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Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

School of Public Policy

School ofPublic Policy

Master of Public Policy

Master of Public Policy

The Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.) degree program is designed to provide professional training in public policy for those seeking careers in the design, adoption, implementation, and evaluation of public policies. The professional careers students should be prepared for include the full range of careers for which public policy expertise would be valued, including:  

  • National, State, and Local Government Agencies  
  • Think Tanks and Consulting Firms 
  • Non-­profit Organizations  
  • Lobby Firms 
  • Private Sector Organizations Engaged in Public Affairs Representation 


Penn State’s MPP degree provides students with substantive knowledge of the policy process and training in quantitative policy analysis and evaluation through the core curriculum, applied capstone experience, internships, and career placement. The program has three key focuses: 

Policy analysis: The core curriculum focuses on substantive knowledge of the policy process and training in quantitative policy analysis and evaluation with faculty whose expertise lies in the design, adoption, implementation, and evaluation of public policies. 

Policy experience: Students gain hands-on experience during the internships and capstone experience. In addition to providing on-the-job training, these projects often lead to future employment opportunities and career connections. 

Leadership training: The School of Public Policy’s professional development programs and curriculum provide students with access to the requisite skills and knowledge for career success, attain an understanding of complex organizational settings, and boost students’ confidence to apply those skills essential for future success. Activities and experiences connect students with policy leaders, alumni, and faculty. 

Students may select an existing policy specialization or work with faculty to design a specialization to meet their career goals. MPP students have designed personalized specializations such as extremism and conflict, international policy and data science, and bureaucracy and governance.

Example Plan of Study

PPOL 503: Statistics for Public Policy 1 

PPOL 801: The Public Policy Process 

PPOL 802: Economic Analysis for Public Policy 

PPOL 804: Public Sector Organization Theory OR 

PPOL 805: Bureaucracy and the Policy Process OR 

PPOL 807: Managing Public Organizations 

[1] All courses, including the capstone/thesis project, are 3 credits with the exception of the summer public policy internship (1 credit).  The MPP program as a whole is 43 credit hours (42 credits for working professionals who may be exempt from the internship requirement). 

[2] Students are required to take four policy specialization courses. Generally, these will be drawn from other programs on campus. However, MPP faculty may also teach courses on substantive public policy issues or methods of policy analysis as PPOL 897: Special Topics in Public Policy. 

Email with specific questions regarding curriculum. You can find general descriptions of courses in the University Graduate Course Bulletin 

Core Learning Objectives 

  • Communication 
  • Data Analytics 
  • Policy Analysis 
  • Problem Solving 
  • Project and Research Design 
  • Project Management 
  • Teamwork