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This archived information is dated to the 2009-10 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Master's Degrees in Public Policy

Master of Public Policy and Master of Arts in Public Policy Joint Degrees

Juris Doctor and Master of Public Policy (J.D./M.P.P.)

Juris Doctor and Master of Arts of Public Policy (J.D./M.A.)

Doctor of Philosophy in Education and Master of Public Policy (Ph.D./M.P.P.)

Doctor of Philosophy in Economics and Master of Public Policy (Ph.D./M.P.P.)

Doctor of Philosophy in Management Science & Engineering and Master of Public Policy (Ph.D./M.P.P.)

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology and Master of Public Policy (Ph.D./M.P.P.)

Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology and Master of Public Policy (Ph.D./M.P.P.)

Master of Business Administration and Master of Public Policy (M.B.A./M.P.P.)

Master of Arts in International Policy Studies and Master of Public Policy (M.A./M.P.P.)

Master of Science in Management Science & Engineering and Master of Public Policy (M.S./M.P.P.)

Master of Public Policy Dual Degree (M.P.P.)

Master of Arts in Public Policy Dual Degree (M.A.)


Graduate students in Public Policy are expected to be literate in mathematics and economics at the Stanford equivalent of MATH 51 and ECON 50 before beginning the curriculum. A no-credit "boot camp" refresher course in mathematics and economics is offered in the two weeks preceding the start of Autumn quarter.


Applications for graduate study in Public Policy are accepted only from Stanford students currently enrolled in any graduate degree program or from external applicants seeking a joint degree. External applicants for joint degrees must apply to the department or school offering the other graduate degree (i.e., Ph.D., M.A., M.S., M.B.A., or J.D.), indicating an interest in the M.P.P. joint degree program; applicants admitted to the other degree program are then evaluated for admission to the M.P.P. program. Students currently enrolled in any Stanford graduate program may, with the consent of that program, apply either for the applicable joint degree program or for the dual M.P.P. or M.A. degree. Applications are reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis but must be received by the Public Policy Program office no later than April 1, 2010.


Core curriculum consisting of the following courses—PUBLPOL 301A,B, 302A,B, 303A,B, 304A,B, 305A,B, 306 (M.P.P. students only), 307, 311 (1 quarter only).

Practicum (M.P.P. students only)—10 units of PUBLPOL 309.

Concentration (M.P.P. students only)—Course work in a specialized field, chosen from the approved list of concentration courses with the prior approval of the student's faculty adviser and the program director.

Master's Thesis (M.A. students only)—Students complete a 5-unit thesis by contacting the program office with the name of their advisor and enrolling in PUBLPOL 310 during the quarter of their choosing. The 5-units can be spread over multiple quarters, and an 'N' grade will be given during any quarters prior to Spring. The thesis must be submitted to the Public Policy Program office in both electronic and hard copy no later than the last Friday in May. The final grade for PUBLPOL 310 is the M.A. thesis grade.

Public Policy Joint Degree Requirements

  1. A joint degree is regarded by the university as distinct from either of its component degrees, and requirements for the joint degree generally differ from the sum of the requirements for the individual degrees.
  2. All core courses must be taken for a letter grade and must be completed with an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) or better.
  3. Up to a maximum of 45 units, or one year, of the university residency requirement can be credited toward both degree programs (put differently, the joint degree requirements may contain up to 45 units less than the sum of the individual degree unit requirements). For example, a J.D./M.P.P. has a four-year residency requirement, one year less than the sum of the requirements for the separate degrees. This recognizes that there is a subject matter overlap between the fields comprising the joint degree.
  4. The Public Policy Program strives to encourage an intellectual, professional, and social community among its students. For this reason, joint degree students are expected to devote one year of full-time study at Stanford (usually the second) entirely to the Program, rather than spacing public policy courses throughout their graduate careers.
  5. All graduate degree candidates must submit a Master's Degree Program Proposal to the Public Policy office by the end of Autumn Quarter and must amend this proposal formally if plans for meeting the degree requirements change.
  6. Year-long participation in the weekly colloquium (PUBLPOL 311) is required for all first-year M.P.P. and M.A. students, and strongly encouraged for second-year M.P.P. students. One unit of credit is given, for which students may register in any quarter.
  7. Public Policy students are never required to repeat a course which duplicates material they have already mastered. Students may, by petition, substitute a different course (generally in the same subject area) for a course whose material would be duplicative. This flexibility does not, however, reduce the unit requirements for any degree.
  8. Joint degree students are expected to have and to consult regularly with an academic adviser. The adviser is generally a member of the faculty of both of the joint degree programs. The program director is available to make adviser recommendations.
  9. In order to take advantage of the reduced residency requirement, joint M.P.P. students must define their area of concentration from among courses offered in their non-public-policy program. For example, J.D. students must select one of the M.P.P. concentrations offered by the School of Law, and M.B.A. students must select their concentration from the Public and Global Management curriculum at the G.S.B.
  10. M.P.P. degree students are not permitted to enroll in the practicum (PUBLPOL 309) without having completed the following public policy core courses: 301A, 301B, 303A, 303B, 304B, 306, 307.
  11. All joint M.A. students must submit a 5-unit Master's Thesis, written under the guidance of an adviser who is a member of the Public Policy-affiliated faculty on a topic approved by the program director in advance. Students provide the program office with the name of their thesis adviser during Autumn Quarter and enroll in PUBLPOL 310 units.

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