The Master of Arts in Public Policy (MAPP) cultivates understanding of how government can improve social and economic conditions and builds knowledge of policy, programs, and the debates surrounding them.

Good decisions in public policy depend on high-quality analysis. The appropriate design of public policies and the question of whether a policy does more harm than good in improving social and economic conditions are at the heart of our program. Our graduates emerge commanding extensive analytical skills relevant to the study of government and nonprofit programs. Our proximity to the Los Angeles metropolitan area gives you firsthand exposure to the most pressing social and economic issues—the growth of immigrant populations, urban environmental impacts like suburban sprawl, environmental injustice, green energy infrastructure, education reform, and more.

Program Highlights
  • Areas of emphasis include diversity, education, evaluation, and health, or you may create a self-designed track of study based on your interests.
  • Graduate-only education is offered in small, seminar-style classes taught by highly knowledgeable faculty-scholars.
  • Pursue your MA in conjunction with another degree, such as a PhD in Psychology. You earn a diploma for each degree and “double count” some units from one program to the other to decrease your required total units.

Program at a Glance

40 units

1.5 years

Fall | Spring | Summer

Division of Politics & Economics

MA in Public Policy

Featured Courses

PP 323
Racial, Ethnic & Social Minorities in American Politics

Examines the history and strategic position of minority groups in the American political system, focusing on African-Americans, Latinos, Gays, Lesbians, and Jews, to try to gain an understanding of the political history of each group.

PP 338
Policy Design and Implementation

Explores how policy analysis can help us devise better public policies—and then make them work in practice.

PP 330
Public Policy Process

Examines how policy is formed, framed, and filtered in the American political system. Various theories and models of policy making are examined and compared.

PP 309
Women & the Political Process

Provides an overview and a framework for understanding the many ways that women interact with the political system.

PP 482
Advanced Quantitative Research Methods

Examines regression analysis, focusing partly on theoretical issues and partly on practical problems in applied regression to prepare students for advanced study of econometric techniques.

SPE 315
Game Theory

Analyzes the strategic interaction between individuals, firms, governments, and other groups of people.


The Master of Arts in Public Policy is a 40-unit (10, 4-unit courses) degree program that builds knowledge of current government programs and debates about them. This degree can be completed in 18 months (full-time) or 2 years (part-time).

Core Courses (12 units)

  • Public Policy Process (4 units)
  • Policy Design and Implementation (4 units)
  • Microeconomics and Public Policy (4 units)
  • Practical Experience: students who do not already have experience in the governmental or nonprofit sectors must gain such experience during the MAPP. This can be done in the following two ways:
    • Taking a class classified as a policy clinic OR
    • Doing an internship with a government or nonprofit organization sector

Research Methods (12 units)
Sequence 1
Quantitative Research Methods and Data Analysis
Sequence 2
Probability, Statistics, and Econometrics

Policy Analytic Methods (8 units)
2 Policy Clinic classes such as Cost-Benefit Analysis or Game Theory

Areas of Substantive Emphasis (8 units)
Students choose one of the following areas of substantive emphasis:
Evaluation in Behavioral/Organizational Science
Health Policy
Diversity Policy
Student-Designed Emphasis

Faculty & Research

  • Heather E. Campbell profile image

    Heather E. Campbell

    Professor, Department of Politics & Government
    Co-chair, Department of Politics & Government
    Field Chair, Public Policy

    Research Interests

    Public Policy, Urban Environmental Policy, Environmental Justice

  • Robert Klitgaard profile image

    Robert Klitgaard

    University Professor

    Research Interests

    Public Policy, Economic Strategy, Institutional Reform, Corruption

  • Jean Reith Schroedel profile image

    Jean Reith Schroedel

    Thornton F. Bradshaw Chair
    Professor of Political Science
    Co-chair, Department of Politics & Government
    Field Chair, American Politics

    Research Interests

    Native American voting rights, American political development, women and politics, religion and politics, and congressional policy-making

  • Tarek Azzam profile image

    Tarek Azzam

    Senior Visiting Fellow

    Research Interests

    Social Research and Methodologies, Policy & Program Evaluations, Data Visualization and Evaluation

  • Darleen V. Peterson profile image

    Darleen V. Peterson

    Professor of Practice, Community and Global Health
    Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
    Director of the Certificate, MPH, and DrPH Programs

    Research Interests

    Evaluation of Health Communication Campaigns, Effects of Pro- and Anti-Tobacco and Alcohol Marketing; Public Health Education

Where You Can Find Our Alumni

Request information about the Public Policy program

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Brian Ballesteros

Assistant Director of Admissions
T: 909-607-3925 (Direct)
T: 909-607-7811 (Central Admissions)