Public Policy

Graduate Program HeadLilliard Richardson
Program CodePPOL
Campus(es)University Park (M.P.P.)
Degrees Conferred

Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.)

Collaborative International-Concurrent Degree Program with the KDI School of Public Policy and Management

Integrated B.A. in African American Studies and M.P.P. in Public Policy

Integrated B.A./B.S. in Communication Arts and Sciences and M.P.P. in Public Policy

Integrated B.S. in Criminology and M.P.P. in Public Policy

Integrated B.S. in Health Policy and Administration and M.P.P. in Public Policy

Integrated B.A. in Political Science and M.P.P. in Public Policy

Integrated B.S. in Sociology and M.P.P. in Public Policy

The Graduate Faculty

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The Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.) degree program is designed to provide professional training in public policy for those seeking careers in the design, adoption, implementation, and evaluation of public policies. The professional careers students should be prepared for include the full range of careers for which public policy expertise would be valued: national, state, and local government agencies, think tanks and consulting firms, non-­profit organizations, and lobby firms and private sector organizations engaged in public affairs representation. The core of the M.P.P. degree curriculum will provide students with a strong knowledge base relevant to public policy rooted in the social science disciplines of economics, political science, sociology, and industrial psychology housed in the College of the Liberal Arts along with training in quantitative policy analysis and evaluation. And through its specialization course requirements, it will provide students with public policy relevant training across a wide spectrum of substantive public policy areas drawing on expertise found on the University Park campus. Students will work closely with faculty to design a specialization curriculum around their core course work.

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

 All applicants will submit a résumé or curriculum vitae, two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement addressing their reasons for pursuing a graduate degree in public policy and discussing their plans and goals.

The language of instruction at Penn State is English. English proficiency test scores (TOEFL/IELTS) may be required for international applicants. See GCAC-305 Admission Requirements for International Students for more information.

English proficiency test scores must meet or exceed the minimum acceptable scores listed in GCAC-305. Applicants with a score of 19 or higher on the speaking section of the TOEFL Internet-­based test will be considered for admission, though a score of 23 or higher is desirable. The minimum IELTS score required for admission is 7.0 (overall, and in each of the subsections).

Admissions will be based on a review of all submitted materials and spaces will be offered to the best qualified applicants, taking into account academic achievement, relevant work experience and other indices of aptitude for advanced study in public policy.

Degree Requirements

Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies.

A minimum of 43 credits (42 credits for students with significant professional experience who may waive the internship requirement with approval of the M.P.P. program director) at the 400, 500, or 800 level, with at least 18 credits at the 500 or 800 level and a minimum of 6 credits at the 500 level, is required. More specifically, the program requires 18 credits in 6 core courses that are designed to establish a base of knowledge in key subject areas reflecting statistical skills, economic concepts, and policy making institutions. Students must also choose one bureaucracy/organization-focused course from PPOL 804, PPOL 805, or PPOL 807

In addition to these degree requirements, students must complete one PPOL elective, a 1-credit internship and a capstone project as their master’s culminating experience, PPOL 894, for 3 credits. The capstone project will involve completing an applied policy project showing mastery of the subject matter. Students with significant work experience may waive the 1 credit internship requirement with the approval of the M.P.P. program director and complete the degree with 42 rather than 43 credits.

Required Courses
PPOL 503Statistics for Public Policy I3
PPOL 506Statistics for Public Policy II3
PPOL 801The Public Policy Process3
PPOL 802Economic Analysis for Public Policy3
PPOL 808Public Finance and Budgeting3
PPOL 809Public Policy Analysis3
PPOL 810Policy and Program Evaluation3
Must Choose One of the Following:3
Public Sector Organization Theory
Bureaucracy and the Policy Process
Managing Public Organizations
Electives3
Electives can be chosen from any course with a PPOL course abbreviation.
Specialization
An additional four courses (12 credits) are required in the student’s field of public policy specialization. These courses will be selected by students with approval from the M.P.P. program and may be at the 400, 500, or 800 level. Students may count up to 12 credits in the fields of specialization from 400-­level courses.12
Internship
PPOL 895Public Policy Internship1
The Internship requirement may be waived with approval of the M.P.P. program director.
Culminating Experience
PPOL 894Capstone Experience (Capstone Project)3
Total Credits43

Collaborative International Programs

Collaborative International-Concurrent Degree Program with the KDI School of Public Policy and Management

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC 214 Collaborative Graduate Education Programs with Institutions Outside of the United States.

This Collaborative-International Concurrent Degree (CICD) Program is an opportunity for students in specified master's degree programs at KDI School of Public Policy and Management to complete the requirements for a master's degree at KDI School in one year and then complete the requirements for the M.P.P. degree at Penn State, completing two master's degree programs in two calendar years. 

