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The Accelerated Master of Public Policy Degree Path

The Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy announces a new option whereby W&M undergraduates will be able to earn both a Bachelor's degree and a Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree in a total of five years of coursework. Students accepted into the accelerated degree path will undertake a collaborative research project with a faculty supervisor in the summer following the junior year. Students will receive course credit and dorm space (and may apply for a grant to defray summer expenses). Successful applicants will take a mix of undergraduate and MPP courses over the subsequent academic year. Following completion of the bachelor's degree, students will be admitted to the graduate school and complete a summer internship. Each student will be supported with a mix of tuition waivers, tuition reductions and research assistantships during a fifth year of study, when only MPP courses will be taken. Exceptionally qualified students may be named Trice Fellows, and receive full tuition remission and generous stipend support for their postgraduate year in the program.

The details:

  • Students will apply for the accelerated BA/MPP option in the junior year. Admission will be competitive, and successful applicants will have done well in any Economics, Government, and Public Policy classes that they may have taken. Applicants must reasonably expect to have earned at least 90 undergraduate credits by the end of the spring semester of their junior year to be eligible for the program. The application consists of:
    1. A cover letter containing the applicant's name and contact information,
    2. A current transcript,
    3. A statement of no more than 250 words addressing the applicant's motivation for the proposed course of study,
    4. A summary of the proposed summer research project, also of no more than 250 words,
    5. A letter of support from a faculty member addressing the merits of, and committing to serve as advisor on, the summer research project, and
    6. A proposed class schedule for the fourth year that illustrates how the student will complete his or her undergraduate degree (including remaining major requirements and GERs), and comply with the scheduling requirements of the joint program (as detailed below).
    One or more applicants may be supported as Trice Fellows. The Trice Fellowship program gives preference to projects addressing international policy issues, and applicants for the Trice Fellowships should state this clearly in the application.
  • Students will be informed of their acceptance into the program by March 15, and should begin implementing preliminary work for the summer research project at this time. The project will earn six undergraduate credits and can be conducted either full-time during one of the summer school sessions or half-time over the course of both summer school sessions. Students participating in the summer research program will be allocated a dormitory room for the summer session, and each student's faculty advisor will be provided an honorarium of $2,000. Students also are eligible to apply for a fellowship that will provide a summer stipend of up to $2,000. Students requesting this funding should be sure to note it clearly on the application. Applications will be judged purely on merit. Requests for summer stipends will not affect the chance that an application is approved.
  • In their fourth year, students will take a minimum of 16 credits in the MPP program. Public Policy 500 (a one-credit mathematics review) and Public Policy 607 (Law and Public Policy, offered at the Law School) begin the week before the official start of the undergraduate fall semester, and students admitted to the accelerated degree path should plan accordingly. The other 15 credits include Public Policy 604 (Microeconomics of Public Policy) in the fall semester and Public Policy 606 (Benefit-Cost Analysis), 612 (Public Management and Organizational Behavior) and a 600-level Public Policy elective in the spring semester. Upon successful completion, 9 of these 16 credits will count as electives toward the student's undergraduate degree. Students who need undergraduate credits to complete major, distribution or other undergraduate degree requirements may take up to 15 additional undergraduate credits. If the student has not yet taken Government 350, a suitable statistics class, and Economics 308, these classes (or appropriate equivalents) also must be taken in the fourth year. If the student does not need additional undergraduate classes (due to AP, IB, transfer or overload credit), he or she normally will enroll in some or all of the other firstyear MPP graduate classes. The BA or BS should be awarded at the end of the fourth year, and, conditional upon satisfactory completion of the above requirements, the student will be admitted formally to the graduate school.
  • Students will participate in an MPP internship in the summer following the fourth year. The Associate Director of the Jefferson Program must approve this internship in the spring of the fourth year, and the MPP internship coordinator will provide placement assistance. As with all MPP students, students in the accelerated program may be eligible for supplemental summer funding if they accept unpaid or very low-paying summer internships.
  • In the fifth year, students will enroll in the normal second-year MPP curriculum, consisting of Public Policy 610 (Policy Research Seminar), Public Policy 609 (Ethics and Public Policy), a Law elective, and five 600-level electives. Most MPP students receive merit-based assistance, which may include tuition reductions, tuition credits, and graduate assistantships. An exceptionally qualified applicant with international policy interests may be awarded a Trice Fellowship, providing full tuition remission and a generous graduate assistantship award in the fifth year. Upon successful completion of degree requirements, the MPP will be awarded at the end of the fifth year.
  • A junior interested in applying to this program should contact the director of the Public Policy program ([[eric_jensen, Eric Jensen]], 221-2384) prior to submitting an application. Because of the tight scheduling requirements in the senior year, interested freshmen and sophomores are strongly encouraged to contact the director as well.