Table of Contents
- Degree Requirements
- Non-Degree Status
- Recommended Course Schedule
- Professional Portfolio
- Applying for Graduation
Additional information, including tuition and fees, can be found at: Graduate Admissions
An informational video giving an overview of the Master of Public Policy Program can be viewed in conjunction with the materials on this page.
The Master of Public Policy (MPP) is designed to be a two-year professional degree although part-time students may take significantly longer to complete the degree.
Beginning Fall 2014, students are required to complete 36 credits of coursework (12 courses) broken down as follows:
- 21 credits (7 courses) in a common curriculum component
- 9 credits (3 courses) in a policy concentration area
- 3 credits (1 course) as a free elective
- 3 credits (1 course) in an internship (note: 2 units of the experiential component may be waived - see "internship" details on this page)
In addition to the credit requirements outlined above, students are also required to prepare a portfolio of their professional work and present it to a faculty committee for their review and approval (note: see the "portfolio" information on this page).
The Common Curriculum Component consists of seven courses required of all students in the MPP program. Some courses in the Common Curriculum Component have prerequisites which can/may be fulfilled by courses taken as an undergraduate. If a prerequisite is not fulfilled by a course taken in obtaining a bachelor's degree, the Free Elective may be used to fulfill one prerequisite, including one undergraduate course. No other courses taken as prerequisites will count toward the MPP degree requirements.
The following seven (7) courses are required for the common curriculum component (in order of recommended sequencing):
- POL 500 - Public Institutions and the Policy Process
- POL 581 - Research Methods for Public Policy
- POL 611 - Administrative Law
- POL 530 - Policy Analysis
- POL 540 - Microeconomics
- POL 580 - Statistics
- POL 585 - Applied Policy Research Seminar
Summary Requirements for Master of Public Policy Degree
|Common Curriculum Component||21||7|
|Policy Area Concentration||9||3|
The MPP requires students to declare a policy area concentration by the beginning of their second semester. The policy area concentration will be fulfilled by taking three or more courses on a related topic(s). Special Topics courses and Independent Study courses may count toward the concentration if they are relevant to the student's declared area of concentration and are approved in advance by the Program Director.
Available concentration areas include:
- Public Management
- Environmental Policy
- Educational Policy
* Courses available in the above concentration areas can be found here.
Students may propose an individualized concentration area from available courses and submit it for approval to the program director before the end of the student's first semester.
Students may enroll in up to two MPP courses without being admitted to the MPP program. Students interested in taking courses as a non-matriculated student must have the permission of the instructor before enrolling in the course.
Year 1- Fall
POL 500 - Public Institutions and Policy Process
POL 540 - Microeconomics
POL 581 - Research Methods for Public Policy (prerequisite for POL 530, 580, and 585)
Year 1 - Winter Intersession
POL 611 - Administrative Law (taken either Winter or Maymester)
Year 1- Spring
POL 530 – Policy Analysis
Concentration Area Class (or Elective)
Concentration Area Class (or Elective)
Year 1 - Maymester
POL 611 - Administrative Law (if not taken in Winter Intersession)
Year 2 – Fall
POL 580 – Statistics
Concentration Area Class
Concentration Area Class (or Elective if not taken - or Internship)
Year 2- Spring
POL 585 - Applied Policy Research Seminar
Internship (or Concentration Area Class / Elective depending on what has been completed)
Elective (or Concentration Area Class if Elective taken)
To help map out your studies, the MPP Advising Form (Fall 2014 Forward) can help you figure out which courses you need to take as well as track your coursework in the program.
Detailed advising information, including the faculty advisor for your concentration, can be found on the department's advisement page.
A video providing an overview of the internship requirement is available here.
The Master of Public Policy requires an internship (3 credits) for students with less than 2 years of substantial and relevant public policy or public management experience. The field work component of the internship (2 credits) will be waived if an individual has at least 2 years substantial and relevant work experience in a policy making or public management position, although all students must enroll in the academic seminar component (1 credit) of the internship to graduate and for purposes of reviewing the students' professional portfolios.
Detailed information on waivers of the experiential component and planning for the internship are outlined below.
Students requesting waivers must adhere to the following deadlines:
- For waiver requests where the course is to be taken in the Fall semester, students must submit the request no later than April 15th of the immediately preceding semester (for example, a waiver request for Fall 2015 must be made no later than April 15, 2015).
- For waiver requests where the course is to be taken in the Spring semester, students must submit the request no later than November 15th of the immediately preceding semester (for example, a waiver request for Spring 2016 must be made no later than November 15, 2015).
- Failure to follow these deadlines will result in an automatic denial of the waiver requests. If students cannot wait until a later semester to make the request then they will be required to take the full internship experience (3-units) regardless of prior experience.
