Public Policy and Global Affairs

Chen Chung An

Graduate Coordinator, Public Policy & Global Affairs

Assoc Prof Chen Chung-An
cchongan@ntu.edu.sg
SHHK-05-15

Gain Personal and Professional Growth through Inspiring Conversations and Research

Public Policy and Global Affairs (PPGA) offers full-time and part-time Ph.D. by research. It is a fast-growing research programme in Asia with a vibrant research community. Current faculty research interests include but are not limited to: Foreign Policy Analysis, Regionalism and Regional Integration (European Union, ASEAN), Chinese Foreign Policy, China-Africa Relations, Religion and Politics, International Security, Interstate Conflict, Contemporary Political Theory, Public Servant Motivation, Public Budgeting and Finance, Talent Strategies and Management, City Planning and Design, Smart Nations, Healthy Ageing, and Health Financing Reforms. 

Our programme rigorously trains students to acquire a solid mastery of the theoretical, methodological and analytical tools to conduct independent research. Students develop their research skills by attending local and overseas conferences, giving research assistance, and preparing papers for presentation and publications. Many of our graduates pursue successful academic careers in renowned universities in Asia, the United States and the United Kingdom. Besides, some graduates have been employed in local and international think tanks. Some work in other employment sectors such as national and international governmental bodies, non-profit sectors, and private sectors in different regions.

The Ph.D. programme in PPGA is MOE-subsidised.
  • A Master’s degree in Public Policy, Public Administration, Law, Political Science, International Relations or a related field.

  • A good language proficiency score: IELTS score at least 7.0 (on all subtests); TOEFL score at least 105 – Internet Based Test Score or 580 – Paper Based Test Score. IELTS is preferred.​  Applicants from Singapore universities and English-speaking countries are exempted from IELTS/TOEFL.

  • It is strongly recommended for applicants to contact one of the faculty members whom they wish to work with. Applicants can discuss their proposal with the faculty member and ask for suggestions and feedback prior to submitting the application.

 

IMPORTANT

  • Substitute tests due to COVID-19 safe distancing measures could be submitted. The University recognizes the TOEFL ITP PLUS (offered by ETS) and IELTS Indicator (offered by British Council)

Candidates may start applying online from 1 October for consideration to the following August intake. The application deadline is on 15th November for the Nanyang Research Scholarship (RSS) (same portal for self-financing students), and the Nanyang President's Graduate Scholarship (NPGS)​. All applications received after 15 November will be processed for the next August intake as the PPGA programme has one intake (August) only.

Candidates who would like to be considered for Scholarship should meet the stipulated deadlines. Candidates applying for the Nanyang President's Graduate Scholarship (NPGS), need not submit an additional application for the Nanyang Research Scholarship (RSS). However, RSS candidates will not be considered for the NPGS unless application has been made directly for the NPGS.

All graduate research applicants will have to pay an application fee of S$53.50. Only the first choice of the application will be processed. Candidates who wish to be considered to more than one subject area will have to make separate applications. 

Incomplete applications will not be processed by the School. Please ensure that your referee is aware of your application and is prepared to make the referee report submission as soon as he/she receives the automated official email from NTU. Applications will only be considered upon the receipt of the referee reports.

Applicants have to ensure the accuracy of all data before submission is made as no amendments are permitted once the application is submitted. 

Admission depends on the quality of the application as a whole, including the academic record, relevant experience, and research proposal​​. The research proposal is the essence of the application. Applicants need to design their proposal with clarity and sound judgement on the scope of the research in the subject area that they want to undertake. Please use this template to input your research details. 

Decisions on admission to the University are made on academic merit, the availability of an appropriate supervisor and/or availability of scholarship. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed to ascertain their holistic suitability for graduate studies. The School considers every application carefully before making recommendations for admission. Successful candidates will receive the offer from the University’s Office of Admissions. Candidates shortlisted for admission will be notified of the outcome anytime between March to May for the August intake and November to December for the January intake (if applicable).

The Research Programmes in the School of Social Sciences are MOE-subsidised​.

For more information, please visit the Research Programmes Admission Guide page.

