The Ford School’s Master of Public Policy (MPP) is a two-year program of study designed for students seeking a strong foundation of analytical skills in economic, organizational, political, and quantitative fields.
Our master’s level curriculum trains students with a broad range of interests for a wide set of jobs, providing a toolbox of research, analytical, and management skills that are widely transferable across sectors and issue areas.
Core courses develop a foundation of skills, knowledge, and concepts in economics, statistics, political analysis, ethics, and public management. All students receive serious quantitative training in data analysis and program evaluation, moving as a cohort through a carefully sequenced set of courses.
Students then have tremendous flexibility in choosing from advanced classes in social policy, international trade, education, national security, human rights, politics, and more. They combine their policy courses with electives from elsewhere around the U-M, including its 18 professional schools—such as law, business, education, and urban planning—or one of the top-ranked social science departments.
Students apply what they’ve learned in the classroom, gaining hands-on, practical policy experience. We require a policy-related summer internship, and students are encouraged to take an Applied Policy Seminar, enabling them to do real-world policy consulting with classmates under faculty supervision.
Students may also choose to pursue a dual degree program, combining the MPP with simultaneous study in another graduate school program.
Students are generally in residence at the Ford School for two-years (four semesters) and are also required to complete a 10-week internship in a policy-related position. Most students do this between the first and second years of the program.
The degree requires completion of 48 credit hours (most courses are 3 credit hours), with a total of 36 credits required within the Ford School. Additionally, the Rackham Cognate requirement requires that students must complete a minimum of 4 credits of graduate-level coursework outside their primary discipline.
All MPP students are required to complete the following core courses (26 credits):
- Politics of Public Policy (PubPol 510)
- Calculus (PubPol 513)
- Statistics (PubPol 529)
- Microeconomics A (PubPol 555) and Microeconomics B (PubPol 558)
- Values, Ethics, and Public Policy (PubPol 580)
- Public Management (PubPol 587)
- Integrated Policy Exercise (PubPol 638) – Must be completed twice*
- Beginning with the entering class of September 2012 and for a 2-year trial, students are allowed to replace the second IPE with enrollment in a 1-credit Project Skills Workshop, PubPol 778, which is offered both Fall and Winter semesters. Learn more about the trial.
- Quantitative Methods of Program Evaluation (PubPol 639) or Applied Econometrics (PubPol 571)
[required for students entering Fall 2012 and after; recommended for students entering Fall 2011 and before]
- 10-week Summer Internship (More details)
- Students with preparation in calculus, statistics, and/or microeconomics may waive PubPol 513, PubPol 529, and/or PubPol 555 respectively by passing waiver exams that are offered during orientation.
- If you are waived from a core course, you must complete an additional elective Ford School course. Waived courses are not counted toward the 48 credits required for the degree.
- Acquire and demonstrate analytic skills necessary for successful policy analysis
- Develop a sophisticated understanding of public policy institutions and processes (broadly defined to include economic, political, and other)—and the implications these have for policy development and implementation
- Develop, practice, and refine communication skills appropriate to the policy arena
- Develop and refine leadership, management, and decision-making skills
- Demonstrate ability to integrate analytic, institutional, communication, and management skills