Registering for the Internship
Registering for the internship course (POL599) requires a permission code from the internship director. After consulting with your academic advisor and the internship director in the semester preceding your intention to take the internship course (for example arranging for your internship or waiver in the Spring semester preceding the following Fall semester you plan on registering for the internship), contact the director for registration approval for the semester you wish to engage in the internship experience. With written approval you will be able to register for the course as indicated in the approval (1-unit section with waiver, 3-unit section without waiver).
Planning Your Internship
Ultimately, establishing an internship experience that is valuable to you and also one that meets the requirement of the MPP program is an interactive process between the student and their advisor, with approval of the experience required by the internship coordinator. As stated in the course description of POL599:
A policy-related internship tailored to each student's career preferences or academic interests. The selection of an internship venue will occur in consultation with the student's MPP advisor and with the approval of the MPP Internship Coordinator. The Internship venue is usually selected from a pre-approved list of local, state, and federal agencies, non-profit organizations, and private sector businesses. Note: The field work component of the internship (2 credits) is waived if an individual has at least 2 years substantial and relevant work experience in a policy making or public management position, although students must still enroll in the academic course component (1 credit) of the internship to graduate.
To allow for the most valuable internship experience possible, the following guidelines are suggested:
- First, explore what is out there. Reach out into the community in the areas that interest you to see if you can find an experience you would enjoy. If you are having difficulty, and after consultation with your adviser, you can contact the internship coordinator Mark Paige for help and to develop your ideas. This should be done well before the semester you are planning to take your internship.
- Second, once you have a possible connection for an internship, make sure the specific 'project' you plan to engage in during the semester meets the internship requirements of the program. You should ensure the expectations between yourself and your sponsor for the internship are aligned. You should also make sure these expectations meet the requirements of the program, and this is where involving the internship coordinator in the final agreement between you and your agency makes sense.
The Internship Experience
The actual internship will be divided into two (2) parts:
- the experiential component (actually engaging in the internship experience); and
- the seminar component where you will interact with your fellow classmates also interning during the semester.
The specific details of the experiential component (required if not waived) will be determined by agreement between your host for the internship and the internship coordinator. The seminar component will take place mainly in an online interactive environment where you will have specific readings to link your internship experience to your academics in the public policy program.
For more information about internships, please see: http://www.naspaa.org/students/careers/service.asp
For a searchable listing of internship opportunities in Massachusetts, visit http://massitsallhere.com/Student-Internships
A video tutorial on preparing your e-porfolio materials on the wiki page is available here.
Students should begin developing a professional portfolio during their first semester. In the last semester of their studies, students present their portfolio to a faculty committee and discuss how it represents their learning and will support their future job search.
The portfolio is developed online using a UMass Dartmouth Wiki Page. Examples of content submission and video presentation is available at the following site:
Students will sign-up for the e-portfolio during the seminar component of the internship course, POL 599. During the seminar, students will be required to begin developing their portfolios online and begin working with video capture software so they can present their portfolio. Two examples, using different video capture software by past MPP students, are available for viewing here:
Portfolio Presentation Requirements
The portfolio presentation is a final requirement of all Master of Public Policy (MPP) candidates. The goal of the portfolio is to present a ‘cumulative experience assessment’ that integrates the academic experience of the student in the MPP program with a reflective assessment by the student of how that experience has impacted their understanding of public policy both intellectually and practically. This goal is met by two deliverables: a portfolio submission and a portfolio presentation. Detailed instructions on how to develop these two components are identified in the example site link above (http://mppexampleportfolio.umassd.wikispaces.net/), and will be further explained when you enroll in the POL599 (Internship) towards the end of your MPP program (ideally in the last semester).
Deadline for Completing The Portfolio
The deadline for completing your portfolio materials is generally the last day of classes of the semester in which you are graduating; use this date as a 'marker' for completing your portfolio materials. Your portfolio must be completed by the time the department is reviewing your academic record to certify you for graduation. Certification occurs after you have notified the registrar of your intention to graduate (which is normally done in your last semester of academic study).
Helpful Hints and Procedural Notes
You will be given reinforced detailed instructions and examples on the portfolio creation and submission when you are officially invited to the e-portfolio website when you register and are taking the internship seminar, POL599. As a rule-of-thumb, you should consider the following to aid you in preparing for your portfolio submission and presentation:
- Create a special ‘portfolio’ file where you place digital copies of all major papers, reports, newsclippings, etc. created for each course you have taken during your tenure in the MPP program.
- Include summaries of any special events or presentations you have made during your time in the MPP program.
- Closely review the video tutorial that has been prepared to help you understand how to prepare your materials, available here.
- Make sure you adhere to the deadline for completing the portfolio: the last day of classes of the semester in which you are graduating.
If you follow these general guidelines you should have little difficulty in the preparation, submission, and presentation of your portfolio.
When students are close to completing their studies and plan to graduate, they will need to declare their intention to graduate. They do so by contacting the UMass Dartmouth Registrar's Office. For any questions about the graduation process, please contact the Registrar's Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.