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Master of Public Policy

NDSU’s Master of Public Policy (MPP) program provides rigorous training that meets regional, national, and international needs for policy design and program evaluation. The hybrid format means students may attend classes in-person or attend remotely in real time. The program accomodates both traditional students and those who have already begun their careers. The degree program consists of 36 credits and can be completed in two years of graduate study. Our accelerated master's program allows undergraduate students to complete their political science major and MPP in a total of five years.  You can apply to the MPP program by submitting the required materials through the  Graduate School’s online tool .

What is an MPP?

A Master of Public Policy prepares students to be policymakers. The coursework helps students to identify policy goals, design effective programs, and evaluate policies to determine if they have met their intended goals. Unlike an MPA (Master of Public Administration), which prepares students to carry out policy implementation, an MPP program trains those who will determine “what works” and generate new policy solutions to social problems.

Why an MPP?

Individuals with MPPs work in government agencies, non-profits, think tanks, political advocacy organizations, and even the private sector. Professionals with MPPs are attractive candidates for organizations that want to evaluate and improve their policies and approaches. MPPs cultivate strong thinkers who want to do good, and do it well. MPPs also develop skills that are crucial to public sector and non-profit management roles, as well as to project management more generally.

Nationally, the number of open jobs listing an MPP as a qualification is large and growing. Analytics firm Burning Glass reports over 300 jobs per year just in North Dakota and the surrounding states. Universities in the region currently confer substantially fewer MPP degrees than necessary to meet this demand. Moreover, the median national salary for holders of graduate degrees in Public Policy is $92,000 per year.


NDSU provides the only MPP program in the Dakotas and offers one of the most cost-effective options for earning an MPP nationwide. The program offers a rigorous sequence of core courses that provide skills in policy design and evaluation, complemented by a variety of electives that allow students to build their knowledge in specific policy areas; these courses cover policy areas ranging from education to infrastructure to international development.  

Our faculty have expertise in local, national and international policy. Members of our faculty direct the Upper Midwest Center on Public Policy and Center for Study of Digital Society, and serve as policy consultants with major organizations including USAID and Facebook. Students can also leverage the resources of the newly-created Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth. 

Accelerated MPP

The Department of Political Science and Public Policy is also pleased to offer an accelerated MPP option for current NDSU undergraduates, that allows students to complete a BA/BS in Political Science and an MPP in as little as 5 years. 

Students interested in an accelerated masters will complete the same application as those applying for the traditional MPP program (see above). Students must have a 3.5 GPA in order to be admitted, and can matriculate in the program once they have completed 60 undergraduate credits. See the Graduate School’s website for more information about this process. Students should talk with their advisers about this option early in their undergraduate careers. 

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