Master of Public Policy
Turn your passion into effective action. The Public Policy Program at Mills College will provide you with the analytical tools and access to innovative policy makers that will enable you to make a lasting impact.
About the Program
The master of public policy (MPP) at Mills College imparts the skills and perspectives required to formulate, implement, evaluate, and advocate on behalf of public policies. This two-year professional degree program integrates two levels of course work, providing a strong analytic foundation and advanced professional training. You’ll learn how to assess public problems; develop creative solutions that are efficient, equitable, and feasible; navigate ethics, law, and politics; and implement ideas. The MPP Program will prepare you for public policy leadership and analysis in government, politics, and nonprofit organizations.
Policy professionals must draw on skills and concepts from multiple disciplines, so our analytic foundation courses provide training in economics, statistics, law, and ethics—along with methods of policy analysis. As part of the foundation curriculum, students also select a course (from among multiple options) relating to diversity and public policy, with the aim of understanding current and historical dimensions of diversity and inequality along social identity dimensions such as class, race, ethnicity, and gender.
Advanced Professional Training
The second-year core courses offer students opportunities to augment and deepen their skills through guided practice. Organizational Efficacy, for example, trains students to maximize performance in nonprofits and government agencies, while Political Efficacy prepares them for the politics of policy making. For the advanced analytics and research methods requirement, students may choose among three options that develop expertise in qualitative methods, computer modeling and simulations, or econometrics. Recognizing the significant impact of local government, we also include in-depth training on local planning and policy making, with opportunities for students to work with organizations in Oakland and the greater San Francisco Bay Area on current community-level issues. Two elective courses can also be used to build substantive knowledge or, alternatively, to deepen analytical capacity in areas such as statistics or economics.
Multidisciplinary skill training comes together in the two-semester Integrative Core, in which students apply various analytic frameworks to a series of current policy problems, using real-world data and interacting with practicing policy analysts and managers. The Integrative Core culminates in the student’s own policy analysis, the Master’s Policy Report. conducted for an external client. With faculty assistance, students select the policy report topic and client, using the project as an opportunity to develop substantive expertise in a particular policy area such as education, the environment, or health. The Master’s Policy Report experience prepares students to transition into their professional policy careers.
Full-Time or Part-Time Programs
Students enrolled in three or more classes each semester are considered full time and generally complete the program in two years. Students enrolled in fewer than three courses per semester are considered part time and earn their MPP in three to five years. Full-time and part-time MPP students enroll in the same courses and have access to the same outstanding faculty.
Connecting Business & Public Policy
Unique to Mills, our Public Policy Program is part of the Lorry I. Lokey School of Business and Public Policy. Public policy graduate students learn and collaborate with business students to model the leadership skills required in all types of organizations.
As part of our commitment to preparing students for organizational leadership, we offer a joint master's degree in public policy and business administration (MPP/MBA). This streamlined, three-year joint degree track provides students with cross-sector competencies in leadership, management, analysis, and development of innovative policies and strategies. The joint MPP/MBA Program equips students to assume positions of influence in careers that span business, government, and nonprofit organizations.