Policy concentrations

Policy concentrations in the MPP program 

The Master of Public Policy at the Ford School is a generalist degree, through which students gain research, analytic, management and communications skills that are highly transferable across sectors, policy issue areas, and geographic regions. Building upon the foundational knowledge and skills attained in the core curriculum (23 credits), students tailor their educational experiences through the flexibility of having 28 elective credits.  

With this flexibility, Ford School MPP students are able to gain significant depth in an area of great interest and passion through optional policy concentrations and graduate certificate programs. Policy concentrations and graduate certificates are included on students’ transcripts, officially signaling that a student has acquired depth and mastery in a defined area of study. Students cannot elect more than one concentration, and are encouraged to take additional relevant courses beyond the minimum requirements to gain a deeper understanding. 

The Ford School offers optional policy concentrations (9-12 credits beyond the required courses in the MPP core curriculum) in five areas:

  • Public policy analysis methods
  • Non-profit and public management
  • Social policy
  • International policy
  • International economic development

Faculty leads will assist in identifying the set of courses that students can take for credit towards each of the concentrations, including any courses that are required.  Student and Academic Services staff (primarily the Master Student Academic Advisor and Registrar) will be responsible for assessing whether or not individual students have met the requirement for a concentration, which will be designated as a program of study on students’ transcripts. Student concerns or petitions related to policy concentrations will be reviewed by the Masters Program Committee.

Public Policy Analysis Methods  (Faculty Lead: Brian Jacob)
Focus:  Applied methods and skills for rigorous policy analysis and research.
Requirements:  PubPol 571 plus 6 additional credits


  • PubPol 571 Applied Econometrics (required)
  • PubPol 712 Causal Inference in Education Policy Research I
  • PubPol 713 Causal Inference in Education Policy Research II
  • PubPol 715 Public Budgeting & Financial Planning
  • PubPol 744 Economics of the Public Sector
  • PubPol 633 Qualitative Methods
  • PubPol 567     STATA for Public Policy
  • PubPol 568 Practicum in Data Analysis Using STATA
  • PubPol 750     Applied Methods for Development
  • Econ 675 Applied Microeconometrics 
  • Educ 707 Psychometric Theory: Classical and Latent Trait Models
  • Educ 737 Experimental Methods in Educational Research 
  • Educ 771-001 Panel Data and Event History Methods 
  • Educ 799 Categorical and Limited Dependent Variable Modeling 
  • Educ 803 Structural Equation Model (SEM)
  • ENV 411/EAS 531 Principles of GIS
  • HBEHED 638 Qualitative Methods of Public Health
  • HMP 610 Cost-Effectiveness Analysis
  • PolSci 787 Multivariate Analysis 
  • SI 618 Data Manipulation and Analysis
  • SI 670 Applied Machine Learning
  • Soc 542 Quantitative Modeling
  • Stats 601 Analysis of Multivariate and Categorical Data
  • Stats 642 Linear Statistical Models I
  • SurvMeth 600 Fundamentals of Survey Methodology
  • SurvMeth 621 Fundamentals of Data Collection
  • SurvMeth 630 Questionnaire Design and Evaluation
  • TO 628 Advanced Big Data Analytics
  • URP 520 Geographic Information Systems

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


  • PubPol 587 Working in Diverse Organizations
  • PubPol 587 Innovation in Government
  • PubPol 587 Policy and Management in the Non-Profit Sector
  • PubPol 587 Fundraising Strategies for Nonprofits
  • PubPol 587 Building Intergovernmental Alliances
  • PubPol 587 Organizational Causes of Large Scale Technology Failure
  • PubPol 687 Negotiations
  • PubPol 750 Budget Literacy for Mission Driven Organizations
  • BA 601 Governing Nonprofit Organizations
  • EDUC 551 School Organization and the Policy Environment
  • EDUC 555 Financial and Legal Policies in Schools
  • HMP 604 Organization and Management of Health Advocacy & Community-Based Non-Profits
  • HMP 643 Managing People in Health Organizations
  • MO 672 Leading Non-Profit Organizations
  • SW 560 Introduction to Community Organization, Mgmt and Policy/Evaluation Practice 
  • SW 660 Managing Programs and Projects
  • SW 663 Fundraising and Grant Writing
  • SW 665 Leadership and Organizational Governance
  • URP 587 Planning for Organizational and Community Change 
  • URP 610 Public Private Partnerships: Financing Equitable Development 

