Master of Public Policy (MPP)
The master's degree program in public policy provides students with the skills and perspectives required to formulate, implement, and evaluate public policies. Our curriculum includes two levels of course work—an analytic foundational curriculum and an advanced professional curriculum. Previous course work may be applied to the first-year requirements, at the discretion of the Public Policy Program Director, reducing the number of classes and time needed to graduate.
Policy professionals must draw on skills and concepts from multiple disciplines, so our analytic foundation courses provide training in economics, statistics, law, and ethics—along with methods of policy analysis. As part of the foundational curriculum, students also select a course (from among multiple options) relating to diversity and public policy, with the aim of understanding current and historical dimensions of diversity and inequality along social identity dimensions such as class, race, ethnicity, and gender.
Advanced Professional Training
The second-year professional curriculum offers students opportunities to augment and deepen their skills through guided practice. Organizational Efficacy trains students to maximize performance in nonprofits and government agencies, and Political Efficacy prepares students for the politics of policy making. For the advanced analytics and research methods requirement, students may choose from among options that develop expertise in qualitative methods, data modeling and simulations, or econometrics. Recognizing the significant impact of local government, we also require in-depth training on local planning and policy making, with opportunities for students to work with organizations in Oakland and the greater San Francisco Bay Area on current community-level issues. Elective courses enable students to build substantive knowledge or to deepen analytical capacity.
Multidisciplinary skill training comes together in the two-semester Integrative Core capstone sequence, in which students apply various analytic frameworks to a series of current public policy challenges, using real-world data and interacting with practicing policy analysts and leaders. The Integrative Core culminates in the student's own policy analysis (the Master’s Policy Report) conducted for an external client. With faculty assistance, students select the MPR topic and client, using the project as an opportunity to develop substantive expertise in a particular policy area such as education, the environment, or health. The MPR experience prepares students to transition into their professional policy careers.
Full-Time or Part-Time; Flexible Schedules for Working Students
Students in the MPP Program are offered the flexibility to take as many or few courses as they like in a way that best meets students' own schedules and needs. Students enrolled in four 3-credit classes each semester generally complete the program in two academic years. Students enrolled in fewer courses per semester will graduate in three or four years. Required MPP courses are generally scheduled in the evenings (after 4:00 pm) or on Fridays, enabling working students to more easily navigate our programs.
- Understanding policy contexts
- Cross-cultural awareness and competence
- Political efficacy
- Democratic and ethical practice
- Analytic skills relevant to problem-identification, problem-solving, and decision-making
- Analytic applications across policy areas and in-depth
- Professional communication skills
- Interpersonal and teamwork skills
- Organizational efficacy
- Analysis and Management of financial resources
The MPP is a two-year professional degree program. The degree includes two levels of requirements: the foundation courses and the professional curriculum. Optionally, MPP students may select a concentration in one of three policy specializations, including Nonprofit Management, Innovation and Impact, and Education Policy.
The first year of the MPP Program consists of the "foundational" curriculum, with all the intellectual building blocks necessary to move into advanced analytic and elective course work in our program. It includes seven required courses and one elective addressing dimensions of diversity in public policy. At the discretion of the Public Policy Program Director, previous course work may be applied to the foundation requirements, reducing the number of classes and time needed to graduate; this includes courses completed at other institutions prior to enrollment in the MPP Program, or by Mills undergraduates through the BA/MPP accelerated degree program. The following eight courses (24 semester course credits) comprise the foundational curriculum:
|MGMT 209||Economics for Managers||3-3|
|or ECON 204|
|MGMT 263||Quantitative Methods||3|
|or PPOL 201|
|PPOL 241||Law and Public Policy||3|
|PPOL 200||Methods of Policy Analysis||3|
|PPOL 215||Public Sector Economics: The Economics of Government||3|
|PPOL 217||Ethical Reasoning in Politics and Public Policy||3|
|Elective (various options available): Dimensions of Diversity in Public Policy||3|
The professional curriculum consists of five required courses (15 credits) and at least 9 credits of elective courses that offer students opportunities to augment and deepen their skills through practical application.
|PPOL 220||Organizational Efficacy||3|
|PPOL 221||Political Efficacy||3|
|PPOL 227||Local and Community Policy Making, Planning, and Management||3|
|PPOL 230||Integrative Core I: Application/Integration of Policy Analysis Frameworks||3|
|PPOL 231||Integrative Core II: Application/Integration of Policy Analysis Frameworks||3|
|Advanced Analytics and Research Methods Elective|
|Select one of the following:||3-4|
|Econometrics and Business Forecasting|
|Qualitative Methods in Policy Research|
or EDUC 413
|Simulation in the Social and Policy Sciences|
|Policy Issue or Methods Electives|
|Select at least 6 credits (two 3-credit courses, or the equivalent) from available offerings at the 100- and 200-level at Mills or through cross-registration.|
Electives will be selected to deepen the student's knowledge of either analytic methods or a policy area of concentration and must be approved by the program director or advisor. In addition to taking classes on campus, Mills students can expand their academic experience by cross-registering for courses at institutions such as UC Berkeley. Students should be aware that graduate-level courses in a substantive policy area or advanced methods may have prerequisites. Electives may also be taken in other departments at Mills, subject to the advisor’s approval.
For full-time students in the two-year track, the minimum residency is three (3) semesters. For full-time accelerated degree program students, the minimum residency is two (2) semesters. For part-time students in either track, residency requirements are pro-rated.
The following concentrations, listed below, are available to MPP students who wish to specialize in one of the following areas of policy and management. To fulfill a concentration, students will choose three courses, and, in addition, may choose a subject matter or client for their Master’s Policy Report in PPOL 231 Integrative Core II: Application/Integration of Policy Analysis Frameworks that aligns with the selected concentration. Concentration courses will take the place of two policy electives and, with the advisor’s approval, should fulfill either the advanced analytics and research methods professional curriculum requirement or the dimensions of diversity foundation requirement. In addition to the courses listed below, students may select additional concentration-relevant courses with the advanced approval of the student’s advisor.
Nonprofit Management Concentration
This concentration is valuable to students who hope to work in, lead, start, serve as policy analysts or advocates for, or volunteer in the nonprofit sector. Course work will expose students to how nonprofit strategies are developed, how nonprofit organizations operate, raise money, and seek to generate and scale social impact.
|MGMT 270||Nonprofit Management||3|
|Select two from the following:||6-7|
|Governmental Accounting and Nonprofit Accounting 1|
|Management & Organizational Development|
|Funding Social Impact|
|MGMT 275||Social Entrepreneurship||3|
Prerequisite: MGMT 214 Financial Accounting
Education Policy Concentration
In collaboration with Mills’ School of Education, this new policy concentration is designed to introduce students to the critical policy issues facing schools, students and families, teachers, educational leaders, cities, and education policy-makers today.
|Select three of the following:||12|
|Public Policy: Children, Youth, and Family Issues|
|Issues of Race and Ethnicity in Education|
Innovation and Impact Concentration
Impact and innovation—especially in the social and environmental arena—is a relatively new field focused on applying management skills and innovation capabilities to develop solutions around some of society’s unmet needs and policy challenges. This concentration is designed for students who wish to acquire skills in the field of impact and innovation, regardless of policy area.
|MGMT 274||Innovation in Business, Social, and Government Organizations||3-3|
|Select two of the following:||6|
|Funding Social Impact|
|Socially Responsible Business|
|Environmental Policy Analysis|