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Graduate Program

Our two-year Master of Public Policy (MPP) is a full-time, residential program in Williamsburg, Virginia, with a required summer internship between the first and second academic years. The MPP degree program prepares students for career placement at the strategic levels of public policy - both in the public sector and in private-sector firms such as regulated industries and consulting firms with government clients.

Small Size, Generous Financial Assistance

Limited to 25 new students each fall, our relatively small size allows unmatched access to faculty members and encourages a strong sense of community within the program. Most students receive merit-based assistantships (a mix of tuition credits and stipends) that help considerably to reduce the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses.

Convenient Access to D.C.

Our proximity to Washington, D.C. (less than three hours by car) allows convenient access to major policymakers, lawmakers, and analysts. Through the program's regular Friday Policy Dialogues in D.C., for example, students meet and engage directly with policymakers ands policy practitioners.

Where Theory Meets "Real World" Clients

The curriculum provides a rigorous training that is both theoretical and applied. Students study the institutions and processes of public policy, the economic foundations of policy analysis, quantitative and statistical methods for analyzing policy, and a variety of specialized policy topics. Through the summer internship and work with real-world clients, students apply their knowledge and help to develop policy solutions.  Upon their return to classes, all MPP students register for the Policy Research Seminar, or PRS.  In this course, students work in small teams for real-world clients.  The work done by the teams allows students to bring to bear the analytic tools they have developed together in the first-year courses.  Class meetings address issues raised by the research teams, and the input of other students is a key element shaping the final presentations, reports, and other deliverables to clients.  Like a more traditional thesis, the work done by students is original.  The completion of a PRS project allows a Jefferson Program MPP to demonstrate substantial mastery of his or her subject in a real-world setting.

Focus Areas and Joint Degree Programs

In addition to the core studies, students are encouraged to develop a focused expertise through their elective courses. Areas of focus include social policy, health policy, environmental policy, and globalization and development. Each area has a designed series of courses leading to a more comprehensive understanding of the economics, governmental institutions, and legal aspects of the subject area. We also offer four joint degree programs.

MPP or MPA? 

Most programs in the broad category of "Public Affairs" grant the Master of Public Administration (MPA).  A smaller number, including William and Mary, grant the MPP.  Which is for you?

The MPA focuses on the implementation of laws and rules. Management, accounting, and other skills directly relevant to the day-to-day conduct of government agencies constitute the bulk of the coursework. Because MPA programs are far more numerous than MPP programs, the use of national rankings in Public Affairs is more useful in assessing MPA than MPP programs.

The focus of the MPP, a relatively new degree, is on the design and evaluation of policy. The MPP, created in order to instill more rationality into public policy discourse, amalgamates the core rigor of economics with real-world political, legal and ethical concerns.   At William and Mary, we hew closely to this ideal, providing MPP graduates with a strong, applicable skill set.  From typical first placements at mid-level analyst positions, their strength in analysis and evaluation leaves Jefferson Program MPPs well positioned for career advancement.

Find out more about a public policy degree.

Find Out More!

We invite you to learn more about the Jefferson Program's MPP degree by following the links on this page and by consulting our Frequently Asked Questions.