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


  • PubPol 611 Higher Education and Public Policy
  • PubPol 677 Immigration Policy
  • PubPol 692 Thinking About Crime
  • PubPol 732 Public Policy in Postsecondary Education
  • PubPol 736 Poverty and Inequality
  • PubPol 744 Economics of the Public Sector
  • PubPol 746 Social Welfare Policy
  • PubPol 750 Public Policy Approaches to Social Disparities in Health
  • PubPol 750 Child and Family Policy
  • PubPol 750 Smart Cities and the Future of Mobility
  • PubPol 750 Health Economics & U.S. Health Policy
  • PubPol 750 Gender, Race & Employment Policy
  • Educ 764 Public Policy in Postsecondary Education
  • HMP 617 US Food Policy and Public Health
  • HMP 626 Race, Ethnicity, Culture and Policy
  • HMP 653 Law and Public Health
  • Law 741 Reducing Firearm Violence in Urban Communities
  • SW 530 Introduction to Social Welfare Policy and Services
  • SW 652 Organizing for Social and Political Action
  • URP 560 Transportation & Land Use Planning


International Policy  (Faculty Lead: John Ciorciari)
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  


  • PubPol 580 Values, Ethics and Public Policy -  international affairs section (recommended and will count toward 12 credits for the concentration)
  • PubPol 541 International Trade Policy
  • PubPol 542 International Financial Policy
  • PubPol 621 Peacebuilding:  Law, Diplomacy, and the Transition from Conflict
  • PubPol 674 International Economic Development Program (IEDP)
  • PubPol 675 Human Rights & International Policy
  • PubPol 676 International Politics of Poverty
  • PubPol 710 Law School PSI: Human Rights, Mineral Extraction, and the Global Supply Chain
  • PubPol 716 Introduction to Chinese Policy
  • PubPol 717 Social Activism, Democracy & Globalization from Perspective of Global South
  • PubPol 750 Global Issues:  Drugs, Crime and Terrorism
  • PubPol 750 Comparative Law and Policy
  • PubPol 750 Role of Courts in Human Rights
  • PubPol 750 National Security Council and Counterterrorism
  • PubPol 750 Exercising Influence: Corporate, Governmental, and NGO Diplomacy
  • PubPol 763 Drugs, Crime & Terrorism
  • PubPol 766 Issues in National Security
  • EAS 563 International Environmental Policy
  • PolSci 688 Selected Topics in Political Science (international sections)
  • Law 630 International Law
  • Law 695 International Trade Law
  • Soc 560 Power, History and Social Change

International Economic Development  (Faculty Lead:  Dean Yang)
Focus:  Knowledge and policy analysis skills related to economic and social development 
Requirements:   PubPol 534 plus 6 additional credits


  • PubPol 534 Economics of Developing Countries (required)
  • PubPol 556 Macroeconomics
  • PubPol 541 International Trade Policy
  • PubPol 542 International Financial Policy
  • PubPol 741 Principles of Finance & Global Financial Markets
  • PubPol 674 International Economic Development Program (IEDP)
  • PubPol 676 International Politics of Poverty
  • PubPol 716 Intro to Chinese Policy (with trip)
  • PubPol 750 Global Financial Markets, Crises and Policies
  • PubPol 750 Applied Methods for Development
  • PubPol 750     Challenges to Service Delivery in Developing Countries
  • PubPol 750 Exercising Influence: Corporate, Governmental, and NGO Diplomacy
  • PubPol 763 Drugs, Crime & Terrorism
  • EAS 501.162 Sustainability for Development
  • Epid 506 Health of Nations:  Introduction to International Health
  • HMP 624 Health Policy Challenges in Developing Countries
  • PolSci 651 Proseminar in Political Economy (Section 001: Comparative and International Political Economy)