Master of Public Policy (MPP)

The MPP program integrates theoretical learning with multiple opportunities for practical applications, and educates individuals to become public and nonprofit sector leaders, as well as effective advocates for social change. Students are only required to be in residence for one year.  The 37-credit interdisciplinary Master of Public Policy (MPP) program is one of the most affordable master’s degrees in public policy in New England.

There are two ways to complete the Master of Public Policy Program. Anyone who has completed their undergraduate degree by May of the year they apply (so college seniors who are graduating in May would be eligible).  We will happily accept applications from students in Massachusetts, around the U.S. and around the world.  The program allows students to complete the MPP degree in one year by taking up to 12 credits of online courses in the first summer (and may include the three credit internship requirement), while finishing the remainder of course credits during two semesters in residence. 

You are eligible to apply for the accelerated Master of Public Policy if you are a current junior at UMass or at Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke or Smith college and would like to earn a graduate degree in one year after completing your bachelor’s degree.  In the accelerated program, students can begin taking graduate courses during their senior year that will double count towards their undergrauate degree AND the MPP.

Master of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA)

The Master of Public Policy and Administration would be the right degree for you if you already have an undergraduate degree, have been working for a few years or more, and are interested in a career in public service. Most MPPA students have at least two years of work experience; some have less experience but have had an internship or other demonstrated commitment to public service.  The MPPA gives you the opportunity to specialize in a policy area you are interested in by taking more electives both within SPP and across UMASS.  Students in the MPPA are also required to complete a Capstone.

Students interested in dual degrees (with Education, Public Health, Business or Planning) should apply for the MPPA.

The priority deadline for the MPP is March 22.  Students interested in a fellowship should apply by March 22 for priority consideration.

Applications for the MPPA program are due February 1 in order to receive priority consideration for graduate assistantship from SPP.  The final deadline is March 15. The admissions committee notifies applicants of its decisions by April 15.

What happens to my application if I submit it after the posted deadline for my desired program?
All processed applications are forwarded to the appropriate program upon receipt. Those applications submitted after the deadline will be bumped to the next entrance cycle, and it will be up to the admissions committee if they wish to consider any late application(s).

Any admission is for a specific semester and cannot be routinely deferred.

Students applying to the accelerated MPP program must be current Five College undergraduates, as the program credits count toward both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

MPPA applicants who wish to defer acceptance for one year must write to your graduate program to request a deferral.

The School of Public Policy does NOT have spring or summer enrollment. For both the accelerated MPP and traditional MPPA programs, SPP only admits new students in the fall semester of each academic year.

Successful applicants to the accelerated MPP program will be of junior standing and have a strong cumulative GPA. Admission into the MPP program will be contingent on maintaining a high GPA during the senior year. Applicants to the program are expected to demonstrate a strong commitment to public service through internships, research, employment or volunteer experiences with policy-oriented organizations. For Five College students applying, there is no GRE requirement. Likewise, international students currently enrolled at any of the Five Colleges will not be required to submit TOEFL scores with their application.

Successful applicants to the MPPA program must have the equivalent of an American bachelor’s degree. The GRE general test scores are required, and students on average score around 600 on both the verbal and quantitative sections of the test. The average GPA in undergraduate course work is 3.4. The admissions committee also considers relevant work and community experience, career goals, the personal statement and letters of recommendation, especially those from former professors. International students whose native language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and have the results submitted directly to the university.

International students applying for the accelerated MPP program must currently be enrolled at one of the Five Colleges and are not required to submit TOEFL scores with their application.

International applicants to the MPPA program can find detailed information on the Graduate School website.

Because applicants to both the accelerated MPP and traditional MPPA programs come from a wide variety of academic backgrounds and have taken courses that vary in difficulty and level, we do not have a minimum GPA requirement. The admissions committee will consider these factors when evaluating the candidate’s GPA, along with all of the other admissions criteria.

For Five College students applying to the accelerated MPP program, there is no GRE requirement.

Applicants to the MPPA program are required to take the GRE and submit scores directly to the university.

An interview is strongly encouraged for applicants to the accelerated MPP program. To arrange an interview, contact Satu Zoller at 413-545-2714 or szoller@pubpol.umass.edu.

Although an interview is not required for admission to the MPPA program, we recommend that applicants visit UMass Amherst and meet faculty and students. If a campus visit is not possible, applicants can arrange to speak with MPPA alumni in their area. To arrange a campus visit or to speak with an alum, contact Kathy Colón at 413-545-3940 or kcolon@pubpol.umass.edu.

No more than a total of six graduate credits may be transferred toward the MPPA program. The SPP program director must send a recommendation to the graduate dean, who then must approve the credit transfer. More details about other requirements for transferring courses can be found in the Graduate Student Handbook.

You can take courses at SPP as a non-degree seeking student if you have a bachelor’s degree and have registered with the graduate school. Applications for this status do not require the supporting documentation required for application to a degree program. If you are later accepted into the MPPA program, up to six graduate credits may be applied toward your degree. Students with non-degree status may take SPP courses as space permits and with the permission of the instructor.

We welcome part-time students in the MPPA program. While full-time students usually complete the MPPA degree in two years, part-time students may take three to five years to complete the necessary requirements to graduate. For working professionals attending the program part-time, the internship requirement is waived. Students in the accelerated MPP program are expected to enroll full time.

Within its nine schools and colleges with 1,150 full-time faculty members, the university offers bachelor’s degrees in more than 90 areas, master’s degrees in 68 and the doctorate in 51. There are approximately 23,000 full-time students, comprising more than 17,000 undergraduates and 6,000 graduate students. Approximately 50 students are enrolled in SPP’s graduate programs. Students come from all parts of the U.S. and around the world.

The tuition and fee schedule may be found on the UMass Amherst bursar’s website.

The university’s financial aid office provides detailed information on the options available to all prospective UMass graduate students. Applicants to the accelerated Master's of Public Policy (MPP) program are strongly encouraged to research all areas of financial aid that may be available to them, including fellowship opportunities for international and domestic students.

SPP may offer a number of paid assistantships to highly qualified first- and/or second-year Master's of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) students. In addition to a stipend, these assistantships may carry a waiver of tuition and curriculum fees, as well as paid health insurance. Research assistants primarily work with professors in the department. Projects vary depending on the primary interest of the professor.

The Commonwealth Policy Fellowship offers grants to $10,000 each to ten incoming students in the one-year Master's of Public Policy (MPP) program. 

Students will intern in organizations that align with their specific areas of interest, ranging from local nonprofit organizations to the federal government to international nongovernmental organizations. Some examples of past internship organizations include the United Nations, the World Bank, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Tapestry Health, the National Labor Relations Board, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Save the Children foundation.

SPP has an established internship program, with many alumni and host organization contacts, which will be available to students in both master’s programs. SPP’s associate director will provide guidance to each student in his or her internship search. However, because students have such a broad range of interests, each student is ultimately responsible for securing his or her own internship.

Graduates are qualified for employment in government and nonprofit organizations, as well as in the private sector. Typical jobs include policy or budget analysts at government agencies, nonprofit organizations or private sector consulting firms; legislative analysts for federal or state representatives; or researchers for think tanks or government entities. Graduates from the MPPA program who have some leadership experience already can work as nonprofit organization directors; town managers; or program officers at international organizations. Some recent graduates are working at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the World Bank, the Social Security Administration, Standard and Poor’s, the City of Boston and Fidelity Investments.

For More Information

Contact  Satu Zoller
(413) 545-2714