Public Policy

Program is not currently accepting new applications.

The Master of Public Policy (MPP) program is an interdisciplinary public policy program, designed for current and future professionals who seek to actively engage in developing, analyzing, implementing, or advocating for policy changes in public and nonprofit organizations. The program is aimed at developing analytical skills essential to understanding and improving public policy for persons engaged in a wide range of professional careers in the public, non-profit, and private sectors.

This interdisciplinary program offers students an opportunity to integrate research and learning in an innovative and open atmosphere that fosters links among higher education, the health care industry, governmental agencies and non-profit organizations. Contemporary political, social, and economic problems are interdisciplinary in nature, and an interdisciplinary approach is required to address those problems in a holistic way. Contemporary public leadership requires a broad understanding of and skill in policy analysis in order to design, implement, and evaluate effective new policies. Trained policy analysts who can address increasingly complex policy issues are in demand in the public and private sector. There are thousands of governmental units at the local, state and national level that employ specialized policy analysts. They assist elected and appointed officials of every nature in the process of governing. Their job titles vary but include positions such as program specialist, legislative or special assistant, policy analyst, research analyst and research director, among others. In addition, there are literally thousands of interests groups, trade associations and consulting firms operating in the private and non-profit sector that likewise employ individuals with the ability to analyze policy issues and engage in the political process.

The interdisciplinary nature of UM-Dearborn’s administrative structure also makes it easier for faculty from diverse disciplines and programs to cooperate naturally with the Program. Interdisciplinary cooperation is second nature to UM-Dearborn faculty and historically part of the educational culture at UM-Dearborn. The MPP Program is designed to complement existing graduate programs such as the MBA program in the College of Business, and the M in Public Administration, MS in Psychology, the MS in Environmental Science and the MA in Liberal Studies offered in the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters. MPP students will be able to access relevant elective courses in other programs that fit their career needs that may be unavailable in the MPP program.

The Program

The MPP Program requires 21 hours of core courses and either:

Thesis Option: 21 credits of policy-related electives approved by a program advisor plus a Project Writing course (1 credit)

or

Non-Thesis Option: 15 credits of policy-related electives approved by a program advisor plus a thesis (6 credits).

Admission and Prerequisites

Admission to the MPP program as a regular student requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with an undergraduate 3.0 GPA in the last 60 credits (on a 4.0 scale), and an ability to write on an acceptable level. Individuals with less than a 3.0 average, but no lower than 2.75, may be considered for conditional admission status. One basic course in the principles of microeconomics is a prerequisite for the program. The prerequisite may be fulfilled after admission to the program but must be completed prior to enrollment in PPOL 503 Economics and Public Policy or PPOL 507 Cost-Benefit Analysis. The prerequisite can also be fulfilled by taking PPOL 500 Economic Theory and Policy. Students must also earn a sufficient score on the GRE or GMAT exams. Non-core policy courses or electives may also have prerequisites that must be completed before enrolling in those courses.

Application instructions can be found at:  umdearborn.edu/gradapplynow

Each applicant should submit the following:

  1. Official transcripts from all universities attended.
  2. A five-hundred word statement of purpose describing the applicant’s career goals and personal objectives in pursuing the program.
  3. Three letters of recommendation from academic or professional references who know the applicant’s abilities and potential for graduate work.
  4. GRE Test Results. (general test) The minimum GRE passing score is the 50th percentile.
  5. Students whose native language is not English are also required to satisfy the English Language Requirements for Admission which can be found in the General Information section of this catalog.

For more information, visit the MPP website at: casl.umd.umich.edu/mpp  or call 313-593-1183.

Transfer of Credits

Up to six credit hours toward the degree may be granted by the Graduate Program Committee to a student through the transfer of credit for approved graduate-level courses completed post-baccalaureate with a grade of B or better at an accredited institution. Up to fifteen hours of such course work from the Ann Arbor or Flint campuses may be transferred.

Guest Student Enrollment

Guest students may enroll in graduate courses with permission of the director of the MPP.

Degree Requirements

A cumulative average grade of B or higher will be required in all graduate courses taken for credit and applied to the credit hour requirements. A passing grade is B- or above. No more than two grades of I can be counted towards a student’s degree. To be recommended for the MPP degree, the student must file a formal diploma application online at the beginning of their final semester of work. Depending on the thesis option selected, a total of 42-43 hours of graduate credit is required for graduation.

Specific Course Requirements

Core courses are designed to provide students with perspectives of several disciplines on how to evaluate and improve public policy. The premise is that we should be aiming at good public policy, and that can only be attained by understanding both the policy making process and the methods of studying policy, particularly the tools of economics and political science, ethics and philosophy, cost-benefit analysis, policy evaluation, and rational choice theory, among others. With the approval of a program advisor, students will have additional flexibility in fulfilling the requirements of the core by electing comparable, available courses in other units.

