Q. How can I check the status of my online application? How long does it take for the application materials I have submitted to show up as received on my application status page? What office should I contact if my application status page does not accurately reflect all the materials I have submitted?
You can check your application status at any time at the
firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, recommenders may submit their letters directly to the LBJ School via email ( email@example.com) or by postal mail. These two methods are not recommended, as they may cause an extensive delay in processing your application. 4. Current resume or CV: Upload your current resume or CV here. The system will only accept documents that are in PDF format. You should include your name and page number on each page of your resume or CV. 5. Statement of Purpose Essay: Your essay should be uploaded to your online file using the same method described for the resume/CV. Do not submit your essay using the ApplyTexas.org application form. A document in standard essay format is required. There are no specific, strict formatting requirements (font, length, spacing, etc.), but we highly recommend that you try to keep it under the equivalent of three double-spaced pages in normal 12-point font. 6. A proposed program of study of no more than 2 single-spaced pages identifying specific areas of research, potential dissertation topics, types of courses that would fit into your overall plan, and the works of individual professors that seem most relevant to your policy interests. Upload this document in PDF format to your file using the links posted above. 7. A writing sample of no more than 25 pages in the form of an essay, academic or professional report, or published article. Upload this document in PDF format to your file using the links posted above. IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR CURRENT OR FORMER UT AUSTIN GRADUATE STUDENTS: Applicants who are currently enrolled in another graduate program at UT Austin or who have been enrolled in a graduate program at UT Austin in the past must apply using the Change of Major form. Additionally, all supplemental materials (resume, essay, PDF of transcripts) must be emailed to the Admissions Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. Recommenders should also email their letters directly to this email address. Please provide it to them. This DOES NOT apply to current or former UT Austin undergraduates, who should follow the regular online application and document upload method. LBJ School Contact Information A reference sheet found on the LBJ School “Contact Us” site at http://www.utexas.edu/lbj/contact/osap provides contact information for University staff that can assist you with questions you may have about the admissions process. Admissions Coordinator 512-232-4013 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 512-232-4013 FREE end_of_the_skype_highlighting Email (preferred) email@example.com Graduate and International Admissions Center (GIAC) Online contact form http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/admissions/ 512-475-7391 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 512-475-7391 FREE ">My Status page. Please note: If you submit application materials during the 4 weeks prior to the application deadline you should anticipate a lag time of a week or more between the time your documents are received and processed, and the time your status page is updated. You can avoid the last minute rush by applying early.
Q. What is the mission of the Ph.D. program at the LBJ School?
The Ph.D. program is an advanced research training experience that focuses on the methods, craftmanship, and intellectual context of conducting policy research. Its mission is to prepare individuals possessing substantive knowledge in a policy area to become researchers capable of conducting independent scholarly research. Therefore the program is structured around the dissertation research of each student.
Q. How does the LBJ School structure this advanced research training?
The LBJ School matches Ph.D. students' research interests with the ongoing interests of our research faculty and the
research centers at the School. Faculty members serve as mentors for individual students. At the same time, faculty and student research activities often take place under the auspices of research centers, which offer the intellectual environment as well as networking resources to support doctoral research.
You can review the profile of the members of the LBJ School's permanent faculty and their research interests,
here. Broad research trajectories at the LBJ School are also represented by the specializations offered in the Master’s program.
Within our model of research apprenticeship training, much of the coursework is organized around the need to develop intellectual perspectives and methodological expertise for one’s specific dissertation research. As a result the program consciously minimizes the number of common core courses that Ph.D. students are required to take.
Q. Since the LBJ School normally only offers 3-4 courses explicitly designed for its Ph.D. program, where do Ph.D. students find additional courses?
It is our deliberate intent to encourage interdisciplinary learning. Ph.D. students work closely with their advisers and the Ph.D. Graduate Advisor to identify doctoral-level courses in academic units across campus relevant to their specific research needs and interests. The most popular academic programs targeted by LBJ Ph.D. students include: Sociology, Government, Community & Regional Planning, Economics, Law, Business, Engineering (Civil, Transportation, Environmental), Geography, and History. LBJ School seminars and, occasionally, master's-level core courses are also available depending on their relevance to a Ph.D. student's doctoral research needs. This is one of the contrasts between our Ph.D. program and our coursework-based MPAff program.
Q. What is the difference between the Master’s and the Ph.D. program at the LBJ School?Are they related?
The MPAff at the LBJ School is a terminal professional degree for policy education. Its purpose is to prepare practitioners for public service. The Ph.D. in Public Policy is a terminal academic degree for policy research. Its purpose is to prepare future faculty members and researchers. While a Master’s degree in public policy or an equivalent field is a prerequisite for admission to the Ph.D. program, the Ph.D. degree at LBJ is not an extension of the MPAff degree.
