USC Price School of Public Policy

Academic Approach

IPPAM incorporates a multidisciplinary approach suited to addressing the complex and interrelated nature of social issues. To serve the wide range of specialization areas supported in the curriculum, the program builds linkages across different schools within the University. Elective courses may be taken in:

  • the School of Policy, Planning and Development
  • one of several other schools such as the Rossier School of Education, the Annenberg School for Communication and the School of Pharmacy

» Faculty
» IPPAM Program Purpose and Objectives
» Cost–Effective and Learning Effective
» Program Rationale


Faculty members are drawn from a number of different institutions within and outside USC to take advantage of the academic resources within the greater Southern California region. Faculty from UCLA has taught in the program as has researchers from RAND, a large public policy think tank.

In addition to academic faculty, IPPAM draws on professionals in the social and corporate sectors to bring practical, hands–on experience into the classroom. Adjunct faculty have included:

  • international development consultants for the Asian Development Bank and World Bank
  • hospital and insurance managers
  • business consultants
  • civil servants
  • government leaders
  • nonprofit managers

IPPAM Program Purpose and Objectives

IPPAM strengthens the university’s ability to provide educational programs that meet the particular needs of developing countries. The interdisciplinary focus of the program addresses the core need for management, planning, and policy analysis for the social sectors.

The program’s objectives are to:

  • broaden understanding of the forces driving social change.
  • provide the skills and tools for designing and influencing public policy.
  • provide knowledge and skills for leading and managing organizational change, with emphasis on analytical and problem–solving approaches.
  • introduce new concepts and perspectives for the effective and strategic management of public and social sector programs.
  • stimulate new ideas and thinking regarding the fundamental role of government, the growth of the nonprofit sector and mechanisms for more effectively serving social needs

Cost–Effective and Learning Effective

IPPAM provides:

  • an accelerated program that can be completed in 13 months to minimize the time participants are away from their jobs
  • International Data Center containing recent household surveys, census, and other data for use in projects
  • a practical approach that blends academic knowledge with real world applications using data from Pacific Rim countries
  • problem-solving orientation that teaches how to approach program design, implementation and evaluation
  • structured discussion labs to provide students with opportunities to apply course lessons to home country problems and to bring in issues drawn from their work experiences
  • opportunities to meet policymakers, distinguished speakers, and prominent managers to share real experiences

Program Rationale

The social sectors of developing countries are undergoing significant growth and restructuring. As countries develop economically, they shift their emphasis from development of physical infrastructure to one that includes development of social infrastructure and investment in human resources. Many developing countries are now reaching the stage of economic development where increasing resources are being allocated to the social sectors. As investment in social sectors increases, there is a growing need for well–trained managers and planners to undertake new responsibilities and develop new social programs.

These changes are generating demand for new types of managers and planners who are being challenged to develop and manage new, larger social programs with greater economic impacts. The advent of globalization, rapid economic growth and decentralization is leading to new areas in public policy analysis, administration and management, as well as new kinds of research and a changing knowledge base. A growing research base in the literature combines the necessary disciplines needed to address social policy problems and issues of developing countries. This knowledge base is emerging from the combination and application of several different areas applied to developing countries, including development economics, epidemiology, systems analysis, management, and public policy research.

There is general agreement that graduate programs at universities in the U.S. have much to offer to students from other countries. At the same time, there is concern that the U.S.–based programs emphasize institutional knowledge specific to American settings. IPPAM offers a curriculum that builds analytical skills using applications that are directly relevant to the international student.