The USC Price MPP’s interdisciplinary curriculum builds the skills and knowledge base required of a professional policy analyst. This training positions our graduates to be successful and impactful in a broad range of positions in not only the public sector but also the private and nonprofit sectors.
The Master of Public Policy degree requires 48 units of graduate work: 20 units of core courses, the 4-unit Policy Analysis Practicum, and 24 additional units divided between analytic and specialization electives. The core coursework ensures that all Price MPPs develop the essential toolkit of an adept policy practitioner, with a focus on analytical skills as well as policy processes and institutions. Elective courses allow students to deepen their skills and expertise in particular analytic methods and policy areas of their choosing.
The Policy Analysis Practicum is a distinctive component of the Price MPP. Students choose from a variety of client projects that the program recruits annually to align with the policy interests of each student cohort. Under the supervision of faculty advisers who provide additional training throughout the year, students work in small groups on a two-semester project whose scope is developed in collaboration with the client. Students complete extensive research and analysis and ultimately provide detailed recommendations through a written report and client presentation. The Practicum reinforces and integrates, through application, the skills developed in the MPP program, while providing policy analytic service to a community organization, firm, or public agency in addressing a policy dilemma or challenge. This experience requires students to confront the complexities of conducting rigorous policy analytic research under political and organizational constraints, and provides opportunities to practice professional skills in client relations and team management.
• PPD 503 – Economics for Public Policy
• PPD 554 – Foundations of Policy Analysis
• PPD 555 – Public Policy Formulation and Implementation
• PPD 558 – Multivariate Statistical Analysis
• PPD 560 – Methods for Policy Analysis
Students complete 8 units of analytic electives and 16 units of specialization electives. In addition to the preapproved courses listed below, students may also petition to use other relevant courses from Price or other academic units throughout USC.
Additional policy courses of the student’s choosing are selected under the guidance of the public policy program administrator. Students have the ability to specialize in a particular substantive policy area by taking related courses (some popular specialization areas are identified below), but are free to design their own specializations by selecting any combination of eligible courses, or they may choose to complete electives from multiple policy areas without a specialization.