Master of Public Policy


Program Description

The purpose of the MPP program is to prepare students to analyze and evaluate information in order to address complex policy issues. Graduates from MPP programs are sought after analysts and leaders because of their ability to evaluate and synthesize large quantitative datasets using a variety of statistical tools coupled with an in-depth understanding of the institutional, social, economic and political context in which policy solutions are implemented.

Unlike the MPA degree, which focuses on management, finance, and budgeting, the MPP degree emphasizes policy analysis, statistics, and program evaluation. The program is ideal for students who complete undergraduate degrees in the social sciences and humanities who are seeking to strengthen their analytical skills, as well as those in the hard sciences who have an interest in public affairs and public service. Students in the MPP program can concentrate on a variety of specific policy areas including education, health, and planning. The majority of students with MPP degrees gain employment in the public sector (at all levels of government), though 20% are hired in the private sector and 20% in nonprofits.

The program is designed to be a professional degree, but it also prepares graduates for further educational opportunities. The MPP is an often-sought degree for those seeking a JD. Given its analytic focus and emphasis on research design and assessment of causal relationships, an MPP is also a useful pathway to Ph.D. programs in policy, administration, or in any of the specialization areas of health, education, and urban planning.


Degree Requirements

Students are required to complete a minimum of 54 credits to obtain the MPP. 38 credits are required core courses and 16 credits are elective. A thesis/dissertation is not required for graduation. Instead, students must complete a capstone project that integrates classroom learning with practical experience.

Required Courses (38 credits)

  • PA 401 – Foundations of Public Service (4 credit hours)
  • PA 402 – Principles of Data Analysis (4 credit hours)
  • PA 403 – Economics for Management and Policy (4 credit hours)
  • PA 433 – Data Management (4 credit hours)
  • PA 506 – Public Policy Development and Process (4 credit hours)
  • PA 528 – Public Program Evaluation (4 credit hours)
  • PA 526 – Public Policy Analysis (4 credit hours)
  • PA 541 – Advanced Data Analysis I (4 credit hours)
  • PA 590 – Capstone Project (4 credit hours)
  • PA 591 – Managing Your Career (1 credit hour)
  • PA 592 – Professional Portfolio (1 credit hour)

Preparation of a student portfolio based on work completed in other courses to demonstrate competencies gained in the MPP program. The portfolio will contain a reflective essay on the role of the program in meeting the student’s individual profession.

Elective Courses – (16 credit hours)
The elective courses are split into two components.

(1) Policy Area Specialization Courses (8 credit hours), and (2) Elective Courses (8 credit hours)

Policy Area Specializations: Each student will supplement the required courses with 8 credits taken within a substantive policy field:

  • Urban Planning & Policy
  • Public Health
  • Education Policy
  • Social Work Policy

Electives: Two elective courses or equivalent (8 credit hours) that support the student’s educational, career, and professional objectives, selected with the approval of the advisor.


Step 1: File an online application through the following website: Graduate College Application.

After you submit the online application you will need to wait for your application to be processed. Once it has been processed by the system (2-3 days) you will receive an email with a link to your application summary. This is where you will upload your supporting materials (resume, personal statement, writing sample, and input your recommender’s email addresses). You will be required to submit copies of all transcripts. If you are accepted into the program you will be required to submit sealed official transcripts that will be crosschecked with your uploaded copies.

Step 2: The following materials must be uploaded to the electronic submission system.

  • Upload official copies of Registrar issued transcripts from all institutions attended.
  • Three letters of recommendation (you must input your recommender’s email address in the application summary. The system will send an upload link to your recommender’s email address.)
  • Personal statement (1-2 pages in length). Please identify a concentration in your statement. You may use the following as an outline for your personal statement:
    • What is your background and academic interests?
    • Why did you decide to study public administration/ public policy at the graduate level?
    • What are your professional goals?
    • How does our MPA/MPP degree fit into your short and long-term plans for your professional career?

  • Resume
  • A sample of your written work no more than 8-10 pages double-spaced in length. Academic writing samples are preferred.
  • TOEFL/ ILETS Scores: International students must submit TOEFL scores (institution code 1851) or qualify for a waiver. Test scores cannot be more than two years old
  • Application for Graduate Appointment (if you wish to be considered for a research assistantship, must submit GRE scores) GRE scores (required for MPA applicants requesting program administered financial assistance; optional for MPA applicants who are not requesting aid) Submit scores to UIC’s institution code: 1851


The Department of Public Administration requires an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.00 (A= 4.00) for the final 60 semester (90 quarter) hours of baccalaureate study, including all of the work taken in the term in which the student began the final 60 semester hours of study (programs may require a higher GPA). If your GPA is below 3.0, your application must be approved by the Graduate College.

International Students are required to submit TOEFL/ILETS scores.

Last updated Jan 2020

About the School

What do we think we're doing? The short answer is that we are trying to make the places we live better for everyone. That can mean different things to different people and there are certainly many way ... Read More

What do we think we're doing? The short answer is that we are trying to make the places we live better for everyone. That can mean different things to different people and there are certainly many ways to go about it. And that's really why there is a UIC CUPPA. Read less