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

MPP Curriculum An interdisciplinary curriculum—drawn from economics, political science, sociology, operations research and law—builds the skills and knowledge base required of a professional policy analyst. Through coursework, research and field experience, students gain an understanding of the policy process and the institutions and individuals involved in that process.

The Master of Public Policy requires 48 units of graduate work, with 28 units of core and 24 elective units divided between management, analytic and specialization areas. (A course in basic statistics is a program prerequisite.) A broad array of electives allows and encourages students to delve deeply into a specific area of concentration. Students have substantial latitude in selecting an area of concentration that matches interests and furthers career goals.

A unique component of the public policy core — the Policy Analysis Practicum — provides students with hands-on experience in policy analysis. During the Practicum, students work with a client on a specific public policy issue, assess policy alternatives, write an official report, and communicate their findings and recommendations to the client.

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)
  • Intersectoral Leadership (PPD 500)
  • Management Elective (select to fit specialization area) — see below for more information


  • Practicum (PPD 561ab)


Students complete 4 units of a management elective, 8 units of an analytic elective 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 Elective (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)

The 12 units of electives in an area of policy specialization are selected by the students with the advice of the Program Administrator or the director of the MPP program.