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MPP and MPA Programs

Beijing Normal University, School of Social Development and Public Policy (SSDPP) - MCDC 

Program Comparison Highlights

Institutional Structure: The School of Social Development and Public Policy (SSDPP) is an academic unit within Beijing Normal University.

Curriculum Design: The Beijing Normal Master's in Contemporary Development of China (MCDC) is a two-year (four semester) full-time program requiring 30 course credits (10 one-semester equivalent courses) plus a 50-page MA thesis for completion. Typical students take about 34% of their course work in subjects that we classify as Tools and Skills or Management Functions and about 4% of their study is in economic or quantitative courses. This places the RANEPA MGPP degree in the "mid-length, lower tools/management, lower quantitative" category, along with such programs as the Colorado MPA and the New Mexico MPA.  MCDC has an elective internship and requires a thesis of approximately 50 pages. It has as a relatively low number of elective courses taught within the school.

Professional Program Features: The program website does not contain much information on professional program features although it does say that "The program is taught in English by top Chinese and international scholars and practitioners in relevant fields, and its curriculum combines lectures and seminars with field visits and internships" (at, accessed 14 February 2015).   

Program Summary


University: Beijing Normal University

Location: Beijing, China

Degree: Master's in Contemporary Development of China (MCDC)

Marketing Approach: "The Master’s Program in Contemporary Development of China (CDC) aims to contextualize and analyze the processes that have shaped underdevelopment in developing countries, specifically in China, and the many responses to them. Conducted by Beijing Normal University’s School of Social Development and Public Policy, the program seeks to locate the policy framework of social development firmly within evidence-based theories and practices, and adopts a grounded and multi-disciplinary approach to issues of social development such as social welfare, poverty reduction, migration, gender, public health, civil society, etc., for students interested in pursuing a career in government bodies, development agencies, research institutions, and non-governmental organizations." (At, accessed 14 February 2015.)

Degrees Awarded per Year: TBD [Information will be requested from the School]

Academic Unit within University: The SSDPP is a school within Beijing Normal University.

"The School of Social Development and Public Policy (SSDPP) was founded in September 2008. It was originally the Institute of Social Development and Public Policy (ISDPP), first established in 1999. The School was founded during an era of dramatic globalization and the astonishingly rapid development of China. During the past decade, extensive reforms in public policy and management have been adopted around the world; governments have been eagerly improving their nations with a competitive spirit, and the Chinese government has endeavored to better its people's livelihood and construct a harmonious society. In order to meet the needs of the day, we have chosen the promotion of social equity and justice as our mission and the creation of a meritocracy as the core values of the SSDPP. The school integrates knowledge and academic strength from various disciplines among the social sciences, with a focus on empirical research and the implications of public policy, and pursues collaboration with the public sector, including governmental as well as academic exchange with both domestic and international institutions." (At, accessed 14 February 2015.)

Related Academic Units and Degrees: The SSDPP has only one program in English, the Master’s Program in Contemporary Development of China. A related unit is the "China Social Work Education Demonstration Program (SWED) based on the School of Social Development and Public Policy (SSDPP). The program is intended to be a major social work education base to promote the development of the social work profession and lead social work education in China. In many aspects, SWED means a substantial change in the current social work education system in China. Compared with other MSW programs currently operating in China," at, accessed 14 February 2015). 

Posted Tuition: RMB 98,000 for two years (equivalent to $7,840 per year in US dollars at the February 2015 exchange rate). At accessed 14 February 2015.

Concentration/Curriculum Overview

MCDC Degree Requirements

Summary: The program is taught in English by top Chinese and international scholars and practitioners in relevant fields, and its curriculum combines lectures and seminars with field visits and internships. At the end of the program, students are expected to have a deeper understanding of China’s development processes and their implications, and should have gained critical skills in analyzing development policy and undertaking development research.

Duration: 4 semesters.

Academic Prerequisite: Undergraduate Degree preferably in a social science discipline. Competitive TOEFL or IELTS score for non-native English speakers. Relevant work experience is considered a plus.

Number of One-Semester-Equivalent Courses Required for Completion: 14. See Note 1.

Note 1: Although no credit equivalents are listed for the thesis, the MA thesis requirement is described at The 50-page double-spaced requirement seems to be comparable to the thesis expectation for MA programs in England where the thesis is worth one third of the total degree credit, or 60 CATS credits, equivalent to 4 one-semester courses, or 12 credits. If we award 12 credits for the SSDPP thesis, this would imply a total of 30 course credits and 12 thesis credits for a total of 42 credits or 14 one-semester-course equivalents.