The eligible degree programs are: Master of Public Policy, Master of Public Management, Master of Development Policy and Master of Intellectual Property and Development. The M.P.P. at KDI is more focused on Korea, while PSU’s curriculum is more focused on the U.S. All of these degree programs require the same, or very similar analytic skills, but cover somewhat different substantive areas, and are thus highly complementary. 

The M.P.P. program at Penn State will accept 15 credits completed at KDI and KDI students will complete an additional 27 credits at Penn State.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Students will first apply and be admitted to KDI School using the normal KDI School application and admission process. In the fall semester of their first year, students will apply for admission to the M.P.P. program at Penn State.

Students must apply to the program via the Graduate School application for admission, and must meet all the admission requirements of the Graduate School and the Public Policy graduate program for the Master of Public Policy degree.

ADVISING

Students admitted to the program are advised by the M.P.P. program adviser on program-specific matters and staff in the Directorate of International Student and Scholar Advising (DISSA) on matters generally affecting international students.

SEQUENCE OF COURSES

Students will complete all requirements toward the KDI master's degree in year one of the program, and complete all Penn State requirements in year two of the program. 

PLAN OF STUDY

Upon admission to the program students will prepare a plan of study outlining the courses that they will take in their year at Penn State. 

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree. Students who do not complete the Penn State degree may graduate with a master's degree from KDI School. Over 40 courses from KDI are eligible to double count for the Penn State M.P.P. Program. 

Integrated Undergrad-Grad Programs

INTEGRATED B.A. IN AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES AND M.P.P. IN PUBLIC POLICY

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-210 Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) Degree Programs.

This Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate program (IUG) provides an opportunity for academically strong students to complete a bachelor of arts degree in African American Studies and a master’s degree in Public Policy in the course of approximately five years of study. The Public Policy curriculum and African American Studies curriculum complement one another because an understanding of race and the African American experience is essential to understand U.S. public policy. 

Students in the M.P.P. are required to complete an elective specialization of four courses. Students in the African American Studies-M.P.P. IUG will take their specialization in African American studies. They can either take four 400 and 500 level African American studies courses in their fourth year of study that will double count for both the B.A. and M.P.P.  At least two of these will be at the 500 level. Or, students can take two 400 and 500 level African American Studies courses toward the specialization and two M.P.P. course toward the Social Sciences and Community Development area of concentration in the BA degree in the fourth year and complete specialization courses in the fifth year of study. The students’ IUG specific program of study will be structured on an individual basis giving IUG students a range of program options from the menu of course selections summarized below.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Qualified students can apply formally during the semester in which they will complete 60 credits, typically the spring semester of their sophomore year. Before applying to the Graduate School, students must have completed entrance to their undergraduate major and have completed no less than 60 credits. Transfer students must have completed at least 15 credits at Penn State to enroll in an IUG.  It is recommended that students apply for admission to the IUG program before completing 90 credits, or in the last semester of their junior year, but consistent with general IUG guidelines, students must be admitted no later than the end of the second week of the semester preceding the semester of expected conferral of the undergraduate degree.

Admission is selective based on criteria established by the leadership of the Public Policy program and Communication Arts and Sciences program. Though exceptions are possible, student applicants will generally have a minimum overall GPA of 3.2 in their major, and a minimum 3.2 GPA overall at the time of application (on a 4.0 scale). Students are admitted to the IUG based on good progress in their major, success in statistics and data analysis courses (evidenced by minimum 3.0 GPA in any undergraduate data analysis and statistics courses), faculty recommendations (two letters), GPA, and a 2-page statement of purpose explaining why they want to participate in this program and why they are qualified to do so. Students must apply to the program via the Graduate School application for admission, and must meet all the admission requirements of the Graduate School and the Public Policy graduate program for the Master of Public Policy degree.

In consultation with an adviser, students must prepare a plan of study appropriate to this integrated program, and must present their plan of study to the head of the graduate program or the appropriate committee overseeing the integrated program prior to being admitted to the program. The plan should cover the entire time period of the integrated program, and it should be reviewed periodically with an adviser as the student advances through the program.

ADVISING

Students admitted to the program are advised by co-advisers, one from each participating unit. Each student will have a primary adviser in Public Policy who will work with the student and the co-adviser in Communication Arts and Sciences to ensure successful completion of the degree. The co-advisers will help the student prepare the initial plan of study, and assist in making changes and approving the student’s plan of study each semester during the advising period.

