Academic Approach


IPPAM incorporates a multidisciplinary approach to addressing the complex 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 schools such as the USC Rossier School of Education, the USC Annenberg School for Communication and the USC 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 have taught in the program as have researchers from RAND, a leading public policy think tank.

In addition to academic faculty, IPPAM involves 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 distinctive needs of developing countries. The interdisciplinary focus of the program addresses the core need for management, planning, and policy analysis across the social sectors.

The program’s objectives are to:

  • broaden understanding of the forces that drive social change.
  • provide skills and tools for designing and influencing public policy.
  • provide knowledge and skills for leading organizational change, with emphasis on analytical and problem-solving approaches.
  • introduce new concepts and perspectives for effective management of public and social sector programs.
  • stimulate ideas on the role of government, the growth of the nonprofit sector, and mechanisms to more effectively serve social needs

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IPPAM provides:

  • a practical approach that blends academics with real-world applications using data from Pacific Rim countries
  • problem-solving orientation that teaches ways to approach program design, implementation and evaluation
  • structured discussion labs to apply course lessons to home country problems and to bring in issues drawn from work experiences
  • opportunities to meet policymakers, distinguished speakers, and prominent managers

Program Rationale

Many developing countries are now reaching a stage of economic development wherein increasing resources are being allocated to the social sectors. As investment in social sectors increases, there is growing need for well–trained managers and planners to undertake new responsibilities and develop new social programs.

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 relies on integrating a wide spectrum of disciplines that can more effectively 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.