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Program Overview

Public Policy & Administration

Master's in Public Policy and Administration

Most graduate programs in public policy require students to choose between the analytical and the administrative sides of the discipline. Northwestern’s part-time Master's in Public Policy and Administration degree program encompasses both. While instilling leadership skills, this on-campus or online program develops students’ administrative as well as analytical competence to enable them to rise in the field and drive change at the local, national and international levels. This public policy master's degree program encompasses a range of MPPA specializations — public administration, public policy, global policy — all grounded in the perspective that policy challenges are fluid, interconnected and global. Students learn to think across diverse groups and boundaries.

The MA in Public Policy and Administration is a versatile degree that applies to a variety of areas across all career sectors, private as well as public. MPPA graduates achieve leadership roles in government at the local, state and federal levels, in nonprofit organizations, and in the private sector. Public Policy and Administration graduate students pursue rewarding careers in health service, community service, in management consulting jobs, with financial institutions, in social entrepreneurial organizations, urban and regional planning, political science research and foreign affairs. 

All courses are fully accredited. SPS online courses marry the best aspects of online technology with the interactivity of the classroom. Students can take any combination of online and on-campus courses, or all online or all on-campus, to complete their degree. Find out more about online learning at SPS.



JC Kibbey

Not only was [behavioral economics] interesting to me academically, but those ideas have helped inform my professional work. In the world of politics, a lot of the questions are about how people are going to react to situations.”

— JC Kibbey (MPPA '14), Outreach and Policy Advocate at Union of Concerned Scientists

About the MA in Public Policy and Administration

Master's in Public Policy and Administration Program Goals

An interdisciplinary professional program, MPPA graduates will possess 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
  • 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

MA in Public Policy and Administration Areas of Specialization

Students can focus on a particular area of interest by selecting one of the MA in Public Policy and Administration Specializations as part of the application process. Students can also choose the "generalist" designation, which allows them to take their electives from different specializations.

Public Policy and Administration Curriculum

Students are required to complete 13 courses to earn the degree. The curriculum covers nine core courses, three elective courses corresponding to a chosen area of specialization, and a capstone course or thesis project. Review curriculum details and elective choices while you consider applying to this program. Current students should refer to the curriculum requirements in place at time of entry into the program.

Public Policy and Administration Courses

Explore Public Policy and Administration Courses. You can narrow your course search by day, location or instructor.

Master's in Public Policy and Administration Admission

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 Master's in Public Policy & Administration Admission page.

MPPA Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition for the Master's in Public Policy and Administration program at Northwestern is comparable to similar US programs. Financial aid opportunities exist for students at Northwestern. Complete details can be found on the MPPA Tuition and Financial Aid pages.

Registration Information for Public Policy and Administration

Already accepted into the Master's in Public Policy and Administration program? Get ahead and register for your classes as soon as possible.

Public Policy and Administration Careers

Professional opportunities for graduates of Northwestern's MPPA program are as broad and varied as the field of public policy and administration itself. With five concentrations to choose from, MPPA graduates set their sights on leadership roles in government at the local, regional and federal levels, in nonprofit organizations or in private enterprise.  For details visit the Public Policy and Administration Career Options page.

Public Policy and Administration Faculty

Instructors in the Master's in Public Policy and Administration program at Northwestern are leading scholars and practitioners in their field. They bring real-world experiences to the  classroom and engage with students on a personal level. Get to know the instructors on our Public Policy and Administration Faculty page. 

MPPA Student Leadership Council

Learn about the MPPA Student Leadership Council and their efforts to create and host network events for the program.

Find out more about Northwestern's MA in Public Policy and Administration

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