Q. The LBJ School requires that Ph.D. students hold a master's degree in public policy or "its equivalent" by the time they matriculate. What qualifies as an "equivalent" degree?
The Ph.D. program is flexible in its interpretation of what constitutes a degree equivalent to the Master’s in Public Policy/Affairs. More important than the specific type of master's degree an applicant holds is evidence of a solid background in the social sciences, evidence of a serious intellectual commitment to public policy and public policy research, and a coherent and relevant dissertation research plan. In practice, students enter the program with a diverse range of undergraduate and graduate degrees. A JD is considered appropriate training for entry into the program; indeed several of our current students have received JDs prior to entering the program.
Q. Does the program offer spring as well as fall admission?
No. The School only enrolls new Ph.D. cohorts in the fall.
Q. Is it possible to be a part-time Ph.D. student at the LBJ School?
It is not. All students are expected to be enrolled full-time during their course of study in the Ph.D. program. This translates into 9 hours of course work (3 courses) per semester until achieving candidacy, and a minimum of 3 hours per semester once admitted to candidacy (whether an international student or not).
Q. Is it possible to transfer credit from my current graduate program to the LBJ School's Ph.D. program?
Transfer of course credit is irrelevant at the LBJ School since our Ph.D. program does not have rigid minimum course-hour requirements.
Q. Are applicants expected to have work experience?
All other things being equal, the LBJ School prefers to admit Ph.D. students who have had work experience in a policy or research arena relevant to their academic interests. Freshly minted master's students with little or no policy-relevant work experience face a higher bar for admission to the program.
Q. What kinds of fellowship and other support are available for Ph.D. students?
At the time of admission, the School offers most Ph.D. students up to $16,000 in fellowship support, in addition to covering tuition and fees, for each of the first two years of doctoral study. In making fellowship decisions, no distinction is made between U.S. and international students. However, it is extremely helpful to the admissions committee to know whether applicants expect to receive fellowship support from their home country/institutions.
In the third and fourth years, the School covers tuition and fees for qualified students, and also makes every effort to cover living expenses. Usually this takes place through teaching assistantships or other support. Additionally, and where possible, these efforts take the form of collaborative research projects among the student, the faculty, and the affiliated research center to secure research funding beyond the first two years. To reinforce the norm of a four-year Ph.D. program, the School does not guarantee any institutional fellowship support beyond the fourth year.
Q. What specific kinds of things is the LBJ School looking for in making admissions decisions?
There is no "official list" of required background, training, or desired characteristics. Nevertheless, a number of considerations (in no particular order) consistently prove to be highly desirable: (1) interdisciplinary research sensibilities; (2) intellectual curiosity and wherewithal; (3) strong background in the social sciences; (4) good graduate-level training in research methods and statistics; (5) a coherent research plan; (6) a clear vision of how the resources available at the University of Texas and the LBJ School are particularly suited to realizing that research plan, and; (7) proficiency in written and oral expression in English. In addition, the admissions committee finds helpful a statement from the applicant regarding their medium to long-term career goals and how a doctorate will assist in those goals.
Q. Does the LBJ School interview prospective Ph.D. students?
The LBJ School does not offer formal interviews as part of the admissions process, but prospective students are always welcome to visit the campus and meet with faculty and students. The best strategy is to arrange your own appointments with faculty members who share your research interests. The Office of Student and Alumni Programs (OSAP) will also help you connect with Ph.D. students. You can contact OSAP at
Q. What kinds of careers do graduates of the LBJ School's Ph.D. program pursue?
Since its inception in fall 1992, the LBJ School's Ph.D. program has graduated 56 students [August 2013]. The most frequent career path (40%) is faculty positions in research universities here and abroad; 18% work in public policy research institutions in the United States; 10% in international agencies; another 10% in private consulting, and; 8% in state or federal government.
Q. How large is the LBJ School's Ph.D. program?
The LBJ School's Ph.D. program is relatively small, typically around 30-35 students at any point in time. This includes everyone from first-year students to those in residence or elsewhere who are putting the final touches on their dissertations.
Q. What proportion of applicants are admitted to the LBJ School's Ph.D. program?
The Ph.D. program receives around 90 applications every year. We aim at enrolling 4-6 students every fall. Ultimate decisions depend on the match between the research interests of applicants and those of our research faculty, the need to maintain a balance of policy interests within the program, the capacity of the School's financial resources, and other factors.
Q. How long does it take to complete the Ph.D. degree?
Half of our Ph.D. graduates completed the program in 4.5–6 years.
Q. What proportion of Ph.D. students actually complete the program?
Approximately 85% of students who have enrolled to date have completed the program. The balance (15% of those who matriculated since 1992) did not continue in the program at some point after their first year of studies for personal or academic reasons.