Our MPA graduates are prepared for senior roles in a variety of governmental institutions and public agencies, in the nonprofit sector, and in the private sector, such as:
- Leadership positions in government, nonprofit organizations, or within the government affairs team for an engineering firm or other for-profit business.
- Leadership roles within governments around the world—in ministries of education, national security, environment, social inclusion, and more.
- Senior level positions in U.S. local and state government, such as director of immigrant affairs for a major city, or a state budget director.
- "Translational" roles as public affairs specialists working in nonprofits and communications firms, advocating on issues, and translating research into powerful campaigns.
Is a Ford School Master's of Public Affairs right for you?
- Sandy Su (MPA ‘21) was an experienced non-profit professional working in the humanitarian and development sectors in her home country of Myanmar. With aspirations to work internationally, she needed to expand her resume beyond her localized experience. Learn how the Ford School helped her make that jump.
- William Selesky (MPA ‘20) was a practicing attorney in state government who wanted to expand his policy skill set and network beyond the legal profession. Find out what he's doing now.
- Egle Klekere (MPA '21) was looking for a program to help deepen her knowledge and gain new energy to help her communications consulting firm in Latvia. Learn about her experience as an international student.
- Tara Lanigan (MPA ‘21) was working for a mobility start-up and wanted to focus more intentionally on transportation or sustainability policy. She was awarded a Presidential Management Fellowship in 2022 and now serves as a policy advisor for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology. Read her advice for prospective students.
- Inés Llorente (MPA '20) was working for a human rights organization when she realized she wanted to go back to school to focus on immigration policy and refugee integration. Learn about how the Ford School prepared her for her job with the International Rescue Committee.
Our powerhouse Master of Public Affairs curriculum will...
- Broaden your expertise on a wide range of domestic and international affairs in the public domain.
- Deepen your understanding of public institutions and political, economic, and social processes and their implications for policy development and implementation.
- Teach you the analytic skills necessary for objective policy analysis and evaluation.
- Refine and deepen your leadership and management skills.
- Enable you to explore and apply the roles of values and ethics in public policy design and decision-making.
- Enhance your written and verbal strategic communication skills.
- Statistics (PubPol 529, 3 credits)
- Microeconomics (PubPol 555, 3 credits) OR Budgeting & Financial Planning (PubPol 715)
- An additional quantitative methods course (3 credits)
- Politics of Public Policy (PubPol 510, 3 credits) OR Values & Ethics (PubPol 580, 3 credits)
- Negotiations (PubPol 583, 1.5 credits)
- Leading Organizations (PubPol 582, 3 credits) OR Public and Performance Management (PubPol 586 & 587, 1.5 credits each)
- Proseminar in Leadership & Professional Development (course number TBD, 1 credit)
- Plus a minimum of 12.5 elective credits. Recommended electives include:
- Intro to Policy Writing (PubPol 521)
- Strategic Policy Consulting (PubPol 578)
Up to 9 credits of electives can be selected from other graduate programs on campus. The Ford School follows the Rackham Graduate School's policy on the assignment of credit hours.
MPA Professional Seminar
With the exciting new required MPA Professional Seminar, we offer leadership and professional development paired with the opportunity to receive executive coaching from a certified coach.
The fall semester pro-seminar is designed for the MPA cohort to learn from each other, build community and professional networks, and set intentions for career advancement. A highlight of the seminar will be the Senior Leader Series: small group sessions–led by policy professional leaders in the public, private, and non profit sectors–in which students will analyze and discuss relevant case studies and leadership challenges.
During the winter semester, MPA students will have the opportunity to work individually with one of the Ford School’s executive leadership coaches to enhance leadership presence, clarify and align values, and address personal leadership development challenges and goals.
Resources and community
Our MPA students will join a welcoming and diverse scholarly community. They will have ready access to all of the outstanding faculty, academic, career, and personal support that is also such an important part of our longstanding, top-ranked, two-year Master of Public Policy degree program.