Home Graduate Master's programs Master of Public Policy

Master of Public Policy

MPP Mission Statement

The MPP program recruits potential policy leaders from across the country and world into public service, and prepares them for careers fostering more effective and cross-sector global, national, and local policies and governance processes, through:

  • Careful analysis of evidence using sophisticated interdisciplinary lenses;
  • Practical experience leveraging our unique location;
  • Exposure to best practices and top policy leaders;
  • Development of professional, leadership, and innovation skills; and
  • Appreciation for democratic and inclusive ideals in a multicultural world.

We aim for all graduates to be capable generalists and, when desired, to have a grounding in specific topic areas, especially environmental and energy policy; international development policy; international security and economic policy; social policy; public/nonprofit management, leadership and finance; and science & technology policy.



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; prerequisite: PLCY688Y)
  • PLCY699W: Policy Engagement Project I (2 credits; recommended prerequisite: PLCY688T)
  • PLCY790: Policy Engagement Project II (3 credits; prerequisite: PLCY699W)


As part of their 48 credits, students have the option of pursuing one (or two) specializations, choosing either one of the pre-designed specializations or a self-designed specialization approved by the academic advisor and a suitable faculty advisor. Our pre-designed specializations reflect the unique strengths of the School:

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


MPP Class Profile - Entering 2016/2017

# of New MPP Students:  81
% Maryland Residents:  46%
% Other U.S. Residents:  36%
% International:  18%

Completion Rate (5 year) - Of the MPP students who entered in 2011/2012, 78% graduated within two years, 91% graduated within three years, 96% graduated within four years, and 98% graduated within five years.  This includes both full-time and part-time.  Typically, a full-time students will finish at the end of four semesters and a part-time student will take either three or four years, depending on whether they elect to attend classes during the summer term in additiona to fall and spring.


MPP Faculty

Please click here to view a full list of faculty members who teach MPP courses. 



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.