Aug 18, 2022  
2010-2011 UMass Dartmouth Graduate Catalog 
2010-2011 UMass Dartmouth Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Master of Public Policy (MPP)

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Degrees and Other Programs Offered

The MPP is a two-year professional degree, although part-time students may take 4 to 6 years to complete the degree. All students will normally be required to complete 39 credits of coursework (13 courses), including 24 credits (8 courses) in the common curriculum component, 9 credit hours (3 courses) in a policy concentration area, 3 credits of free elective (1 course), and a 3 credit research seminar. Full-time status will require students to enroll in three graduate level courses per semester and to complete one summer internship.


Common Curriculum Component

Some courses in the common curriculum component have prerequisites that may have been fulfilled by courses taken as an undergraduate. If the prerequisite is not fulfilled by a course taken in obtaining a bachelor’s degree, the Free Elective may be used to fulfill one prerequisite, including one undergraduate course. Otherwise, no other upper-division courses taken as prerequisites will count toward the MPP degree requirements.

Internship Requirement

The Master of Public Policy will require an Internship (3 credits) for students with less than two years of substantial and relevant public policy or public management experience. The field work component of the Internship (2 credits) will be waived if an individual has at least two years substantial and relevant work experience in a policy making or appropriate public management position, although all students must enroll in the academic course component (1 credit) of the Internship to graduate. All students will be required to participate in the 1 credit academic seminar component of the Internship for purposes of reviewing the students’ portfolios.

Students will select an Internship venue from a pre-approved list of local, state, and federal agencies, non-profit organizations, and private sector businesses. The Internship’s objective is to expose students to a policy-related public setting that allows them to integrate public policy theory (in their academic course) and the real world of policy making in their area of substantive interest. In addition to the field experience, the Internship includes a 1 credit seminar during the same semester, where Interns share workplace experiences, analyze these experiences within the framework of public policy and public management theory, and share the contents of a professional portfolio.

The external Advisory Board of the Center for Policy Analysis, consisting of state legislators, school superintendents, local economic development officers, and business executives, has volunteered to assist in developing Policy Internships for graduate students in areas such as economic development agencies, community development agencies, conservation commissions and environmental agencies, local planning boards, local boards of health, selectmen’s and mayor’s offices, tourism and recreation departments, town or city departments of administration and finance, and chambers of commerce, among others.

The Professional Portfolio

In their final semester students present a professional portfolio for review and approval as a part of the work required for the internship. Students will begin building toward the internship starting with their matriculation into the MPP, when each student will be required to start constructing a professional portfolio. The professional portfolio will include:

  • research papers written for courses taken in the program,
  • policy white papers written for courses taken in the program,
  • work products, consultant reports, or other written analysis prepared as a research assistant or research associate at the Center for Policy Analysis,
  • research papers or other products from the course in Applied Policy Research,
  • documentation of other professional or scholarly achievements over the course of their enrollment in the MPP,
  • newspaper clippings about the individual’s achievements, public service, and awards,
  • published articles in trade magazines or newspapers,
  • professional certifications, licenses, and other evidence of professional development,
  • evidence of presentations or attendance at meetings of relevant professional associations,
  • letters of commendation and letters of recommendation from supervisors or others in a position to evaluate the individual’s academic and work performance,
  • other items of importance as determined by the student.

As part of the Internship, the Internship Director will also convene a 1 credit seminar of all current interns in consultation with a committee of the Policy Studies Faculty. Students will present the contents of their professional portfolio to the seminar and to the faculty. Students will present their portfolio to the faculty committee and the seminar, and discuss how it represents their learning in the program and its potential impact on their future careers. The portfolio will be reviewed and evaluated by the Internship Director and the Faculty Committee to insure that it meets and reflects the overall educational objectives of the MPP and provides a platform for seeking employment or advancement in the broad area of public policy. The faculty committee’s portfolio evaluation will be incorporated into the student’s final grade for the Internship, and no student will graduate from the program without a portfolio approved by the faculty committee.

The Concentration Areas

The policy area concentration is fulfilled by taking three or more courses on a related topic(s). Special Topics courses and Independent Study courses may count toward the concentration if they are relevant to the student’s declared area of concentration (consult with advisor). The concentration areas are Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation, Economic Development, Global Political Economy, Social Policy, and Crime and Justice Policy.

Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation

(any 3 of the following courses):

Economic Development

(PST 545 Regional Economic Development Policy and PST 546 Political Economy of Massachusetts are required, plus any one of the following other courses):

Social Policy

(any 3 of the following courses):

  • NUR 5xx Health Policy
    (course under consideration for approval)


3xx-level courses are to be offered under a 5xx number, and the graduate-level students will do additional research and be expected to do work at a graduate level.

Crime and Justice Policy

(any 3 of the following courses):

Individualized Concentration Area

Students may propose an individualized concentration area from available courses and submit it for approval of the program director before the end of the student’s first semester.

Policy Research Seminar

In the final semester, all students are required to complete a capstone research seminar. Each student will conduct independent policy research and produce a final research paper. Students are expected to demonstrate practical mastery of the MPP curriculum in their research paper, including quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis, and to synthesize the policy area knowledge and public management skills acquired in the program.

Recommended Schedule for sequencing courses to complete the program in two years

Semester One

  • Free Elective - 3 credits
    (may be used to fulfill prerequisite for other courses)

Semester Two

  • Concentration Area Course - 3 credits

Semester Three

  • Concentration Area Course - 3 credits


Semester Four

  • Concentration Area Course - 3 credits

Total credits: 39


The Department of Policy Studies will make a special effort to recruit and retain returning professionals by responding to demands for scheduling flexibility. The program will offer some courses during the evening (after 5 pm), Saturdays, or in summer. The Department expects that about two-thirds of its enrolled students will be returning professionals enrolled as part-time students, who will have flexible access to faculty for advising. A student must remain continuously enrolled in the MPP on at least a part-time basis unless granted a leave of absence by the Department Chair.

Articulation and Exchange Agreement with Kassel University (Germany)

The Policy Studies faculties at UMass Dartmouth and Kassel University (Germany) have agreed to a course sharing arrangement as well as regular student and faculty exchanges, that will give UMass Dartmouth’s MPP a unique international component.

All courses in Germany are taught in English and are pre-approved for transfer to UMass Dartmouth. These courses are available to eligible UMass Dartmouth students at no cost (i.e., no tuition or fees). UMass Dartmouth students attending Kassel University for a semester or summer program can take courses leading to a concentration in Global Political Economy.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Degrees and Other Programs Offered