduate program handbook and learning outcomes, please visit the Degree Directory.

Plan Admission Requirements

Application deadlines

Applications available on the UNLV Graduate College website.

All applicants must review and follow the Graduate College Admission and Registration Requirements. 

Students may only begin the program in Fall. Only DPP courses taken in sequence at UNLV will be considered for transfer credit.

  1. Students must have at least a Masters degree.
  2. Students should have at least five years of professional work related experience.
  3. An essay explaining student’s interest in the degree and how they believe the degree will aid in their professional development.  In addition, the letter must articulate a policy area that the student has a substantive interest in studying.  The letter must accompany the application.  (An interview will be required before a final admissions decision is made).
  4. At least one graduate-level research and/or statistics course (if the student has not had a course in either of these two areas, they may be required to do so before final admissions).
  5. Interview.

Students are accepted into a degree program as described in the Graduate Catalog. The faculty and corresponding sub-disciplines and sub-plans within the described programs are subject to change at any time.

Plan Requirements

Total Credits Required: 51

Course Requirements

Core Courses - Credits: 39

PPY 700: Framework for Understanding Public Policy and Agenda Setting             
PPY 701: The Basics for Developing Policy Alternatives
PPY 703: Decision-making in government
PPY 704: Models of Policy Implementation
PPY 705: Evaluation: Closing the Loop
PPY 710: Problem Identification and Agendas
PPY 712: Sources of Policy Alternatives
PPY 713: Legislative Decision-making
PPY 714: Necessary Conditions for Policy Implementation
PPY 715: Building a Community of Policy Actors
PPY 716: Designing the Appropriate Evaluation System
PPY 720: Using Data to Define a Problem
PPY 722: Criteria Used to Evaluate Alternatives
PPY 723: Legislative Requirements: Fiscal Notes
PPY 724: Performance Measures and Benchmarks
PPY 725: Tracking Policy into Action
PPY 730: Framing Public Policy Issues
PPY 731: The Fundamentals of Writing Policy Briefs
PPY 733: Building a Persuasive Argument
PPY 734: Writing Clear Goals and Objectives
PPY 735: Translating Results into Performance
PPY 736: Telling the Policy Story          

Policy Project Courses - Credits: 12

PPY 780: Identifying and Framing the Issue
PPY 781: Developing a Policy (with all the elements)
PPY 782: Resources and Issues in Implementation
PPY 784: Developing an Evaluation Plan
PPY 783: Putting it all Together

Degree Requirements

Students will complete a 12 credit policy proposal project. The final product will be a paper and presentation that will be evaluated as outlined below:

  1. The project will be completed in phases completed in 12 credits of coursework (see degree requirements above). Each phase requires a written paper that demonstrates competency in a specific objective. For example, the first phase requires a student to identify a problem and to frame the issue using both a narrative and data. Faculty will evaluate each phase and use the evaluations as an assessment tool. 
  2. In the last semester, students will travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with policy experts and members of Congress (staff) to present their policy analysis proposal.  Those presentations will be evaluated by a committee of both faculty and policy experts in Washington, D.C. with the presentations serving as a major means of assessing learning outcomes.

Plan Graduation Requirements

The student must submit all required forms to the Graduate College and then apply for graduation up to two semesters prior to completing his/her degree requirements.