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Masters in Public Policy

Masters Degree (MS) in Public Policy

Best Universities in the world for Public Policy

Graduates, with a Masters in Public Policy, are experts in doing the background work needed to make public policy decisions. These graduates are trained to understand what motivates policies, whether government or non-government, and what it takes to implement said policy.

Every large scale decision should be backed by research that indicates a preferred choice, based on complete data and a meaningful statistical inference of the data. Policy decisions, affecting society, are also driven by a conscious understanding of its social and political factors. They thus usually come laden with challenges, in decision making, as well as implementation that require analysis and critical thinking.

Professionals, with a Masters in Public Policy, are equipped with the ability to take on such challenges and assess the associated economic considerations, formulate plans for resource allocation, present a complete cost-benefit analysis, etc.

The degree of Masters in Public Policy (MPP) is different from a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) in the aspect of what it takes to decide a public policy and what it takes to implement a public policy. However, a lot of institutes have blurred this distinction by combining the useful aspects of both to form one program of Masters in Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) or its related degrees.

Syllabus for Master in Public Policy

The typical curriculum for a master in public policy involves the following courses.

  • Economics
  • Policy Challenge
  • Quantitative Analysis
  • Law and Public Policy
  • Management and Leadership
  • Ethics
  • Negotiations
  • Policy Analysis
  • Research and Statistical Methods

Individual schools have various versions of the same, and more. There are specializations based on which sector one would like to be employed in the future – government, business, global international affairs, politics, or social and economic policy making. Some, like Harvard, follow a case study approach and there is usually a policy oriented internship involved to strengthen ones’ area of expertise.

Career Prospects after a Masters in Public Policy

According to a recent alumni survey conducted by NASPAA, the global standard in public service education, most graduates in MPP, and MPA,from that year were work in the following sectors.

– the domestic non-profit sector (23%)
– local, city, county, or local government (17%)
– state, provincial, or regional government (15%)
– private sector (12%)
– National or central government (11%)
– Private sector doing research or consulting (8%)

The rest follow career routes in foreign government, international non-profit, defense forces, or others.
MPP, or MPA, graduates usually enter government jobs at a low grade, if there is no work experience. However, promotions occur regularly, with starting salaries in the range of $43,000+ and the possibility of healthy increments within the first few years of service, and promotion.

According to the above survey, salaries vary a lot between the sectors. However, current average for working professionals in public service is between $65,000 and $75,000. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Political Scientists can make upwards of $114,000.

Top Masters in Public Policy Programs in the world

Masters in Public Policy, or its related degrees, are offered all over the world, including Canada, United States, Australia, UK, Mexico, India, Singapore, and more. However, overall, certain schools are better known for their standard in Politics and International Studies. The list below summarizes some of the best known schools in the field, according to TopUniversities.

School Country Program Name
Harvard University – John F. Kennedy School of Government USA – Master in Public Policy,
– Master in Public Administration in International Development,
– Master in Public Administration.
University of Oxford UK Master of Public Policy
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) UK MSc Public Policy and Administration
Sciences Po School of Public Affairs France Master in Public Policy
University of Cambridge UK Masters in Public Policy
The Australian National University – Crawford School of Public Policy Australia Master of Public Policy
Princeton University – Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs USA Master in Public Policy
University of California Berkeley – Goldman School of Public Policy USA Master of Public Policy
Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs USA – MPA in Economic Policy Management
– Master of International Affairs
– Master of Public Administration
– MPA in Environmental Science and Policy
– MPA in Development Practice
– Executive MPA
Georgetown University – McCourt School of Public Policy USA Master in Public Policy
University of Toronto – School of Public Policy & Governance Canada Master of Public Policy Program
University of Chicago – Harris School of Public Policy USA Master of Public Policy

Clearly there is barrage full of other big names, in the pool this list is from. Public Policy is a popular degree with relevance that is essentially timeless. With career choices in the domestic, international, government, public, or private, sectors, there is always an abundance of jobs to choose from.

So, if you are interested, research your options and find out if any of the plethora of programs aligns with your passion of serving in the greater good of the public.

Meanwhile, here is a quick link for all things Masters – Guide to an international MS degree.