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MPP and MPA Programs

University of California Berkeley, Goldman School of Public Policy (GSPP) - MPP

Program Comparison Highlights

Institutional Structure: Berkeley's MPP is delivered through the Goldman School of Public Policy, which has an administrative status equivalent to a faculty.

Note on History: "During the late 1960s, educators nationwide recognized the need for a new kind of public leadership and a new type of graduate education, fostering the vision, knowledge, and practical skills to empower a new generation of policy makers. The Goldman School of Public Policy, founded at the University of California, Berkeley in 1969, was one of the nation’s first graduate programs of its kind. As such, it has helped define the art and science of modern public policy. Aaron Wildavsky, a political scientist, was the Goldman School’s founding dean." (At, 18 May 2015.)

Curriculum Design: With an 18-course degree, the Berkeley MPP has one of the higher course requirements among the MPP/MPA programs. Our PEACO calculations below suggest that typical students take about 65% of their course work in policy-oriented subjects and 35% in management-oriented subjects. Typical students take about 40% of their course work in subjects with high math-economics content. This places the Berkeley MPP in the "high course requirement, policy-oriented, higher math-economics content" curricular type, along with such programs as the Harvard MPP and the Chicago MPP (see MPP/MPA Curricular Types). Among peers in its curricular type, the Berkeley MPP has as a moderate number of courses and a high proportion of courses taught within the school. The competency gap analysis below suggests that a Berkeley MPP student taking the required courses and a random selection of listed electives would, on average, graduate with approximately 36 course-weeks of shortfall in the core-competency subject matter identified in MPP/MPA Core Competencies, including shortfalls of 6 course-weeks in Socioeconomic and Political Context and 5 course-weeks in Ethics, Rights and Accountability.

Professional Program Features: The Goldman MPP makes extensive use of current and former practitioners in its teaching. Its Career Services site ( lists a wide range of professional development modules, career counselling services and co-curricular activities with a professional focus. There is a vast array of resources on the site of the Office of Career Advancement (at The Goldman School has 3 research centres: Center on Civility & Democratic EngagementCenter for Environmental Public Policy; and Project on Information Technology and Homeland Security.

Program Summary


University: University of California Berkeley

Location: Berkeley, California, USA

Degree: Master of Public Policy

Marketing Approach: "Leadership for the Public Good - Transforming smart, dedicated, service-minded women and men into public policy leaders"

"GSPP has a unique mandate to ensure that GSPP's teaching, research and programs are of the highest caliber and that the public benefits from the leadership and knowledge created here. Dean Henry E. Brady, the Board of Advisors and members of the administration work together with the faculty to make sure that what is taught inside the School remains relevant to the world outside it. Undergirding this work is the deeply held belief that investing in the best and the brightest policy students will create leaders who are committed to the common good and who have the skills to put that commitment into practice." (at and accessed 20 November 2013)

"Admission to the Goldman School is highly selective, determined by a committee of faculty, administrators and current students who evaluate the applicant’s academic preparation and demonstrated commitment to public service." (at accessed 11 December 2013) 

Degrees Awarded per Year: 90 (From Admission Statistics at, accessed 18 May 2015.)

Academic Unit within University: Goldman School of Public Policy, with administrative status equivalent to a faculty (see

Related Academic Units and Degrees: The Goldman School also offers undergraduate courses and a PhD program. Berkeley's graduate programs are listed at Of the 31 concurrent degrees are listed at, 10 are concurrent with the Master of Public Policy.

Posted Tuition: For 2014-15 total fees per semester are $12,157 ($24,314 per year) for California Residents and $18,530 ($37,060 per year) for non-residents (at, accessed 23 February 2015).

Concentration/Curriculum Overview: The core curriculum of GSPP's two-year Master in Public Policy (MPP) program emphasizes the practical and applied dimensions of policymaking. Courses provide strong foundations in political decision making and law, and equip students with analytical tools and concepts, including microeconomic theory and statistical modeling. Five electives, designed to allow students to focus on a particular policy area, can be taken either at GSPP or elsewhere on the Berkeley campus. Because real public policy problems are often ill-defined and resistant to straightforward application of formal analytic techniques, the curriculum includes substantial field work, allowing students to apply their learning in the service of real-life policy clients. Students work at a summer policy internship between their first and second years and complete an analysis, in groups and individually, during the spring semester of each year. Class sizes are relatively small; students enjoy a sense of camaraderie with one another and with faculty. Teamwork, rather than competition, is encouraged. This approach develops skills in negotiation, cooperation, and consensus building, all essential to effective public leadership. 

Degree Requirements:

Summary: The MPP degree is earned in a two-year, full-time program consisting of a core curriculum, a policy internship in the summer after completion of the first year, a second-year policy analysis project, and elective courses chosen from those available on the campus (including but not limited to those offered by the School).

Duration: 20 Months

Number of One-Semester-Equivalent Courses Required for Completion: 18 (See Notes 2 and 3 below.)

