Apr 21, 2024  
2015-2016 UMass Dartmouth Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 UMass Dartmouth Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Department of Public Policy

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Faculty and Fields of Interest

The Master of Public Policy is delivered through an interdisciplinary Department of Policy Studies with extended multi-disciplinary support from affiliated faculty in the departments of English, economics, sociology, nursing, management, and history.

Barrow, Clyde W (Chairperson, Department of Policy Studies and Director, Center for Policy Analysis) Specializations: Public policy: Massachusetts, higher education, policy formation, policy process; Political economy: Massachusetts, economic impact analysis, industry analysis, regional economic development.

Devon Lynch applied microeconomics, public and labor economics, enterprise zone programs

Chad McGuire environmental law and policy

Shawna E Sweeney
women’s public policy issues, human rights policy, and globalization policies

Affiliated Faculty and their Primary Departments

Susan Krumholz Crime and Justice Studies

Robin A Robinson
Sociology and Anthropology

Gail Russell
Community Nursing

Mark Santow

Susanne G Scott

Luther Wallin

The purpose of the MPP is to build public policy-making and problem solving capacity at the state, local, and regional levels. The program’s graduates will gain a knowledge of the policy process including analytical and research skills in applied policy analysis and specialized knowledge in a “concentration area” such as policy analysis and program evaluation, economic development, social policy, crime and justice policy, and global political economy. The program will maintain a special focus on policy issues that concern state, regional, and municipal officials in Massachusetts and New England.

Through its links to UMass Dartmouth’s Center for Policy Analysis, the program will provide students with an opportunity to develop applied research and policy analysis skills by participating in funded research projects (see www.umassd.edu/cfpa). MPP students benefit by enhanced opportunities for research, community-based educational programming, and graduate Policy Internships at the Center. The Center for Policy Analysis has completed more than 160 applied policy research projects since 1993, which have generated more than $575,000 in external grants and contracts in the last three years (FY 2003 - FY 2005). These projects are funded mainly by state and municipal government agencies, but also by school departments, non-profit organizations, and private businesses. The Center offers a unique opportunity for graduate students to learn applied social science research techniques through one-on-one instruction, including the correct use of web-based research, state and federal government data bases, private data bases, and many specialized sources of municipal government data.

The MPP has a seven-member advisory committee established as a sub-committee of the Center for Policy Analysis external Advisory Board. The MPP advisory committee includes three members of the policy studies graduate faculty, who are not members of the Department of Policy Studies, and four individuals who are public policy makers or public administrators in public or non-profit agencies in Southeastern Massachusetts.


Prospective students submit an application to the Office of Graduate Affairs along with supporting documents and test scores, in accordance with the established application requirements of that office. Complete applications that meet the MPP’s minimum admissions requirements will be reviewed by an Admissions Committee appointed by the Department Chairperson and consisting of faculty from the Department of Policy Studies and Affiliated Faculty who teach MPP courses.

Applicants to the Master of Public Policy must have an earned baccalaureate degree. It is expected that most applicants will hold degrees in the social sciences, business, and humanities. To make up for gaps in their undergraduate preparation, students may be admitted with conditions to complete one or more undergraduate deficiency courses. Deficiency courses will count in the students load, but not towards the degree requirements. Such conditions will be stated in the letter of admission.

The Personal Statement should explain the applicant’s interest in the program and purpose for applying to the program. The essay should discuss the applicant’s graduate study objectives, previous policy-related or public management experience, and undergraduate preparation for the course of study. The applicant should also submit a resume or curriculum vitae.

Two letters of recommendation are required, although more may be submitted. At least one letter should be from an academic source testifying to your potential as a student and researcher.

Applicants must submit GRE (general test) or GMAT scores taken within 5 years of the application. The MPP will not require a minimum score for admission, but performance on the examination will be factored into the admissions process.

At least 30 credits (10 courses) of the total required coursework must be completed at UMass Dartmouth through the MPP program, although courses taken as part of formal  collaborative arrangements with other colleges and universities will count as resident courses. Courses transferred from other institutions of higher education, will not count toward the 24 credit hours of core courses.

Financial Assistance

The students enrolled in the Master of Public Policy degree will be eligible to apply for financial aid that is generally available to graduate students at UMass Dartmouth. The MPP program also offers paid teaching assistantships, and the Center for Policy Analysis offers paid research assistantships.

Overview of the Academic Program

The Policy Studies graduate program leads to the Master of Public Policy degree (MPP). It is a two-year professional program that requires students to complete 39 credits of coursework in policy studies, including an internship. The curriculum is designed toprovide students with  the ability to reason and analyze from both a normative and problem-solving perspective, to develop technical methodological skills, and todevelop substantive policy or leadership expertise in one concentration area. The curriculum is organized on a foundation of eight core courses, a three-course concentration area, an internship, and a capstone research seminar and portfolio.

The UMass Dartmouth MPP program was designed to comply with the accreditation standards established by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA), which is the national accrediting association for graduate level public policy, public administration, and related degrees in the United States. See NASPAA’s Standards for Professional Master’s Degree Programs in Public Affairs, Policy, and Administration (http://www.naspaa.org/copra). UMass Dartmouth will apply to NASPAA for accreditation at the earliest possible opportunity.

What is the MPP Degree?

The Master of Public Policy has a comprehensive focus and a distinct professional application. It differs from the Masters of Public Administration in having a different curriculum and complementary but different career expectations. A Q&A presentation from NASPAA helps distinguish the two degrees (www.naspaa.org/).

While the MPA focuses on management careers in public institutions, the MPP, in contrast:

“…emphasizes analyzing and evaluating information to solve policy problems. As analysts, managers, and leaders, MPP graduates work with quantitative and qualitative information and data to develop, assess, and evaluate alternative approaches to current and emerging issues. Their careers are in a variety of public service fields and in all levels of government (federal, state, local, and regional), in nonprofits, in the international arena, and in the private sector.” 


Dr Clyde Barrow
Chairperson, Department of Policy Studies
508 999-9265

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
285 Old Westport Road
North Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300

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