University of Southern California
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Master of Public Policy

The Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.) program is designed to prepare students for careers as professional policy analysts. Through an interdisciplinary curriculum and real world experience, students gain an understanding of the policy process, and develop the capacity to formulate, analyze and implement public policy.

The M.P.P. degree is offered at the University Park campus only.

Requirements for Admission

Candidates for admission must have maintained a minimum B (3.0) average during their undergraduate degree work and attain a score of at least 500 on the verbal and at least 500 on the quantitative sections of the GRE. Exceptions to these requirements are allowed if justified by outstanding work experience, letters of recommendation, or demonstrated improvement in academic performance during undergraduate studies.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and have a basic competence in descriptive and inferential statistics. This prerequisite may be met in one of two ways: (1) entering students must have passed an undergraduate inferential statistics class, with a grade of “B” or better, at an approved university within three years of matriculation, and must pass the MPP lab associated with PPD 554 Foundations of Policy Analysis, or (2) take PPD 502x Statistical Foundations for Public Management and Policy and complete with a grade of “B” or better. If students select to take PPD 502x, the units associated with this class may not be used toward the MPP degree.

Degree Requirements

Students are required to complete 48 units of graduate work, with 28 units of core and 20 elective units divided between management, analytic and specialization areas.

Required core coursesUnits
PPD 500Intersectoral Leadership2
PPD 501abEconomics for Policy, Planning and Development2-2
PPD 554Foundations of Public Policy Analysis2
PPD 555Public Policy Formulation and Implementation4
PPD 557Modeling and Operations Research4
PPD 558Multivariate Statistical Analysis4
PPD 560Methods for Policy Analysis4
PPD 561ab*Policy Analysis Practicum1, 3

*During a student’s final semester of the program, the Policy Analysis Practicum is required as a component of the program’s 48 units of course work. The practicum is an opportunity for students to apply their analytic skills to a current problem for an actual client. Admission to the practicum is granted on the approval of the M.P.P. director, and normally requires prior completion of most required courses.

Students complete 4 units of management elective, 4 units of analytic elective and 12 units of specialization elective. These electives typically are selected to support specialization in a substantive policy area (e.g., environment or community economic development).

Management elective (choose 4 units)Units
PPD 516xFinancial Accounting in the Public and Non-Profit Sectors4
PPD 541Public Financial Management and Budgeting4
PPD 545Human Behavior in Public Organizations4
PPD 654Information Technology Management in the Public Sector4
PPD 656Political Management: Theory and Applied Techniques4
PPD 661Intergovernmental Management: Local Perspective4
PPD 662Intergovernmental Management: State Perspective4
PPD 675Nonprofit Management and Leadership4
PPD 687Strategic Managment in the Nonprofit Sector4
PPD 690Alternative Dispute Resolution4

analytic elective (choose 4 units)Units
PPD 542Policy and Program Evaluation4
PPD 587Risk Analysis4
PPD 617Urban Demography and Growth4
PPD 647Finance of the Public Sector4

In addition, students take 12 units of additional electives selected by the students with the advice of the academic advisor or director of the M.P.P. program. These electives typically are taken in an area of policy specialization, such as: community economic development, education policy, environmental policy, health, infrastructure, international policy and development, media and communications, philanthropy and nonprofit, and transportation.

Students may not take more than 12 course units outside of the School of Policy, Planning, and Development without written consent of the director of the M.P.P. program.