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Program Overview

Public Policy and Administration

Public Policy and Administration Certificate Program

Students in this certificate will understand the factors in public decision-making and policy formulation by honing their analytical skills and increasing their theoretical and practical knowledge in the field. The two required core courses for the certificate lay the conceptual foundation for public policy theory and research and then students can choose two courses that best fit their interests and professional goals. The flexibility built into the certificate also allows students to complete the program in a reasonable time frame. 

 

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STACKABLE CERTIFICATE

Ali Syverson

Complete this four-course certificate and apply your credit to Northwestern’s MA in Public Policy and Administration program. Details. >


 

About the Public Policy and Administration Certificate Program

Graduate Certificate in Public Policy and Administration Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of the certificate, students will have the knowledge, skills, and aptitude to:

  • 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
  • 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

 

Public Policy and Administration Curriculum

Students are required to complete the following four courses to earn the certificate: 

  • MPPA 401: Research Methods
  • MPPA 407: Scope and Theory of Public Policy
  • Any two courses among the following core and elective courses:
    • MPPA 403: Fundamentals of Public Administration
    • MPPA 404: Microeconomics for Public Policy & Administration
    • MPPA 406: Program Evaluation and Policy Analysis
    • MPPA 408: Public Organization Theory and Management
    • MPPA 411: The Legislative Process
    • MPPA 413: Foundations of the Nonprofit/NGO Sector
    • MPPA 417: Public Human Resources
    • MPPA 418: Ethics and Leadership
    • MPPA 419: The Strategic Policy Environment
    • MPPA 421: Administrative Law
    • MPPA 432: Intergovernmental Relations
    • MPPA 430: Behavioral Economics
    • MPPA 435: Regulatory Policy

Public Policy and Administration Course Schedule

The Public Policy and Administration Course Schedule page provides you with detailed information on the program's offerings.

Public Policy and Administration Faculty

You can find a full listing of our instructors in this certificate program on the Public Policy and Administration Faculty page.

Admission for the Public Policy and Administration Certificate Program

A variety of factors are considered when your application is reviewed. Background and experience vary from student to student. For a complete list of requirements, see the Graduate Certificate Admission page.

Public Policy and Administration Tuition

Tuition costs can vary for each of our programs. For the most up-to-date information on financial obligations, please visit our Public Policy and Administration Tuition page.

Public Policy and Administration Registration Information

Our Public Policy and Administration Registration Information page outlines important dates and deadlines as well as the process for adding and dropping courses.

Applying Credit to the MA in Public Policy and Administration Program

Students that are interested in the option of applying their credit to Northwestern's MA in Public Policy and Administration program must submit an online application and submit all required application materials.

Students that elect to apply to a master's program before completing a graduate certificate will be able to count completed courses toward the applicable master's degree, but there will be no certificate conferred.

If you are interested in exploring this option, please contact the SPS graduate advising team for information on how to pursue a master's degree at SPS.


Find out more about Northwestern's Public Policy and Administration Certificate Program

Core Courses:Course Detail
Research Methods <> MPPA 401-DL

This course provides students with a basic understanding of qualitative and quantitative research methodology frequently used in social science and policy research. The course content includes research question formation, observation and interview based research methods, analysis of qualitative data, survey development, and weighting and sampling techniques. Students will have the opportunity to apply methods to pursue a research topic of their own design. An overview of publicly available quantitative data will be provided, and comparative policy research will be discussed.

Required as a core course for students admitted for fall 2012 and after. Counts toward all MPPA specializations as an elective for students admitted prior to fall 2012.


View MPPA 401-DL Sections
Fundamentals of Public Administration <> MPPA 403-DL

This course is an introduction to the basic skills useful to public administrators and policy analysts seeking to work in an analytical or managerial position in the public or not-for profit-sectors. This course is structured to introduce students to both the principles and contextual constraints that form the environment of the modern public administrator. It will cover a basic understanding of the process, policy, and politics of public administration and public management at the national, state, and local level. Fundamental theories, practices, and concepts that contribute to the administration and understanding of complex public sector organizations are explored, as well as basic practices and techniques of modern public administration. The course assumes a basic foundation in political science theory, public policy, or public administration usually garnered at the undergraduate level as well as a working knowledge of contemporary issues that confront governments today. Counts toward all MPPA specializations as an elective for students admitted prior to fall 2006. Required as a core course for students admitted for fall 2006 and after.


View MPPA 403-DL Sections
Microeconomics for Policy and Administration <> MPPA 404-DL

Economics is about choice, and microeconomics is the study of resource allocation choices, beginning with how consumers and producers make choices. This course is aimed at developing student understanding of microeconomic theory, especially as it concerns the relationship between the market economy and public policy. Topics include consumer behavior and the theory of demand; production, cost, supply functions; choices under uncertainty, insurance; competitive equilibrium; subsidies, taxes, price controls; monopoly and monopsony; price discrimination and public utility pricing; monopolistic competition; general equilibrium theory and welfare economics; information theory; and public goods, externalities and market failure.

Counts toward all MPPA specializations as an elective for on-campus students admitted prior to fall 2012.


View MPPA 404-DL Sections
Program Evaluation and Policy Analysis <> MPPA 406-DL

This course will present a comprehensive overview of program evaluation and policy analysis methods that are important for policy researchers and administrators. These methods help public policy and program analysts systematically value decisions, improve the decision-making process (and hopefully the resultant decisions), value inputs and outcomes, handle uncertainty, and compare aspects of public policy and systems that might not otherwise appear to be comparable. Specific topics covered in this course will include overall evaluation (qualitative and quantitative) design, logic models, implementation and outcome evaluation, decision and cost-benefit analysis.


