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Public Policy and Administration Master's Degree Requirements

Faculty | Master's | Courses

Master’s of Public Policy and Administration Degree Program

The Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration program is a professional academic program intended to prepare students for careers as public managers, policy analysts, advocates, and public leaders. The program welcomes and encourages both recent college graduates and mid-career professionals with diverse backgrounds to apply. A bachelor’s degree or equivalent international degree is a prerequisite for admission.

Students are encouraged to specialize in a substantive or methodological field of interest. Those students who choose to build their own specializations are encouraged to do so by drawing upon the rich resources of the entire University, allowing for flexibility and focus in individual program design.

Further information concerning the Master’s in Public Policy and Administration program can be obtained by calling the department’s office, tel. (413) 545-3940, or by visiting its website at

General Requirements

The Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration is awarded for completion of a two-year, 48-credit degree program and a full-time summer internship usually taken between the first and second years. The program welcomes part-time students, and offers core courses at times convenient for working students. The internship requirement is waived for part-time students with relevant experience.

Core Course
Core couses are designed to provide students with a strong analytical foundation, applicable to a wide variety of policy and management careers. The following seven core courses are required: Politics of the Policy Process (or Comparative Public Policy), Public Management, Microeconomics for Public Policy and Administration, Research Methods for Public Policy and Administration, Introduction to Statistical Methods for Public Policy and Administration, Public Policy Analysis, and the Capstone Seminar.

Program Electives
Program electives provide students with a deeper understanding of areas that affect professionals in the public and nonprofit sectors. Students are required to take three program electives, one from each of the three sections: Policy, Management, and Methods. The following are program elective courses: Ethics and Public Policy, Comparative Public Policy, Globalization, Nonprofit Management, Information Technology, Organization Theory and Design, Applied Public Sector Economics, Advanced Qualitative Methods for Public Policy and Administration, and Advanced Quantitative Methods.

Electives and Specializations
The program encourages students to take elective courses from the wide array available at the University. In addition to the program electives, elective courses may be chosen to lead to specialization in various fields.

Elective courses may be taken from various departments of the University with the approval of the student’s adviser.

Specializations can be developed to help students build a body of knowledge in a particular area of interest, guide students as they design their program, and connect students with faculty involved in their chosen area of research and teaching. Although not a requirement of the program, some students choose to focus on a particular specialization. Students in the program have specialized in areas including Education Policy, Environmental Policy, Food Science Policy, Health Policy, International/Comparative Policy, Public and Nonprofit Management, Science and Technology Policy, and Social Policy. In addition, there are substantial resources on campus to develop specializations in information technology, conflict resolution, macroeconomic policy, advanced quantitative methods, labor policy, and media and public policy.

M.B.A./M.P.P.A. Dual Degree Program

The Center for Public Policy Administration and the Isenberg School of Management offer an M.P.P.A./M.B.A. dual degree program. This is a 72-credit program in which students complete the Master of Business Administration and the Master of Public Policy and Administration degrees in two and an half years. The combined degree program allows students who are interested in both policy and public management issues and business administration to pursue an integrated and comprehensive course of study. Graduates would be prepared to move into careers at any level of government and various areas of the private sector. Students complete most of the required M.B.A. coursework in their first year. The second-year students enroll in a combination of M.B.A. and M.P.P.A. courses and complete an M.B.A. practicum. During the summer of the second year, students complete an M.P.P.A. internship. In the final semester, students complete two M.P.P.A. courses and two electives. Students applying to the M.P.P.A./M.B.A. dual program must meet the respective admission standards for each program. They submit only one application, which is reviewed by both programs. Applicants must be accepted to both programs to enter the M.P.P.A./M.B.A. dual degree program.

Application and Financial Aid

Application for graduate study should by made directly through the Dean of the Graduate School, as described elsewhere in this Bulletin.

Admission to the Master’s program is for the fall semester only.

The program offers teaching and research assistantships to qualified students; these carry a stipend and a waiver of tuition and curriculum fees.