Online Master of Public Policy

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Additional information, including tuition and fees, can be found at Online & Continuing Education


Degree Requirements


The Online Master of Public Policy (MPP) is designed to be a two-year professional degree completed entirely online 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. The curriculum is designed to meet specific learning competencies. These competencies can be reviewed here: MPP Competencies.

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)

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 Online Master of Public Policy Degree

 CreditsCourses
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)

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Advisement


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

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Internship


Overview

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: http://www.naspaa.org/students/careers/service.asp
For a searchable listing of internship opportunities in Massachusetts, visit: http://www.umassd.edu/career/internships/

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Professional Portfolio


Students are encouraged to develop a professional portfolio that contains the major deliverable items in the courses they take during their MPP program. Doing this in an electronic format that can be shared is an effective way of providing others an easy way to view examples of your applied knowledge in the different aspects of public policy during your academic career. This is not a requirement for completion of the MPP requirements in this program, but is rather a best practice that will help to provide a platform to show your comprehension of major policy themes and accomplishments during the program.

Helpful Hints

  • 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.

  • Place these materials into a sharable format (Google Drive, Dropbox, or website) so that it can be easily provided to those who may be interested.

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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 registrar@umassd.edu.

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