public policy, MPP

The Master of Public Policy (MPP) program allows students to approach the study of public policy with a focus on public policy in the urban setting.

The MPP program prepares students for professional careers as policy analysts and leaders in public service involved in the formulation, approval, implementation, and evaluation of public policy at all levels of government and in the private and non-profit sectors. It can also serve as a platform for preparation for doctoral studies in public policy, public administration, urban studies, or other related programs. 

Listed as one of the best graduate programs by US News & World Reportthe School of Public Affairs at ASU is ranked 13th overall in the country. The school is also ranked:

  • 4th City Management & Urban Policy
  • 5th Information Technology
  • 7th Environmental Policy 
  • 9th Nonprofit Management
  • 11th Public Finance 
  • 11th Public Management 

Rankings of master’s programs are based on a survey of 272 programs nationwide.

Students learn analytical techniques and conceptual frameworks for understanding policy issues and identifying potential solutions and applying these skills to real-world issues—especially relating to the needs of cities in the region. Students also gain an understanding of policies addressing issues such as poverty, education, the environment, and public safety.

The MPP program trains people capable of leading by making positive policy decisions, addressing the difficult questions associated with public policy, and managing the process of policy creation, approval, implementation, and evaluation. At the conclusion of the MPP program, students will be able to identify, analyze, and interpret the challenges and dilemmas of public policies, especially those facing urban areas. Students will also be able to approach policy analysis with a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods and be prepared to develop innovative processes and tools to deal with changing realities of public policy and address issues on a global, regional, and local scale.

program details

The Program of Study is the set of classes that is recognized by ASU, the Graduate College and the School of Public Affairs as sufficient to grant a degree. Programs of Study for the MPP total 42 hours of graduate credit and include core courses and approved electives. In order to graduate, each student must submit an Interactive Program of Study (or iPOS) using an online form once 18 credit hours have been scheduled. The Graduate Advisor will assist students in planning and completing the iPOS.

No more than nine credit hours of graduate courses taken before admission to the School and approved by a student’s supervisory committee can be included in the Program of Study. Students from institutions other than ASU may transfer a maximum of 9 credit hours to their SPA program. Any transfer credit must be approved by the MPA/MPP Director. Students have 6 years from the term of their first MPP class to complete the degree.

More information is available in the Graduate Student Guide.


Students enrolling in core MPA/MPP courses must demonstrate minimum competency in statistics and American Government. Prerequisites do not count toward the 42 hour degree programs. Students may be admitted prior to completion of the minimum competencies. Students admitted to the MPA or MPP program who have not satisfied one or both prerequisites will simply be required to do so by the end of their first semester of study.

Statistics – Competency in statistics is met with a grade of B or higher in one of the approved courses (PAF 301, POS 401, PSY 230, QBA 221, SWU 321, ECN 221, STP 226 or SOC 390) within the past two years or by passing a diagnostic test approved by the MPA/P Committee. Other courses taken within the last two years may be substituted upon approval of the MPA/P Director.

American Government – Competency in American government is a demonstrated understanding of American government institutions and processes. Students may be required to take an undergraduate class in American government (PAF 200, PAF 300, PAF 340, POS 110 or POS 310).

The CLEP Exam can be used to demonstrate competency in American government. Find out more about the CLEP or about taking the test at ASU.


The MPA and MPP degrees require students to demonstrate competency for public service or public policy by synthesizing and applying core knowledge, skills and abilities to public problems. Students demonstrate competency by earning an A or a B in the program capstone course. The capstone is an integrative clientbased applied project course, and is to be taken after completion of all core courses.


A public service internship is recommended for students without previous administrative experience in government. The internship is not a required component for any graduate program within the School of Public Affairs. However, students completing a concurrent degree should review all program requirements for all degrees sought. The purpose of the internship is to provide students with practical and professional experience in a specific career area. Students work in and for public organizations applying the skillset acquired in their program of study. During the internship experience, students can develop a professional network that will aid them in their pursuit of a career in government or nonprofit organizations. Students can apply three hours of internship credit to the degree program.