Core Courses
PPOL 501Research Methods3
PPOL 502Pol Env of Public Policy3
PPOL 503Economics and Public Policy3
PPOL 504Rational Choice3
PPOL 505Ethics in Public Policy &Admin3
PPOL 506Program Evaluation3
PPOL 507Cost-Benefit Analysis3
PPOL 508Project Writing 11
Policy Related Electives
Select 21 credit hours21
Thesis/Project Requirements
Each student is expected to complete a master’s project to demonstrate that he or she has the ability to analyze and design improvements in public policy. Students will have two basic ways of satisfying this requirement.
Non-Thesis Option 2
Thesis Option (six hours) 3
Total Credit Hours43
1

Required for those pursuing Non-Thesis Option.

2

This plan calls for the generation of four specific policy-related papers/class projects in different courses. This project is integrated into the entire curriculum from the onset. The PPOL 508 Project Writing course provides the capstone course in which the fourth and final required paper is produced, integrating previous papers into a final policy-oriented study.

3

A committee of three faculty members selected by the student and program director oversees thesis work. The research plan is approved at a proposal meeting, after which the student conducts the proposed research and data analysis. On completion of the thesis, the student must present and successfully defend the thesis at an oral examination before his committee.

Policy Related Electives

Each student in the program is expected to take twenty-one credit hours of additional policy-related courses available across the campus. Relevant policy courses in such areas as economics, health, foreign relations, the environment, social welfare, and criminal justice (among others) are offered intermittently and can be found in the Schedule of Courses and in the Graduate Catalog. Students, however, should note that some courses have required prerequisites that must be taken before enrolling in a course. Moreover, enrollment in courses offered by other graduate programs such as the MPA, the MBA, or the MS in Health Psychology may not always be available. Students should consult each semester with the program director for the time and semester of core course offerings as well as the availability of electives in other graduate programs.

PPOL 500     Economic Theory and Policy     3 Credit Hours

This course provides an intensive and comprehensive introduction to economics for students entering the Masters in Public Policy program. Topics covered include a range of microeconomic and macroeconomic concepts, issues, and techniques with a special focus on the application of economics to public policy. (YR)

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Post-baccalaureate NCFD or Post-baccalaureate Cert only or Graduate

PPOL 501     Research Methods     3 Credit Hours

All students must begin with Research Methods, a course that provides an overview of the scientific method, methods of ethical analysis, methods of research design, widely used statistical methods, and specific means of social observation such as survey research.

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Post-baccalaureate NCFD or Post-baccalaureate Cert only or Graduate

PPOL 502     Pol Env of Public Policy     3 Credit Hours

This course examines how policy making occurs in our political system: the roles of community leaders, citizens, scientists and experts in the policy process; the stages of policy formulation, agenda setting, legislative action, administration of policy, and judicial oversight of the policy process; and the pros and cons of various ways of making policy, including cost-benefit analysis, democratic deliberation by informed citizens, the interest group process, and legal-judicial activism.

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Post-baccalaureate NCFD or Post-baccalaureate Cert only or Graduate

PPOL 503     Economics and Public Policy     3 Credit Hours

In this course students will review basic neoclassical economic theory and learn to apply it to the analysis of public policy issues. Economics offers important insights into the behavior of businesses, consumers, and government entities. We will review key economic concepts, applying each to an array of public policy questions. Next we'll evaluate resource allocation via the market system and consider how public policy might address situations where the market fails to produce desirable results. Lastly, we'll learn about the basic tools economists use to evaluate pubic policies.

Prerequisite(s): (ECON 201 and ECON 202) or PPOL 500

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Post-baccalaureate Cert only or Post-baccalaureate NCFD or Graduate
Cannot enroll if College is Engineering and Computer Science

PPOL 504     Rational Choice     3 Credit Hours

Good public policy requires that leaders make sound decisions. A good choice is a rational choice, so the study of rational choice is central to good policy making and to policy studies. This course examines the literature on rational choice, with an emphasis on more practical and applied studies that can aid practitioners who are trying to make rational decisions that will benefit communities. (OC)

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Post-baccalaureate Cert only or Post-baccalaureate NCFD or Graduate

PPOL 505     Ethics in Public Policy &Admin     3 Credit Hours

This course critically examines ethical issues encountered by public administrators and policymakers. It examines ethical considerations related to managing people and other organizational resources and designing and implementing public policy. It seeks to help students identify, understand, and deal effectively with the ethical dimensions of leadership in the public and nonprofit sectors.

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Post-baccalaureate Cert only or Post-baccalaureate NCFD or Graduate
Can enroll if Level is Professional Development or Graduate or Rackham

PPOL 506     Program Evaluation     3 Credit Hours

Program Evaluation focuses on how particular policies and programs can be evaluated to assess how well they are working and whether they are attaining their goals. A required core MPP course.

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Post-baccalaureate NCFD or Post-baccalaureate Cert only or Graduate

PPOL 507     Cost-Benefit Analysis     3 Credit Hours

The course focuses on the various techniques used in cost-benefit analysis, the strengths and weaknesses of these techniques, and case studies illustrating the practical problems involved in such analyses.

