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Bachelor of Arts in Political Science +
Master of Arts in Public Policy

3+1 = a chance to effect political and social change

You care deeply about people and populations. And you want to use your vision, compassion, and intelligence to improve their lives. The 3+1 Public Policy Program will uniquely position you to make a difference — at local, national, and global levels.

Combining a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a Master of Arts in Public Policy, this highly interdisciplinary program is built on the belief that the political process can bring about social change.

Coursework in the first three years draws on Simmons's vigorous liberal arts curriculum to provide an excellent foundation in the social sciences: political science, economics, and sociology. Master's level coursework in public policy begins by the end of the third year and culminates in an intense and practical Capstone Project in Public Policy.

Using Boston's vibrant legislative, nonprofit, and advocacy resources as its classroom, the Capstone will blend the outstanding internships that distinguish Simmons with the opportunity to address real policy issues in a substantial written work.

You'll graduate with a command of public policy analysis and a deep understanding of the different contexts in which public policy is developed and implemented. You'll head out prepared to affect public good.

"The 3+1 Program is interdisciplinary, rigorous, and exciting. It's for students who want to understand the intersection between the private world of problems and the public world of politics — and to come up with solutions. The world needs more women in politics and policy,and Simmons is the place to make it happen."

- Associate Professor of Political Science and Associate Dean, Leanne Doherty, Ph.D., Coordinator of the 3+1 Public Policy Program at the Simmons College of Arts and Sciences

Who should apply?

The 3+1 Public Policy Program is designed for highly motivated students who are interested in running for public office, working in legislative offices on legislative policy, becoming involved in advocacy or nonprofit work, or pursuing a Ph.D. or law degree. You should enjoy analyzing complex problems and have strong interest in political science, economics, or sociology.

What are my job prospects?

The career outlook for graduates with advanced degrees in public policy is bright. According to the 2010-11 Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook, employment growth within the federal government is projected to grow much faster than average. The MPP degree qualifies you to work in many different capacities within government, as well as the nonprofit and private sectors.

What are my career options?

There are many rewarding routes you can take with this degree combination. Some possibilities include:

  • Policy analyst for government or the private sector
  • Legislative aide
  • National, state, or local policymaker
  • Budget analyst
  • Research associate at a think tank, policy institute, or other organizations that conduct research and engage in advocacy
  • Policy specialist at an advocacy organization, direct services agency, or other community resource that offers support and services

How does the curriculum work?

You will complete the 128 credits required for a B.A., including the courses required for your elected major, in your first three years. The Master in Public Policy degree requires 36 credits (12 courses).

Here's an example of how it will flow from start to finish:

Note: this chart represents a sample 3+1 curriculum. Course scheduling is subject to change, and the summer course load can be flexible. We will work with you individually to determine the best course sequence for your needs.

Year 1
Fall Term Spring Term
FYS 101 - First-Year Seminar: "Simmons 101" Mode 1, 2, or 4
FYW 101 - First-Year Writing MCC - Multidisciplinary Core Course
POLS101 (Mode 5) - Intro to American Politics POLS102 - Intro to International Relations
Mode 1, 2, or 4 ECON 100 - Principles of Microeconomics
Foreign Language Foreign Language
Summer I Summer II
UG Course UG Course
Year 2
Fall Term Spring Term
Mode 1, 2, or 4 Math 118 (Mode 3) - Statistics
POLS 103 (Mode 6) - Nature of Politics POLS 104 - Intro to Comparative Politics
Foreign Language ECON 239 - Government Regulation of Industry
UG POLS Course POLS 217 - American Public Policy
ECON 101 - Principles of Macroeconomics POLS 210N - National Politics Unplugged
Year 3
Fall Term Spring Term
POLS 212 - Politics Unplugged ECON 241 Business Competition and Anti-Trust Policy
ECON 236 - Public Economics UG POLS Course
POLS 390 - Senior Seminar UG Course
UG Course *POLS 370/570 Internship (8 Credits) (UG, BLEE, MPP)
POLS 213 - Politics in the Republic-Congress and the Presidency
Summer I Summer II
UG Course
Year 4
Fall Term Spring Term
*MPP 501 - Policy Analysis and Process *MPP 502 - Social Policy
*MPP 504 - Quantitative Analysis *MPP 503 - Economic Policy
MPP Elective MPP Elective
MPP Elective MPP Elective
MPP Elective *MPP 555 - Capstone

*Indicates a required core course in the MPP Program

Who will advise me?

Associate Professor Leanne Doherty, Ph.D., Chair of the Political Science & International Relations department, will oversee the 3+1 Political Science/Public Policy Program.

Close mentorship is vital to 3+1 success. You'll work one on one with your advisor throughout the program to ensure your progress and to meet your personal and professional goals.

To find out more about the program, contact Professor Doherty at