Program Overview:

Public Policy & Administration Online

Northwestern’s part-time MPPA program provides students with the administrative and analytical competence, as well as leadership skills and theoretical background, to rise in the field and drive change at the local, national and international levels. The program encompasses specialized areas — public administration, public policy, and global policy — but is informed by the perspective that policy challenges are fluid, interconnected and global. Students gain an understanding of this complexity and learn to think across diverse groups and boundaries.

Inside MPPA

Greg Wass
Faculty, MA in Public Policy and Administration program
Senior Advisor at Governor’s Office, State of Illinois

  • Facilitates public and private sector collaboration and innovation for better health care and social services for Illinois residents
  • Led the launch of the largest regional multi-government open data site in the U.S.
  • Led development of the Illinois Health and Human Services Framework project

Program Goals

  • Evaluate the collaborative inter-organizational, inter-governmental, and international public policy and administrative environment
  • Apply a standard of ethics to policy and administrative context
  • Design public policies and programs
  • Evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of public policies and programs
  • Communicate relevant policy or program information to diverse stakeholders 
  • Lead public organizations to implement policy decisions with respect and understanding for the broader institutional, societal, economic and political environment
  • Manage public resources to achieve organizational goals

Areas of Specialization

Choose from the following specializations:

Curriculum Requirements

Current students should refer to curriculum requirements in place at time of entry into the program.  

New students need to take 13 courses total to obtain a degree.  Students must complete 9 core courses, 2 elective courses, a leadership course which equips students with fundamental skills in effective leadership, communication, innovation and change management, and a capstone project.

Final Project

Students may pursue their capstone experience independently or as part of a team. As their final course, students take either the individual research project in an independent study format or the classroom final project class in which students integrate the knowledge they have gained in the core curriculum in a project presented by the instructor. In both cases students are guided by faculty in exploring the body of knowledge on public policy and administration while contributing research of practical value to the field. The capstone independent project and capstone class project count as one unit of credit.

  • MPPA 498 Capstone Project or
  • MPPA 590 Thesis Research

Core Courses:

  • LEADERS 481-DL Leadership
  • MS_IDS 401-DL User-Centered Design
  • MS_IDS 403-DL Effective Communication
  • MS_IDS 405-DL User Research
  • MS_IDS 407-DL Info and Content Strategy
  • MS_IDS 409-DL Data Management Principles
  • MS_IDS 411-DL Info Design and Architecture
  • MS_IDS 413-DL Visual Communication
  • MS_IDS 498-DL Capstone Project
  • MS_IDS 590-DL Thesis Research

Elective Courses:

  • MS_IDS 422-DL Intro to Learning Theory
  • MS_IDS 423-DL Instructional Design
  • MS_IDS 425-DL Learning Environment Design
  • MS_IDS 432-DL Advanced Writing Workshop
  • MS_IDS 433-DL Social Media and Content
  • MS_IDS 435-DL Persuasion
  • MS_IDS 452-DL Intro to Data and Analytics
  • MS_IDS 453-DL Techniques of Analytics
  • MS_IDS 455-DL Data and Text Visualization