PhD in Public and Social Policy


Program Description

Our doctoral program aims to produce experts who are able to pursue research and analytical work with creativity. It aims to expand their theoretical and methodological knowledge and skills and to deepen their ability to grasp scholarship and social reality with a critical mindset. Graduates will be able to use these skills to identify and analyze important social issues in their proper context, the links between the behavior of social actors and their interests, values, and strategies, and the shaping and implementation of public policy.

The Faculty of Social Sciences of Charles University includes the Center for Social and Economic Strategies which shares staff with the Department of Public and Social Policy.

Description of verification and evaluation criteria

Application along with the research project and all appendices should be submitted online via student information system or on a paper application form to Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Smetanovo nábř. 6, 110 01 Prague 1, the Czech Republic by April 30, 2019, at the latest.

A research project must contain:

  • the dissertation topic proposed,
  • detailed definition of the research problem and proposal goals,
  • envisaged research questions (hypotheses),
  • discussion of relevant literature,
  • for purely theoretical projects, an appropriate application of theories, and good orientation in the relevant literature, including journals,
  • for empirically oriented projects, research design and a set of methods considered, too,
  • project time schedule,
  • bibliography of sources cited in the proposal using a standard format (do not mistake for the list of literature read),
  • the presupposed contribution of the thesis to the development of public and social policy as a field of study,
  • the information about the preliminary consultation with the considered supervisor.

The length of the research project should be approximately 10 pages (appendices excluded).

In addition, the research project should include the lists of the literature read, published or elaborated papers, applicant's participation in research projects, and his or her other relevant preconditions to study.

The entrance examination is composed of two rounds. During the first round, submitted research projects will be evaluated by the examination committee. Applicants will be informed about the results by May 17, 2019, at the latest. Only applicants, whose research projects will reach 16 or more points possible, will be invited to pass an oral examination. This second part of the examination will be organized as a face-to-face interview during the week of June 10th to 14th, 2019. For serious reasons, interviews via Skype will be also made possible.

Applicants are expected to demonstrate their ability to defend their research project in critical discussion and prove that they:

  • can formulate research questions,
  • understand their topic’s broader context, and
  • are fairly knowledgeable in public and social policy and related disciplines.

Priority topics of research projects for entrance examination:

(Other topics are not excluded, but they should be consulted and agreed upon by a future supervisor in advance.)

Public and social policies

  • Policy of social insurance and social security.
  • Educational policy.
  • Health policy.
  • Anti-corruption policy.
  • Drug policy.
  • Tobacco control policy.

Public sector

  • Public sector's efficiency
  • Public policies' efficiency evaluation
  • Impact analysis of public policies (qualitative and quantitative analysis)
  • Public procurement and its impacts on public policy


  • Strategic governance.
  • Relationships between market, state, and media.
  • A partnership of public and civic sector.
  • Systemic corruption.

Public Administration

  • Public administration reforms and their impact on public policy.
  • Modernization of public administration (comparison of the EU countries and design of modernization models for the Czech Republic).
  • Decision making in public administration and its impact on public policies' efficiency.
  • Computerization of public administration as a support for public policies' performance.
  • Inspection systems of public administration as an instrument of the efficient functioning of public policies.
  • Public administration employees – their roles, competencies, expectations.

Cross-cutting issues

  • Policy work and policy workers.
  • New methods and methodologies in policy analysis (process tracing etc.).
  • Policy design – theoretical and analytical approaches.
  • Policy analysis – new methods and approaches.
  • Policy evaluation.

Criteria for entrance exam evaluation:

  1. Research proposal quality: up to 30 points.
  2. Priority topic of the research proposal consulted with the potential supervisor in advance - up to 20 points.
  3. Knowledge of the field’s theoretical foundations and methods: up to 10 points.
  4. Existing scholarly texts and experience (papers in scientific journals, books or their parts, participation in research projects): up to 10 points.
  5. Project feasibility (grant, financing): up to 10 points.
  6. Applicant’s professional experience in the public, civic, or commercial sector: up to 10 points.
  7. Command of English: up to 10 points.

The maximum number of points: 100.

Resulting points are consensually agreed upon by members of the examination committee.

The point limit for accepting applicants is set by the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences of Charles University, taking into account the number of applicants and the capacity of the faculty.

Conditions for admission

Admission to Doctoral studies is conditioned by the successful completion of a Master's study program.

Verification method: entrance exam
Confirmation date (of entrance exam) from: 10.06.2019 until: 14.06.2019
Alternative date (of entrance exam) from: 24.06.2019 until: 04.07.2019

Recommended literature, sample questions

Please review the following document summarizing math prerequisites for our Bachelor in Economics and Finance study program.

Career Prospect

The graduate of the “Public and Social Policy” doctoral program is able to commission and carry out public and social policy-oriented research, publish its results in scientific outlets, and formulate the findings in a way relevant to policy practice. The graduate is also able to critically assess social and policy reality, identify and decompose complex public policy problems as well as propose advanced policy solutions, including political and social innovations. Furthermore, the graduate is capable of analyzing the processes of design, implementation, and evaluation of public policy activities at different levels (local, regional, national, international).

Last updated Mar 2020

About the School

The Faculty of Social Sciences (FSV UK) is a part of one of the oldest universities in the world which was founded in 1348 by Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. Shortly after the establishment in 1990, F ... Read More

The Faculty of Social Sciences (FSV UK) is a part of one of the oldest universities in the world which was founded in 1348 by Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. Shortly after the establishment in 1990, FSV UK became a regional centre of teaching and research in economics, sociology, political science, international relations, area studies, media studies and journalism. Read less