Master of Public Policy Degree Requirements

General Degree Requirements

The Master of Public Policy is designed as a two-year, full-time master’s program of 61 credits. In order to graduate from the program, students must obtain a minimum of 61 credits. Coursework is made up of a first-year core curriculum in policy leadership, analysis, and process, and then a second-year curriculum composed of policy tracks, policy specializations, a summative project, a course that emphasizes diversity in public policy, and the creation of a professional development plan to be refined in the context of a professional development course.

The inclusion of both a traditional Policy Analysis track as well as a separate Policy Advocacy and Leadership track makes the Portland State University MPP an innovative program in the field. The MPP core courses draw from courses offered by programs in Political Science, Public Administration, and Public Affairs and Politics.

Core Courses

All MPP students are required to take all core courses (credit hours in parentheses).

PAP 511 Introduction to Public Policy (3)

Policy Process Core (12-14 credits*)

PAP 512 Introduction to Policy Advocacy/Leadership (3)
PS 515 Comparative Public Policy (4)
PS 520 American Political Institutions (4)
PA 579 Policy Tools in Policy Design (3)

Policy Analysis Core (12-14 credits*)

PAP 513 Ethics and Public Policy (4)
PAP 653 Micro-Economics of Public Policy (3)
PAP 654 Policy Analysis Research (3)
PS 591 Testing Theory (4)

*Course substitutions are occasionally necessary for core courses, which can alter the total number of credits students can gain from core coursework. In these instances, the MPP director will communicate directly with students to alert them of the changes.

Diversity Courses (3-4 credits)

Diversity courses are to be chosen in consultation with an advisor. Course options to fulfill the diversity course requirement include, but are not limited to the following:

PA 510 Native American Policy & Governance (3)
PA 514 Global Leadership and Management (3)
PA 523 Nongovernmental Organizations: Nonprofits on the World Stage (3)
PA 547 Culture, Values, and Leadership (3)
PA 549 Cross-cultural Communication in the Public Sector (3)
PA 593 Civil Rights or Public Managers (3)
PA 594 Enhancing Diversity in the Workplace (3)
PS 522 Constitutional Law
PS 524 Law, Politics, and Society
PS 571 Gender & Politics: A Comparative Perspective

Summative Policy Project (3 or 6 credits)

The summative policy project is the highlight and summation of the MPP program. It is an opportunity for MPP students to begin the transition to professional life by engaging in a capstone project that engages the 6 skills and competencies that the program delivers in the setting of a client organization.

PAP 509 Public Policy Project

Professional Development

The Professional Development course is a key component of the professional development requirements of the Master of Public Policy program. The plan is intended to prepare students to enter into public service through a series of professional development activities that outline both near-term and long-term intentions for their careers. PAP 508 is worth a total of three credits overall, with students taking a 1 credit seminar each quarter of their second year. Students will develop their professional identity, create their professional portfolio, identify current job postings, develop a long-term job search strategy, and develop professional networking strategies.

PAP 508 Professional Development Plan

Track and Specialization Courses

Students may choose any combination of 3 and 4-credit courses to fulfill the 12-14 credit requirements (each) for tracks and specializations. In order to reach the 12-credit requirement minimum, it may be useful to arrange a 1-credit Reading and Conference (PAP 505) course. (For example, credit totals might be 3, 3, 3, 3; 3+1, 3+1, 4; or 4, 4, 3+1). This could be alongside a 3-credit course working with that instructor or as a standalone course with another instructor. Enrollment in Reading and Conference courses requires submission of the “By Arrangement Request” form.

Track courses may come from a variety of policy-related fields, both within and outside the Hatfield School of Government. All Track courses should be taken in consultation with students’ faculty advisors.

Policy specialization courses (Minimum of 12 credits) address specific policy domains. There is a wide breadth of expertise and courses across campus. Students will be expected, in consultation with their advisors, to select a set of courses that cover the areas they are likely to pursue professionally. Examples of relevant policy areas, including suggested core courses include:

PS 546 National Security
PA 564 Environmental Policy
USP 567 Housing Policy

Policy Advocacy Track (Minimum of 12 credits)

Suggested courses for the Policy Advocacy Track include (* designates special topics courses that may not be offered regularly):

PA 514 Global Leadership and Management
PA 517 Leadership Development for Public Organizations
PA 518 Leading Public Organizations
PA 519 Civic Capacity
PA 537 Law and Public Policy
PA 538 Advocacy and Political Participation by Nonprofits
PA 541 Social Entrepreneurships 
PA 539 National Policy Process (Washington, DC Field Course)
PA 543 Creating Collaborative Communities
PA 545 Organizational Development
PA 560 Local Government Administration
PA 592 Volunteerism &Volunteer Management
PA 595 Labor Relations in the Public Sector
PS 516 Political Parties and Elections
PS 517 Interest Groups
PS 518 Contemporary Political Protest in America
PS 519 Political Reform
PS 527 The Politics of Public Opinion
PS 531 State and Local Politics
COMM 510 Political Campaigns*
COMM 520 Political Communication
SOC 524 Groups, Interaction, and Identity
SOC 576 Theories of Social Change
SW 524 Community Organization
SW 532 Advocacy and Empowerment
USP 550 Participatory Planning
USP 584 Negotiations in the Public Sector

This is not an extensive list and students are encouraged to look for relevant courses from across
the university, in consultation with their Advisor.

Policy Analysis Track (Minimum of 12 credits)


Suggested courses for the Policy Analysis Track include:

PA 539 National Policy Process (Washington, DC Field Course)
PA 551 Analytic Methods in Public Administration I
PA 552 Analytic Methods in Public Administration II
PA 555 Program Evaluation & Management 
PA 556 Contract Management
PA 582 Public Budgeting
CCJ 520 Analysis of Crime and Justice Data
CE 566 Environmental Data Analysis
PAH 588 Program Evaluation & Management for Health Services
EC 527 Cost-Benefit Analysis
EC 528 Project Evaluation
EC 570 Econometrics
GEOG 588 Geographic Information Systems I
GEOG 592 Geographic Information Systems II
USP 591 Geographic Information Systems I
USP 592 Geographic Information Systems II
SOC 592 Qualitative Methods
SOC 597 Applied Survey Research
SOC 638 Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Methods
SOC 639 Focus Group Interviewing
SYSC 513 Holistic Strategies for Problem Solving
SYSC 525 Agent-Based Simulation
SYSC 545 Application of Data Science
SYSC 551 Discrete Multivariate Modeling
SYSC 552 Game Theory
USP 536 Policy Evaluation Methods 
USP 520 Applied Demographic Methods I
USP 521 Applied Demographic Methods II
USP 615 Economic Analysis of Public Policy
USP 683 Qualitative Analysis

This is not an extensive list and students are encouraged to look for relevant courses from across
the university, in consultation with their Advisor.