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Master of Public Policy

View Admissions BrochureThe 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.      

Dual Degree Programs: Students may pursue a BA, MBA, or JD degree at the same time they pursue their MPP degree.  These dual degree programs enable students to obtain two degrees in much less time and at far less cost than pursuing both degrees individually.


Credits required for the MPP degree:  48.  The curriculum has three components: the required core curriculum, an optional specialization (similar to a major at the undergraduate level), and general electives.


The 27 credit core curriculum provides students with a grounding in the various perspectives, skills, and tools that policy analysts and leaders need to develop and manage policies effectively, without  regard to a specific policy field: 

Governance Sequence (6 credits total):

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

Quantitative Skills Building (10 credits total):

  • Microeconomics (3 credits)
  • Quantitative Methods (3 credits)
  • Macroeconomics (2 credits)
  • Budgeting and Finance (2 credits)

Practice Sequence (11 credits total):

  • Practicing Public Policy in the 21st Century (3 credits)
  • Team-Based Policy Lab (3 credits)
  • Policy Engagement Project (5 credits)


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

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 related graduate level course in the School, in the overall University, in nearly 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 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.   

Admission Criteria

To be admitted to either of these programs, students must demonstrate that they have the academic preparation and ability to handle the highly demanding and diverse curriculum.  The School welcomes students from nearly every undergraduate major, and from across the nation and around the world.  Applicants to the MPP program need not have any prior professional experience, though such experience enhances their application.