Number of required courses: 13 (Note 2: This counts both the Summer Internship and the Thesis Seminar as 2 one-semester equivalent courses.)

Number of Typically Taken Electives: 5 (Note 3: Estimate based on the core structure outline:

Comprehensive examination: No

Thesis required: Yes

Internship required: Yes

International study required: No, but optional

Co-Curricular Activities Supportive to Degree      

Professional development and career support: Yes

Student run journal: Yes,

Applied Projects: Not listed although some of the courses include applied projects for external clients.

Pro Bono Consulting: No

Courses Offered: There is a course list at and a more detailed list of GSPP courses for Fall 2013 are found at and those for Spring 2014 are found at; Fall 2014 at and Spring 2015 at permission, students can also select graduate-level courses offered by other units at Berkeley. The courses offered by the Goldman School of Public Policy have been assigned to Atlas subjects in the map below. Required courses are indicated by (R). Courses with 6 hours per week are counted as two, as is the Summer Internship. Courses with less than 3 hours per week for a full semester are indicated by (0.33) or (0.67).

Course Material Online: Most courses listed in the sources above have one- or two-paragraph course descriptions but full syllabi are not publicly available online. 

Instructional Distribution (PEACO Profile): The distribution of instruction offered, based on the course assignments to subjects in the CourseMap below, weighted by estimated enrolment based on the number of electives offered (45) and number of electives typically taken (5), is as follows:




Curricular Type Parameters

Number of Courses Required for Graduation


Math-Economics Subjects (EA, QM, Macro, Fin Markets)


Policy-Oriented Subjects


Management-Oriented Subjects


Enrolment-Adjusted Course Distribution

Analysis and Skill Subjects


  - Policy and Management Analysis


  - Economic Analysis



  - Quantitative  and Analytic Methods


  - Leadership and Communication Skills


Institutions and Context Subjects


  - Democratic Institutions and Policy Process


  - Ethics, Rights and Accountability


  - Socioeconomic, Political, and Global Contexts


Management Function Subjects


  - Public Financial Management


  - Evaluation and Performance Measurement


  - Other Management Functions


Policy Sector Subjects


  - Macroeconomic Policy


  - International Development


  - Health


  - Other Policy Sectors




Competency Gap Analysis (in Course-Weeks of Instruction)

Course-Weeks in Core Subjects taken by Typical Student


Surplus or Shortfall Relative to Core Competency Requirement

  - Policy and Management Analysis (CCR = 18 course-weeks)


  - Economic Analysis (CCR = 12)


  - Quantitative Methods (CCR = 12)


  - Analytic Methods (CCR = 6)


  - Leadership Skills (CCR = 9)


  - Communication Skills (CCR = 3 courses)


  - Democratic Institutions and Policy Process (CCR = 18)


  - Ethics, Rights and Accountability (CCR = 6 courses)


  - Socioeconomic and Political Context (CCR = 6)


  - Global Context (CCR = 3)


  - Public Financial Management (CCR = 6)


  - Evaluation and Performance Measurement (CCR = 6)


  - Human Resource Management (CCR = 3)


  - Information and Technology Management (CCR = 3)


  - Macroeconomic Policy (CCR = 6)


  - Environment and Sustainability (CCR = 3)


Subject-Matter Shortfall for Typical Student (Sum of Shortfalls)


Additional Parameters

Total Courses Listed


Courses Designated as Required (inc. Specialization Reqs)


Archetypal Public Affairs Subjects (P&MA, EA, QM, DI&PP)


Archetypal International Affairs Subjects (GC, ID, DS&FR)


Courses Required and Offered

Courses Required to Graduate


Required Courses


Elective Courses Taken by Typical Student


Elective Courses Listed


Enrolment Weight of Elective Course


Total Courses Listed



Course Outlines and Syllabi Online: No

Source: At and other sites noted above (accessed 20 November 2013).

Page Created By: Kyle Richardson on 7 October 2013; last updated by Ian Clark on 8 September 2015. Updating and editing may consist of substantive and/or formatting changes. Unless otherwise noted, however, information regarding a program's structure, curricular offerings and PEACO score is based on the program as it was on the date of page creation. The content presented on this page, except for the assignments of courses to Atlas subjects, the Instructional Distribution analysis, and the Commentary is drawn directly from the source(s) cited above, and consists of direct quotations or close paraphrases.

