During the course of the program—in which every full-time student receives tuition and stipend support—PhD candidates focus on a specific concentration that most aligns with their long-term interests.

Students from all five concentrations attend class together to gain a multifaceted perspective on today's—and tomorrow's—most critical social policy issues. In addition to the coursework, they participate in a doctoral seminar, write an integrative comprehensive paper and successfully defend a dissertation within four to six years. 

Heller is a top school of social policy that is also home to 11 renowned research centers, and collaboratives institutes that cover social areas ranging from disability policy to asset accumulation. Doctoral students partner with Heller researchers to dig into critical questions when they select a concentration.
Learn more about our program concentrations

Alumni Outcomes

Freada Kapor Klein, PhD'84

Freada Kapor Klein, PhD’84, Partner at Kapor Capital and founder of the Level Playing Field Institute

“There’s a prevailing mythology in the tech industry that tech, more than any other sector, is a meritocracy. So the concept of hidden bias flies in the face of people who regard themselves as smart and innovative. If you believe you’re a meritocracy, then you don’t have to pay any attention to diversity and inclusion efforts.”

La Verne Reid, PhD'99, professor at North Carolina Central University.

“I talk about my experience at the Heller School a lot with my students because we are very interested in health inequities. Heller exposed me to the language that policymakers use, and it's totally different from that of health inequality. I learned to speak that language and examine those differences.”

Michael Levine looking at a cell phone with muppet Abby Cadabby

Michael Levine, PhD’85, Chief Knowledge Officer, Sesame Workshop

“I made a choice to go to the Heller School because the school had heart and soul. At Heller, social justice was in the DNA. The folks who walked the halls of Heller in the mid-1980s were mentors, activists and scholars who had been present at the very beginning of social justice policymaking. My upbringing was steeped in the civil rights movement and the War on Poverty, and Heller was a logical extension of that.”

Our biannual research journal: The Heller Social Policy Impact Report

Fall 2019 Issue

This issue covers research and related activities conducted from January 1 to July 31, 2019.

Download an accessible PDF of the Fall 2019 Impact Report

Spring 2019 Issue

This issue covers research and related activities conducted from July 1 to December 31, 2018.

Download an accessible PDF of the Spring 2019 Impact Report

Heller Social Policy Impact Report, Fall 2018

Fall 2018 Issue

This issue covers research and related activities conducted from January 1 to June 30, 2018.

Download an accessible PDF of the Fall 2018 Impact Report
Impact Report Archives