SEQUENCE OF COURSES

During the first three years of study students will follow the basic course sequence provided for by the existing B.A plan in African American Studies.  In the fourth year of study students can either take four 400 and 500 level African American studies courses that will double count for both the B.A. and M.P.P.  At least two of these will be at the 500 level.  Or, students can take two 400 and 500 level African American Studies courses toward the specialization and two 500 or 800 level M.P.P. courses toward the Social Sciences and Community Development area of concentration in the BA degree in the fourth year and complete specialization courses in the fifth year of study. Students who wish to graduate in 5 years will also take additional M.P.P. courses in their fourth year beyond this two, but these credits will count only toward the M.P.P. degree. 

PLAN OF STUDY

Prior to admission to the program, and in consultation with their Communication Arts and Sciences and Public Policy advisers, students must prepare a detailed plan of study for years 4 and 5 of the program. The plan is periodically reviewed by the student and advisers, and revised as necessary. Most students will complete all requirements for the B.A. and complete some graduate level M.P.P. requirements in the first four years, and take only M.P.P. courses in year 5. 

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits as outlined below. Degree requirements for the B.A. in African American Studies are listed in the Undergraduate Bulletin. Degree requirements for the M.P.P. degree are listed on the Degree Requirements tab. Up to 12 credits may be double-counted towards the degree requirements for both the graduate and undergraduate degrees; a minimum of 50% of the double-counted courses must be at the 500 or 800 level. Independent study courses and credits associated with the culminating experience for the graduate degree cannot be double-counted. The courses that are eligible to double count for both degrees are:

Courses Eligible to Double Count for Both Degrees
AFAM 409Racial and Ethnic Inequality in America3
AFAM 416Race, Gender and Science3
AFAM 422Contemporary African American Communication3
AFAM 431Black Liberation and American Foreign Policy3
AFAM 432Between Nation and Empire: The Caribbean in the 20th Century3
AFAM 460African American Philosophy3
AFAM 465The Post-World War II Civil Rights Movement3
AFAM 502Blacks and African Diaspora3
AFAM 503Sexual and Gender Politics in the African Diaspora3
AFAM 597Special Topics1-9

Students must sequence their courses so all undergraduate degree requirements are fulfilled before taking courses to count towards the graduate degree. Students must complete the undergraduate degree requirements within the typical time to degree for the undergraduate major. In the semester in which the undergraduate degree requirements will be completed, IUG students must apply to graduate, and the undergraduate degree should be conferred at the next appropriate Commencement. If students accepted into the IUG program are unable to complete the M.P.P. degree, they are still eligible to receive their undergraduate degree if all the undergraduate degree requirements have been satisfied.

Integrated B.A./B.S. in Communication Arts and Sciences and M.P.P. in Public Policy

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-210 Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) Degree Programs.

This Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate program (IUG) provides an opportunity for academically strong students to complete a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree in Communication Arts and Sciences and a master’s degree in Public Policy in the course of approximately five years of study. The Public Policy curriculum and Communication Arts and Sciences curriculum require similar analytic skills and provide complementary substantive knowledge – understanding communication and rhetoric helps students to understand how communication about public policy shapes their acceptance and effectiveness, among other outcomes.

Students in the M.P.P. are required to complete an elective specialization of four courses. Students in the Communication Arts and Sciences-M.P.P. IUG will take four 400 and 500 level courses in their fourth year of study that will double count for both the B.A./B.S. and M.P.P.  At least two of these will be at the 500 level.  The students’ IUG specific program of study will be structured on an individual basis giving IUG students a range of program options from the menu of course selections summarized below.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Before applying to the Graduate School, students must have completed entrance to their undergraduate major and have completed no less than 60 credits. Students must be admitted no later than the end of the second week of the semester preceding the semester of expected conferral of the undergraduate degree. Transfer students must have completed at least 15 credits at Penn State to enroll in an IUG. It is recommended that students apply for admission to the IUG program before completing 90 credits, or in the last semester of their junior year.

Admission is selective based on criteria established by the leadership of the Public Policy program and Communication Arts and Sciences program. Though exceptions are possible, student applicants will generally have a minimum overall GPA of 3.4 in their major, and a minimum 3.4 GPA overall at the time of application (on a 4.0 scale). Students are admitted to the IUG based on good progress in their major, success in statistics and data analysis courses (evidenced by minimum 3.0 GPA in undergraduate data analysis and statistics courses), faculty recommendations (two letters), GPA, and a 2-page statement of purpose explaining why they want to participate in this program and why they are qualified to do so. Students must apply to the program via the Graduate School application for admission, and must meet all the admission requirements of the Graduate School and the Public Policy graduate program for the Master of Public Policy degree.

In consultation with an adviser, students must prepare a plan of study appropriate to this integrated program, and must present their plan of study to the head of the graduate program or the appropriate committee overseeing the integrated program prior to being admitted to the program. The plan should cover the entire time period of the integrated program, and it should be reviewed periodically with an adviser as the student advances through the program.

