Master of Public Policy: MPP Matriculation Fall 2014 Forward

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Additional information, including tuition and fees, can be found at Graduate Studies

Degree Requirements

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. However, per university guidelines, students should expect to complete the MPP no later than six (6) years after beginning the program.

Beginning Fall 2014, students are required to complete 34 or 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
  • 1 or 3 credits (1 course) in an internship (note: 2 credits 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 as follows:

  1. POL 500 - Public Institutions and the Policy Process
  2. POL 530 - Policy Analysis
  3. POL 540 - Microeconomics
  4. POL 580 - Statistics
  5. POL 581 - Research Methods for Public Policy
  6. POL 585 - Applied Policy Research Seminar
  7. POL 611 - Administrative Law

* Note: Summaries of the required courses (and concentrations) can be found here. A schedule of when courses are generally offered (updated regularly) can be found here.

Summary Requirements for Master of Public Policy Degree

Common Curriculum Component 21 7
Policy Area Concentration 9 3
Elective 3 1
Internship 1 or 3 1
Total: 34 or 36 12

Concentration Areas

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.

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Non-Degree Status

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.

Students applying to the MPP who are completing one of the program's graduate certificates should apply for the MPP in the semester the graduate certificate is being completed. Further, those students should not take any additional courses towards the MPP until they have been officially accepted and matriculated into the MPP program.

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Recommended Course Schedule

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 (requires POL 581 completion as prerequisite)

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 (requires POL 581 completion as prerequisite)

Concentration Area Class

Concentration Area Class (or Elective if not taken - or Internship)

Year 2- Spring 

POL 585 - Applied Policy Research Seminar (requires POL 580 and 581 completion as prerequisite)

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. 

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Detailed advising information, including the faculty advisor for your concentration, can be found on the department's advisement page.

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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.

Deadlines for Requesting Experiential Component Waivers for the Internship

Students request a waiver in writing (email is acceptable) to the internship director (Professor Mark Paige) detailing how the student has at least two years of policy-relevant experience. The decision of the internship coordinator is final.

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 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.
  • 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 (Professor Mark Paige). 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 director (Professor 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:
For a searchable listing of internship opportunities in Massachusetts, visit:

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Professional Portfolio

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. Requirements for the portfolio along with examples of content submission and video presentation are available at the following site:

Students will sign-up for the e-portfolio during the seminar component of the internship course, POL 599.

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 example portfolio site that has been prepared to help you understand how to prepare your materials.
  • Make sure you adhere to the deadline 'marker' 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.

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Applying for Graduation

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

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