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This archived information is dated to the 2008-09 academic year only and may no longer be current.

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

Graduate Programs in Public Policy

University requirements for the master's degree are described in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this Bulletin.

The Graduate Program in Public Policy offers two master's degrees: Master in Public Policy (M.P.P.), a two-year program leading to a professional degree, and Master of Arts (M.A.), a one-year program not intended as a professional degree. The following joint degree programs, permitting students to complete requirements for two degrees with a reduced number of total residency units, are also offered: Juris Doctor with a Master in Public Policy (J.D./M.P.P); Juris Doctor with an M.A. in Public Policy (J.D./M.A.); Doctor of Philosophy in Economics, Education, Psychology, or Sociology with a Master in Public Policy (Ph.D./M.P.P); Master of Business Administration with a Master in Public Policy (M.B.A./M.P.P.); Master of Arts in International Policy Studies with a Master in Public Policy (M.A./M.P.P.). Requirements for the joint degrees differ from completing the two degrees separately; details are available from the program office and on the program web site.

Courses in the graduate program in Public Policy offer advanced skills necessary to assess the performance of alternative approaches to policy making and implementation, evaluating program effectiveness, understanding the political constraints faced by policy makers, and appreciating the conflicts in fundamental human values that often animate policy debate. After completing the graduate core curriculum, students apply these skills by focusing their studies in a 2-quarter practicum for the M.P.P., or a master's thesis for the M.A. Students in the M.P.P. program also complete at least one concentration tailored to the student's primary degree program or the student's interests and skills.


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.B.A., or J.D.), indicating an interest in the M.P.P. joint degree program; applicants admitted to the otherdegree 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 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 May 1.


The graduate program in Public Policy consists of a common core set of courses requiring approximately one year of study, plus a 10-unit practicum and concentration course work for the M.P.P., or a master's thesis for the M.A. in Public Policy. All graduate degree candidates must submit an acceptable official 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. The M.P.P. requires 90 units of course work and requires approximately two years. The M.A. requires 42 units of course work plus a 5-unit master's thesis, and requires approximately one year. The joint M.P.P. degree programs require 90 units of which up to 45 units may also count toward the other degree. The joint M.A./J.D. program requires 47 units of which up to 45 units may be counted toward the J.D. degree. The joint M.P.P. degree programs add approximately one additional year to the time required for the other degree. Each joint degree program differs in its extended core and concentration course requirements; details on specific degrees are available at the program office and on the web site.

The graduate Public Policy core curriculum is required for all its graduate degree programs. 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. Students are expected to devote one year full-time to the M.P.P. core; for joint-degree students, typically this is during the second year at Stanford. Students are required to participate in the weekly colloquia series. Students for whom any given core course would duplicate prior studies may petition to substitute a more advanced course in the related subject matter.

Prerequisites—Graduate students in Public Policy are expected to be literate in mathematics, statistics, and economics at the level of MATH 41, ECON 50, and STATS 60 or ECON 102B.

Core curriculum consisting of the following courses—PUBLPOL 201A,B, 202A,B, 203A,B,C, 204A,B, 205A,B, 206 (M.P.P. students only), 207. (46 units for M.P.P.; 42 units for M.A. in Public Policy)

Practicum (M.P.P. students only)—10 units of PUBLPOL 209.

Concentration (M.P.P. students only)—Course work in a specialized field or fields, chosen from existing Stanford 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 enrolling in PUBLPOL 299 and submitting the thesis to the Public Policy Program office in both electronic and hard copy no later than the last Friday in May.

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