ADVISING

Students admitted to the program are advised by co-advisers, one from each participating unit. Each student will have a primary adviser in Public Policy who will work with the student and the co-adviser in Communication Arts and Sciences to ensure successful completion of the degree. The co-advisers will help the student prepare the initial plan of study, and assist in making changes and approving the student’s plan of study each semester during the advising period.

SEQUENCE OF COURSES

During the first three years of study students will follow the basic course sequence provided for by the existing B.A./B.S. plan in Communication Arts and Sciences. In the fourth year of study B.A. students will take four courses that will count both toward the B.A. and the master's in Public Policy four course specialization in policy communication.  At least two of these courses will be at the 500 level. In the fourth year of study B.S. students will take two 400 level or 500 level CAS courses that will double count for both the CAS B.S. and M.P.P., specifically for 6 of the 12 credit policy specialization required in the M.P.P. program. Two of the required statistics courses in the M.P.P. degree program (PPOL 503 and PPOL 506) will count toward the 12 credit quantification requirement. Students who wish to graduate in 5 years will also take additional M.P.P. courses in their fourth year beyond this two, but these credits will count only toward the M.P.P. degree.

PLAN OF STUDY

Prior to admission to the program, and in consultation with their Communication Arts and Sciences and Public Policy advisers, students must prepare a detailed plan of study for years 4 and 5 of the program. The plan is periodically reviewed by the student and advisers, and revised as necessary. Most students will complete all requirements for the B.A./B.S. in Communication Arts and Sciences and complete some graduate level M.P.P. requirements in the first four years, and take only M.P.P. courses in year 5.

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits as outlined below. Degree requirements for the B.A./B.S. in Communication Arts and Sciences are listed in the Undergraduate Bulletin. Degree requirements for the M.P.P. degree are listed on the Degree Requirements tab. Up to 12 credits may be double-counted towards the degree requirements for both the graduate and undergraduate degrees; a minimum of 50% of the double-counted courses must be at the 500 or 800 level. Independent study courses and credits associated with the culminating experience for the graduate degree cannot be double-counted. The courses that are eligible to double count for both degrees are:

Courses Eligible to Double Count for Both Degrees
CAS 404Conflict Resolution and Negotiation Keystone/General Education Course3
CAS 406Honors Course in Communication Arts and Sciences3
CAS 409Democratic Deliberation3
CAS 426WCommunication Ethics3
CAS 452WOrganizational Communication Theory and Research Keystone/General Education Course3
CAS 453Health Communication Theory and Research3
CAS 471Intercultural Communication Theory and Research3
CAS 475Studies in Public Address3
CAS 478Contemporary U.S. Political Rhetoric Keystone/General Education Course3
CAS 509Democratic Deliberation3
CAS 550Social Influence3
CAS 561Quantitative Research Methods3
CAS 597Special Topics1-9

Students must sequence their courses so all undergraduate degree requirements are fulfilled before taking courses to count towards the graduate degree. Students are expected to complete the undergraduate degree requirements within the typical time to degree for the undergraduate major. In the semester in which the undergraduate degree requirements will be completed, IUG students must apply to graduate, and the undergraduate degree should be conferred at the next appropriate Commencement. If students accepted into the IUG program are unable to complete the M.P.P. degree, they are still eligible to receive their undergraduate degree if all the undergraduate degree requirements have been satisfied.

Integrated B.S. in Criminology and M.P.P. In Public Policy

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-210 Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) Degree Programs.

This Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate program (IUG) provides an opportunity for academically strong students to complete a bachelor of science degree in Criminology and a master’s degree in Public Policy in the course of approximately five years of study. The Public Policy curriculum and Criminology curriculum cover require similar technical and analytic skills and provide complementary substantive knowledge – criminal justice is an important area of policy making from a public policy standpoint and it is critical to understand the policy process to understand the structure and impacts of criminal justice policies.

Students in the M.P.P. are required to complete an elective specialization of four courses. Students in the Criminology-M.P.P. IUG will take two 400 and two 500 level courses in their fourth year of study that will double count for both the Criminology B.S. and M.P.P. The students’ IUG specific program of study will be structured on an individual basis giving IUG students a range of program options from the menu of course selections summarized below.

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Before applying to the Graduate School, students must have completed entrance to their undergraduate major and have completed no less than 60 credits. Students must be admitted no later than the end of the second week of the semester preceding the semester of expected conferral of the undergraduate degree. Transfer students must have completed at least 15 credits at Penn State to enroll in an IUG. It is recommended that students apply for admission to the IUG program before completing 90 credits, or in the last semester of their junior year.

