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Master of Public Policy

The Master of Public Policy (MPP) is the recognized “industry standard” for those seeking careers in public policy analysis, design, and evaluation. The Northeastern MPP emphasizes the analysis of data and other relevant information to enable graduates to assess public problems, develop appropriate policy responses, and evaluate program effectiveness. MPP graduates enter careers as policy analysts, researchers, consultants, program evaluators, and policymakers in a broad range of public, nonprofit, and private sector settings.

Consistent with the College of Social Sciences and Humanities commitment to the Experiential Liberal Arts (ELA), our program provides a range of experiential learning opportunities throughout the curriculum, ranging from part-time internships to client-driven small group capstone projects, and, for some students, full-time professional experience through Northeastern’s signature cooperative education program.


Degree Requirements

To earn the Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree, students must successfully complete 40 semester hours (SH) of credit in a prescribed curriculum, which can be accomplished in as little as 18 months. The curriculum is designed to offer methodological rigor, a theoretical framework, and opportunities for applied experiences in optional areas of specialization. The majority of classes are offered in the early evening to accommodate working students. Current and prospective students should refer to the 2019-2020 Graduate Catalog for a description of the Master of Public Policy curriculum.

The MPP Core

The MPP Core encompasses seven courses (28 SH) that cumulatively provides the program’s methodological foundation and covers a broad array of public policy analysis concepts, tools and competencies. Each core course is offered at least once each year on campus, and some are available online.

All students should expect to start the program with PPUA 6502, Economic Institutions and Policy, and finish it with PPUA 7673, Capstone in Public Policy and Urban Affairs. Other core courses, and any electives, can be taken as convenient, with sequencing based on an individualized plan of study worked out with the student’s advisor.


MPP students have 12 SH in free electives, which can be applied to earning one of several graduate certificates (below), concentrated in a particular focus area, or selected as desired from a broad array of courses offered by the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, other graduate programs in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities, and most other graduate level programs at Northeastern University. The selection of electives is done in consultation with the student’s advisor.

Certificates and Concentrations

MPP students can use their 12 SH in electives to fulfill a graduate certificate in an area of specialized training. Currently available graduate certificates include the Nonprofit SectorUrban Analytics, and Urban Studies. Outside of the certificates, students can build expertise in a particular focus area (e.g., sustainability and resilience, health policy and administration) based on courses selected in consultation with their academic advisers.

Experiential Learning

The MPP program takes full advantage of Northeastern University’s extensive commitment to experiential learning in all of its forms, including applied work in courses, group capstone projects, internships with a range of partner organizations and agencies, and the University’s signature cooperative education program.

Students who enter the MPP program with fewer than two years of relevant professional experience will be required to complete a substantial and professionally relevant internship, which can be accomplished any time after the first semester, and while taking classes. Students with relevant professional experience can request a waiver of the internship requirement.

For more information, visit our Internship Experiences page.

Cooperative Education (Co-op)

MPP students can take advantage of Northeastern’s signature Cooperative Education Experience,which offers full time, six-month research and work experiences in nonprofit, public, and private sector institutions in Greater Boston and across the United States. Participating students apply the skills and competencies acquired in the program in a particular professional environment, and then reflect on their professional experiences through the required one-credit Experiential Integration course. Students interested in Co-op should meet early on with Professor Linda Kowalcky, who coordinates the School’s experiential education program, to  determine eligibility and how Co-op will fit within the student’s curriculum.

A Global Hub and Virtual Campus

The MPP is offered on Northeastern’s main campus in Boston, a city known as a global hub for higher learning and service. Students in Boston can take courses on campus, fully online, or in hybrid modalities, a flexibility designed to accommodate working professionals. The program also is available 100 percent online, allowing students around the world to take advantage of our challenging classes and expert faculty. Regardless of modality, all MPP students follow the same rigorous curriculum toward the same degree.


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Requirements and policies subject to change. For up-to-date information, contact Julie Switkes or view the official graduate catalogue for a full listing of graduate level courses.