Programme Description

Public Policy and Global Affairs offers full-time and part-time Ph.D. by research program. Increasingly renowned in Asia for equipping our students with in-depth quantitative and qualitative research skills to address issues in the richly interrelated fields of Public Policy, Public Administration, Comparative Politics and Global Affairs with an Asia-pacific focus; the Public Policy and Global Affairs (PPGA) has become a fast growing research-intensive program in Asia.

We attract students from various territories, from China, Europe, Japan and Australia, which makes the student community and research environment a very culturally lively and diverse one.

Our faculty conduct research on a wide variety of current and innovative topics that include but not limited to: Public Policy and Management, Public Servant Motivation, E-Government and Governance, Public Budgeting and Finance, Public Administration Theory, Comparative Public Administration, Talent Strategies and Management in China and Singapore, International Relations Theory, International Security (East Asia), Foreign Policy Analysis, Chinese Foreign Policy, The Rise of China, China in Africa and Singapore’s Foreign Policy. Research undertaken by our students include a study of Public Sector Motivation (PSM) in certain parts of Central Asia and a study of China’s foreign military security policy towards Taiwan and the South China Sea from 2000 to 2017.

Our program rigorously trains our students for research-intensive careers. Many of our graduates pursue successful academic careers in renowned universities in Asia, U.S.A. and the UK. Furthermore, many have entered national and international governmental bodies such as the policy-making sectors and non-profit sectors as well as private sectors in many regions worldwide. Equally noteworthy, our graduates have also been employed in local and international think-tanks.

The Ph.D. program in Public Policy & Global Affairs is offered in full-time and part-time program. M.A. is not offered.


Degree Requirements




Cohorts 2016 and before

Ph.D. students must complete and pass the following:

  • Six Core Courses: Theories of Public Policy (HA9001) or Independent Studies (HA9888), Theories of Public Administration (HA9002), Quantitative Methods in Global Affairs (HA9004), Qualitative Research Methods (HA9005), Introduction to History of Political Thought (HA9006), and Theories of International Relations (HA9007) (18 Academic Units)                                                          
Cohorts 2017 and onwards
Ph.D. students must complete and pass the following:
  • ​Six Courses: HA9001 Theories of Public Policy / HA9888 Independent Studies; One of the following Subfield Core Courses: HA9002 Theories of Public Administration or HA9006 Introduction to History of Political Thought or HA9007 Theories of International Relations; HA9008 Research Methods 1; HA9009 Research Methods 2; and Two Electives. Core courses read in access can be used to fulfil the elective requirement.
  • Qualifying Examination
  • Oral Examination


Typically, Ph.D. students complete the coursework requirement within the first three semesters. They should maintain a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average of 3.50. They are also required to complete Epigeum Research Integrity (online course), HWG703 Graduate English (unless exempted), HWG702 Small Group Teaching, Information Research & Management (online course) and attend research seminars. Students on scholarship might have additional requirements to fulfil. Students are encouraged to work closely with their supervisor and the graduate co-ordinator to ensure timely completion of all the requirements.


Ph.D. students will have to submit and defend their thesis proposal as part of the Qualifying Examination (also known as the Confirmation Exercise). The Qualifying Examination should be completed within 18 months from start of candidature. The final completed thesis will be examined by a panel of internal and external examiners, after which, an oral examination will be held. Refer to the Timeline​ and Milestones for more instructions.

Graduate Assistantship Program (GAP)


Students receiving scholarship from the Ministry of Education (MOE) – RSS / NPGS / Grants – are required to fulfil the Graduate Assistantship Program (GAP). GAP is a set of hours divided into Teaching / Research / Development duties determined by the type of scholarship and nationality. The GAP is a form of in-service obligation effected for Cohort 2014 and onwards and has to be completed 6 months before the submission of the thesis.​