The MPA curriculum includes six required core courses, listed below, that are designed to develop analytical tools for addressing public policy issues. The courses cover political analysis, quantitative methods, and economic and behavioral analysis.
FIELDS OF CONCENTRATION
Each MPA candidate selects a policy field in which to specialize:
I) International Relations;
II) Development Studies;
III) Domestic Policy; and
IV) Economics and Public Policy.
Certificates offer additional opportunities for specialization and include:
- Health and Health Policy (HHP);
- Science, Technology and Environmental Policy (STEP); and
- Urban Policy (UP) or Urban Policy and Planning (UPP).
GRADUATE POLICY WORKSHOPS
Policy workshops provide students with an opportunity to use the analytical skills they have acquired in the first year in the program to analyze complex and challenging policy issues, usually for real clients. Each workshop consists of eight to 10 students who work in teams to evaluate a policy challenge.
INTEGRATED POLICY EXERCISE
In January, at the end of the first semester, first-year MPA students are required to take part in a policy project called the Integrated Policy Exercise, or IPE.
The IPE requires students to apply the skills they acquired in the fall-term analytic courses. They are given briefing materials to review in advance and are then required to submit a comprehensive memo in response to a set of specific policy questions. The IPE is a trial run for the qualifying examination, or QE1. It is graded, but only to provide concrete feedback to each student.
In May, at the end of the first year, students are required to take a qualifying exam, the QE1, a graded exercise that closely parallels the IPE.
The QE1 requires an integrated use of analytical skills acquired in the core curriculum during the first year, and it also includes behavioral analysis of the policy issue. Recent IPE and QE1 topics have included federal-state pre-K initiatives, federal subsidies for higher education, Social Security reform, swine flu vaccinations, and the federal bailout of the domestic auto industry.
Second-year students are required to take and pass a second qualifying exam (QE2) in May in their chosen field of concentration.
I. Six core courses required for all fields
- WWS 501 Politics of Public Policy
- WWS 502 Psychology for Policy Analysis and Implementation
- WWS 507 b/c Quantitative Analysis
- WWS 508 a Econometrics: Applied (Session I, half-term course)
or WWS 508 c Econometrics and Public Policy: Advanced (full-term)
- WWS 511 b/c/d Microeconomic Analysis
- WWS 512 b/c Macroeconomic Analysis
II. Two gateway courses, one each in political and economic analysis for Fields I, II and III
Field I: International Relations
- WWS 541 International Politics
- WWS 542 International Economics
or WWS 543 International Trade Policy
or WWS 544 International Macroeconomics
Field II: Development Studies
- WWS 561 The Comparative Political Economy of Development
- WWS 562b or 562c Economic Analysis of Development
Field III: Domestic Policy
- WWS 521 Domestic Politics
- WWS 522 Microeconomic Analysis of Domestic Policy
or WWS 523 Legal and Regulatory Policy Toward Markets
or WWS 525 Microeconomic Analysis of Government Activity
Field IV: Economics and Public Policy
- Requires at least five economics courses beyond the core curriculum
- A gateway course in political analysis (WWS 521/541/561) is strongly recommended.
III. A graduate policy workshop in the second year
IV. Qualifying Examinations:
V. Minimum average of 80 (B-) to continue for the second year and for graduation
VI. Approved summer internship between first and second years