Public Policy

Track description

Modern policy making, devoted to the principles of good governance, transparency, accountability and effectiveness, needs to be based on sound academic analysis. The Public Policy track is designed for scholars interested in conducting research on the cause, function, nature and outcome of public policy. The program taught by faculty  that specialize in different levels of policy making, including the sub-national, national, European Union and global levels, and PhD students work on or have graduated with theses that focus on each of these different levels.

Research and study in the Public Policy track draws on both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Most projects emphasize empirically driven analysis. The track is primarily designed to train academic researchers in the field of comparative public policy, but scholars also learn to apply analytical tools to ‘real world’ policy problems and to produce high-quality policy advice.

The faculty involved in the PhD program come from a range of public-policy related disciplinary backgrounds, including international relations, politics, law and economics. In addition to being authoritative voices in their respective fields of research, they also have first-hand policy experience, working for think-tanks (e.g. the RAND Corporation) or businesses (e.g. Vodafone), consulting with NGOs (e.g. Open Society Institute, Transparency International) or advising national or local governments, as well as international organizations (e.g. World Bank Institute).

The Public Policy track prepares graduate students for careers in academic and applied research institutions, as well as the public, private and voluntary sector more generally. The core courses in the track focus on the development of professional research and analytical skills in the fields of European and international public policy, comparative policy analysis and political economy.


You can browse the courses offered here: Courses hosted by Doctoral School of Political Science, Public Policy, and International Relations.

Who should apply?

The track welcomes applications in fields that reflect the multi-disciplinary nature of public policy and the track’s mission to bridge policy and practice. These include, in particular,

  • European Union politics and policy, regional integration
  • Governance (local, national, European Union, global)
  • Public management and administration
  • Policy reform analysis
  • Development and trade
  • Role of civil society in public policy
  • Minorities
  • Public services and utilities (particularly media and communications, energy and higher education)
  • Economic and labor market policy
  • Political parties and public policies

Track representative: Cristina Corduneanu-Huci
PhD Students in this track


Research topic: higher education policy
Track availability: Public Policy track

The Yehuda Elkana Scholarship was established to provide support for outstanding young scholars pursuing a doctoral degree in higher education policy at Central European University. The Scholarship fully sustains these students during their graduate work (including dissertation research), allowing them to concentrate entirely upon their studies.

The Scholarship is named after Yehuda Elkana, the third President and Rector of Central European University (1999-2009), who was a renown international scholar, public intellectual, and educator with a deep commitment to open society.

Number of scholarships offered: 

Additional application requirement:
Research proposal related to the topic of higher education policy

Additional program requirement:
Submitted dissertation in the subfield of higher education policy