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About Policy Studies PhD

About the Program

Ryerson students crossing the street at Yonge and Dundas

The PhD in Policy Studies is Canada’s first and only interdisciplinary doctoral program in policy studies offering students the opportunity to study in three fields: Public Policy and Administration; Immigration Settlement and Diaspora Policies; and Social Policy. 

Societal need for policy research has grown in response to the realities of the knowledge economy and the complex policy challenges facing communities, cities, regions, nations and the world. While policy studies as an area of study has found its disciplinary home in political science, policy research requires an understanding of the historical, cultural, political, institutional, geographic and economic aspects that frame policy fields. Traditional policy fields are increasingly interconnected, have domestic and international dimensions and involve policy actors from the public, non-profit and private sectors. These innate features of public policy require interdisciplinary knowledge and research collaboration across disciplinary boundaries. 

Ryerson’s recognized strength in combining theory and practice, growing reputation in policy-relevant research and location in Canada’s largest and most culturally diverse cosmopolitan centre provides students with the extraordinary opportunity to engage with government and community agencies in conducting domestic and international policy research. 

This interdisciplinary program is designed to prepare a new generation of researchers for positions in academe and the public, non-profit and private sectors at the local, regional, national and international levels.

The three fields in this program are designed around the interdisciplinary policy-related research expertise of the core faculty in social policy and existing graduate programs at Ryerson in the areas of public policy, public administration and immigration studies. Students can focus on Canadian (local, sub-national and national) or international policy studies. 

The Social Policy field encompasses research and opportunities in the areas of social welfare policy, labour market policy, family policy, health policy, food policy, environmental policy and justice policy. 

The Immigration, Settlement and Diaspora Policies field is designed for students who are interested in immigration policy-related research including migration studies, settlement and diaspora studies. 

The Public Policy and Administration field is for students who wish to engage in research and advanced study related to issues of public policy process, policy theory, implementation studies and public administration.

  • To provide students with a multidisciplinary understanding of policy studies in Canada and the global context.
  • To provide a strong theoretical foundation in policy studies and social science methodologies and the critical analytical skills necessary to understand the complex political and social environment in which public policy research is conducted.
  • To provide an understanding of the relationships between the public, private and third sectors (including para-public, voluntary and not-for-profit) as they affect policy.
  • To develop the capacity of students to think critically and communicate effectively – in writing and orally – commensurate with the demands of an academic or professional career in policy research.

To provide a high-quality, interdisciplinary doctoral degree that recognizes the significance of policy research and knowledge and its role in social development and democratic governance at all levels, from the local to the global.

PDF filePolicy Studies PhD Program Bylaw.