Home Graduate Master's programs Master of Public Policy

Master of Public Policy


The School of Public Policy's (SPP) location in the Washington, D.C. area puts our students in the center of policy creation locally, nationally and internationally.  We are home to an unmatched group of faculty who are both scholars and practitioners, teaching in the classroom while playing key roles in the policymaking process.   

Experiential learning is the signature of our Master of Public Policy (MPP) curriculum.  It is most evident in the eleven credit practice sequence but practical applications are incorporated throughout School of Public Policy courses.  Flexibility in course sequencing and selection is encouraged so that students may craft a program of study that represents their individual policy interests and career goals.   


MPP students must complete 48 course credits. The curriculum has three components: the required core curriculum, the requirements of a chosen specialization (similar to a major at the undergraduate level), and general electives.


The required core courses provide students with a grounding in the various perspectives, skills, and tools policy analysts and leaders must possess to develop and manage policies effectively, without regard to a specific policy field. The core curriculum of the MPP program consists of:

Governance Sequence (6 credits total):

  • PLCY688E: Normative and Political Dimensions of Public Policy (3 credits)
  • PLCY688G: Management and Accountability (3 credits)

Quantitative Skills Building (10 credits total):

  • PLCY640: Microeconomics (3 credits)
  • PLCY610: Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy (3 credits)
  • PLCY688I: Macroeconomics (2 credits)
  • PLCY688R: Budgeting and Finance (2 credits)

Practice Sequence (11 credits total):

  • PLCY688Y: Practicing Public Policy in the 21st Century (3 credits)
  • PLCY688T: Team-Based Policy Lab (3 credits; recommended prerequisite: PLCY688Y)
  • PLCY699W: Policy Engagement Project I (2 credits; recommended prerequisite: PLCY688T)
  • PLCY790: Policy Engagement Project II (3 credits; recommended prerequisite: PLCY699W)


Students then pursue one (or two) specializations, choosing either one of the pre-designed five-course specializations or a self-designed five-course specialization approved by a faculty advisor.  The School's pre-designed specializations reflect the unique strengths of the Maryland School of Public Policy:

Students may also develop an individualized specialization or choose not to specialize.

General Electives

The remaining courses needed to complete the required total of 48 credits (MPP) may either be additional courses in the student's specialization(s) or nearly any other policy/management focused graduate-level course in the School, in the overall University, in any of the other major policy/management programs in the area, or in some cases, at any other accredited University throughout the world (including courses taken prior to entering the master's program but not previously counted toward a degree).

Students pursuing one of the dual master's degree programs in business (MPP/MBA), law (MPP/JD), or conservation biology (MPP/MS), or a bachelor's (BA/MPP) degree, pursue the same MPP curriculum with some reduction in combined credits due to overlapping requirements.  

Sample plan of study



While not required, students with little or no prior experience in professional public policy or management circles are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the School's enviable location by participating in one or more internships during the summer(s) between the traditional academic years or even while taking courses.  The School's Career Office provides students with ample help locating rewarding positions and presenting themselves to prospective employers, and is even able to help fund some internships that would not otherwise provide much compensation.   


MPP students matriculated before Fall 2016

The core curriculum for MPP students matriculated before Fall 2016 is:

  • Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy (PUAF610); or, with permission, Quantitative Analysis of Social Policy (PUAF611)
  • Political Analysis (PLCY620); or Comparative Political Institutions (PUAF688A)
  • Microeconomics and Policy Analysis (PUAF640)
  • Moral Dimensions of Public Policy (PUAF650)
  • Public Management & Leadership (PUAF711)
  • Either Macroeconomics (PUAF641); or Public Budgeting and  Finance (PUAF670), depending on specialization

MPP students matriculated before Fall 2016 are required to pursue a specialization and complete a three-credit Project Course (PUAF790) in that specialization.