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.

Relevance: our applied approach

At work in the world

Our required summer internship sends MPP students around the world to work on critical issues in their policy areas of interest. We help students find internships with an impressive range of domestic and international employers and we offer generous stipends when needed.

Established and fully-funded partnerships give Ford School students direct access to highly selective internships in key organizations. Our 2019 partnerships included the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), The Asia Foundation, the World Bank, and the Michigan Governor’s Office.

Consulting for credit

The Ford School’s strategic public policy consulting course, offered each semester, gives students the chance to complete a commissioned policy project for a public sector client under the guidance of a faculty advisor and external leaders who serve as mentors. Teams of students work with the client to develop a project work plan, collect relevant materials and information, conduct research and analysis, prepare a written report, and present findings and recommendations.

Our Program in Practical Policy Engagement offers a wide range of additional opportunities. For example, the Practical Community Learning Project is an engaged learning opportunity in Detroit. It's a semester-long policy-based community project that provides both undergraduate and graduate Ford students with opportunities for dialogue, research and service.

Engaged learning

Read more about our Integrated Policy Exercise, a policy simulation that is a required element of our MPP curriculum.

Other for-credit opportunities to actively engage with real-world policy issues include our annual China policy course and trip and our International Economic Development Program (IEDP). The IEDP allows students to study policy challenges faced by a particular developing economy, and then take a study trip there to meet with policymakers, members of civil society, foreign development agencies, and university students.