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Department of Public Administration & Policy


  • SPA: Public Administration
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    Graduate programs: spagrad@american.edu

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Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.)

The Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.) program provides students with a blend of analytical, contextual, ethical, and substantive skills and knowledge to advance the quality of advice given to policymakers in a variety of institutional settings in the United States and abroad.

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 eight years prior to their date of application may waive the requirement for test scores by submitting a statement describing their professional experience. The department values applicants who have acquired practical experience before beginning their professional degree program. Admission decisions are based on each applicant’s total record and not on any single strength or deficiency.

Degree Requirements

  • 39 credit hours of approved graduate work
  • Assignments in the practicum course (PUAD 688), including a major policy analysis paper for a client and a “48-hour exercise,” fulfill the university requirement for a comprehensive examination.
  • The research requirement (non-thesis option) is satisfied by completing two of the following courses with grades of B or better:

Course Requirements

(students may test out of PUAD-601 and substitute another approved course)
  • PUAD-604 Public Program Evaluation (3)
  • PUAD-607 Economics and Politics of Public Policy (3)
    download sample syllabus
  • PUAD-671 Cost Benefit Analysis (3)
  • one of the following:

Area of Concentration and Internship

  • 9 credit hours in an area of concentration:

Areas include: 

If not taken to fulfill the research requirement above, and with permission of the academic advisor, PUAD-604 and PUAD-607 may be taken as part of a concentration.

Students without a significant professional work background participate in an internship, which may be taken for credit (PUAD-691). For students already employed, a formal internship is optional.

Director's Welcome


Welcome message from MPP Director Alison Jacknowitz

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