Master of Public Policy (MPP)
The Ford School’s Master of Public Policy (MPP) is a two-year program of study that prepares students to find collaborative, creative solutions to complex challenges in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. We inspire and prepare leaders grounded in service.
A rigorous masters degree
Policy analysis: The Ford School is the nationally recognized leader in quantitative policy analysis, with a carefully sequenced core curriculum in microeconomics, statistics, and quantitative program evaluation.
Political and ethical analysis: Core courses teach a sophisticated understanding of public policy institutions and political processes, and explore the key role of values and ethics in public policy design.
Communication: Outstanding writing instruction and tutoring; skills modules in public presentation, social media, strategic communication, working with the press, data visualization and more.
Leadership: Core and elective courses focus on key issues in public/nonprofit management and effective leadership. Numerous co-curricular leadership development opportunities are also available, including leadership assessments, workshops,
panels, access to top policymakers visiting for our public events, executive coaching, and serving in leadership roles in student organizations, schoolwide committees, and public service initiatives.
Ford School electives include courses on the history and future of Detroit, the economics of developing countries, strategic consulting, the psychology of climate change, smart cities and mobility, thinking about crime, poverty and inequality, cybersecurity policy, the economics of education, and more. With low administrative barriers between schools, students can easily combine their policy courses with electives offered by the U-M’s outstanding professional schools—including law, business, education and urban planning—and top-ranked social science departments. One-quarter of Ford School credits can be taken outside of the school.
Prepared for immediate impact
Diversity, equity, and inclusion
In the classroom and beyond, we emphasize collaboration and listening across differences. Students at the Ford School represent great diversity—in race and ethnicity, political viewpoints, life experiences, professional interests, socioeconomic status, and more. Faculty foster a collaborative spirit among students, emphasizing team-based projects and challenging students to examine, share, and articulate their views. Our graduates are equipped to lead in an increasingly diverse world.
Our community offers a huge array of opportunities for acquiring and building key professional skills. Workshops from our Program in Practical Engagement teach students how to be effective advocates, how to work with the media, how to engage effectively on social media, and more. And our Weiser Diplomacy Center offers simulations on topics such as countering violent extremism, interpreting intelligence data, water diplomacy, and conducting diplomacy across cultural barriers.
The Ford School’s commitment to writing instruction is best in class. Our Writing Center’s four skilled professional instructors offer one-on-one tutorials and policy-writing modules designed to help students articulate public policy knowledge in writing that is accurate, logical, and concise.
Graduate Career Services
Our well-staffed, strategic Graduate Career Services and Alumni Relations team helps students identify their strengths, explore options, market their skills, negotiate with savvy, and build careers of impact. We continually evaluate and respond to the ever-changing landscape for policy professionals. We cultivate our many established employer relationships within and outside of our highly engaged alumni body. And each year we grow our employer base to respond to changes in student interests and shifting workforce trends.
Relevance: our applied approach
The Ford School emphasizes an applied approach to policy education, providing students with a wide range of opportunities to use what they’ve learned in the classroom through hands-on, practical policy experiences.
Course of study
Students are generally in residence at the Ford School for two years (four semesters) and are also required to complete a 10-week internship in a policy-related position. The degree requires completion of 48 credit hours (most courses are three credit hours), with a total of 36 credits required within the Ford School.
All MPP students are required to complete the following core courses (23 credits):
- Politics of Public Policy (PubPol 510)
- Statistics (PubPol 529)
- Microeconomics for Public Policy (PubPol 555) and one of the following courses: PubPol 558, 534, 556, 744
- Values, Ethics, and Public Policy (PubPol 580)
- Performance Management (PubPol 586)
- Public Management (PubPol 587)
- Integrated Policy Exercise (PubPol 638) – Must be completed twice or students are allowed to replace the second IPE with enrollment in a one-credit Project Skills Workshop (PubPol 778), which is offered both fall and winter semesters.
- Quantitative Methods of Program Evaluation (PubPol 639)
- Students with preparation in statistics and/or microeconomics may waive PubPol 529 and/or PubPol 555 respectively by passing waiver exams that are offered during orientation.
- If you are waived from a core course, you must complete an additional elective Ford School course. Waived courses are not counted toward the 48 credits required for the degree.
The core curriculum for the MPP degree requires two economics courses:
- PubPol 555: Microeconomics for Public Policy (or pass the waiver exam)
- A second course from a set of four approved Ford School Courses:
- PubPol 558: Economic Analysis in the Practice of Public Policy
- PubPol 534: Economics of Developing Countries
- PubPol 556: Macroeconomics
- PubPol 744: Economics and the Public Sector
Students gain depth in an area of interest and passion through optional policy concentrations, which require 9-12 credits and are formally recognized on transcripts. Here are our 5 policy concentrations:
Public Policy Analysis Methods (Faculty Lead: Brian Jacob)
Focus: Applied methods and skills for rigorous policy analysis and research
Requirements: 9 credits; PubPol 571 plus 6 additional credits
Public & Non-Profit Management (Faculty Lead: Megan Tompkins–Stange)
Focus: Knowledge and skills related to the operation, management and leadership of public and non-profit organizations
Requirements: 9 credits beyond 586/587 requirement in the core curriculum
Social Policy (Faculty Lead: Paula Lantz)
Focus: Knowledge and policy analysis skills related to key areas of social policy.
Requirements: 9 credits; no required courses
International Policy (Faculty Lead: John Ciociari)
Focus: Knowledge and policy analysis skills related to diplomacy, national security, human rights
Requirements: 12 credits
Strongly Recommended: International affairs or comparative politics section of PubPol 510-Politics of Public Policy
International Economic Development (Faculty Lead: Dean Yang)
Focus: Knowledge and policy analysis skills related to economic and social development
Requirements: 9 credits; PubPol 534 plus 6 additional credits
Students interested in concentrating in science and technology policy should consider participating in the STPP Certificate Program, a unique interdisciplinary initiative based in the Ford School.