Master of Public Policy

The Humphrey School’s Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree program is one of the best in the country, attracting students who are committed to public service at the local, state, national, and international levels. The mission of the Master of Public Policy program is to prepare professionals with specialized skills and knowledge to advance the common good in a range of public policy issues and in management of organizations in a diverse world.

The MPP degree brings together political science, economics, statistics, management, and other social science disciplines to shape policies and programs around the globe. The vast majority of our MPP students complete their graduate program in two years.

Students in the MPP degree program benefit from the Humphrey School's expertise in global policy, leadership and management, politics and governance, social policy and analysis, and urban and regional planning.

View application requirements

Positions Our Graduates Hold

  • Deputy Mission Director, USAID/West Africa, Ghana
  • Director of Programs, Fund for Global Human Rights, Thailand
  • Foreign Affairs Officer, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC
  • Managing Director, Congressional Relations, U.S. Government Accountability Office
  • State Representative, Minnesota House of Representatives
  • President, Minnesota Council on Foundations
  • Executive Vice President, National MS Association, Chicago

Dual Degree Offerings

  • MPP/JD, Law School
  • MPP/MBA, Carlson School of Management
  • MPP/MPH, School of Public Health
  • MPP/MSW, School of Social Work

Humphrey School dual degree options


The Master of Public Policy (MPP) requires 45 semester credits, including approximately 22–23 credits in core courses, a 3-course concentration (9 credits minimum), and a course to fulfill the professional paper requirement. The remaining credits are taken in elective courses. A 400-hour professional internship also is required, unless you are exempted based on relevant previous employment.

The program is designed to be completed in two years. The majority of courses are taught in the classroom, although a few are offered either online or in a combined online/classroom format.

Required Core Courses (22–23 credits)

Three or more credits from the following courses: 

Foundational Methods (10 credits)*:

six credits from the following courses
credits must include:

*Note: Students can also complete the 10-credit Foundational Methods requirement by taking PA 5041 plus PA 5032 or PA 5044 (in addition to PA 5031 or PA 5045).
Check concentration planning lists because some concentrations require specific core courses.

Electives (to bring total degree credits to at least 45)

Professional Paper
Your professional paper applies the methods, approaches, and perspectives studied in the curriculum to a real-world policy or management problem. The resulting professional paper includes an analysis of the issues and policy recommendations or discussions of the implications of the analysis. You may complete the professional paper through a Capstone Workshop (PA 8081) or Master's: Professional Paper (PA 8921). You are welcome to read some completed professional papers.

Program Planning Worksheet
The Program Planning Worksheet (PPW) helps current students plan their degrees from start to finish. Students must submit a completed and approved PPW before graduating.

Dual Degree Opportunities
By choosing a dual-degree, you can complete a Humphrey School degree and another University of Minnesota graduate or professional degree in less time (typically one year less) than it would take to complete the two degrees separately.

We offer dual degrees with the University of Minnesota Law School, School of Social Work, School of Public Health, and Carlson School of Management. 

Concentrations: Pre-Designed

In addition to the required core courses, MPP students select a set of additional concentration courses and experiences that provide an integrated portfolio of professional preparation. View all MPP concentration planning forms.

Advanced Policy Analysis Methods
Gender & Public Policy
Global Public Policy
Politics & Governance
Public & Nonprofit Leadership & Management
Science, Technology, & Environmental Policy
Social Policy

Concentrations: Self-Designed

Students can deepen their professional interests by creating an interdisciplinary concentration that combines courses from two or more existing concentrations as well as courses from various departments across the University. Students provide a cohesive rationale for the several themes that tie coursework together into a coherent primary concentration.

Students pursuing this concentration should consult with their advisors and review the self-designed concentration form to understand the rationale and approval that is required for this concentration. The form also includes tips for choosing courses in a self-designed concentration.

Students are encouraged to investigate the many research centers at the Humphrey School and throughout the University to find a match for professional interests.

Completion Rate and Placement

Completion Rates: Of MPP students who matriculated in the 2013-14 academic year, 57 percent (including full-time and part-time students) completed the degree in two years and 83 percent graduated within four years.

Placement Rates: For MPP students graduating during the 2017-18 academic year, 98 percent reported employment in the field within six months of graduation*. For the 2017-18 graduates, 37 percent went into public sector employment, 39 percent reported jobs in the non-profit sector, 18 percent went to work in the private sector, 6 percent work as staff in academia, and 6 percent continued their education.

*Of the 78 MPP graduates in 2017-18, 75 responded to our survey, showing:

  • Continuing their education: 7
  • Available for employment: 68
    • Employed: 67 (98.5%)
    • Seeking employment: 1 (1.5%)

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