USC Price School of Public Policy

Master of Public Policy


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The Master of Public Policy (MPP) Program

MPP Program

Policy analysts inform and shape the public mandates and strategies that improve life for residents in all communities. Working within a complex system of governance, professionals partner with peers and colleagues in government, business, and the nonprofit sector to find innovative solutions to societal problems and challenges. Their work covers a wide range of fields, including social and urban services, environmental sustainability, economic development, international affairs and trade, health, education, transportation, and homeland security. Policy analysts confront many of today’s most significant social issues, such as:

  • How can business, government, and the nonprofit sector collaborate to develop sustainable economic development strategies?
  • How can urban policy makers assure adequate and affordable housing in congested urban areas?
  • What technological investments and behavioral changes are needed to redress climate change?
  • What can schools do to help reverse the childhood obesity epidemic?
  • What role can the philanthropic sector play in fostering community capacity in low-income neighborhoods?
  • How can local governments more meaningfully engage community members in policy making and planning?

In the MPP program, students are taught to develop “knowledge in action.” The professional focus ensures that students will have the analytical skills, theoretical context, and background to be successful in our rapidly changing, globalizing world. In addition to classroom work, students engage clients directly through the school’s Policy Analysis Practicum. Internships generally are paid and may be completed during the school year or in the summer.

What makes the MPP program so unique?

USC Price’s Master of Public Policy (MPP) program is renowned for bringing together leaders from business, government, and the nonprofit sector to design solutions to public problems. It offers a comprehensive degree that integrates public policy leadership, analysis, evaluation, and management. Core courses and specialized electives provide students with in-depth knowledge of the policy issues they care most about. Through coursework, interaction with faculty, and practical experience, MPP students gain awareness of the political environment in which policy decisions are made, and develop an understanding of the effects that decisions have on government, business, and the community. Size that allows one-on-one access to full-time faculty.

Distinctive features

  • Faculty members who engage students in meaningful research and civic engagement
  • Integrated analysis and leadership development
  • Instruction in a broad range of analytical skills
  • Practical, real-world experience and career support

  From the MPP Director:

We are facing a multitude of critical challenges — globally, nationally, and locally. The need for educated public policy professionals has never been greater, nor the field more rewarding. MPP students learn to apply analytical and quantitative skills to complex issues and develop leadership talent to employ solutions.

PainterProfessor Gary Painter
Director, Graduate Programs in Public Policy