Public Policy

Simmons University’s Master of Science in Public Policy (MPP) Degree provides an interdisciplinary understanding of complex, ever-evolving societal problems and their potential solutions. The MPP degree builds analytical skills and data-driven research ability to better serve local, national, and global communities.

Students sitting in class

Why Study Public Policy at Simmons?

Simmons MPP students are passionate about making a difference. Through this master’s degree, they gain a command of public policy analysis and an applied understanding of the various surrounding institutional contexts. This fosters their ability to bring about positive change from policy development through to its implementation, understanding completely the impact of their work on all levels of society.

The 11-course Master’s in Public Policy degree can be taken through full- or part-time study with most students completing the degree within two years. Its dynamic curriculum draws on courses in economics, quantitative methods, political science, and sociology, providing students with an interdisciplinary foundation that leads to deeper, more substantive policy analysis. Accentuated by elective courses in the College of Social Sciences, Policy, and Practice, the MPP degree provides an integrated, well-rounded perspective of public policy in the United States. Explore the full course breakdown below in the Program Requirements section.

The MPP degree also includes both an internship experience and capstone project that challenge students to put in-classroom theory into action to strategize effective policy solutions grounded firmly in data analysis. Each of these hands-on learning experiences help students refine their academic focus and skill set as they work diligently for real clients to address their public policy challenges.

Simmons students have the unique benefit of being located in Boston, a lively hub of innovation in government, academics, and medicine. This provides endless, meaningful internship placement locations as well as access to future employment opportunities and networking opportunities.

Program Learning Objectives

Students receiving an MPP degree will be skilled in multi-dimensional policy analysis, as defined by the following:

  • An understanding of the factors that influence the direction of government action
  • An understanding of the “tools” available to address policy problems
  • An understanding of the effects of government action
  • An understanding of the various constituencies that influence how policy is made and the theoretical underpinnings of real life policy choices

Beyond the coursework, MPP students also develop essential skills needed to be successful in the public policy field, including written and verbal communication, public speaking, conflict resolution, interpersonal management, problem solving, and decision making ability.

MPP Career Outlook

Simmons MPP graduates go on to make an impactful difference in the world. They are experienced leaders capable of creating and implementing policy solutions to society’s most pressing problems.

Our graduates have pursued rewarding careers in government, the private sector, nonprofit organizations, and advocacy centers, assuming important positions such as:

  • Policy Analyst
  • Government Relations Manager/Advocate
  • Advancement Officer
  • City Manager or Councilor
  • Nonprofit Research Analyst
  • Legislative Aide

Some students also opt to continue their education and further specialize in their area of professional interest by pursuing a law degree or Ph.D. program in public policy, political science, economics, and sociology.

MPP Admission Requirements

Students interested in applying to the MPP degree program must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, achieving at least a B (3.0) average. All students must successfully complete a college level course in Statistics as well as Introduction to Microeconomics.

Applicants must submit the following items to be considered for admission:

  • Online Application
  • Official Transcript(s) of all undergraduate and graduate-level courses taken
  • $35 Non-refundable Application Fee
  • Current résumé
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Two Letters of Recommendation (One from Academic Source)
  • Academic or Policy-based Writing Sample

Learn more about the MPP application process, including upcoming admission deadlines.

Lead the Development of Impactful Public Policy

Simmons University’s Master of Science in Public Policy degree is the ideal fit for students seeking to put their analytical skills into practice to strategize effective, data-driven policy solutions that address issues occurring in their communities.

Ready to get started? Request more information or apply now!

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 multiple schools and disciplines at Simmons, and include Advocacy and Social Action, Dynamics of Racism & Oppression, and Health Systems & Policy.

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. Most MPP students study on a part-time basis, taking two courses per semester to complete the degree in two years.

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 the 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.

MPP 570 Internship
Students must complete a one semester internship. Student with prior work experience in public policy arenas will have the option to waive the internship requirement by petitioning the program director. Possible internship sites include, but are not limited to, legislative and executive offices, think tanks, and advocacy organizations.

Possible Electives for Master in Public Policy

Course offerings vary by semester and course numbers may change.

  • AST 529 Race, Culture, Identity, and Achievement
  • AST 536 Narratives of Oppression, Resistance & Resiliency
  • LIS 475 Organizational and Information Ethics
  • LIS 493 Intellectual Freedom and Censorship
  • MSMG 407 Financial Aspects of Business
  • MSMG 408 Strategic Management and Marketing
  • MSMG 440 Creativity and Innovation
  • MSMG 442 Project Management
  • POLS 435 Transgender Politics and Freedom
  • POLS 556 Feminist International Relations
  • SOCI 500 Plagues, Epidemics, and Society
  • SOCI 521 Sociology of Food
  • SOCI 530 Transnational Studies
  • SOCI 539 Community Research
  • SOCI 545 Health Systems & Policy
  • SOCI 547 Antiracism and Justice Work
  • SW 403 Social Policy & Social Work in Organizations and Communities
  • SW 409 Dynamics of Racism & Oppression
  • SW 523 Advocacy and Social Action
  • SW 590 Social Action

Ready to take the next step? We'll guide you through the requirements and deadlines — and get you started on your way.

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Our Faculty

Ben Cole

Benjamin Cole

  • Social Sciences Division Director and Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations