Today, the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy opens applications for its Master of Public Affairs (MPA) program—an innovative, powerful one-year degree. The school's MPA combines training in rigorous applied policy analysis with the development of high-level public and nonprofit management, leadership, and communication skills, focusing on complex domestic and international policy issues. The program is designed for seasoned professionals with at least five years of policy-relevant experience in government, military, government affairs in the private sector, or the nonprofit sector—in the U.S. or abroad.
The 30-credit MPA offers two semesters of carefully designed, challenging coursework in economics, statistics, values and ethics, politics, policy writing, and management and leadership, with room for electives from across the University of Michigan tailored to students’ individual interests in public affairs. A new professional seminar in leadership and professional development is paired with the opportunity to receive executive coaching from a certified coach. Learn more about the MPA curriculum.
Our MPA graduates are part of a small cohort of accomplished policy professionals from around the world. They 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.