Admission is selective based on criteria established by the leadership of the Public Policy program and Criminology program. Though exceptions are possible, student applicants will generally have a minimum overall GPA of 3.4 in their major, and a minimum 3.4 GPA overall at the time of application (on a 4.0 scale). Students are admitted to the IUG based on good progress in their major, success in statistics and data analysis courses (evidenced by minimum 3.0 GPA in undergraduate data analysis and statistics courses), faculty recommendations (two letters), GPA, and a 2-page statement of purpose explaining why they want to participate in this program and why they are qualified to do so. Students must apply to the program via the Graduate School application for admission, and must meet all the admission requirements of the Graduate School and the Public Policy graduate program for the Master of Public Policy degree. GRE scores are not required for IUG applicants.

In consultation with an adviser, students must prepare a plan of study appropriate to this integrated program, and must present their plan of study to the head of the graduate program or the appropriate committee overseeing the integrated program prior to being admitted to the program. The plan should cover the entire time period of the integrated program, and it should be reviewed periodically with an adviser as the student advances through the program.

Advising

Students admitted to the program are advised by co-advisers, one from each participating unit. Each student will have a primary adviser in Public Policy who will work with the student and the co-adviser in Criminology to ensure successful completion of the degree. The co-advisers will help the student prepare the initial plan of study, and assist in making changes and approving the student’s plan of study each semester during the advising period.

Sequence of Courses

During the first three years of study students will follow the basic course sequence provided for by the existing B.S. plan in Criminology. In the fourth year of study they will take four courses that will count both toward the B.S. in Criminology and the master's in Public Policy four course specialization in criminal justice policy. At least two of these courses will be at the 500 level. Students who wish to graduate in 5 years will also take additional M.P.P. courses in their fourth year beyond this two, but these credits will count only toward the M.P.P. degree.  

Plan of Study

Prior to admission to the program, and in consultation with their Criminology and Public Policy advisers, students must prepare a detailed plan of study for years 4 and 5 of the program. The plan is periodically reviewed by the student and advisers, and revised as necessary. Most students will complete all requirements for the B.S. in Criminology and complete some graduate level M.P.P. requirements in the first four years, and take only M.P.P. courses in year 5.  

Degree Requirements

Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits as outlined below. Degree requirements for the B.S. in Criminology are listed in the Undergraduate Bulletin. Degree requirements for the M.P.P. degree are listed on the Degree Requirements tab. Up to 12 credits may be double-counted towards the degree requirements for both the graduate and undergraduate degrees; a minimum of 50% of the double-counted courses must be at the 500 or 800 level. Independent study courses and credits associated with the culminating experience for the graduate degree cannot be double-counted. The courses that are eligible to double count for both degrees are:

Courses Eligible to Double Count for Both Degrees
CRIM 424Drugs, Crime, and Society3
CRIM 430American Correctional System3
CRIM 433Sentencing3
CRIM 435Policing in America3
CRIM 490Crime Policy3
CRIM 501Criminal Justice Organizations and Institutions3
CRIM 512Criminological Theories3
CRIM 597Special Topics1-9

Students must sequence their courses so all undergraduate degree requirements are fulfilled before taking courses to count solely towards the graduate degree. Students are expected to complete the undergraduate degree requirements within the typical time to degree for the undergraduate major. In the semester in which the undergraduate degree requirements will be completed, IUG students must apply to graduate, and the undergraduate degree should be conferred at the next appropriate Commencement. If students accepted into the IUG program are unable to complete the M.P.P. degree, they are still eligible to receive their undergraduate degree if all the undergraduate degree requirements have been satisfied.

INTEGRATED B.S. IN HEALTH POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION AND M.P.P. IN PUBLIC POLICY

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-210 Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) Degree Programs.

This Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate program (IUG) provides an opportunity for academically strong students to complete a bachelor of science degree in Health Policy and Administration and a master’s degree in public policy in the course of five years of study. The public policy curriculum and health policy and administration curriculum cover similar substantive topics and both fields require similar technical and analytic skills, so there is a natural synergy here.

6 credits (two classes) at the 400 or 500 level from the undergraduate B.S. requirements will be counted toward the M.P.P. program and 6 credits (two classes) at the 500 or 800 level from the M.P.P. program will be counted toward the health policy and administration B.S. “supporting courses” requirements. Student’s IUG specific program of study will be structured on an individual basis giving IUG students a range of program options from the menu of course selections summarized below.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Students must apply to the program via the Graduate School application for admission, and must meet all the admission requirements of the Graduate School and the Public Policy graduate program for the Master of Public Policy degree. Though exceptions are possible, student applicants will generally have a minimum overall GPA of 3.2 in their major, and a minimum 3.2 GPA overall at the time of application (on a 4.0 scale). Students are admitted to the IUG based on good progress in their major, success in any statistics and data analysis courses taken (evidenced by minimum 3.0 GPA in undergraduate data analysis and statistics courses), faculty recommendations (including one letter from a political science faculty member), GPA, and a 2-page statement of purpose explaining why they want to participate in this program and why they are qualified to do so. Concurrent with application to the IUG program, students must also apply to, and be accepted into, the Graduate School at Penn State University.

