Masters in Public Policy (MSPP) Curriculum

The MSPP is designed as a two-year full time course of study for students with strong analytical backgrounds, such as those received in engineering, natural science, or an analytically oriented social science or humanities program. To earn the MSPP degree students are required to complete 46 credit hours consisting of several four key elements:

  • Required core curriculum
  • Electives in a chosen area of concentration.
  • Completion of a supervised professional project
  • And an internship between the first and second year for full-time students, a co-op assignment, or work experience. 

The core of the MSPP curriculum consists of 8 three-hour courses and a one-hour introductory seminar. There may also be additional courses deemed fundamental to students as prerequisites for core classes or as preparation for a particular concentration of policy.  For example, students frequently take a course in statistical analysis (PUBP 3120 Statistical Analysis for Public Policy) as preparation for the required core course in data analysis (PUBP 6114 Applied Policy Methods and Data Analysis).  Students should work with their advisor on determining these courses.  

Year One

  • Fall Semester
    • PUBP 6001 Introduction to Public Policy

      An introduction to the field of public policy, including an overview of the scope of the field and examples of public policy analysis.

    • PUBP 6112 Research Design in Policy Science

      Introduces underlying conceptual and methodological issues in policy research, including causality and explanation, appropriate uses of theories and models, collection and evaluation of data, and common threats to validity and reliability.

    • PUBP 6114 Applied Policy Methods

      This course will focus on how to design, carry out, present, and interpret quantitative analyses, of policy problems. Topics include probability, inferential statistics, regression analysis, general linear models, nonparametric analyses and graphical analysis, as time permits. 

    • PUBP 6116 Microeconomics in Policy Analysis

      Microeconomic theory is studied with applications to public problems. Students will be introduced to price-generating processes in an economy, demand and supply theory, market equilibrium, welfare economics, categories of market failure, and the public sector's role. 

    • Elective

    • Total Semester Credit Hours:  13

  • Spring Semester

    • PUBP 6010 Ethics, Epistemology and Public Policy

      This course examines the role of values in public decision making, with special emphasis on the effects of personal values of professionals on public institutions and private sector organizations.

    • PUBP 6012 Fundamentals of Public Policy

      An examination of theories of public policy (e.g., rationalist, incrementalist, pluralist), stages of the policy process, public participation, and policy analysis.

    • PUBP 6014/6017/6018 Course on Institutions or Elective  (See descriptions below)

    • Elective

    • Total Semester Credit Hours:  12

Year Two

  • Fall Semester
    • PUBP 6014/6017/6018 Course on Institutions or Elective (See descriptions below)

    • PUBP 6201 Public Policy Analysis -- Capstone Course

      This course covers the conceptual foundations of policy inquiry: scientific, rational-actor, and ethical.  Ethical values underlying cost-benefit analysis, Pareto optimal models, and market rationality will be surveyed.

    • Elective

    • Elective

    • Total Semester Credit Hours: 12

  • Spring Semester

    • PUBP 6118 Public Finance and Policy

      This course acquaints students with the theory and policy implications of alternative federal, state, and local budgeting and financing practices.  It does so principally by applying microeconomic and political-economic analysis to issues of public finance.

    • PUBP 6801 Research Paper (Workshop)

    • Elective

    • Elective

    • Total Semester Credit Hours: 12

Courses on Institutions

Students must take one of the following courses:

  • PUBP 6014 Organization Theory
    This course provides an understanding of the scientific study of organizational structure, behavior, and performance, and the bureaucratic, political and social characteristics of complex organizations. Similar courses include MGT 6107 and ISYE 6101.

  • PUBP 6017 Public Management
    Using case studies and a field exercise, students examine how public policies are executed and managed.  Particular emphasis is given to the management of political authority, strategic thinking, and assessing the effectiveness of management strategies.

  • PUBP 6018 Policy Implementation and Administration
    An examination of the theoretical and practical difficulties in executing, managing, and evaluating public policies.