Enquiries can be sent to ac-sss-ge@ntu.edu.sg

Cohorts 2016 and before

Ph.D. students must complete and pass the following:
  
  • Six Core Courses: HA9001 Theories of Public Policy or HA9888 Independent Studies, HA9002 Theories of Public Administration, HA9004 Quantitative Methods in Global Affairs, HA9005 Qualitative Research Methods, HA9006 Introduction to History of Political Thought, and ​HA9007 Theories of International Relations (18 Academic Units) 
  • PhD Qualifying Examination and Conversion
  • Thesis​
  • Oral Examination

 

Cohorts 2017

Ph.D. students must complete and pass the following:
 
  • ​Six Courses: HA9001 Theories of Public Policy or HA9888 Independent Studies, HA9002 Theories of Public Administration, HA9006 Introduction to History of Political Thought, HA9007 Theories of International Relations, HA9004 Quantitative Methods in Global Affairs, and HA9005 Qualitative Research Methods. 
  • Other Degree Requirements
  • PhD Qualifying Examination and Conversion
  • Thesis​
  • 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. Other degree requirements include: 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.

 

Cohorts 2018 and 2019 

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 excess can be used to fulfil the elective requirement.
  • Other Degree Requirements
  • PhD Qualifying Examination and Conversion
  • Thesis
  • Oral Examination

Typically, Ph.D. students must complete the coursework requirement within the first three semesters. The timeline should be discussed with the Supervisor and/or Graduate Coordinator). They should maintain a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average of 3.50. Other degree requirements include: ERI701 Epigeum Research Integrity (online course), HWG703 Graduate English course(unless exempted), HWG702 University Teaching for Teaching Assistants, Scholarly Communications and Impact (online course), Communications Courses, 3 Minute Thesis Symposium 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 respective e-guides ( Aug 2019Jan 2020Aug 2020 and Jan 2021) for more instructions.

 

Cohorts 2020 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; HX9001 Research Methods for Social Sciences; HA9009 Research Methods 2; and Two Electives. Core courses read in excess can be used to fulfil the elective requirement.
  • Other Degree Requirements
  • Qualifying Examination
  • Thesis​
  • Oral Examination

Typically, Ph.D. students must complete the coursework requirement within the first three semesters. The timeline should be discussed with the Supervisor and/or Graduate Coordinator). They should maintain a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average of 3.50. Other degree requirements include: ERI701 Epigeum Research Integrity (online course), HWG703 Graduate English course(unless exempted), HWG702 University Teaching for Teaching Assistants, Scholarly Communications and Impact (online course), Communications Courses, 3 Minute Thesis Symposium 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 respective e-guides ( Aug 2019Jan 2020Aug 2020 and Jan 2021) for more instructions.

 

Graduate Assistantship Programme (GAP)

Students receiving scholarship from the Ministry of Education (MOE) – RSS / NPGS / Grants – are required to fulfil the Graduate Assistantship Programme (GAP). GAP is a set of hours divided into Teaching /Research /Development duties determined by the type of scholarship and nationality of the student. 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.​ 

All students from Cohort 2020 and onwards are to take an Integrated Research Methods Course:

HX9001 Research Methods for Social Sciences (core)
This course will cover the fundamental research methods in social sciences. It will cover broadly the general methods shared by the different subjects, namely, Economics, Psychology, Public Policy & Global Affairs, and Sociology and some specific methods which are only particular to some of the subjects. Topics to be covered include (but not limited to), experimental design, field experiment, survey designs, interview, and secondary data analysis based on databases, literature review, ethics, and IRB application. 

The first half of the semester will be the methods shared by all 4 subjects in the school, and the second half of the semester the class will be divided into two groups: PPGA/Sociology, and Economics/Psychology where research methods unique to these subjects will be delved into deeper.


The following courses are offered by Public Policy and Global Affairs. Not all courses are offered in an academic year. Please click here​ for the courses that will be offered in a particular semester.  

HA9001 Theories of Public Policy (core)
This course addresses the theoretical underpinnings of public policy. It discusses the role of different theories in understanding public policy, including institutional theory, group theory, elite theory, system theory, rational theory, incrementalism theory, and public choice theory.

HA9002 Theories of Public Administration (subfield core)
This course discusses the intellectual development of public administration as a discipline. It will discuss the theory of bureaucracy, politics and public administration, theory of public management and theories of public organizations, postmodern theory, critical theory, public institutional theory, theories of governance, decision theory, and rational choice theory.

