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The Master in Public Policy (MPP) degree is a rigorous two-year program that prepares students both to understand complex problems and to craft concrete solutions. Through courses, exercises, and fieldwork students master an interdisciplinary conceptual toolkit that draws on the social sciences but is adapted for action. MPP candidates arrive at HKS committed to improving the world. They equip themselves to do so through broad-spectrum analytical competency. This defining feature of the MPP means intellectual honesty; a hunger for evidence; the capacity to extract answerable questions from the messy clutter of real-world public problems; familiarity with a wide range of analytic methods and the habit of picking the tool to fit the task.
The MPP Core curriculum features policy analysis, economics, management and leadership, empirical analysis, negotiation, ethics, and politics. The first year culminates in a Spring Policy Exercise that lets student teams try their hand at a real-world, real-time policy challenge. Most students spend the summer on a policy-oriented internship. The Policy Analysis Exercise—a client-driven, often team-based practicum—caps the second-year curriculum, in which students also pursue a range of electives at HKS and throughout Harvard.
Classes at the Harvard Kennedy School are taught by the case method, the more traditional lecture format, or a mixture of both. Students work together in small groups on projects and are aided by course assistants, teaching fellows, and faculty members in a collaborative and non-competitive working environment.
Prospective students interested in the MPP program are encouraged to review the prerequisites for academic and work experience prior to applying.
Emily Janoch MPP 2011, Knowledge and Learning Advisor, CARE
Rey Faustino MPP 2012, Founder & CEO of One Degree
"Coming to HKS is not just about learning to be a better policy analyst... You will be pushed and challenged to your limits by your classmates, professors and distinguished guests, and will grow tremendously as a result. The lessons I've learned while at HKS have dramatically improved the way I approach leadership and problem-solving. HKS has made me a better leader and public servant."