May 30, 2024  
2019-2020 UMass Dartmouth Graduate Catalog 
2019-2020 UMass Dartmouth Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Department of Public Policy

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Detailed and updated information about the department and its programs can be found on its home website:

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.

Nikolay Anguelov (Ph.D. Policy Studies, Clemson University) Assistant Professor, Specializes in trade policy, industrial recruitment policy, and regionalization.

Michael D. Goodman (Ph.D. Sociology, Boston University), Professor & Executive Director, the Public Policy Center (PPC), Specializes in economic development, housing and education policy

Devon Lynch (Ph.D. Economics, University of Colorado, Boulder), Associate Professor, jointly appointed with the Department of Economics, Specializes in applied microeconomics with an emphasis in the field of public and labor economics.

Chad McGuire (LL.M., University of San Diego School of Law) Associate Professor, Department Chair and Graduate Program Director, Specializes in environmental law, environmental policy, and decision-making.

Mark Paige (Ph.D., J.D., University of Wisconsin Madison), Associate Professor, Specializes in education policy and law.  

Affiliated Faculty

Ismael Ramirez-Soto (Ed.D., UMass Amherst, J.D. University of Puerto Rico), Associate Professor, Educational Leadership, Specializes in educational policy and the law, equity and educational finance, educational leadership, and K-20 administration.

Robert Golder (MPP, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth), Adjunct Faculty, Public Policy, Specializes in teaching introductory courses in public policy, environmental issues, sustainability, and public management.


The Department of Public Policy is an interdisciplinary academic department that offers its students a wide variety of graduate educational options using an online course format. Programs include the Master of Public Policy (MPP) program, as well as graduate certificates in environmental policy, educational policy, and public management. All of the Department’s programs of study center around courses that emphasize the development of policy analysis, applied research, and public management skills. UMass Dartmouth’s Department of Public Policy offers students the opportunity to work with and learn from an interdisciplinary community of scholars who are actively engaged in the world of public policy and who regularly work closely with policymakers in federal, state and local government and a myriad of non-governmental organizations.


The Department of Public Policy uses the campus-wide graduate admissions process at UMass Dartmouth for its applications. This process requires prospective graduate students to submit an application to the university’s graduate school along with supporting documents and test scores. The applications are screened by university staff to ensure that applications are complete and meet the minimum requirements for admission. All completed applications meeting the minimum admissions requirements are reviewed by an Admissions Committee composed of faculty from the Department of Public Policy.

Application Deadlines

All graduate programs offered by the Department of Public Policy are on a rolling basis for the following matriculation point after the application is acted upon. For example, a student admitted in November can begin taking courses in the next following semester. This applies to the Master of Public Policy as well as the graduate certificates offered by the Department.

Individuals should submit an application through the graduate office.

1. Earned Baccalaureate Degree:

All applicants to the Master’s in Public Policy (MPP) must have an earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited 4-year college or university in the United States or comparable non-U.S. degree/diploma from a recognized foreign institution of higher education at the time of matriculation. Undergraduate seniors may apply in their final semester with expectation that they will have graduated prior to enrolling in MPP courses. A copy of official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended, undergraduate and graduate, must be submitted as part of the application process.

Applicants may hold a degree in any field, although 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.

2. Graduate School Application for US Citizens/International Applicants:

All applicants to the Master’s of Public Policy must complete and submit UMass Dartmouth’s Graduate School Application. The application may be submitted electronically or by mail.

3. Statement of Purpose (Essay)

The MPP at UMass Dartmouth requires an essay of 600-900 words explaining the applicant’s interest in the program and purpose for applying to the program. graduate study objectives, previous policy-related or public management experience, and undergraduate preparation for the course of study. The applicants should also submit resumes or a curriculum vita.

4. Letters of Recommendation

Applicants are required to submit at least two letters of recommendation. For recent recipients of the bachelor’s degree, at least one of the letters should be from a professor familiar with the student’s academic work. Note: applicants who have successfully completed one of the graduate certificates offered by the Department of Public Policy do not need to submit letters of recommendation.

5. Other Materials Required for Application to the Master of Public Policy:

a: Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), or Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT): Applicants to the Master of Public Policy must submit GRE (general test), LSAT, 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. Generally students should expect to score within the 50th percentile or higher overall on the examination. Official score reports must come directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). [UMass Dartmouth’s GRE Code for reporting scores is 3786].  Applicants that have already earned a graduate degree from an accredited institution or have earned a graduate certificate from the UMass Dartmouth Department of Public Policy are not required to submit GRE scores.

b: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth requires a TOEFL or other sanctioned English competency evaluation exam unless applicants have earned their Bachelor’s degree in the United States or in the following countries where English is the official language (Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa).

TOEFL scores are valid for five years from the date of anticipated matriculation to the MPP. This requirement is waived only for those who had English as their primary language for secondary school or college instruction, who have successfully completed a year of advanced secondary school or college/university study in the US, or who can be present in person to meet with officials of the university at the time of application for admission. A minimum TOEFL score of 250 is required on the computer-based test and a minimum score of 600 is required for the paper version of the test.

Individuals should submit an application through the graduate office.

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 ( 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 (

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.” 


Michael D. Goodman, PhD
Professor of Public Policy
Executive Director, the Public Policy Center (PPC)
Acting Chair, Department of Public Policy
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Co-Editor, MassBenchmarks
Office: 508.910-6986
Twitter: @Mike_Goodman

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