The University of Massachusetts Amherst

School of Public Policy Announces Expansion Plans

School of Public Policy students at orientation 2019

The UMass Amherst School of Public Policy has announced a major expansion plan for the next five years, including significant growth in its graduate programs, the creation of an undergraduate major and a multi-year faculty hiring plan. 

“This is a crucial investment in preparing the next generation for leading careers in public service,” said John A. Hird, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and a professor of political science and public policy. “SPP is rising to meet the demand for policy expertise and informed discourse concerning critical issues facing the Commonwealth and well beyond."

The plan includes increasing the total number of enrolled students to 133 by 2024. This expansion builds on the creation of SPP’s new one-year master of public policy (MPP), which allows students to finish their degree quickly and affordably through a hybrid program of on-campus and online courses. The MPP program was introduced in 2018, joining SPP’s two-year master of public policy and administration degree and its 4+1 master of public policy degree, which is open to outstanding seniors at UMass and the other Five Colleges. 

SPP is developing an undergraduate public policy major, expected to start in the fall of 2021, to meet growing student interest in the field.

In addition, the School of Public Policy will hire three new faculty members for the fall of 2020, who will be the first faculty to have their tenure lines in SPP. The new hires will join SPP’s current group of award-winning faculty members with joint appointments in departments across the campus. As graduate student enrollment expands, six additional tenure-system faculty will be hired in the next two years.

“We are committed to affordable, high-quality professional education for public service,” said School of Public Policy Director Alasdair Roberts. “This is an exciting moment for new faculty and students to join our community.”

About the School of Public Policy: Established in 2016, the UMass Amherst School of Public Policy prepares students for leadership in public service. The program’s focuses include social change and public policy related to science and technology.

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