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    Jun 13, 2024  
American University Catalog 2023-2024 
American University Catalog 2023-2024

Public Policy (MPP)

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Offered by the Department of Public Administration and Policy , School of Public Affairs , the Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree program prepares students to advance the quality of policy making in a variety of institutional settings in the U.S. and abroad by instilling a blend of analytical, contextual, ethical, and substantive skills and knowledge.

Admission to the Program

Applicants must meet the minimum university requirements for graduate study. Admission decisions are based on each applicant’s academic record, two letters of recommendation, test scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and an essay written by the applicant on his or her background and career interests. Applicants may substitute test scores from similar tests, such as the GMAT or LSAT, for the GRE where appropriate. Applicants who received their undergraduate degree more than five years prior to their date of application may waive the requirement for test scores by submitting a statement describing their professional experience. Admission decisions are based on each applicant’s total record and not on any single strength or deficiency.

Degree Requirements

Course Requirements

Core (27 credit hours)

Capstone (3 credit hours)

Concentration (9 credit hours)

  • 9 credit hours from an area of concentration. Areas include: education policy; social policy; health policy; science, technology, and environmental policy; crime, public law, and policy; public financial management; public management; nonprofit policy, management, and leadership; international development; comparative public policy; advanced policy analysis; race, policy, and administration; and cyber policy and management. Students may create special areas of concentration by consulting their academic counselor


Students without a significant professional work background participate in either a for-credit or non-credit internship. Students taking a for-credit internship complete PUAD-691 Internship (1-6)  as part of the concentration; students taking a non-credit internship complete a survey on the experience

Combined Bachelor’s and Public Policy (MPP)

American University offers students the opportunity to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its combined bachelor’s/master’s programs. See Admission to a Combined Bachelor’s / Master’s Program  and Combined Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees  for more information.

In addition to meeting the minimum university requirements for combined bachelor’s/master’s programs:

  • Admission requires a minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA, a completed application form (available from the Department of Public Administration and Policy (DPAP) and submitted to the BA/MPP advisor), a written faculty recommendation, an essay on the student’s interests and abilities in public policy, and an interview with an academic advisor
  • Undergraduate students may apply up to 15 credit hours of approved graduate-level coursework to satisfy the requirements for both degrees. Students take courses in statistics, public policy, economics, and other courses approved by the Associate Chair

Public Policy (MPP) and Washington College of Law JD or LLM

For approved dual degree programs, see Public Policy (MPP) and Juris Doctor (JD)  and Public Policy (MPP) and Master of Laws (LLM) .

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