Public Policy Track

Track description

The Public Policy Track is based on the assumption that modern policy making, devoted to the principles of good governance, transparency, accountability and effectiveness, needs to be based on sound academic analysis of the problems and policies at stake. In this way, the track aims to attract scholars interested in conducting thorough and systematic academic work on the cause, function, nature and outcome of public policy on all levels of policy-making, whether global, regional, national, or local.

Study on the track is founded upon both quantitative and qualitative methodologies; while the track puts and emphasis on empirically driven analysis, it also encourages the consideration of normative aspects and their socio-economic contexts. The track principally aims at training academic researchers in the field of public policy; yet, scholars also learn to apply analytical tools to ‘real world’ policy problems and to generate high quality policy advice.

The faculty involved in the PhD program brings a unique set of skills and perspectives. 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 both academic and applied research institutions. Core courses focus on the development of professional level 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 department welcomes applications in fields that reflect the multi-disciplinary nature of public policy and the department’s mission to bridge policy and practice. These are, 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


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 in 2021-22: 

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

When the call for applications for the Fellowship opens for the next academic year it will be linked here