HA9006 Introduction to History of Political Thought (subfield core)
This course will introduce students to the political philosophies of the leading representatives of the history of political thought. Authors studied will include figures such as Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau, Mill, and Marx. The course will consider the unique philosophical contributions of each author in the context of his historical situation, thus looking to clarify and articulate the relation between philosophy and political reality. Students will also, however, be encouraged to reflect upon the continuing practical relevance of the canonical texts, interrogating the conceptual material with respect to their potential application to the study of current political realities. Some of the issues which will be focused on include the nature of the human being, the status of individual rights, the foundation of state authority, and the meaning of such concepts as equality, freedom, and justice.

HA9007 Theories of International Relations (subfield core)
This course is a mandatory course for PhD students in PPGA. It aims to 1) acquaint students with knowledge of social science theories, 2) train students to gain in-depth understanding of mainstream IR theories: realism, liberalism, and social constructivism, 3) enable students to grasp the academic development of IR theories, and 4) teach students to apply various IR theories to explain global affairs, especially East Asian regional affairs.

HA9009 Research Methods 2 (core)
This course will provide students with an extensive background in advanced quantitative and qualitative research methods. This will equip them with the skills and methods needed for doctoral-level field research.

HA9107 Policy Evaluation
Policy evaluation constitutes a key element of contemporary policymaking and refers to a comprehensive, often multi-year study of program/policy function and outcomes. This course will expose students to the complexity and scope of policy evaluation and the methods of policy and program evaluation. The social, political, and ethical contexts of evaluation will also be covered in the class. Throughout the semester, we will look at evaluation examples that have been conducted on public issues, programs, and policies to demonstrate key points. 

HA9108 Selected Topics In Health Care and Ageing
This course aims to develop students' understanding of key concepts, principles and theories of health care and ageing that are essential for health-related policy analysis and pursuing careers in the health care field. In addition, it aims to develop students' reflective capacity and enable them to link theory to practice through examining case studies in different countries. It covers hot topics such as COVID-19 and crisis leadership, medical tourism, digital health, and healthy aging.

HA9208 ASEAN’s Institutional Evolution: History, Functions, and Roles 
This seminar aims to offer students the in-depth, comprehensive knowledge and analyses of potentials, strengths, and limitations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Through class discussions, students will learn history, characteristics, and functions of ASEAN from the material and ideational perspectives. With these knowledge, students will gain an ability to analyze the ASEAN’s utility (potentials and limitations) and raison d'être by employing not only International Relations (IR) theories, but also theories in other fields (e.g. psychology, sociology, history).

HA9209 Regional Integration in Europe
This course introduces you to the politics and policies of European integration. By taking this course, you will learn about the historical motivations that led to the emergence of the European Union (and which alternative models were considered), the design and structure of European institutions (and how they have evolved over time), the core policy areas regulated at the EU level (and why some are outside of the formal EU institutional framework), as well as extant theories that attempt to capture these complex and multilevel interactions. 

HA9210 Quantitative Methods In International Relations (IR)
This course is a research seminar in quantitative approaches to international relations. We will learn how to use R in the first few class meetings. Then we will cover relevant scholarly articles to study the recent development in the field of international relations. It covers a wide range of topics and methodologies, which helps students to find and develop their research project.

HA9211 Crisis Diplomacy
This course is an applied seminar for students aspiring to careers in foreign affairs. Through a series of simulations, discussions and lectures, you will become acquainted with the practice of statecraft and diplomacy on a practical level. From the perspective of policymakers, we will tackle several of the most pressing issues in contemporary international security, ranging from traditional security issues like inter-state and civil war, nuclear proliferation, and the rise of great powers to more non-traditional, newer issues like terrorism, climate change, and “human security.”  Students will explore the intricacies, challenges, and possibilities of diplomacy during international crises through an active learning approach using simulations. Any student interested in pursuing a career in statecraft and diplomacy would benefit from this class.