Before applying to the Graduate School, students must have completed entrance to their undergraduate major and have completed no less than 60 credits. Students must be admitted no later than the end of the second week of the semester preceding the semester of expected conferral of the undergraduate degree. Transfer students must have completed at least 15 credits at Penn State to enroll in an IUG. Students will generally apply to the IUG program in their junior year.

In consultation with an adviser, students must prepare a plan of study appropriate to this integrated program, and must present their plan of study to the head of the graduate program or the appropriate committee overseeing the integrated program prior to being admitted to the program. The plan should cover the entire time period of the integrated program, and it should be reviewed periodically with an adviser as the student advances through the program.

ADVISING PROCEDURES

Students admitted to the program are advised by co-advisers, one from each participating unit. Each student will have a primary adviser in public policy who will work with the student and the co-adviser in political science to ensure successful completion of the degree. The co-advisers will help the student prepare the initial plan of study, and assist in making changes and approving the student’s plan of study each semester during the advising period.

During the first three years of study students will follow the basic course sequence provided for by the existing B.S. plan in Health Policy and Administration. In the fourth year of study they will take two M.P.P. core courses at the 500 or 800 level that will count toward the B.S. in Health Policy and Administration (they will count toward the “supporting” courses requirement). Students who wish to graduate in 5 years will also take additional M.P.P. courses in their fourth year, beyond those that will double count toward the B.S. in Health Policy and Administration. In addition, in the fourth year two of the undergraduate 400 level courses taken as part of the B.S. will count toward M.P.P. program specialization electives.

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits as outlined below. Degree requirements for the B.S. in Health Policy and Administration are listed in the Undergraduate Bulletin. Degree requirements for the M.P.P. degree are listed on the Degree Requirements tab. Up to 12 credits may be double-counted towards the degree requirements for both the graduate and undergraduate degrees; a minimum of 50% of the double-counted courses must be at the 500 or 800 level. Independent study courses and credits associated with the culminating experience for the graduate degree cannot be double-counted.

Courses Eligible to Double Count for Both Degrees
HPA 401Comparative Health Systems3
HPA 410Principles of Public Health Administration3
HPA 445Health Economics3
HPA 447Financing Health Care3
HPA 450Healthcare Policies and Politics3
HPA 506Design and Evaluation of Prevention and Health Promotion Programs Across the Life Span3
HPA 510Health Services Financing and Policy3
HPA 526Health Disparities3
HPA 527Managing Healthcare Operations3
HPA 528Health Data Analysis for Research3
HPA 541Poverty, Race, Ethnicity and Child Health3
HPA 545Introduction to Health Economics3

Students must sequence their courses so all undergraduate degree requirements are fulfilled before taking courses to count solely towards the graduate degree. Students are expected to complete the undergraduate degree requirements within the typical time to degree for the undergraduate major. In the semester in which the undergraduate degree requirements will be completed, IUG students must apply to graduate, and the undergraduate degree should be conferred at the next appropriate Commencement. If students accepted into the IUG program are unable to complete the M.P.P. degree, they are still eligible to receive their undergraduate degree if all the undergraduate degree requirements have been satisfied.

Integrated B.A. in Political Science and M.P.P. In Public Policy

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-210 Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) Degree Programs.

This Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate program (IUG) provides an opportunity for academically strong students to complete a bachelor of arts degree in political science and a master’s degree in public policy in the course of five years of study. The public policy curriculum and political science curriculum cover similar substantive topics and both fields require similar technical and analytic skills, so there is a natural synergy here.  

3 credits (one class) at the 400 or 500 level from the undergraduate B.A. requirements will be counted toward the M.P.P. program and 9 credits (two classes) at the 500 or 800 level from the M.P.P. program will be counted toward the political science B.A. “supporting courses” requirements. Student’s IUG specific program of study will be structured on an individual basis giving IUG students a range of program options from the menu of course selections summarized below.