Prerequisite(s): PPOL 503

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Post-baccalaureate NCFD or Post-baccalaureate Cert only or Graduate
Can enroll if Level is Professional Development or Graduate or Rackham

PPOL 508     Project Writing     1 Credit Hour

Required only for students not writing a Master's thesis, the course is designed to produce a capstone paper that demonstrates the student's ability to integrate previous policy papers (three) into a final coherent overview of a policy area. This course is required only of students electing the course-only Plan A.

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Post-baccalaureate NCFD or Post-baccalaureate Cert only or Graduate
Can enroll if Level is Professional Development or Graduate or Rackham

PPOL 551     Environmental Econ and Policy     3 Credit Hours

Environmental policy at all levels of government is of increasing importance. This course uses the tools of economics to examine government policy related to pollution, natural resources, and other environmental issues. Topics covered in this course include externalities, common property, public goods, and the optimum use of depletable natural resources. The role of cost-benefit analysis as a part of the decision-making process is also examined.

Prerequisite(s): PPOL 503

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Post-baccalaureate NCFD or Post-baccalaureate Cert only or Graduate

PPOL 552     Michigan Econ Environment     3 Credit Hours

This course will provide students with an overview of the Michigan economy by highlighting key issues and challenges facing the regional economy. In addition, students will be instructed in how to locate economic data sources and how to utilize economic data. Current policy debates and proposals will be introduced and evaluated. Topics include the decline of manufacturing employment, income and wealth inequality, education policy and the knowledge/innovation economy, land use policy, and alternative economic policies including social entrepreneurship, third-sector economics, community economy movements and advocacy planning. The economic environment of Ontario will also be explored as a comparative case study.

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Graduate

PPOL 560     Science, Tech & Pub Policy     3 Credit Hours

This course explores the intersection of science, technology, and public policy. Scientific knowledge and technological innovations are exceptionally powerful resources for policy-makers and for societies; they also pose great challenges and risks. This course will look at how science and technology affect the pursuit of policy goals in areas such as public health, environmental sustainability, economic growth, and national security. Students will not receive credit for more than one of POL 460, POL 560, and PPOL 560.

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Post-baccalaureate NCFD or Post-baccalaureate Cert only or Graduate
Can enroll if Level is Graduate or Rackham or Professional Development

PPOL 581     Terrorism & US Intl Security     3 Credit Hours

The United States responded to the events of September 11, 2001 with a series of unprecedented action under the umbrella of homeland security and the ?War on Terror.? This course examines American National security policy by asking a few key questions: What is terrorism and how does it threaten the United States? How has the United States responded to the threat of terrorism over time? What have the consequences of US policy been to date? Finally, how would we balance a desire for security with our desire for civil liberties and ethical action?

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Level is Graduate or Rackham

PPOL 587     Comparative Enviro Policy     3 Credit Hours

This course explores environmental policy as a result of political processes involving diverse participants and entailing movement through several stages ? from defining an issue as an environmental problem to placing it on political agenda and then receiving a response at domestic governmental or international levels. This course analyzes environmental issues from a cross-cultural and comparative perspective, with a particular attention given to political institutions, political change, levels of development, political culture, public participation, and international commitments that shape the nature and dynamics of environmental politics and policy in different countries. Additional reading assignments or projects will distinguish this course from its undergraduate version.

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Post-baccalaureate NCFD or Post-baccalaureate Cert only or Graduate

PPOL 680     Internship     1 to 6 Credit Hours

Students who desire practical experience in the area of public policy will be afforded the opportunity to gain the experience in the internship. The class and the number of hours will be arranged to fit the needs of the students, subject to approval by the program coordinator.

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Post-baccalaureate Cert only or Post-baccalaureate NCFD or Graduate
Can enroll if Level is Rackham or Graduate or Professional Development

PPOL 690     Topics in Public Policy     3 Credit Hours

Public policy topics of current interest. Topics vary from term to term.

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Post-baccalaureate NCFD or Post-baccalaureate Cert only or Graduate

PPOL 698     Directed Study in Pub Pol     1 to 3 Credit Hours

This course will permit students to take subjects not currently offered in regular courses but within the capacity of existing faculty. To be elected only with the permission of the program director and an instructor.

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Post-baccalaureate NCFD or Post-baccalaureate Cert only or Graduate
Can enroll if Level is Professional Development or Rackham or Graduate

PPOL 699     Master's Thesis     1 to 6 Credit Hours

MPP students electing the thesis option in the last stage of the program will work under the general supervision of a member of the graduate faculty in CAS&L, but will plan and carry out the work independently. The MPP Program Director must approve a prospectus of the thesis before the student registers for the course. The student will defend the completed thesis before a panel of program faculty.

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Graduate
Can enroll if College is Arts, Sciences, and Letters

 
*

An asterisk denotes that a course may be taken concurrently.

Frequency of Offering

The following abbreviations are used to denote the frequency of offering: (F) fall term; (W) winter term; (S) summer term; (F, W) fall and winter terms; (YR) once a year; (AY) alternating years; (OC) offered occasionally