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This page was made to give you all of the information you need to explore a career in public policy. One of the most common ways to enter this field is to earn a master’s in public policy, or MPP.

Earning your MPP degree will provide you with skills for analyzing, evaluating and solving many public policy problems. Most often, MPP graduates work in the public and/or nonprofit sectors in a variety of analyst, political scientist and manager positions. In such a position, you will work often with both qualitative and quantitative data to assess, develop and evaluate different policy approaches to complex public policy issues. The types of problems a policy analyst or manager might be expected to solve include environmental issues, public health issues, traffic congestion, and more.

Although some policy analysts have a master of public administration (MPA) degree, the MPP degree is a more specialized degree that provides exactly the right training for this career choice.  A master’s in public policy can also help prepare students for other careers that require an understanding of how the government and political process work.

MPP degree holders often help shape policy in all areas of the government, from education to public health and even national defense.

Job responsibilities may include:

  • Identify policies and issues that may need to be addressed.
  • Collect data and evaluate it.
  • Propose policy recommendations that address the issue.
  • Evaluate the impact of current policies.
  • Determine whether existing policies are succeeding in bringing about the desired outcome.
  • Perform cost-benefit analyses to determine whether programs are worthwhile financially.
  • Determine which organizations should receive public grant money.

This page also will provide you with more important information about how earning your MPP will positively affect your future earnings potential. Further, you will find out more about what you will learn in your MPP program online and the skills that you will hone.

Some of the skills that you will develop and need with your MPP degree in this field:

  • Analytical skills that involve the use of qualitative and quantitative research methods.
  • Critical thinking so that you can examine and process all available information and draw logical policy conclusions.
  • Strong writing skills for assembling papers on public policy issues.

If you require more information about the MPP degree and related careers, please contact us.

Master of Public Policy Overview

The focus of an MPP degree is on proper, systematic analysis of important public policy questions, as well as all decision processes that are related to them.

It should be noted that an MPP program shares similarities with a Master in Public Administration, or MPA. Generally, an MPP program focuses on training in policy analysis. The MPA tends to focus more on the administration and application of policy. Which you choose depends on your precise career goals. An MPA is often a better fit for those who are looking for major leadership roles in the public sector, while an MPP is more for analysts who want to work on solving public policy problems.

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Reasons to Earn Your Master of Public Policy

  • Having an advanced public policy degree is a good way to break into many types of government and nonprofit work. The major advantage of this type of work is that once you get into a public sector position, you generally have strong job security. If knowing that you will always have a good job is important to you, then the MPP may be a good fit.
  • More public policy related and political science related jobs will become available by 2022, with a 21% rate of growth. Many of those jobs will be in the federal government.
  • Pay in the political science field is strong, with a median wage of $102,000.

Master of Public Policy Course Requirements

Common classes that you may take in an online MPP program include these:

  • Introduction to Policy
  • Policy Communications
  • Applied Microeconomics
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Current Topics in  Public Health
  • Ethics
  • Formulating Policy
  • Data Workshop

Education Prerequisites

Most MPP students have a background in political science, history and related liberal arts studies. A bachelor’s degree in public affairs or political science is helpful but not mandatory.

Career Outlook

Policy analysts and related MPP professionals employed by the government typically start out around the GS-7 pay grade, which pays around $31,740. However, experienced analysts can earn as much as $145,000 per year. Salaries at private and nonprofit organizations vary greatly depending on the organization and the type of funding it receives.

For political scientists, the median income is more than $100,000 per year.

Although many MPP graduates become policy analysts, the degree also helps prepare students for many other career options. Some of the jobs available to MPP graduates are:

  • Grant Writer — Grant writers research potential funding sources, then prepare and submit proposals to obtain funding for the organization.
  • Elected Government Official — MPP candidates who decide to run for public office have an advantage over competitors who are less familiar with how the government and the political process work.
  • Legislative Analyst — Legislative analysts examine bills that are being considered in the legislature and provide an analysis of how they will affect their employers’ business or organization.
  • Federal Intelligence Analyst — The FBI hires intelligence analysts with a wide range of backgrounds, from biochemistry to counterterrorism to political science. New recruits with graduate degrees usually start at the GS-9 pay grade.
  • Political Reporter — A political reporter covers news related to politics. This job often includes researching and investigating stories as well as writing and submitting political news stories to an editor.
  • Political News Editor — A political news editor oversees the political reporters and journalists who report the news and edits their stories for clarity, style, and accuracy.
  • Environmental Analyst — An environmental analyst studies the impact that humans make on the environment and reports those findings to the company or government agency he or she is working for. Whether you intend to pursue a career in policy analysis or a related position, a master’s degree in public policy can help you reach your career goals—and there are even a few schools that will accept you without requiring you to take the GRE.

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Sady Brown
Written by Sady Brown
Sady Brown is Editorial Strategist for Nogre.com