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Students must apply to the program via the Graduate School application for admission, and must meet all the admission requirements of the Graduate School and the Public Policy graduate program for the Master of Public Policy degree. Though exceptions are possible, student applicants will generally have a minimum overall GPA of 3.5 in their major, and a minimum 3.5 GPA overall at the time of application (on a 4.0 scale). Students are admitted to the IUG based on good progress in their major, success in any statistics and data analysis courses taken (evidenced by minimum 3.0 GPA in undergraduate data analysis and statistics courses), faculty recommendations (including one letter from a political science faculty member), GPA, and a 2-page statement of purpose explaining why they want to participate in this program and why they are qualified to do so. Concurrent with application to the IUG program, students must also apply to, and be accepted into, the Graduate School at Penn State University. GRE scores are not required for IUG applicants.

Before applying to the Graduate School, students must have completed entrance to their undergraduate major and have completed no less than 60 credits. Students must be admitted no later than the end of the second week of the semester preceding the semester of expected conferral of the undergraduate degree. Transfer students must have completed at least 15 credits at Penn State to enroll in an IUG. Students will generally apply to the IUG program in their junior year. In order to ensure that students are properly advised during an advisement period students should apply by either November 1st of the fall of the junior year, or March 1st of the spring of the junior year.   

In consultation with an adviser, students must prepare a plan of study appropriate to this integrated program, and must present their plan of study to the head of the graduate program or the appropriate committee overseeing the integrated program prior to being admitted to the program. The plan should cover the entire time period of the integrated program, and it should be reviewed periodically with an adviser as the student advances through the program.

Advising Procedures

Students admitted to the program are advised by co-advisers, one from each participating unit. Each student will have a primary adviser in public policy who will work with the student and the co-adviser in political science to ensure successful completion of the degree. The co-advisers will help the student prepare the initial plan of study, and assist in making changes and approving the student’s plan of study each semester during the advising period.

During the first three years of study students will follow the basic course sequence provided for by the existing B.A. plan in political science. In the fourth year of study they will take three M.P.P. core courses at the 500 or 800 level that will also count toward the B.A. in political science (they will count toward the “supporting” courses requirement). Students who wish to graduate in 5 years will also take additional M.P.P. courses in their fourth year, beyond those that will double count toward the B.A. in political science. In addition, in the fourth year one of the undergraduate 400 level courses taken as part of the B.A. will count toward M.P.P. program specialization electives.

Degree Requirements

Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits as outlined below. Degree requirements for the B.A. in Political Science are listed in the Undergraduate Bulletin. Degree requirements for the M.P.P. degree are listed on the Degree Requirements tab. Up to 12 credits may be double-counted towards the degree requirements for both the graduate and undergraduate degrees; a minimum of 50% of the double-counted courses must be at the 500 or 800 level. Independent study courses and credits associated with the culminating experience for the graduate degree cannot be double-counted. The courses that are eligible to double count for both degrees are:

Courses Eligible to Double Count for Both Degrees
PLSC 404Analyzing Public Policy in the American States3
PLSC 412International Political Economy3
PLSC 428Gender and Politics3
PLSC 429Analysis of Electoral Politics3
PLSC 438National Security Policies3
PLSC 439The Politics of Terrorism3
PLSC 440Globalization and Its Implications3
PLSC 503Multivariate Analysis for Political Research3
PLSC 504Topics in Political Methodology3
PLSC 505Time Series Analysis in Political Science3
PLSC 506Game Theory for Political Science I3
PLSC 551Comparative Political Institutions3

Students must sequence their courses so all undergraduate degree requirements are fulfilled before taking courses to count solely towards the graduate degree. Students are expected to complete the undergraduate degree requirements within the typical time to degree for the undergraduate major. In the semester in which the undergraduate degree requirements will be completed, IUG students must apply to graduate, and the undergraduate degree should be conferred at the next appropriate Commencement. If students accepted into the IUG program are unable to complete the M.P.P. degree, they are still eligible to receive their undergraduate degree if all the undergraduate degree requirements have been satisfied.

Integrated B.S. in Sociology and M.P.P. in Public Policy

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-210 Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) Degree Programs.

This Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate program (IUG) provides an opportunity for academically strong students to complete a bachelor of science degree in Sociology and a master’s degree in Public Policy in the course of approximately five years of study. The Public Policy curriculum and Sociology curriculum cover similar technical and analytic skills and provide complementary substantive knowledge – social problems are an important focus of policy making and it is critical to understand the policy process to understand solutions to social problems.  

Students in the M.P.P. are required to complete an elective specialization of four courses. Students in the Sociology-M.P.P. IUG will take four courses in their fourth year of study that will double count for both the Sociology B.S. and M.P.P. The students’ IUG specific program of study will be structured on an individual basis giving IUG students a range of program options from the menu of course selections summarized below.

