10 PhDs for Monitoring and Evaluation

A doctorate will place you on a whole new trajectory when it comes to your field of specialisation. As the field of Monitoring and Evaluation grows, so are the opportunities for focused doctoral study expanding across fields, while also deepening in their technical specificity. Whether your strengths lie in the highly analytic, and technical aspects, or whether a specific development challenge or cause has captured your heart, mind, and career, there is a PhD opportunity out there for you to formalise your knowledge, and to take your contribution to developing real-world solutions to the next level. It takes many years to find your niche for doctoral study, but these suggestions may assist is guiding your decision making as you navigate.

DPhil in Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation – University of Oxford

Oxford’s Department of Social Policy and Intervention offers this world-class, interdisciplinary doctoral programme focusing on Social Intervention process, policy and practice across a range of subject areas. The programme equips students with the theory and skills for conducting sound evaluations of programmes in health, violence prevention, the reduction of poverty and inequality, and child mental health; indeed some of the most pressing challenges for governments, civil society and development practitioners. This advanced programme encourages independent work, and the programme is usually highly specific to each individual, although all candidates are well supervised. This is a research-based programme, with stringent access requirements, but will guarantee candidates with the skills to grapple with development issues from the level of international policy, right down to the grass-roots implementation of even the most complex problems.

PhD Programme in Social and Engineering Systems – MIT

This cutting-edge research programme speaks into the heart of current best practice in social and human science. This programme will equip participants with the analytic and statistical methods to be able to analyse and address leading social challenges, from a strong data and machine learning perspective. Combining aspects of Information Systems and Sciences, with Engineering, Social Science, and the study of research methodologies, this fascinating programme will pave the way for a new generation of development practitioners. This programme includes a focus on autonomous systems, financial systems, urban systems and how these systems can be used to strengthen policy making, and urban development. If you’re looking at not only grasping M&E, but how to use evaluation as a principle in creating reinforcing loops for ongoing development practice, then why not explore this option.

PhD in Development Studies – University of Cambridge

This is a structured programme which provides participants with comprehensive coverage of current development issues and challenges; an excellent place to situate skills in monitoring and evaluation for improvement of development practice. At the end of their third year, participants submit a research dissertation, and the second year usually involves international, on-the-ground participation and study. The first year equips participants with all the critical research theories and skills. This structure makes this a unique opportunity to properly experience and explore real-world development challenges, while seeking their solutions. This is a full time PhD course, with stringent entry requirements, and a demanding study regime, however a strong supervisory element ensures a high quality, and enriching study experience.

PhD in Environmental Science, Policy & Management – University of California Berkeley

If your passion for problem solving is related more to issues of the environment, and the climate crisis, and this is where you hope to focus your Monitoring and Evaluation specialisation, this this expanded Environmental Science PhD might be the thing you are looking for. With employment and career prospects in government, environmental policy making, and academia, this programme will equip you with the methods and skills to evaluate programmes and policies to improve the outlook of our environment, and to mitigate the negative effects of our industrialised world. This will provide you with the language and the evidence to sway key stakeholders toward creating a better world.

PhD in Biomedical Informatics – Columbia

If you’re looking to focus on Public Health, and Health information systems, with Monitoring and Evaluation to improve healthcare policies and programmes, the this PhD in Biomedical Informatics will equip you will the skills you require to evaluate and improve healthcare programmes, information flows and conduct studies around programme efficacy. With a growing focus on healthcare related issues, this programme with its strong theoretical and applied components will equip epidemiologists, looking to sharpen their M&E with a top notch qualification, to engage in solving health challenges at the global level.

PhD in Evaluation Studies – University of Stellenbosch

This is a two-year doctoral programme offered by one of Africa’s leading universities, situated outside Cape Town, Stellenbosch University, which has been generating some of the most rigorous research and evaluations on the continent and around the world. The programme equips upcoming evaluators with all the skills and methodologies to conduct rigorous evaluations and aims to build Monitoring and Evaluation capabilities on the African continent and to ensure that this field continues to grow in professionalisation and practice. This programme is an excellent opportunity for those seeking to specialise as evaluators, and who aim to make a sound contribution across a range of intervention subjects and areas by applying this critical skillset. Studying M&E within a developing country context is sure to provide additional context, and a real edge the study experience.

PhD in Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics and Assessment (MESA) – Boston College

If you are technically skilled in statistics and are fascinated by the interplay with these skills and social research, then this is the programme for you. The programme ‘integrates state-of-the-art research design, statistical methods and testing’ to ensure that candidates are equipped with the highest degree of technical excellence. This programme is collaborative, both within the school amongst colleagues, but also on an international level. The programme is technical, but also applied, providing participants with the opportunity to work with NGOs and other civils society organisations, focusing on real-world development challenges.

PhD’s by Research – Institute of Development Studies

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) ranked 1st place in the 2020 QS World University Rankings by subject. The Institute takes some 50 PhD students at a time, and the work is focused on Development Studies across a range of topics and geographies. PhD students work with two Research Fellows, and participate actively in the teaching and learning activities offered by the IDS. Whether you are interested in applying your M&E skills to Policy and Governance, Civil Society, or Dev Tech, you will find associates at the IDS to facilitate a comprehensive research-based PhD. If you have a research topic in mind, focusing on any of the Institute’s subject areas, applications are welcome. As this programme is research based, coupled with teaching and learning opportunities, this programme will provide some freedom for research, while allowing participants to gain critical work experience in academia.

PhD in Development Studies with Reference to Emerging Economics – King’s College London

If your interest is in solving development challenges, using an evidence approach, and focusing on developing economies, then this PhD programme may be the one for you. The degree focuses on developing systems for modernisation, development and progress, with focus areas of Poverty, Inequality and Inclusive Growth, Social Justice and Political Economy and Institutions. The Department also hosts the Africa Leadership Centre, which creates a unique network with young leaders in Africa. This PhD may be completed part-time, or full-time.

PhD in the Evidence-based Practice Unit – University College London

If you’re already a subject specialist, looking an analysing critical issues such as healthcare provision and when to stop treatment, resilience in schools, child and adolescent mental health, mental well-being, or a range of other specialist areas at the centre of some of the world’s most significant development challenges, then why not browse the research areas currently support at UCL’s Evidence-Based practice unit. UCL, a ‘diverse global community of world-class academics, students, industry and external partners’, is well recognised for research strength and is growing its reputation as a leading multidisciplinary University. With links to the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families in the UK, this is an excellent opportunity for those seeking to bring an evidence-based and evaluative focus to an existing development challenge.

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About Angela Biden

Angela Biden is a consulting strategist and M&E consultant. She has worked across a range of development, and business contexts. She holds a Masters in Economics and Philosophy, and has worked in the nexus of M&E and social impact; to help those doing good do more of it; for some 15 years. From policy board rooms, to Tech start-ups, to grass roots NGOs working in the face of the world’s most abject challenges; Angela is focused on conducting relevant and meaningful M&E: fit for purpose, realistic, and useful for stakeholders creating positive change.
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