Admissions Criteria

The PhD in Public Policy programme is a very competitive programme. We select a handful of students, typically 5 – 6 a year, from more than 100 applicants. To ensure that we admit only students who demonstrate strong potential for high quality doctoral work, timely completion, and successful academic careers, the PhD Admissions Committee takes into account the following considerations:

  1. Your application should provide evidence of academic excellence and suitable academic preparation, both indicating your ability to perform well in the PhD programme, including the required coursework (for details of the PhD coursework curriculum, please see here). This includes the relevance and quality of your undergraduate and graduate degrees, and your GRE test score. You must submit your GRE score report, without which, we will not be able to review your application. You should also provide evidence of your capacity to carry out independent research in public policy and present complex ideas in English. The quality of your research proposal is critical for demonstrating this strength.
  2. You should apply if you are intending to pursue an academic career in a university or an institution where intensive research is a core function. We think of our PhD students as research and teaching apprentices who are in training for the academic profession. In your statement of purpose, the Admissions Committee will especially be looking out for evidence of passion for research and hunger for knowledge.
  3. You should prepare a high quality research proposal indicating a research topic that is aligned with a potential supervisor’s research interests and the overall research interests of the LKY School. We regard PhD students as junior research collaborators and, as such, they are an essential part of the School’s research community. You would be expected to contribute actively and productively to our research activities and publication output. The LKY School has identified 5 broad research areas that we will be focusing on in the coming years:
    1. Policy Studies, Public Management, and Institutions; Governance Capacity
    2. Competitiveness in Asia
    3. Water governance in Asia, Urban Water, Urban Resilience, Disaster Governance
    4. Social Policy in Asia and Singapore
    5. Major Power Relations in Asia and Global Governance

You should therefore identify a potential supervisor from the list below and state in your application who you would like to work with on what topic of research. We encourage you also to approach a potential supervisor before you apply, so that you can gauge their interest and get some guidance for your proposal if they are interested to supervise you. You may also apply even if you have not obtained the explicit consent of a potential supervisor.

Please note that getting a potential supervisor’s consent does not guarantee admission. Your application will need to be assessed by the Admissions Committee. You may be asked to appear for an interview and a written examination. The Admissions Committee will not entertain any correspondence on admissions issues while your application is under consideration, except for instances when the Committee has sought clarification or further information.

Potential supervisors and their research interests

Application and required documents

Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit an online application. The following documents (in soft copies) are required when submitting an application.

  • Official Transcripts and Certificates
  • Curriculum vitae or Resume
  • GRE
  • Research proposal, statement of intent and writing samples
  • 2 letters of references (Academic)

Click here for the detailed requirements of each document.


Aside from the comprehensive information on our admissions page, if you have any other queries or would like to receive a copy of our programme brochure, please submit your request via our query form. Alternatively, you may also speak to our admissions officers at +65 6516 8004.