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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.
Micaela Connery MPP 2016 saw HKS as an opportunity to dive deeply into public policy issues that affect people with disabilities. (Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer)
"The experience of home is so fundamental to human existence. I want to think about inclusive housing for people with disabilities that’s integrated into urban communities."