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Before applying to the Graduate School, students must have completed entrance to their undergraduate major and have completed no less than 60 credits. Students must be admitted no later than the end of the second week of the semester preceding the semester of expected conferral of the undergraduate degree. Transfer students must have completed at least 15 credits at Penn State to enroll in an IUG. It is recommended that students apply for admission to the IUG program before completing 90 credits, or in the last semester of their junior year.

Admission is selective based on criteria established by the leadership of the Public Policy program and Sociology program. Though exceptions are possible, student applicants will generally have a minimum overall GPA of 3.4 in their major, and a minimum 3.4 GPA overall at the time of application (on a 4.0 scale). Students are admitted to the IUG based on good progress in their major, success in statistics and data analysis courses (evidenced by minimum 3.0 GPA in undergraduate data analysis and statistics courses), faculty recommendations (two letters), GPA, and a 2-page statement of purpose explaining why they want to participate in this program and why they are qualified to do so. Students must apply to the program via the Graduate School application for admission, and must meet all the admission requirements of the Graduate School and the Public Policy graduate program for the Master of Public Policy degree. GRE scores are not required for IUG applicants.

In consultation with an adviser, students must prepare a plan of study appropriate to this integrated program, and must present their plan of study to the head of the graduate program or the appropriate committee overseeing the integrated program prior to being admitted to the program. The plan should cover the entire time period of the integrated program, and it should be reviewed periodically with an adviser as the student advances through the program.

Advising

Students admitted to the program are advised by co-advisers, one from each participating unit. Each student will have a primary adviser in Public Policy who will work with the student and the co-adviser in Sociology to ensure successful completion of the degree. The co-advisers will help the student prepare the initial plan of study, and assist in making changes and approving the student’s plan of study each semester during the advising period.

Sequence of Courses

During the first three years of study students will follow the basic course sequence provided for by the existing B.S. plan in Sociology. In the fourth year of study they will take four courses that will count both toward the B.S. in Sociology and the master's in Public Policy. At least two of these courses will be at the 500 level. Specifically, 2 of the 400 level sociology courses will count toward the M.P.P. and 2 800-level M.P.P. courses will count toward the Sociology B.S. “other social science” credit requirements. Students who wish to graduate in 5 years will also take additional M.P.P. courses in their fourth year beyond this two, but these credits will count only toward the M.P.P. degree.  

Plan of Study

Prior to admission to the program, and in consultation with their Sociology and Public Policy advisers, students must prepare a detailed plan of study for years 4 and 5 of the program. The plan is periodically reviewed by the student and advisers, and revised as necessary. Most students will complete all requirements for the B.S. in Sociology and complete some graduate level M.P.P. requirements in the first four years, and take only M.P.P. courses in year 5.

Degree Requirements

Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits as outlined below. Degree requirements for the B.S. in Sociology are listed in the Undergraduate Bulletin. Degree requirements for the M.P.P. degree are listed on the Degree Requirements tab. Up to 12 credits may be double-counted towards the degree requirements for both the graduate and undergraduate degrees; a minimum of 50% of the double-counted courses must be at the 500 or 800 level. Independent study courses and credits associated with the culminating experience for the graduate degree cannot be double-counted. The courses that are eligible to double count for both degrees are:

Courses Eligible to Double Count for Both Degrees
SOC 400WSenior Research Seminar3
SOC 405Sociological Theory3
SOC 423Social Demography3
SOC 440Family Policy3
SOC 526Health Disparities3
SOC 532Global Health and Mortality3
SOC 530Sociology of Family3

Students must sequence their courses so all undergraduate degree requirements are fulfilled before taking courses to count solely towards the graduate degree. Students are expected to complete the undergraduate degree requirements within the typical time to degree for the undergraduate major. In the semester in which the undergraduate degree requirements will be completed, IUG students must apply to graduate, and the undergraduate degree should be conferred at the next appropriate Commencement. If students accepted into the IUG program are unable to complete the M.P.P. degree, they are still eligible to receive their undergraduate degree if all the undergraduate degree requirements have been satisfied.

Minor

A graduate minor is available in any approved graduate major or dual-title program. The default requirements for a graduate minor are stated in Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies and GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies, depending on the type of degree the student is pursuing:

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Tuition & Funding section of The Graduate School’s website. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set by The Graduate School.

Courses

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Public Policy Analysis (PPOL) Course List

Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to lead and manage in public organizations.
  2. Students will be able to participate in and contribute to the policy process.
  3. Students will be able to analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make decisions.
  4. Students will articulate and apply a public service perspective.
  5. Students will be able to communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry.

Contact

Campus University Park
Graduate Program Head Lilliard Richardson
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Christopher Witko
Program Contact

Christopher Witko
School of Public Policy
Pond Lab
University Park PA 16802
cxw877@psu.edu
(814) 865-3747

Program Website View