Master of Public Policy (MPP)

Why choose the Heller MPP?

The Heller Master of Public Policy (MPP) program is a two-year degree program that consists of four semesters of coursework and one summer internship experience. The core curriculum prepares you to conduct rigorous research and policy analysis and challenges you to propose viable solutions to complex social problems in a dynamic political environment.

A focus on social policy

The Heller MPP has a more comprehensive focus on U.S. domestic social policy than any other program, providing students with an interdisciplinary, intersectional perspective informed by the lived experiences of those affected by injustice and systemic oppression. Our curriculum integrates policy and research to make a difference — particularly in creating equitable policies for groups such as women, the LGBTQ+ community, children, the BIPOC community, the elderly, people with disabilities, and immigrants.

Social policies are traditionally characterized as those that address disparities in social issues such as poverty, health, education, unemployment and housing. Studying public policy at Heller means not just learning about the current legislation and historical context of a given field, such as residential segregation or behavioral health services, but taking a critical lens and asking key questions about why these problems persist, how they inequitably affect certain populations and how innovative solutions might increase access to opportunity. Faculty members also teach students to understand the political process and the political feasibility of policy proposals over time. With a Heller MPP, you’ll gain a sophisticated understanding of both the content and the process of constructing meaningful, structural change.

The Heller MPP program is designed to give students comprehensive analytical skills and a unique conceptual framework to dispute structural norms, identify and manipulate levers of power and invent new strategies to solve enduring social problems. To accomplish this, the program is built around four main pillars:

1. Broad interdisciplinary approach

Once dominated by PhD economists, the field of policy analysis now requires interdisciplinary thinking and a broad toolbox of skills. This program provides a grounding in research methods, quantitative and qualitative research techniques, a keen understanding of the political system, economics, sociology, program implementation and evaluation, organizational theory and leadership.

2. Deep subject area expertise

As public policy subfields become more complex, it is critical that practitioners specialize in a particular policy area.  For example, the health policy field has its own language, literature, policy leaders, programs and policies. Heller MPP students concentrate in one of six policy areas, each of which is linked to a Heller research institute.

3. Effective communication skills

Without expert writing and presentation skills, policy analysts’ ideas are likely to be disregarded. Learning to write for a range of audiences enables broad knowledge dissemination. Students give frequent presentations in class, before the Heller community and to field professionals to hone their delivery and engagement skills.

4. Practical field experience

The Heller MPP encourages and helps fund internships and fellowships between the first and second year of the program. In addition, many students have opportunities to work on projects in one of Heller’s research institutes.