HA9212 China and Global Governance
This course examines interactions between the rise of China and the changing international political economy over the past four decades, which has witnessed substantial transformations in globalization and technological innovation. It focuses on three inter-connected themes: 
1) the rising China and its domestic and diplomatic dimensions; 

2) the implications of a rising China, including the China model of development and its “Belt and Road Initiative,” for the Asian regional order, Chinese diaspora and new international migration; and

3) the impact of global governance and international political economy (IPE) on China, and vice versa. 
This course intends to introduce a series of theoretical concepts and methodological devices in the IPE in the attempt to grasp with these changing processes and their implications for policies and social sciences.
This course is organized by way of a series of special topics pertaining to IPE theories and methodologies, modern/contemporary China, the Chinese diaspora and their changing relations with China, social and business networks, China’s place in Asia and the world, and Singapore and China’s economic development. Students’ active participation, including formal presentations, forms an integral component of this course.

HA9301 Democratic Theory
This course will provide students with a theoretical interrogation of the concept of democracy, particularly as it relates to the issue of social division. Throughout the history of political thought, theorists from Plato to John Rawls have recognized that division is the essence of the sphere of politics: divisions continually emerge between different parts of the political community, between those who claim different titles to govern, those with differing desires and needs, those with opposing visions of the common good, and so on. With few exceptions, however, the tradition’s canonical thinkers have seen this plurality as a condition that needs to be overcome, not as one to be affirmed. In this course we will study a variety of twentieth-century political theorists who have not only recognized the fact of human difference, but who argue that the realization of democracy depends upon precisely the affirmation of this difference.  Democracy is thus essentially related to the effort to give an expression to the multiplicity of social forms of doing, being, and thinking that internally differentiate all political societies. Students will be encouraged to contrast this understanding of democracy with those contemporary ones that emphasize the values of social harmony and consensus, providing them with a ground to critically probe actually existing political institutions and orders. 

HA9302 Psychoanalysis & Politics
In this course students will examine a selection of some of the most influential contributions to the study of the intersection of psychoanalytic and political theory. Mostly eschewing Sigmund Freud’s own political analyses, we begin with an investigation of some of the most notable articulations of his metapsychology, or the philosophy of the psychical apparatus. The psychoanalytic starting point is the recognition of an unconscious, an inner subjective life that fundamentally structures our specifically human existence in indeterminate ways. This recognition poses fundamental challenges to various established models of political reason. It can no longer be taken for granted, for example, that political determinations may be potentially grounded in transparent and rational processes of reflection and deliberation that are capable of fully revealing to us our collective interests and goods. Rather, political theory must recognize the unconscious desires, emotions, affects, and motives that subterraneously influence our outward behaviours and orientations. Through the study of various 20th century clinical analysts as well as social theorists influenced by psychoanalysis – such as Wilhelm Reich, Herbert Marcuse, Norman O. Brown, Cornelius Castoriadis, Franz Fanon, and Jessica Benjamin –  we will investigate various important political issues complicated by the Freudian discovery of the unconscious, including the psychology of fascism, the desire for voluntary servitude, the nature of autonomy, the ground of gender hierarchy, and many more. After having completed the course students will have gained a deeper appreciation of the psychological factors and motivations which influence the decision-making of political actors.

HA9888 Independent Study
This course provides students with an opportunity to engage in independent research related to their proposed thesis/dissertation. The content and requirements of each Independent Study module is determined by the student and assigned faculty member. The actual topics in each syllabus will depend on the area of interest of the student and faculty member. In this course, students are expected to read widely both classical and contemporary readings under guidance of the faculty.​

HA9889 Directed Readings In Political Science And Public Policy
This course is tailored for students wishing to conduct an in-depth examination of a topic that is not covered by existing graduate courses. It enables students to explore a body of literature on their chosen topic under the guidance of their supervisor or course instructor. The topic can be related to their proposed dissertation or any topics relevant to political science, public administration or public policy.

The content and requirements of each directed reading course are determined by the student in consultation with his/her supervisor or course instructor. These include the reading list, assignments to be completed, timeline, arrangements for frequency of meetings, and mechanism for feedback. The final detailed syllabus will be subject to the approval of the Head of Programme, prior to the commencement of the course.

Notes: 
  • Courses and requirements are subject to review and change. 
  • Not all courses are available in one given semester. 
  • ​Courses will be offered on the basis of student intake, research areas and availability of faculty. 
  • Please click here for the courses that will be offered in a particular semester.​