About the MPP

MPP students listening to a class lecture

A two-year master’s program where social justice meets social policy

The Heller Master’s in 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.


In addition to the core curriculum, you select a concentration from which to take elective courses. Concentrations give students the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the roots of many social justice issues and the strategies used in a given policy area, such as health policy, poverty alleviation or women’s, gender and sexuality studies. Each concentration is connected to one of Heller’s 11 research centers and institutes.


During the summer, MPP students select internships at a range of policy advocacy organizations, government offices, think tanks, research institutes, nonprofits and foundations. We think these summer experiences are so important, we not only help you find the right experience for your needs—we even help pay for them. MPP internships provide the perfect opportunity for you to utilize the skills you’ve learned in you first year of coursework and apply it in a concrete way to a social justice issue you care about.

Capstone paper and presentation

The second year of MPP coursework culminates in a capstone paper and presentation on a topic of your choice. With the guidance of advisors in the MPP faculty and Heller research scientists, students frame a social problem, analyze policy approaches and methods to address it, assess the impact of these options on vulnerable populations, and recommend a compelling course of action. 

Dual and Joint Degrees

Want to add to your MPP skillset with a second degree in nonprofit management or Jewish professional leadership? Heller offers two dual and joint degree options for students looking to combine their MPP with a second program. Securing an additional degree doubles students’ professional networks and broadens their job prospects upon graduation.

Hear it from MPP Program Director, Michael Doonan, PhD’02

The Heller MPP program focuses specifically on domestic social policy. We have a diverse student body and faculty, but everyone shares a common interest in social justice issues. Our small program is accessible, friendly and cooperative—not competitive.


Heller viewbook cover with students

Heller Viewbook - accessible PDF

One mission. A million motivations. The Heller viewbook outlines those graduate degree programs in which you'll develop the broad knowledge and focused skills to serve the communities you care deeply about and have a positive impact on our society.

US News and World Report Best Grad Schools Public Affairs 2021 Badge

The Heller School is proud to be a top-ranked school for social policy. In the U.S. News 2021 rankings for graduate schools of public affairs, Heller was ranked: 

  • #9 for social policy
  • #12 for health policy and management
  • #25 for public policy analysis