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Master’s in Public Policy & Administration

Learn to drive change at the local, national and international levels.

Master's in Public Policy and Administration

Build the analytical, administrative, and leadership skills needed to make an impact. Northwestern’s MPPA curriculum offers a unique and comprehensive opportunity to delve into both the administrative and analytical sides of policy. This holistic approach is grounded in the perspective that policy challenges are fluid, interconnected and global. This perspective gives graduates the tools needed to rise in the field and drive change at the local, national and international levels.


A versatile degree.

As an MPPA student you’ll build skills that are relevant to a variety of fields — public and private. You’ll be prepared for leadership roles in government at the local, state and federal levels, in nonprofit organizations, as well as rewarding careers in health service, community service, consulting, finance, social service, urban and regional planning, political science research, and foreign affairs. 

Choose the path that meets your needs.

Choose from five specializations offering a wide range of electives and create the course of study you need to meet your career goals. You can complete your degree through part-time study or the one-year accelerated option. Whatever you choose, you will learn from experienced, engaged faculty who are thought leaders in their fields. 

Study at your own pace

Earn your degree by taking classes part-time.

Earn your degree at a pace that works with your life. Take any combination of online and evening on-campus courses to complete your degree. You'll learn and network with classmates who are experienced professionals from a wide range of fields.

Choose from five specializations — Public Policy, Public Administration, Global Policy, Global Health, or Data Analytics. 

START MY part-time MPPA application

Earn your degree in one year

The MPPA Accelerated option.

Immerse yourself in the program by taking three courses per quarter. With two on-campus courses (evening and daytime) and one online course each term, you'll have the flexibility to pursue additional outside activities during the day. Benefit from strong relationships built in a cohort and from learning with diverse groups of professionals — many who are highly-placed in their fields. Choose from specializations in Public Policy, Public Administration, or Global Policy.

For MPPA accelerated option applicants, the fall 2019 application deadline is April 15, 2019.

START MY Accelerated MPPA application


Which option is right for me?

Find out more about the differences between the accelerated and part-time options. 



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

More 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

Public Policy and Administration Curriculum

Review curriculum details and elective choices while you consider applying to this program. The MPPA program requires the successful completion of 13 courses. The curriculum covers nine core courses, three elective courses corresponding to a declared specialization, and a capstone (498) or thesis (590) project. 

  • MPPA 401 Research Methods
  • MPPA 402 Public Finance and Budgeting
  • MPPA 403 Fundamentals of Public Administration
  • MPPA 404 Microeconomics for Public Policy and Administration
  • MPPA 405 Statistics for Research
  • MPPA 406 Program Evaluation and Policy Analysis
  • MPPA 407 Scope and Theory of Public Policy
  • MPPA 408 Public Organization Theory and Management
  • MPPA 418 Ethics and Leadership
  • Three specialization courses
  • MPPA 498 Capstone Project or MPPA 590 Thesis Research
Current students should refer to the curriculum requirements in place at time of entry into the program.


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 Course Schedule

Explore the Public Policy and Administration course schedule. 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.

Part-time or accelerated — what's right for me?

Both options offer the deep and broad MPPA curriculum with courses led by experienced professionals. Use the comparison below to decide which option suits your needs.

Accelerated MPPA

  • Accelerated pace, complete program in one year
  • Course load is three to four courses per quarter
  • Students move through the program in a cohort, taking day and evening on-campus classes in Chicago and online classes.
  • Choose from three specializations
  • Intense interaction with faculty and classmates
  • Schedule offers flexibility and balance that allows time for part-time internships and policy-related roles with area organizations
  • Begin in the fall quarter only
  • The application deadline for the fall 2019 quarter in April 15, 2019 

Part-time MPPA

  • Part-time, flexible schedule — complete the program in two to five years
  • Course load is one to two courses per quarter — study at your own pace
  • Choose all online courses, all evening on-campus courses, or a blend of the two
  • Choose from five specializations
  • Faculty members are accessible as needed; meet and network with classmates — most are working professionals — in person and online
  • Most students balance their studies with full-time jobs
  • Begin in any quarter  
  • Apply any time — application deadlines and quarter start dates


Contact an adviser about Northwestern's MA in Public Policy and Administration

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