Public Policy (CSPP)

This is an archived copy of the 2017-2018 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

Degrees Offered:  M.P.P., M.P.P./M.S., and M.P.P./J.D.

These programs are offered in Durham (M.P.P. and M.P.P./M.S.) and Concord (M.P.P./J.D.)

At the Carsey School of Public Policy, students can learn to tackle the pressing challenges of our times through engaged research, public service, and education. Students will receive opportunities to learn from both academic and on-the-ground experts and learn the skills that today’s professionals need and build a network of colleagues, advisors, and mentors to enhance their careers.

With an expanding range of degree and non-degree programs, the Carsey School offers a growing number of opportunities for those interested in beginning, or advancing, careers in public policy. To learn more about the Carsey School’s many program areas that have helped build our unique academic offerings, visit:  

Master in Public Policy Program (M.P.P.)

The Carsey School's Master in Public Policy (MPP) degree offers students the skills to have an impact and make a difference—to make change happen—in the often challenging environment of 21st century policy making. Students learn the strategic practice of public policy, and to hone the skills that today’s policy professionals need to succeed—analytical expertise, clear and compelling communications, and effective leadership.

Students in this program will:

  • Learn the skills needed to research and develop transformative policy and bring those policies to fruition in today’s challenging policy-making world
  • Understand how to make their voices heard in the critical debates of our time
  • Study with leading policy professionals and academic scholars who combine hands-on experience with scholarly rigor
  • Launch a career in any level of government or in the nonprofit, advocacy, nongovernmental, foundation, business, or research sectors
  • Choose focused tracks in policy analysis, or strategy and communication—and select from a broad range of electives to personalize the degree and develop policy expertise
  • Earn this rigorous and innovative degree in 14 to 16 months (or as little as 12 months for undergraduate students enrolled in the Accelerated MPP program)

PPOL 822 - Media Strategy and Skills

Credits: 3

Designed to equip students with the skills they will need as practitioners to advance public policy goals through the development and execution of responsive communications strategy. Students will gain an understanding of the media landscape and trends in journalism; how to identify media opportunities and target audiences; how to write to successfully communicate to various audiences; and basic skills to prepare for and give effective interviews to communicate policy messages.

PPOL 902 - Strategy and Practice of Public Policy

Credits: 3

Introduces students to the real world of United States public policymaking while developing their skills as participants in the policymaking industry. It is structured around a set of case studies of current or recently resolved policy issues as well as a set of readings addressing how policy is made in general. Each student will pick a policy issue and will be required to produce a full set of written work on that issue.

PPOL 904 - Economics for Public Policy

Credits: 3

Provides an overview of how economics can be used to analyze and design public policy. Basic analytical skills used in economic modeling, and supplication to specify policy areas and problems. At the end of the course, students will be able to use basic economic models to analyze policy problems. They will also be able to understand how market mechanisms work, when free markets perform well and when government intervention may improve outcomes.

PPOL 906 - Fundamentals of Policy Analysis

Credits: 3

An introduction to public policy analysis and the role of rigorous research in the policymaking process. Fundamentals of the policymaking process; evaluation and design of research to inform policy decisions; effective team work to analyze issues and make policy recommendations; writing and speaking effectively to policymakers; analysis of research briefs and articles to evaluate the validity of their designs, conclusions, and potential use to policymakers.

PPOL 908 - Quantitative Methods for Policy Research

Credits: 3

Provides an overview of basic quantitative analysis techniques that are common in public policy analysis. Students will be trained to design high quality research and conduct statistical analyses. By the end of the course, students will be able to carry out basic statistical analyses, evaluate the statistical analyses in research reports and journal articles, and communicate clearly the results of analyses to both professional and general audiences.

PPOL 910 - Policy Across Borders

Credits: 3

Analysis of what we learn about policy, its outcomes and the research and analysis on which it is based, by comparing policies and outcomes across national borders and other jurisdictions. Students explore how institutional structures affect the influence of scientific and technical data and knowledge across different institutional contexts, and how and why political actors "venue shop" for organizations they deem more likely to afford them the influence and policy-making outcomes they seek.

PPOL 912 - Strategies for Policy Impact

Credits: 3

How to develop and implement strategies that drive policy change. Students will learn how to analyze approaches to changing policy and then evaluate the most viable option for specific circumstances. Students will review different influence models, discuss which ones work best in varying situations and identify how influence models connect to policy campaigns. Students will review current campaigns, learn central elements of a successful campaign to change public policy, and create their own campaign plans.

PPOL 950 - Washington DC Colloquium

Credits: 3

This intensive January-Term course focuses on practical skill building and experiential learning related to policy-making. The goals are: (i) familiarize students with public policy institutions and career paths across multiple sectors (e.g., government, non-profit organizations, think-tanks, research institutes, organizations that do international work); (ii) connect students to working professionals for networking and career-building opportunities; (iii) provide opportunities to interact with and question Washington, DC professionals, beginning to socialize students as public policy professionals.

PPOL 990 - Policy Capstone

Credits: 3

Designed for students to demonstrate the integration of their learning experiences in the program. The final product will be a written report/paper and an oral presentation. Capstone projects will be completed under the direction of faculty mentors and outside experts. The purpose of the capstone is a demonstration of student capabilities and an opportunity to work with expert mentors aimed at enhancing post-graduation employment choices. There will be a capstone forum in which students will present their work to Carsey MPP faculty and students.

PPOL 990A - Policy Capstone Planning

Credits: 1

One credit course to identify and plan for the Policy Capstone. To be taken in the second semester of the first year for full-time students. Topics to be covered in group meetings include description of a research or project prospectus, samples of capstone projects, and responsible conduct of research. Students will complete UNH training offered by the IRB and will learn about the IRB approval process. The final product is a prospectus for the capstone project, to be presented in writing and orally to MPP faculty and students.

PPOL 995 - Reading and Research

Credits: 3

Independent study under the direction of a Carsey faculty member. Requires approval of the advisor and curriculum committee. May be repeated for credit.

PPOL 996 - Reading and Research

Credits: 3

Independent study under the direction of a Carsey faculty member. Requires approval of the advisor and curriculum committee. May be repeated for credit.

PPOL 997 - Advanced Special Topics

Credits: 3

Occasional or experimental offerings. May be repeated for credit.

PPOL 998 - Policy Internship

Credits: 3

Actual experience in a policy setting. In some cases this will be a credit-bearing internship, supervised by a faculty member who will provide the academic structure to parallel the applied experience. In other cases a policy internship may not be appropriate for academic credit; in such cases the internship experience fulfills the requirement but does not provide credits. Carsey faculty will provide guidance and oversight for these internships as well. Cr/F.

PPOL 998A - Policy Internship

Credits: 0

Actual experience in a policy setting. 998A is the noncredit internship. The internship experience fulfills the requirement but does not provide credits. Carsey faculty will provide guidance and oversight for these internships as well. Cr/F.