View MPPA 406-DL Sections
Scope and Theory of Public Policy <> MPPA 407-DL

This course is an introduction to the public policy process in the United States. It focuses on developing an understanding of what "political" and "public policy" mean and how public policy is made. The course considers agenda setting, decision making theory and methods of analyzing policy outcomes. Course materials will provide students with the analytical framework to explore why some problems reach the public agenda, why some solutions are adopted and others rejected, and why some policies appear to succeed while others appear to fail. It will examine policy making primarily at the national level but will also look at examples at the state and local level.


View MPPA 407-DL Sections
Public Organization Theory & Management <> MPPA 408-DL

This course focuses on organization theory and management as it applies primarily to public organizations. The unique environment that public organizations face will be emphasized. Students will study a range of theories grounded in the traditional literature over time and leading to contemporary theories and modern application in the public sector. The course requires students to critically examine public organizations and leadership using theories and concepts studied during the class.

Previously titled Organization Theory and Analysis. Students admitted prior to Fall 2015 who take the new version of the class may substitute a specialization course for LEADERS 481.


View MPPA 408-DL Sections
Elective Courses:Course Detail
Foundations of the Nonprofit/NGO Sector <> MPPA 413-DL

This course examines theories of nonprofit (NPO) and nongovernmental organization (NGO) development and operation. Broad trends shaping NPOs/NGOs, both nationally and globally, are studied from a variety of perspectives. Also, high level operational issues, such as governance and executive management in the NPO/NGO environment, are discussed.

Counts toward the Public Administration specialization for students admitted fall 2012 and after. Online students admitted prior to fall 2012 may take this elective in lieu of 411, 419 or 452. All on-campus students admitted prior to fall 2012 may take this elective.


There is no available section.
Public Human Resources <> MPPA 417-DL

This course is designed to develop students' practical understanding of public human resource management. It is structured to examine the relationships between contemporary public policy-making processes, legal and ethical standards of public human resource management, and key human resource functions. Students will analyze how strategic human resource management and positive organizational frameworks apply to key public human resource functions, including recruiting and retention, compensation and benefits, and skill development. The course will also provide students with action-oriented learning to value the impact of current public policy issues, such as healthcare and immigration reforms, on public organizations in general.

Counts toward the Public Administration specialization for students admitted fall 2012 and after. Online students admitted prior to fall 2012 may take this elective in lieu of 411, 419, or 452. All on-campus students admitted prior to fall 2012 may take this elective.


View MPPA 417-DL Sections
Ethics and Leadership <> MPPA 418-DL

This course will examine relevant theory and research regarding ethics and leadership in public organizations and provide an opportunity for students to develop a personal foundation for ethical leadership. Students will also look at ethics and leadership from an organizational and systemic level while applying learning to normative questions and case studies.

Counts toward the Public Administration, Public Policy, and Global Policy specializations.


View MPPA 418-DL Sections
The Strategic Policy Environment <> MPPA 419-DL

The purpose of this course is to provide students an opportunity to study public policy in a holistic fashion while at the same time focusing on development, implementation, and the evaluation of public policy.This is accomplished by critically analyzing public policy theory and practice alongside a case-study driven examination of public policy successes and failures.The course maintains an emphasis on strategic public policy development, implementation, and evaluation. Counts toward the Public Policy specialization.

Previously titled Strategic Policy Implementation.


View MPPA 419-DL Sections
Administrative Law <> MPPA 421-DL

This is an introductory master’s level course that focuses on public law generally and administrative law particularly. The course provides students with a thorough grounding in the broad functions of public administrative law with special emphasis on rule-making, order-making, and procedural due process. Students will learn the genesis of administrative rules and their impact on private and public affairs, and the reasons why Congress delegates so much authority to administrative bodies. In addition, students will critically examine the various oversight mechanisms designed to monitor and check administrative abuses. Students will become familiar with the federal register, the scope and power of administrative law judges, the impact of judicial review on agency decisions, and generally understand administrative law “in the context of the American political system.”

Counts toward the Public Administration and Public Policy specializations.


View MPPA 421-DL Sections
Behavioral Economics <> MPPA 430-DL

Why do people not recycle, even when offered monetary incentives? Why has the 'War on Drugs' failed? Why don't people enroll in 401(k) savings plans? Why is the market for knock-off brand-name goods and pirated DVDs/software so large? This class will use behavioral economics to investigate questions related to policy formulation, implementation, framing and failure. With readings from current experts in the field including Ariely, Thaler, Kahneman and Frank, this class will discuss both behavioral economic theory and its application in policy areas such as immigration, the environment, health care, international relations and (of course) the national economy. Counts toward all specializations.


There is no available section.
Intergovernmental Relations <> MPPA 432-DL

This course is designed to develop students’ practical understanding of American intergovernmental relations and intergovernmental management. The course is structured to examine contemporary relationships between U.S. federalism and public policy making processes at the federal, state, and local levels. Students will analyze how various theories of intergovernmental relations apply to key areas of public policy making—federalism and the courts, fiscal federalism, and regulatory federalism. Students will engage in action-oriented learning to synthesize theories of intergovernmental relations and institutions to recommend policy programs and appraise future policy reform.

 


View MPPA 432-DL Sections
Regulatory Policy MPPA 435-DL

This is an advanced specialization course in the politics and practice of governmental regulation, designed to give students the tools needed to understand the many facets of regulatory politics. It will cover broad areas of regulatory policy and procedure from communications, to environment, to consumer products. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to understand, articulate, and assess the political debates around regulatory policy and approaches to regulation. Additionally, students will be able develop policy solutions to address various regulatory problems using standard regulatory tools and best practices.

Counts toward the Public Policy specialization.


View MPPA 435-DL Sections
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