Masters in Public Policy



Professors: Kurt Beron, Brian J.L. Berry, Lloyd Jeff Dumas, Euel Elliott, Donald Hicks, Paul Jargowsky, Murray Leaf, Robert Lowry, James Marquart, Todd Sandler, Richard Scotch, Barry Seldon, Paul Tracy
Associate Professors: Bobby Alexander, Marie Chevrier, Simon Fass, Bruce Jacobs, Jennifer Holmes, Susan McElroy, Kevin Siqueira, John Worrall
Assistant Professors: Melinda Kane, Karen Hayslett-McCall, Sheryl Skaggs



The Mission of the Master of Science in Public Policy is to offer students an interdisciplinary graduate education designed to develop skill sets critical for a career in which a solid understanding of the public policy process and the analysis and evaluation of public policies are essential. Students will be prepared for analytical and administrative positions and responsibilities in a wide array of professional settings in the public, non-profit, and private sectors. Specific skills include knowledge of the policy process and related ethical concerns, rigorous research skills that provide students with an essential grounding in statistical and data analysis and research design, and effective communication skills.



·         Students will understand and analyze the principal policy making institutions and the ways in which they formulate, debate and implement public policies at the national, sub-national and local levels.: Students will examine legislative, executive, and non-governmental roles in policy formation at different levels of government. They will analyze the ways in which the various institutions interact and set policy priorities. They will study policy implementation and the interrelated functions of levels of governments, non-profit and corporate entities in policy implementation.

·         Students will learn and apply quantitative skills and economic theories to measure and evaluate public policies. They will learn when to apply appropriate techniques to complex policies. They will demonstrate an understanding of techniques to examine the preferred outcomes of policy alternatives to advise senior officials. Students will acquire skills in applying statistical measures of projected policy outcomes. Students will learn economic theories and acquire skills in applying those theories appropriately to establish policy objectives and outcomes.

·         Students will understand the role of and learn appropriate, rigorous ways to design research to increase knowledge of public policy and citizen welfare. Students will learn ways to quantitatively and qualitatively design research projects that address important public policy questions and concerns.

·         Students will learn and understand the unique role of ethical theories and behavior as it applies to the public and non-profit sectors. Students will understand the ethical obligation of elected and appointed governmental officials to the body politic. Students will understand the functions of internal and public oversight of the formation and implementation of public policies.

·         Students will develop expertise in a substantive area of public policy and learn how to effectively communicate new findings and innovative policies to senior decision makers and the general public.: Students will study one of three major public policy disciplines--social policy, health policy or the business-government relationship. Students will understand the theories and scientific principles that support these substantive policy areas and the ways in which those theories are tested. Students will understand how these policy areas contribute to the well-being of citizens to enhance the quality of life.

Qualified students are encouraged to consider the Ph.D. in Public Policy and Political Economy (PPPE). Such students should meet with Program Director of PPPE as soon as possible to discussion options.



Students have access to the computing facilities in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences and the University’s Computing Center. The School has two computing laboratories that have over 50 computers that are network linked and equipped with major social science software packages, including E-Views, R. Rats, SPSS, and STATA. A computerized geographic information system, the Lexis Nexis Database and WestLaw are also available for student use. The University’s Computing Center provides personal computers and UNIX Workstations. Many important data and reference materials are also available online via the library and school’s memberships in numerous organizations.


Admissions Requirement

The University’s general admission requirements are discussed here.

The master’s program in Public Policy seeks applications from students with a baccalaureate degree from an accredited university of college. A 3.0 undergraduate grade point average (on a 4.0 scale), and a combined verbal and quantitative score of at least 1200 on the Graduate Records Examination (GRE). Students may also wish to consider submitting their score from the writing component of the GRE test as additional evidence of their writing skills. Standardized test scores are only one of the factors taken into account in determining admission. Students should also submit all transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a one-page essay outlining the applicant’s background, education, and professional objectives.



While there are no specific course prerequisites, entering students will benefit from exposure to undergraduate courses in the Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, college algebra, and research design.


Degree Requirements

Students seeking a Masters in Public Policy must complete at least 36 semester credit hours of graduate coursework in the program. The program has three components:

1.     Twenty-one semester hours of required coursework

2.     Nine semester hours of prescribed electives

3.     Six hours of free electives

Students must maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average to graduate.


I.                  Required Core Courses

1.     Policymaking and Institutions (Six hours)

POEC/PA 5303 Public Policymaking and Institutions
POEC/PA 5308 Ethics, Culture, and Public Responsibility

2.     Methodology [Statistics, Research Design, and related – nine hours]

POEC/PA 5313 Descriptive and Inferential Statistics
POEC 5316 Advanced Regression Analysis

Select one of the following:

POEC 5310 Research Design I
POEC 6352 Evaluation Research

3.     Economics (Three hours)

POEC/PA 5307 Economics for Public Policy

4.     Policy Workshop or Prescribed Elective (Three hours)

Select one of the following:

POEC 7V47 Policy Research Workshop in Health Care Policy
POEC 7V62 Policy Research Workshop in Social Policy

II.               Prescribed Electives

Students complete nine hours in ONE of the following options. All courses must be approved by the Program Director.

A.     Business and Public Policy

B.     Criminology

C.     Domestic Social Policy

D.     Health

Students should consult the graduate catalog, and the Program Director, for additional information regarding those courses that would best satisfy the “Prescribed Electives” requirement.

III.           Free Electives

Students may select six hours of 5000 level or higher courses. Students may choose courses that are not selected under “Core Courses” to fulfill this requirement.