Berkeley GSPP Course Map
 C o u r s e s  O f f e r e d  l i s t e d  b y  P u b l i c  P o l i c y  a n d  M a n a g e m e n t  S u b j e c t

Analysis and Skills

 Policy and Management Analysis

  PP-200: Introduction to Policy Analysis (R)
  PP-250: Political and Agency Management Aspects of Public Policy (R)
  PP-256: Program and Policy Design
  PP-290-9: Special Topics in Public Policy - Governing during Tough Times
  PP-290-11: Special Topics in Public Policy - Why Governments Fail So Often, and How It Might Do Better
  PP-299: Political and Organizational Aspects of Public Policy Analysis (R)

 Economic Analysis

  PP-210A: The Economics of Public Policy Analysis (R)
  PP-210B: The Economics of Public Policy Analysis (R)
  PP-251: Microeconomic Organization and Policy Analysis

 Quantitative Methods

  PP-240A: Decision Analysis, Modeling, and Quantitative Methods (R)
  PP-240B: Decision Analysis, Modeling, and Quantitative Methods (R)
  PP-279: Research Design and Data Collection for Public Policy Analysis
  PP-205: Advanced Policy Analysis (R x 2)

 Analytic Methods

  PP-259: Benefit-Cost Analysis
  PP288: Risk and Optimization Models for Policy
  PP-290-1: Special Topics in Public Policy - Spatial Data and Analysis
  PP-290-2,3: Special Topics in Public Policy - Negotiations Seminar
  PP-290-6: Special Topics in Public Policy - Negotiations

 Leadership Skills

  PP-260: Public Leadership and Managment (R)
  PP-290-9: Special Topics in Public Policy - Holistic Leadership

 Communication Skills

  PP-290-8: Special Topics in Public Policy - Journalism for Social Change

Multiple Subjects

 Capstone Courses, Internships, Major Projects, Theses, etc.

  Summer Policy Internship (R x 2)

Institutions and Context

 Democratic Institutions and Policy Process

  PP-220: Law and Public Policy (R)
  PP-290-6: Special Topics in Public Policy - How Washington Works

 Ethics and Accountability

  PP-280: Ethics, Policy, and the Power of Ideas

 Socioeconomic and Political Context

 Intergovernmental and Global Context

Management Functions

 Public Financial Management

PP-269: Public Budgeting
PP-290: Special Topics in Public Policy: Financial Modeling for NonProfit Organizations (0.33)
PP-290-4: Special Topics in Public Policy: Financial Management of NonProfit Organizations

 Evaluation and Performance Measurement

PP-290-20: Special Topics in Public Policy - Program Evaluation

 Human Resources Management

  PP-290-14: Special Topics in Public Policy - Government Employees and Public Sector Unions in Politics and Policy

 Information Management and Technology

 Local Government Management

 Regulatory Policy and Management

 Nonprofit Management and Advocacy

  PP-290-17: Special Topics in Public Policy: Legislative Advocacy - The Role and Impact of Lobbyist and Government Relations Professionals in Influencing Public Policy

Policy Sectors

 Macroeconomic Policy

  PP-290-1: Special Topics in Public Policy - Public Sector Economics
  PP-290-15: Special Topics in Public Policy - International Macro/Financial Problems and Policies (0.67)
  PP-290-2: Special Topics in Public Policy - The International Economy: Concepts and Policy Issues
  PP-290-5: Special Topics in Public Policy - Tax and Budget Policy

 International Development

  PP-C253: International Economic Development Policy
  PP-C221: Climate, Energy and Development
  PP-290-17: Special Topics in Public Policy - Politics and Policy Making in Developing Countries

 Public Finance and Social Policy

  PP-270: Kid-First Policy: Family, School, And Community



 Employment, Labour and Immigration

 Cities and Urban Development

  PP-C275: Housing and the Urban Economy
  PP-290-7: Special Topics in Public Policy - The Inside Scoop on Running a Major California City
  PP-290-13: Special Topics in Public Policy - Cities and their Citizens

 Environment and Sustainability

  PP282: Environment and Technology from the Policy and Business Perspective

 Agriculture and Resources

  PP-290-10: Special Topics in Public Policy - Food Systems Policy (x 2)
  PP-290-12: Special Topics in Public Policy - Political Economy of Hunger

 Science, Technology and Innovation

  PP-290-14: Special Topics in Public Policy - The Economics and Policy of Science and Innovation

 Industry, Trade and Investment

  PP-290-5: Special Topics in Public Policy - Telecommunications Policy
  PP-290-16: Special Topics in Public Policy - Issues of Protectionism and Options for Trade Liberalization (0.67)

 Energy, Transport and Infrastructure

  PP-C284: Energy and Society
  PP-290-21: Special Topics in Public Policy - Alternative Energy: Policy and Politics

 Defence, Security and Foreign Relations

  PP-286: US National Security Policy
  PP-C285: Nuclear Security
  PP-290-10: Special Topics in Public Policy - US-Mexico Public Policy Relations
  PP-290-10: Special Topics in Public Policy - WMD Terrorism

 Policing and Justice Administration

  PP-290-15: Special Topics in Public Policy - The Politics of Punishment

 Arts and Culture

  PP257: Arts and Cultural Policy
  PP-290-19: Special Topics in Public Policy - Beyond Propoganda: Art as a Policy-analytic Resource (0.67)

 Financial Markets

Important Notices
© University of Toronto 2008
School of Public Policy and Governance