Public Policy (M.P.P.)

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

The Carsey School of Public Policy's Master in Public Policy degree (MPP) is designed to serve a wide range of students seeking careers in public policy. It is similar to traditional programs in the opportunity to develop high-level analytic skills to be able to conduct sophisticated analysis of societal problems and programs for their solution. The MPP program is innovative in also providing opportunities for students who wish to focus more on strategic communications and leadership aspects of policy making—while still receiving an analytic grounding.

Successful graduates of the Master in Public Policy program will gain:

  • Analytic skills needed to be able to evaluate evidence related to examining societal and other policy problems, designing policy solutions, and evaluating effectiveness 
  • An understanding of how change happens, how policy is actually made—with the skills to play a role in making that happen
  • Communication skills needed to succeed as a policy professional
  • Understanding of the global interconnectedness of public policy
  • Expertise in specific policy areas
Those who choose a focus in Strategy and Communication will leave with more advanced communications, strategic, and leadership skills for advancing public policy solutions (Strategy and Communication Track).
MPP students who choose a focus in Policy Analysis will earn a higher level of analytic skills needed to conduct sophisticated analysis of societal problems and their solution, including statistical training (Policy Analysis Track).
Students have the flexibility to use a wide range of electives to explore substantive policy areas more intensively, more broadly or otherwise widen their policy-related education.

Accelerated MPP for Current UNH Undergraduates

For current UNH undergraduates, there is an exciting opportunity to accelerate the MPP program by taking up to 12 credits in approved electives while still completing their undergraduate degree. These students will then follow the standard MPP curriculum beginning in the fall following completion of their undergraduate degree. After finishing their first MPP spring semester, students who have earned the maximum number of MPP credits as undergraduates will need to complete only their capstone and internship requirements—which can be accomplished over the following summer. Examples of sequencing of the MPP program completion for Accelerated Masters students can be found here.

Admission Requirements

The MPP program welcomes applicants from many disciplinary backgrounds. All applicants must possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Admission decisions are based on the applicant’s overall record of achievement, both academic and otherwise and his/her potential for success in the MPP program. Applicants may be asked to interview either in person or by conference call with the program director and/or the graduate program coordinator.

Applications include:

  • An application to the Graduate School
  • Transcript(s) from undergraduate programs
  • 3 letters of recommendation; letters should include academic and professional references
  • GRE test scores.  GRE test scores are normally required but applicants may submit LSAT (have them sent from your Law School) or GMAT scores in lieu of the GRE. If you plan on providing the LSAT or GMAT scores please notify us via email of this so we may update your application accordingly. Request official test scores to be sent directly to the Graduate School by the testing service.
  • Personal Statement.  This should be a clear, concise statement of the applicant’s relevant past experiences, including academics, research, and/or work experience. The statement should also include an expression of interests and an explanation of the student’s goals in pursuing the MPP degree.
  • Resume 

Additional Details for International Applicants

While international applicants to the MPP program are not required to file a pre-application on the graduate school website prior to applying to the program, please see the International Applicants Instructions page for additional requirements. TOEFL scores are required if English is not your first language. Please visit the Test Scores webpage for more information.

Degree Requirements

Students in the Carsey School of Public Policy's Master in Public Policy program are required to complete a forty (40) credit program, consisting of:

  • Five (5) Required Core Courses   
  • Washington, DC Colloquium (January Term)
  • Capstone Project (including Planning Course)
  • Internship in a policy organization or institution
  • Two (2) Elective Courses in a selected Track (Strategy and Communication Track or Policy Analysis Track)
  • Three (3) to four (4) additional Open Electives

These provide the foundational analytical, strategic, and communication skills for a successful career in the world of policy making. Students focus their policy studies by choosing either a Policy Analysis or a Strategy and Communication track, completing two additional elective courses in one of the tracks. Courses in both tracks can also be taken as open electives. Further opportunities for depth and specialization in substantive policy areas are provided by open elective courses; these vary each semester.   

The program provides flexibility to students to fulfill the degree requirements, so individual student programs vary in elective selections and in sequencing of elective courses and the internship. Students can complete the Master in Public Policy degree in as little as 14 to 16 months or choose from a variety of pathways to degree

Required Core Courses:
PPOL 902Strategy and Practice of Public Policy3
PPOL 904Economics for Public Policy3
PPOL 906Fundamentals of Policy Analysis3
PPOL 908Quantitative Methods for Policy Research3
PPOL 910Policy Across Borders3
Other Requirements:
PPOL 950Washington DC Colloquium3
PPOL 990Policy Capstone3
PPOL 990APolicy Capstone Planning1
PPOL 998Policy Internship 13
or PPOL 998A Policy Internship
Elective Courses:
2 Elective Courses based upon the chosen track: Strategy and Communication Track or Policy Analysis Track 26
3 Open Elective Courses in substantive areas approved by the MPP program (or 4 Open Elective Courses if the Internship is not taken for credit) 1,39
Total Credits40

In some cases the Policy Internship will be a credit-bearing internship (PPOL 998), 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 (PPOL 998A).  Note: if the Internship requirement is not taken for credit, students will need to take four (4) Open Elective Courses.


Students choose two (2) elective courses from either the Strategy and Communication Track or the Policy Analysis Track (see course options on the MPP Degree Tracks webpage). Courses in both tracks can also be taken as Open Electives.


Open Elective courses are available in many substantive areas.  To view the current list of Open Elective courses being offered in many substantive areas, visit the Open Elective Courses webpage.  Note: Topics and courses are added on a continuing basis. Students may propose additional electives if they make sense in terms of the student’s interests and academic plan.  Discussion with an advisor should inform this choice. 

Strategy and Communication Track 

The Strategy and Communication track is for students who want policy careers as leaders, spokespeople or strategists.

Choose 1 of the following Required Courses:
Strategies for Policy Impact
Media Strategy and Skills
Choose at least 1 additional course from a growing list of electives *

 A list of all currently available optional elective courses for the Strategy and Communication Track can be found here.

 Policy Analysis Track 

The Policy Analysis track is for students who want policy careers as policy researchers, data analysts, and/or researchers specializing in evaluation. 

Several possible areas of focus within the track are Research Design and Evaluation, Advanced Statistics and Data Analysis, and Survey Research and Public Opinion:

Research Design and Evaluation

Students selecting this area will gain skills in designing and carrying out research in real world settings, including evaluation and assessment, and experimental and quasi-experimental designs.  Courses focus on different aspects of research design and data collection and on the tools of evaluation research.

Students are required to take two courses (1 required and 1 elective based upon the chosen specialization: Evaluation Qualitative Inquiry, or Assessment) from a list of approved courses for the Research Design and Evaluation focus area, found here.

Advanced Statistics and Data Analysis

Students selecting this area will gain skills in advanced statistics – logistic regression, time series analysis, econometrics, multi-level modeling—and data analysis—analyzing data from randomized controlled experiments, especially in a policy context, working with complex data sets (census, administrative data, available survey data like ADD Health), and graphic presentation of data.

Students are required to take two courses from a list of approved courses for the Advanced Statistics and Data Analysis focus area, found here.

Survey Research and Public Opinion

Students selecting this area will gain skills in designing, carrying out, and interpreting survey research, particularly in the context of measuring public opinion about policy issues.  Focus on survey sampling, measurement, data management, and interpretation of survey data. 

Students are required to take two courses from a list of approved courses for the Survey Research and Public Opinion focus area, found here.