USC Price School of Public Policy

MPP Curriculum


At USC Price, you gain a rich understanding of all underlying theories and ideas, merged with their real-world, day-to-day execution. By the time you finish, you have a full picture of whatever your endeavor is.

GuineStephan Guine, MPP ’96
Systems Engineering Manager, Northrop Grumman

The Price MPP interdisciplinary curriculum — drawn from economics, political science, sociology, operations research and law — builds the skills and knowledge base required of a professional policy analyst.

The Master of Public Policy degree requires 48 units of graduate work: 28 units of core courses and 24 elective units divided between management, analytic, and specialization areas. Electives allow and encourage students to concentrate on area of particular interest.

A unique component of the public policy core is the Policy Analysis Practicum.  Students work with a client on a specific public policy issue, assess policy alternatives, write an official report, and communicate findings/recommendations to the client.

MPP Core Requirements

Analytical Skills

  • Economics for Policy, Planning, and Development (PPD 501ab)
  • Multivariate Statistical Analysis (PPD 558)
  • Methods for Policy Analysis (PPD 560)
  • Analytic Electives (select to fit specialization area) — see below for more information

Policy Processes and Institutions

  • Foundations of Public Policy Analysis (PPD 554)
  • Public Policy Formulation and Implementation (PPD 555)
  • Management Elective (select to fit specialization area) — see below for more information


  • Practicum (PPD 561ab)


Students complete one 4-unit management elective, 8 units of analytic electives, and 12 units of specialization electives.

Select Management Elective (4 units)

  • Public Financial Management and Budgeting (PPD 541)
  • Human Behavior in Public Organizations (PPD 545)
  • Financial Management of Nonprofit Organizations (PPDE 645)
  • Information Technology Management in the Public Sector (PPD 654)
  • Political Management: Theory and Applied Techniques (PPD 656)
  • Intergovernmental Management: State Perspective (PPD 662)
  • Strategic Planning in the Public Sector (PPD 673)
  • Nonprofit Management and Leadership (PPD 675)
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (PPD 690)

Select Analytic Electives (8 units)

  • Policy and Program Evaluation (PPD 542)
  • Modeling and Operations Research (PPD 557)
  • Risk Analysis (PPD 587)
  • Urban Demography and Growth (PPD 617)
  • Finance of the Public Sector (PPD 647)
  • Environmental Policy and Design Analysis (PPDE 660)
  • Methods for Equity Analysis (PPDE 661)
  • Social Network Analysis (PM 542)
  • Quantitative Methods and Statistics II (SOCI 621)
  • Survey Construction and Validation (COMM 650)

Specialization Electives (12 units)

Electives in an area of policy specialization are selected by students with the advice of the Program Administrator or the program chair of the MPP program.

Learn more about common specialization areas pursued by MPP students.