The Master in Public Policy (MPP) provides an interdisciplinary understanding of societal problems and their potential solutions. Our students gain a command of public policy analysis and an applied understanding of the various institutional contexts in which public policy is developed and implemented.

Drawing on expertise and courses in the School of Management, College of Arts & Sciences, Library Sciences, Social Work, and Nursing and Health Sciences, you'll develop a well-rounded view on public policy in the United States. You'll refine your focus and sharpen your skills through independent research and an internship in the field.  

Alumni of our program go on to rewarding careers as policy analysts for government or the private sector, legislative aides to national, state and local policymakers, budget analysts, research associates at think tanks and policy institutes, policy specialists at advocacy organizations and direct services agencies and work on public policy creation and implementation. They're also well-prepared for law school and PhD programs in public policy, political science, economics and sociology.

Program Requirements

The 11 course MPP program is composed of core requirements, electives, an internship (which can be waived based on work experience), and a capstone project. Core requirements include courses on policy analysis and theory, and social and economic policy. Electives are drawn from the multiple schools and disciplines at Simmons, and include Organizational and Information Ethics, Health Care Policy & Politics, Philanthropy, and Policy & Fundraising. Possible internship sites may include legislative and executive offices, think tanks, and advocacy organizations. In their final semester, students complete a Capstone Project — an independent research and analysis project pertaining to a topic of their choosing. A full course load is three courses per semester. The program may be completed in one academic year, including summer study, or may be extended for students wishing to enroll in the program part-time.

Required Coursework

MPP 501 Policy Analysis and Theory
This goal of this course is to provide students with a set of frameworks for analyzing the political environment of public policy and policy research, and to practice forming effective strategies for policy analysis, program evaluation, policy design, and advocacy. In other words, this course will enhance our understanding of what happens in the policy process when policies are formulated and implemented and our participation in the policy process. We will look at translating policy research into policy and the intersection of policy analysis and politics as well as policy issues, both historical and modern.

MPP 502 Social Policy Analysis
This course examines social welfare programs and policies that affect the nonelderly poor in the U.S., emphasizing how they have evolved over the last five decades and how they might be reformed so as to further reduce poverty. The course emphasizes understanding what we know from social science research about the strengths and weaknesses and the intended and unintended effects of these policies and how they are influenced by and how they affect labor market outcomes and family structure. The course begins by addressing some basic questions about the nature of poverty and the scope of current social welfare programs. What does it mean to be poor in the U.S. today? How do the extent of poverty and the scope of social welfare programs in the U.S. compare to those in other industrialized countries? We then assess the trajectory of social policy in the US.

MPP 503 Economic Policy Analysis

Focusing on a series of specific cases that exemplify the range of current economic policies, the course examines the various policies through a framework that: examines th policy's rationale, actual methods, and actual effects; evaluates the desirability of the effects; and considers alternative approaches. Specific cases reviewed aim to be representative of the range of current economic policies and will also depend on anticipated interests of students. Introduction to Microeconomics is a prerequisite of this course.

MPP 504 Quantitative Methods

This course introduces students to multivariate statistical methods for public policy analysis, covering multiple regression, logistic regression, and power analysis. Students will use SPSS, a statistical package for the social sciences. College level Introduction to Statistics is a prerequisite of this course.

MPP 505 Capstone
Students will work to design and analyze a substantive policy issue and present findings in response to a project scope of work. It is the culmination of a student's graduate work. This course is a capstone of a student's graduate education and an introduction into the professional practice of public policy analysis. During the semester, you will draw on the tools and expertise garnered from prior coursework to analyze one or more important public policy problems. On the basis of that analysis, the student will then develop recommendations for dealing with those problems to a client official or agency. All projects available for this semester are for real clients, addressing real policy issues. You will be expected to complete the project on time, demonstrating high, professional standards and apply skills in problem definition, issue framing, collection of data and information, interviewing, selection and analysis of alternatives, presentation of findings and recommendations, design of implementation tools, and report writing.

Possible Electives for Master in Public Policy

Please note: This list is not exhaustive and courses should be selected in conjunction with your advisor. Also, not all courses are offered every semester and sometimes course names and numbers change. Consult the respective schools' academic catalog for updated information.

School of Management

  • GSM 412 Business, Government and the Global Economy
  • GSM 455 Leading Individuals and Groups
  • GSM 470 Negotiation and Conflict Management
  • GSM 529 Marketing for Non-Profit Organizations and Social Change
  • GSM 560 Financial Management in Non-Profit Organizations
  • GSM 563 Philanthropy, Policy and Fundraising
  • GSM 570 Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • MSMG 465 Issues Management
  • MSMG 422 Communications Across Cultures

Library and Information Science

  • LIS 475 Organizational and Information Ethics
  • LIS 493 Intellectual Freedom

Health Care Administration

  • HCA 502 Health Law, Ethical Analysis and Social Values
  • HCA 504 Health Economics
  • HCA 524 Health Care, Law, and Ethics
  • HCA 545 Health Care Policy and Politics

College of Arts and Sciences

  • GEDUC 502 The Law and Education Policy
  • SOCI 521 Sociology of Food
  • SOCI 545 Health Systems and Policy

Social Work

  • SW 409 Realities of Racism and Oppression in Today's World
  • SW 459 Child and Family Policy
  • SW 463 Advocacy and Social Action with Disabilities and Illness
  • SW 509 Evaluation of Social Work Practice
  • SW 523 Advocacy and Social Action
  • SW 533 International Social Work
  • SW 538 Radical Social Action
  • SW 554 Social Action and Health
  • SW 577 Introduction to Social Work with Groups
  • SW 583 Social Action and Gerontology
  • SW 598 Susan Schechter Seminar on Domestic Violence
    Ben Cole
    • Benjamin Cole
    • Asst. Professor, Political Science & Int'l. Relations
    • Phone: 617-521-2494
    • Office: E203F
    Valerie Leiter
    • Valerie Leiter
    • Department Chair and Professor of Sociology, Affiliate Faculty of Public Health
    • Phone: 617-521-2217
    • Office: C205A
    Zinnia Mukherjie
    • Zinnia Mukherjee
    • Assistant Professor, Economics
    • Phone: 617-521-2582
    • Office: E203J
    Catherine Paden
    • Catherine Paden
    • Associate Provost and Dean of the Undergraduate Program
    • Phone: 617-521-2501
    • Office: C219
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