W&M Public Policy provides students with the intellectual tools needed to improve the quality of policymaking in the United States and abroad. We offer a two-year Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree. This is a full-time, residential program limited to 50 new students per year - a size that allows unmatched access to faculty members and a strong sense of community. The strong applied and analytic skills of our MPP graduates have generated career placements in positions of public policy formulation and evaluation that compare favorably with any program in the country.
The graduate 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, all 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 W&M MPP to demonstrate substantial mastery of his or her subject in a real-world setting.
Students pursuing our undergraduate major study economics, statistics, politics, law, ethics, and policy domains. This grounding is excellent preparation for further study at the graduate level and for participating effectively in the policy process at government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private-sector firms.
Public Policy is an interdisciplinary major that focuses on analytical decision-making to study diverse subjects ranging from the processes of making, implementing, and evaluating government policies to the ethical evaluation of contemporary social problems. It emphasizes quantitative and economic analysis, the study of political institutions that produce policy, and the examination of specific policy areas such as environment and health. The Public Policy major draws on coursework primarily from Economics and Government, but also on courses in Psychology, Sociology, Law, Philosophy, and others.
Graduates from the undergraduate Public Policy program pursue a wide array of careers in public service, policymaking, and politics, and find employment in governments at all levels, at consulting firms that work with governmental clients, and in regulated industries as well as non-profits. Public Policy graduates regularly pursue graduate studies in business administration, economics, environmental studies, health policy and administration, law, political science, psychology, public administration, public policy analysis, social work, sociology, and urban affairs. In addition to preparing Public Policy majors to be participants in the policy process, an important goal is to teach students to be well-informed, capable citizens.