Student Life

Candid shot of Heller students studying in the Alumni Lounge

The MPP program at Heller is about more than just classes and career development. Heller students develop close friendships with their cohort, forged over hours spent studying for econometrics exams, organizing events, participating in over a dozen working groups and completing class projects and assignments.

Compared to other MPP or MPA programs, Heller is fundamentally driven by a sense of social justice, a compassion for humanity and a drive to produce the best work possible. At Heller, we reject the idea that persistent social problems exist because people are deficient. We believe that the correct levers of opportunity aren’t in place yet—and that we have a responsibility to construct them.

We also refuse to perform policy analysis in a vacuum. In many schools, students are taught to come up with efficient solutions that don’t have a chance of being implemented. Our students understand political feasibility and engage with the broader context around these policies, creating solutions that have a realistic chance of being implemented.

Our community is united by a drive for social justice. Your professors and classmates will push you to consider social and ethical aspects of policy problems that are often overlooked, and will encourage you to question whether a given policy—either intentionally or unintentionally—drives inequality or marginalization of specific populations. Heller students are diverse in their backgrounds, opinions, experience and approach, but in general we are an open, welcoming, inclusive environment that is consistently buzzing with activity.

Speaking of Activities…

Our students are busy! In addition to keeping up with coursework—often for two degree programs—students participate in varied extracurricular activities at Heller. Every week is filled with guest speakers, special events, training opportunities and more. Here are some examples:

  • All-Heller and MPP program town halls
  • Heller Cultural Dinners: students share regional food and culture
  • Academic Poster Sessions on faculty, student and staff research findings
  • Tuesday Talks: Heller researchers and faculty share their recent work
  • Author Talks: Heller authors on their recently published books
  • Degree program capstone events
  • Public lectures by policy experts and practitioners
  • Career Development Center-sponsored events, including employer spotlights, workshops, treks to local employers and weekend treks to employers in New York City and Washington, D.C.
  • Student working group events, including the Heller Criminal Justice Alliance (led by MPP program associate director, Janet Boguslaw)
  • Community Days and periodic professional development opportunities in diversity, equity and inclusion