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The Humphrey School of Public Affairs is the University of
Minnesota's school of policy and planning.

Master of Public Policy (MPP) Degree

People choose a Master of Public Policy degree because they are committed to public service and working on community or public issues and problems. The mission of the Master of Public Policy program is to prepare professionals with specialized skills and knowledge to advance the common good in a range of public policy issues in a diverse world. An MPP degree is excellent training for a career in the public, private, or nonprofit sector. Read on to find out if an MPP degree is right for you.

Download the Information Sheet on one of the top MPP programs.

One of the Top Public Policy Programs in the Country

Our Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree prepares students to be leaders who design, manage, and advocate for better policy solutions. An MPP degree is a professional discipline that seeks to solve public problems through policy analysis and design, program and project management, and community and public advocacy. The MPP degree brings together political science, economics, statistics, management, and other social science disciplines to shape policies and programs at the local, national, and international levels.

What Our Master of Public Policy Graduates Do

The vast majority of our MPP students complete their graduate program in two years. In fact, 81% of the students entering the program in Fall 2010 went on to graduate in Spring 2012. An additional 13% intentionally designed their program to allow for an extended time frame, and most of these students completed the program in three years.

As analysts, managers, and leaders, Master of Public Policy graduates work with quantitative and qualitative information to develop, assess, and evaluate alternative approaches to current and emerging issues. Those with MPP degrees find work in a variety of public service fields and in all levels of government, in nonprofit organizations and NGOs, and in the private sector.

Sample MPP Degree Job Titles + Organizations

  • Legislative auditor, State of Minnesota
  • Deputy project manager, LISA Project, NASA, Maryland
  • Deputy secretary, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
  • State representative, Minnesota House of Representatives
  • Policy analyst for budget, NE-Midwest Institute, Michigan
  • Vice president for planning, research, and communications, St. John's University, Minnesota
  • President of government relations, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
  • Executive director, Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota
  • President, Dutko Group (lobbying firm), Washington, D.C.
  • Executive vice president, National MS Association, Chicago
  • Manager of trade and investment policy, American Chamber of Commerce, Frankfurt, Germany

The Humphrey School is accredited by the Network of Schools in Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA), which collects data on average salaries of public affairs graduates, the salary differential between those with and without a master's degree, and other useful employment information. Click here to view information supplied to NASPAA as part of the School's accreditation process. You also can learn more about where our MPP graduates are employed.

Learn More About Our MPP Degree


The Master of Public Policy (MPP) requires 45 semester credits, including approximately 22–23 credits in core courses, a 3-course concentration (9 credits minimum), and a course to fulfill the professional paper requirement. The remaining credits are taken in elective courses. A 400-hour professional internship also is required, unless you are exempted based on relevant previous employment.

The program is designed to be completed in two years.The majority of courses are taught in the classroom, although a few are offered either online or in a combined online/classroom format.

Required Core Courses (22–23 credits)
PA 5011 — Management of Organizations (3)
PA 5012 — Politics of Public Affairs (3)
PA 5021 — Economics for Policy Analysis and Planning I (3)
PA 5022 — Economics for Policy Analysis and Planning II (3)
PA 5031 — Empirical Analysis I (4)
PA 5002 — Introduction to Policy Analysis (1.5)
PA 5003 — Introduction to Financial Analysis and Management (1.5)

Two of the following:

One from:
PA 5032 — Regression Analysis (2)
PA 5044 — Regression Analysis: Accelerated (2)

And one from::
PA 5033 — Multivariate Techniques (2)
PA 5041 — Qualitative Methods for Policy Analysts (4)

You may be exempted from selected core course requirements if you have relevant prior coursework. In that case, you can take additional concentration or elective credits to meet the 45-credit requirement.

Electives (to bring total degree credits to at least 45)

Professional Paper
Your professional paper applies the methods, approaches, and perspectives studied in the curriculum to a real-world policy or management problem. The resulting professional paper includes an analysis of the issues and policy recommendations or discussions of the implications of the analysis. You may complete the professional paper through a Capstone Workshop (PA 8081), Workshop Group (PA 8082), Master's: Professional Paper (PA 8921)or . You are welcome to read some completed professional papers.

Program Planning Worksheet
The Program Planning Worksheet (PPW) helps current students plan their degrees from start to finish. Students must submit a completed and approved PPW before graduating.

Dual Degree Opportunities
By choosing a dual-degree, you can complete a Humphrey School degree and another University of Minnesota graduate or professional degree in less time (typically one year less) than it would take to complete the two degrees separately.

We offer dual degrees with the University of Minnesota Law School, the School of Social Work, the School of Public Health and the Carlson School of Management.

Concentrations (9 credits required)

In addition to the required core courses, as an MPP student, you select a set of additional concentration courses and experiences that provide you with an integrated portfolio of professional preparation. To guide you in selecting courses, you may use the predesigned concentrations within the field of public policy or create your own selection of courses under the guide of your faculty and professional advisers.

Humphrey School
University of Minnesota
280 Humphrey School
301 19th Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55455