IPPAM Program Learning Objectives


The USC Price International Public Policy and Management program (IPPAM) is a masters degree program designed for mid-career international professionals and U.S. professionals with three or more years of prior experience or an interest in working an international setting. Students are broadly drawn from national and local government agencies, not-for-profit service providers, international business firms, educational settings, media organizations, and so forth. The students in each year’s cohort represent 10-12 different countries. Countries such as China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. are often represented. Other countries have included Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, UAE, Kuwait, Ethiopia, Chile, and Colombia.

The IPPAM curriculum combines the development of analytical skills to inform and assess policymaking and managerial skills to implement policies and programs and lead organizations. The curriculum consists of 32 units, which can be completed in 18 months to two years of study. The program duration depends on the background, educational goals, and career path of individual students as well as on the semester that a student first enters the program. Students complete 18 units of core courses (statistics, economics, policy analysis, program and policy evaluation, and a capstone course) and 14 units of electives chosen in an area of specialization. The specializations can be focused on particular sectors (health policy and management, environmental sustainability, urban infrastructure management, transportation planning, educational policy and management, international development, and international trade) or on areas of skill development (communicating public policy, public finance, negotiation and consensus building, analytical methods, leadership and management).

The IPPAM Program also organizes academic and professional enrichment activities such as opportunities to engage with international government officials and other distinguished professionals, seminars featuring student presentations under the guidance of faculty mentors, career development activities, team-building activities, mixers with other international students on campus (Sol Global in the Price School, international business students in the IBEAR Program, and international law students in the LLM), and social and cultural activities that feature the countries represented by students in the program.

By completing this program, students can expect to:

  • Understand the governing institutions and political processes involved in developing and implementing public policy at a national or subnational level; understand the forces that drive policy change; and recognize how public policy is formulated, implemented and evaluated
  • Have comparative knowledge of the demographics, governance and economics of various countries and understand how these differences frame the policy and market environment within countries
  • Understand the dynamics of policy formulation and negotiation at the international level and be able to represent one’s country in international forums, while taking into account how citizens and other non-state actors (businesses, media, advocacy groups) impact the process
  • Identify and define policy problems, analyze the determinants and consequences of a policy problem, comprehensively characterize the policy environment, design and assess options, and make actionable recommendations with sufficient specificity and detail to be of use to policy and decisionmakers
  • Exert strategic management and planning skills to effectively manage an organization or program, being cognizant of ethical and value concerns, and lead with sensitivity to the broader societal and institutional environment in which one’s organization is embedded
  • Be conversant in analytical methodologies and how to use country-specific data, survey data, or operational/administrative data to inform decisionmaking; Apply critical thinking skills and a problem solving approaches to assess problems and assimilate new information
  • Communicate effectively with decisionmakers and diverse stakeholders while representing an organization or program
  • Foster teamwork using negotiation and consensus-building skills and use collaborative skills to work across institutions, sectors or geographic boundaries
  • Create a valuable network of global peers in the IPPAM program cultivated through working together on course projects, shared learning, and social experiences