Number of Required Courses: 8 (four courses and a 12-credit thesis)

Number of Electives Typically Taken (difference between above two entries): 6

Number of Electives Offered within Program: 18 two-credit courses.

Comprehensive Examination: No

Thesis Required: Yes.

Internship Required: Elective

International Study Required: No

Co-curricular Activities Supportive to Degree

Professional Development and Career Support: No

Student-run Journal: No

Applied Projects: No

Pro Bono Consulting: No

Courses Offered: The full list of courses is found at, accessed 14 February 2015.

Course Material Online: One-paragraph course descriptions at the site noted above plus selected syllabi available to the public at

Instructional Distribution (PEACO Profile): The table below indicates the distribution of instruction offered, based on the course assignments to subjects in the Course Map below, weighted by estimated enrolment determined by the PEACO Algorithm.   



I. Courses Required and Offered

Number of one-semester courses required for degree


Number of required courses


Number of elective courses taken


Number of courses offered


Enrolment weight of elective courses


II. Distribution of Courses (Enrolment-Adjusted) among Atlas

     Domains and Subjects

Tools and Skills


  - Strategy and Structure


  - Economic Analysis



  - Quantitative Methods and Management Sciences


  - Leadership, Communication, Professional Practice


Institutions and Context


  - Democratic Institutions and Policy Process


  - Ethics and Accountability


  - Socioeconomic, Political, and Global Contexts


Management Functions


  - Public Financial Management


  - Evaluation and Performance Measurement


  - Other Management Functions


Policy Sectors


  - Fiscal, Monetary and Tax Policy


  - International Development


  - Health


  - Other Policy Sectors




III. Number of Courses in "NASPAA-required Subjects" taken by

      Typical Student in NASPAA Required Competency Domains

Lead and Manage in Public Governance


Participate and Contribute to the Policy Process


Analyze, Synthesize, Solve Problems and Make Decisions


Articulate and Apply Public Service Perspectives


Communicate and Interact with Workforce and Citizenry


Total Course Equivalents taken in Required Competencies


IV. Ratio of Courses in "NASPAA-required Subjects" taken by

      Typical Student to Estimated Requirement for Competency

Lead and Manage in Public Governance


Participate and Contribute to the Policy Process


Analyze, Synthesize, Solve Problems and Make Decisions


Articulate and Apply Public Service Perspectives


Communicate and Interact with Workforce and Citizenry


Ratio of Total Instruction in Competencies to Amount Needed


V. Number of Microeconomics, Macroeconomics or Quantitative

      Methods Courses taken by Typical Student

Economic Analysis


Fiscal, Monetary and Tax Policy


Quantitative Methods




Ratio of Quantitative Courses to Total Courses Required


Sum of Tools and Skills and Management Functions



Source: At and related sites (accessed 14 February 2015).

Page Created By: Ian Clark on 14 February 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.

Beijing Normal MCDC 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

Note: The required courses, marked with (R), are 3 credits; the electives are 2 credits.

Analysis and Skills

 Policy and Management Analysis

  Public Policy Analysis (R)

 Economic Analysis

 Quantitative Methods


 Management Sciences

  Research Methodology (R)

 Leadership Skills

 Communication Skills

 Professional Practice


Institutions and Context

 Democratic Institutions and Policy Process

 Ethics, Rights and Accountability

  Social Work Practice and Ethics

 Social and Political Context

  Introduction to Contemporary Development of China (R)
  Human Behavior and Social Environment
  Chinese Politics

 Intergovernmental and Global Context

Management Functions

 Public Financial Management

 Evaluation and Performance Measurement

 Human Resource Management

 Information Management and Technology

 Program and Service Delivery

 Regulatory Policy and Management

 Nonprofit Management and Advocacy

  Civil Society in China
  NGO Leadership and Management

Policy Sectors

 Fiscal, Monetary and Tax Policy

 International Development

  Development Theories (R)
  Gender and Development
  Practicum: Issues in International Development
  Development Policy and Practice in International Comparison

 Social Policy and Welfare

  Chinese Social Policy and International Comparison
  Poverty Reduction: Theories and Practice


  Issues in Public Health in China
  Health and Poverty
  AIDS Prevention and Health Education


 Employment, Labour and Immigration

  Migration and Social Transition in China
  Migration, Population and Health

 Cities, Urban and Regional Development

  Community Development and Practice

 Environment and Sustainability

  Environment, Health and Development

 Agriculture and Resources

 Science, Technology and Innovation

 Industry, Trade and Investment

 Energy, Transport and Infrastructure

 Defence, Security and Foreign Relations

 Policing and Justice Administration

 Arts and Culture

 Financial Markets

 Other Policy Sectors

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