USC Price School of Public Policy

Degree Requirements

The 28-unit curriculum (seven classes) is comprised of four core courses and three electives. The core courses are completed over a 14-month period in an intensive format. The three electives may be taken during the same 14-month period or after completing the core classes, thereby making it a two-year program.

The core classes are offered in an intensive format, which is highly interactive and is designed to accommodate the scheduling demands of working professionals. Each four-unit course meets for eight full days that are scheduled around weekends, typically in two or three blocks per semester, that meet approximately four weeks apart.


PPD 640 – Leadership Foundations: Competencies and Core Values (Summer)

An intensive introduction to leading through core values, which is focused on developing leadership skills at the personal level to build a foundation for leadership at all levels:

  • Acquire skills reflective of practice that bring clarity to situations of profound uncertainty.
  • Participate in self-assessment instruments and leadership case studies.
  • Examine leadership practices, identify effective influence techniques and motivational methods, and develop reliable communication strategies.
  • Increase negotiation competencies, move away from zero-sum approaches, and improve conflict management capabilities.

PPD 641 – Leading Individuals, Groups, and Teams (Fall)

Designed to improve the executive’s effectiveness in managing people:

  • Develop the skills needed to create and lead high-performing teams, departments, organizations, and networks.
  • Learn to build and maintain lasting partnerships, coalitions, and networks.
  • Utilize hands-on learning devices including role-plays, self-assessment inventories,in-class exercises, case studies, and discussions.

PPD 642 – Strategic Leadership of Organizations (Spring)

Structured around the idea that leading strategically involves the establishment of an organizational vision and the use of leadership processes to develop a strategic direction in order to mobilize stakeholder support for changes and to achieve organizational purposes:

  • Gain a better understanding of strategic analysis and performance measurement.
  • Become familiar with the principles and techniques of organizational learning.
  • Assess and evaluate organizational structures and networks.
  • Discover mechanisms to connect organizations to their environments.

PPD 643 – Leading Transformations Across Sectors (Summer)

Examines the mechanisms, structures, and processes necessary for leading transformations across organizational sectors and institutional boundaries:

  • Obtain insight and perspective on ethical and legal responsibility, advocacy, and authentic community and stakeholder engagement.
  • Develop competencies in negotiation, planning, communication, and management.
  • Attain skills for leading in non-hierarchical environments.
  • Examine methods and approaches that political, business, civic, and organizational leaders use to transform their communities, cities and/or regions.
  • Draw on case studies, negotiation exercises, and simulations to grow the skill sets needed for leading the design, management and evaluation of networks, partnerships, collaborations, public-private scenarios, and other multi-sectoral arrangements


Elective courses enrich your learning experience. EML students have access to numerous electives that are offered on a weekly and/or intensive basis. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Financial management, budgeting, or accounting
  • Policy formulation, communication, and implementation
  • Human resources
  • Strategic planning and management
  • International development
  • Transportation and urban planning
  • Participatory methods in planning and policy
  • Community and economic development
  • Contract management
  • Alternative dispute resolution
  • Homeland security and public policy
  • Geographic information systems
  • Information technology
  • Health management and policy
  • Organizational behavior
  • Political leadership and public administration advocacy