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The Policy Analysis Exercise (PAE) is the capstone of the MPP curriculum. Many MPP graduates point to the PAE as one of the true highlights of their Harvard Kennedy School education. The PAE is an analytic and consultative professional product which emanates from the student’s work with a real-world client, under the close supervision of a faculty advisor with expertise in the topic area. It is not unusual for client organizations to implement the recommendations made by students in their PAE portfolio.
In the fall semester of the second year, MPP students enroll in a year-long seminar in their Policy Area of Concentration (PAC)/Concentration. The seminars are conducted by faculty who serve as PAC Seminar Leaders. The PAC Seminars serve to familiarize students with key issues and policy debates in their particular area. In addition to the PAC Seminar Leader, when students declare their PAE topics in the early fall, they are each assigned a faculty advisor whose expertise aligns with their topic.
Concurrent degree students earning an MPP write the PAE, but otherwise have a reduced PAC/Concentration set of course requirements.