Public Policy

Graduate Degrees: Ph.D., M.P.P.

Apply for Admission: December 3, 2018

Required Tests: GRE (general test)


The Goldman School of Public Policy (GSPP) offers three graduate degrees in public policy, the Master of Public Policy (MPP), the Master of Public Affairs (MPA), and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Master in Public Policy (MPP)

The MPP degree is earned in a two-year, full-time program consisting of a core curriculum, a policy internship in the summer after completion of the first year, a second-year policy analysis project, and elective courses chosen from those available on the campus and at GSPP. The program emphasizes practical and applied dimensions of policy-making and implementation, encouraging students to develop skills in:

  • Defining policy issues to make them more intelligible to officials in the public, private or non-profit sector
  • Providing a broader perspective for assessing policy alternatives
  • Examining techniques for developing policy options and evaluating their social consequences
  • Developing strategies for the successful implementation of public policies once they have been adopted

Given the relatively small class size, the school's approach to teaching emphasizes teamwork, cooperation, and interaction among students and with the faculty. Students work, either as individuals or in small groups, on real policy problems for real clients under close faculty supervision.

Concurrent Degrees

The Master in Public Policy may be earned in combination with an advanced degree from a number of Berkeley schools under a coordinated program. Applicants must be accepted to both programs to pursue a concurrent degree.

Master of Public Affairs (MPA)

The Berkeley Master of Public Affairs (MPA) is a flexible one-year degree program for domestic and international mid-career professionals with an average of seven years or more work experience and who have lead or managed teams. Emphasizing innovation and leadership skills, the MPA curriculum prepares mid-career executives and professionals to act as strategic and visionary leaders and advance their careers.

Please visit the school website for more information about the MPA.

PhD in Public Policy

GSPP offers a doctoral degree program for students who seek academic careers in policy research with universities or research institutes. The PhD program emphasizes the generation of knowledge, theories, methodologies, and applications appropriate to the advancement of public policy analysis and management. Doctoral students pursue highly individualized programs of study and typically work closely with school faculty members who share the student's subject matter interest.

Typically only two or three PhD applicants are admitted each year, including those admitted from the school’s MPP program. Non-Goldman School applicants who seek a policy research career and have completed graduate work in public policy comparable to our MPP are also eligible for admission consideration.

A thorough preparation in policy analysis skills is a prerequisite for the doctorate. Because there is no core program of study, the PhD committee prefers applicants to have completed an MPP degree or equivalent, either from the Goldman School or a similar institution. Applicants with a master’s degree in some other field usually must complete the MPP program at GSPP before applying for admission to the doctoral program.

Applicants who have a master’s degree in public policy from another school may be partially exempt from this requirement but may be asked to take certain first-year master’s level courses at GSPP not offered in other such programs.

Source: Berkeley Academic Guide

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