Doctor of Philosophy in Social Policy

Economic and Racial Equity

The Economic and Racial Equity concentration will enable students to develop a theoretical and empirical understanding of the causes, manifestations and consequences of social and economic inequalities, and prepares them for challenging careers developing research and policy that addresses and aims to eliminate these inequalities.

Focus of the Concentration

Students in the concentration will grapple with questions such as:

  • What are the causes and consequences of social and economic inequalities associated with race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status, social class, and age?
  • How are aging and disability, health, mental health and substance abuse, and children, youth, and family policies and programs shaped by current social and economic inequalities, and how may these programs and policies best contribute to reducing and eliminating such inequalities?

Graduates of the program assume roles as policy analysts, researchers, educators, program planners, and advocates. The concentration helps students achieve their goals through mentoring and advising, formal courses, colloquia, research responsibilities, and interaction with faculty.

Students in this concentration are advised by faculty and work on research projects directed by the Institute for Economic and Racial Equity, a research institute dedicated to promoting a better understanding of how assets and asset-building opportunities improve the well-being and financial stability of individuals and families left out of the economic mainstream.

Required Concentration Courses

Sample Dissertations

  • Lawren Bercaw, 2017. "No Place Like Home? Housing Sustainability for Older Adults Who Are Aging in Place."
  • Jody Black, 2017. "Illuminating the Barriers to Asset-Building by LMI Taxpayers: A Study of Earned Income Credit, Tax Refunds and Debt."
  • Pieta Blakely-Sanders, 2017. "The Geography of Work: The Role of Place-Based Resources in the Employment of Low-Income Mothers."

Joint degree with Sociology

  • Rachel Madsen, 2018. "Affordable Housing's Place in Regional Sustainability : How Local Dynamics Affect Policy Implementation and Pursuits of Social Equity."
  • Alexis Mann, 2018. "The Geography of Middle Class Economic Security: Does Location Matter?"

Cover of the 2020 Heller Social Policy Impact Report with coronavirus illustrationsThe 2020 Heller Social Policy Impact Report showcases a selection of high-impact research and public engagement from the faculty, researchers and students of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management from July 2019 through June 2020.