Masters Programs

Master of Public Policy

The Master of Public Policy is an interdisciplinary professional program designed to prepare individuals to be public policy professionals in the public, non-profit, and private sectors. The degree is built upon the disciplinary foundations of public policy, public administration, political science, economics, and public affairs. The degree is jointly administered by the Departments of Public Administration and Political Science.

The curriculum focus is acts of public policy, meaning the allocation of public values by authoritative institutions. The curriculum is designed to respond to the need for advanced training in public policy analysis and leadership/advocacy to succeed in today’s complex policy environments. The degree may be pursued on a full-time (2 years) or part-time basis. Graduates of MPP programs typically find employment in policy analysis and leadership/advocacy positions, especially in high-level public agencies, the private sector, and the non-profit sector.

Admission Requirements

The MPP program admits students once a year starting in the Fall Term. Only one application is required in order to apply to the Master of Public Policy program. Faculty begin reviewing applications on January 31 and continue through early July, although applicants are encouraged to apply early in the application cycle.


The following materials should be submitted through the application link found on the Graduate School's website. 

  • Non-refundable $65 application fee (no cash)
  • One transcript from each post-secondary institution attended (both sides need to be uploaded)
  • Statement of Financial Support and Declaration of Finances (if International)
  • International Applicants who currently reside in the United States with an F-1 or J-1 visa must fill out the SEVIS form
  • Official TOEFL scores if the applicant does not speak English as a native language and has not received a graduate or undergraduate degree in an English-speaking territory
  • A 500 word statement of intent. The statement should address the following: 1) Professional goals; 2) Planned area of study (policy specialization); 3) Desired employment sector; 4) How the degree furthers achievement of your professional goals
  • Three recommendation letters from individuals familiar with the applicant's academic and/or professional capabilities. Preferably, two of the three letters should be from former instructors or from individuals with knowledge of your professional performance and potential.
  • A current resume
  • The scores of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Please note that you should make arrangements to take the GRE well in advance of the application deadline.

Degree Requirements

Courses and Credits

Cohort Course

Students take the following course as part of the incoming cohort each fall quarter:
PAP 511Introduction to Public Policy


Policy Process and Leadership Core Courses

Students take the following four courses:
PAP 512Introduction to Policy Advocacy


PS 515Comparative Public Policy


PAP 514Institutional Dynamics of Public Policy


PA 579Policy Tools in Policy Design


Policy Analysis Core Courses

Students take the following three courses and a 4-credit data analysis course of their own choosing:
PAP 653Policy Analysis


PAP 654Policy Analysis Research


PAP 513Ethics and Public Policy


Track Courses

Students choose one of the following two tracks as part of their course specialization work:

  1. Policy Leadership/Advocacy Track: Students take 12 credits of courses relating to policy leadership and advocacy, including policy process, communication, legal reasoning, network-building, policy arguments, problem solving, political feasibility, advocacy, and management.
  2. Policy Analysis Track: Students take 12 credits of courses relating to policy analysis including research design and methods, cost-benefit analysis, forecasting, program evaluation, impact assessment, decision-making, systems modelling, and other subjects.


Students identify a policy issue-area or sector and take 12 credits of courses relating to that sector in order to develop policy-domain specific knowledge as well as professional networking and experiential application opportunities.

Professional Development Plan

Students work with their faculty advisor to prepare a career-oriented plan that outlines a pathway to professional development for the student based on a set of career goals and links that plan to their MPP course of study. The plan is intended to provide an opportunity for students to build individual networks, establish job search plans, and prepare a professional portfolio. The plan is the basis of an exit interview with MPP faculty and Professional Advisory Board members.
PAP 508Professional Development Plan


Summative Policy Project

Students work with a single faculty member to complete a summative project, which can take one of several forms depending on the needs and interests of the student. In all cases, the project is intended as an integrative experience in which the student links their MPP work to their professional goals. The summative project could be, for instance: (1) a research-oriented report that tackles of a question of policy analysis or public policy theory; or (2) a client report prepared upon completion of a short internship.
PAP 509Public Policy Project



All students entering the Master of Public Policy program must have completed a basic course in calculus and an introductory course in statistics. Students whose undergraduate degree is not in a related discipline may be asked also to complete an introductory course in public policy, public administration, or political science.

Credit requirements

The Master of Public Policy program requires 60 credit hours of required, elective, and professional development coursework.

The credits are distributed as follows:

First-Year Cohort Course


Policy Analysis Core Courses


Policy Leadership Core Courses


Policy Analysis or Leadership Track Electives


Policy Specialization Courses


Summative Policy Project


Professional Development Plan


Total Credit Hours:60

Program Rules

A more comprehensive set of rules governing satisfactory performance in the MPP can be found in the Handbook for the Master of Public Policy Program issued to incoming students and available online.

Limitation on graduate/undergraduate courses

Students in the MPP program are strongly advised to use no more than 12 credits of courses offered simultaneously at the 400- and 500-level in support of their degree programs. These courses must be an integral part of the student’s program, and courses with the same content must not be available on a purely graduate basis.

Limitation on by-arrangement courses

Admitted Ph.D. students may utilize no more than 12 credits of Research and/or Reading and Conference credits (501/601 and 505/605). In cases where more than 12 credits are needed because of the lack of regularly scheduled classes, the student must submit a written request waiver to their adviser for approval.

Continuous enrollment and leave of absence

All students admitted to the MPP program must be continuously enrolled until graduation, except for periods in which they are absent for an approved leave. Taking a minimum 3 credits per term during the regular academic year will constitute continuous enrollment. Failure to register without an approved leave may result in termination of a student’s admission. Students may have no more than six terms of approved leave.

Professional Development Opportunities

The MPP program offers a number of professional development opportunities outside of the curricular requirements of the program.

Professional Advisory Board

The MPP Professional Advisory Board is composed of policy professionals from the government, non-profit, and private sectors. They serve as invited members with a role of serving as an ongoing line of communication between the program and those in service. The PAB helps MPP students to shape their professional goals, to identify networking opportunities, to find summative project clients and experiences, and to maintain constant contact with the shifting demands of public policy education. Students will have both formal and informal opportunities to work with PAB members.

Policy Competitions

Participation in national and international policy competitions is a common aspect of professional education in public policy. Each year, MPP students, under the direction of an MPP faculty member, will be able to participate in policy competitions.

Oregon Public Policy Research Network

Through the Center for Public Service, the Hatfield School of Government is a founding member of the Oregon Public Policy Research Network. The Center and the Network engage in contract-based public policy research. Advanced MPP students will have the opportunity to work with the CPS to expand its public policy research.