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Albany Rockefeller
American SPA
ANU Crawford
Arizona State SPA
Beijing Normal
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Calgary SPP
Cambridge POLIS
Canberra SGP
Carleton SPPA
Carnegie Heinz
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Michigan Ford
Michigan State PS
Moncton DAP
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North Carolina
Northwestern SPS
Ohio Glenn
Oregon PPPM
Ottawa GSPIA
Ottawa SPS
Oxford BSG
Pennsylvania Fels
Pittsburgh GSPIA
Princeton Wilson
Queen Mary SPIR
Queen's SPS
Rutgers SPAA
Ryerson DPPA
Sac State PPA
Sask-Regina JSGS
SciencesPo Paris
SF State DPA
Simon Fraser SPP
Singapore LKY
Stanford GPPP
Sydney GIR
Sydney GSG
Syracuse Maxwell
Tenn State CPSUA
Texas Johnson
Tokyo GraSPP
Toronto SPPG
UCLA Luskin
UC London SPP
USC Price
Victoria SPA
Vic Wellington
Virginia Batten
Warwick PAIS
Waterloo MPS
Washington Evans
Western LGP
York Glendon
Carleton Paterson
Columbia SIPA
Toronto Munk
NYU Wagner MPA with Int Spec'n
Rutgers (Bloustein)


MPP and MPA Programs

Northwestern University, School of Professional Studies (SPS) - MPPA

Program Comparison Highlights

Institutional Structure: The School of Professional Studies, one of the 12 colleges and schools of Northwestern University, is the university's continuing and adult education arm.

Curriculum Design: Then Northwestern MPPA is among the relatively few MPP/MPA programs reviewed to date that is directed exclusively to part-time students. The 13-quarter-course requirement is equivalent to 10 one-semester courses, at the low end of programs in our sample. Our PEACO calculations below suggest that typical students take about 82% of their course work in subjects that we classify as being in the Tools and Skills and Management Functions, and 24% their study is in economic or quantitative courses. This places the Northwestern MPPA in the "low course requirement, more quantitative, tools/management leaning" curriculum type, along with such programs as the Cambridge MPP and the Melbourne MPA.

Professional Program Features: The program website does not describe features such as career services or co-curricular initiatives.

Program Summary


University: Northwestern University

Location: Evanston, Illinois

Degree: MPPA (Master of Public Policy and Administration) - Delivered either On-Campus or On-Line, for part-time students 

Marketing Approach: "Most graduate programs in public policy require students to choose between the analytical and the administrative sides of the discipline. Northwestern’s part-time MPPA degree program encompasses both. While instilling leadership skills, the program develops students’ administrative as well as analytical competence to enable them to rise in the field and drive change at the local, national and international levels. The program encompasses a range of specialized areas — public administration, public policy, global policy — all grounded in the perspective that policy challenges are fluid, interconnected and global. Students learn to think across diverse groups and boundaries. MPPA graduates set their sights on leadership roles in government at the local, regional and federal levels, in nonprofit organizations or in private enterprise. MPPA graduates pursue rewarding management careers in health service, community service, government IT and emergency management, as well as urban and regional planning, political science research and foreign affairs." (At 21 February 2015.)

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

Academic Unit within University: The School of Professional Studies, one of the 12 colleges and schools of Northwestern University, "strives to be a national leader in continuing education by providing accessibility to learning and exceptional teaching to nontraditional students whose professional and personal obligations affect when and where they may achieve their educational goals." ...  "SPS and adult learning have been a core part of Northwestern’s mission for more than 80 years. SPS is enmeshed in many parts of the University — sharing faculty members, creating innovative programs and setting the standard for higher education for adults" (at, accessed 21 February 2015).

Related Academic Units and Degrees: The SPS also offers a Public Policy and Administration Online degree.

Posted Tuition: Estimated cost for entire program $40,547 for On-Campus program (at and $42,042 for On-Line program (at, accessed 21 February 2015).

Concentration/Curriculum Overview

MPPA Degree Requirements

Summary: The Master's in Public Policy and Administration requires the successful completion of 13 courses to obtain a degree. Students complete nine core courses, two elective courses corresponding to a chosen area of specialization, a leadership course and a capstone or thesis project. Students declare one of four specializations as part of the application process: public administration; public policy; global policy; health services policy (see Students can also select the "generalist" designation, which allows them to take their two electives from different specializations. 

Duration: The MPPA program is designed to be completed in two to three years of uninterrupted part-time study (one to two classes per quarter), although students are allowed five years to finish the program. Students typically compete in 2-3 years.

Academic Prerequisite: Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution or its foreign equivalent. A competitive undergraduate record that indicates strong academic ability is required, though applicants need not have extensive academic experience in public policy. Work experience in the public sector is desirable but not necessary. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required, but strong scores bolster chances for admission. GRE scores and/or new, relevant course work at the undergraduate level are recommended for applicants whose previous academic performance was below a B average.

Number of One-Semester-Equivalent Courses Required for Completion: 10 (13 one-quarter courses). See Note 1.

Note 1: Northwestern University operates on a quarter rather than a semester system. One course is 10 weeks typically comprising one 2.5-hour class each week. (See, for example,, accessed 21 February 2015.) We apply the 10/13 conversion factor (see Credit and Course Equivalencies).

Number of Required Courses: 8.5 (11 one-quarter courses)

Number of Electives Typically Taken (difference between above two entries): 1.5

Number of Electives Offered within Program: 13 one-quarter courses

Comprehensive Examination: No

Thesis Required: No

Internship Required: May be taken as an elective course

International Study Required: No

Co-curricular Activities Supportive to Degree

Professional Development and Career Support: Not referenced on website

Student-run Journal: Not referenced on website

Applied Projects: Yes

Pro Bono Consulting: Not referenced on website

Courses Offered: The list of courses is found at, (with the specializations at, accessed 21 February 2015.

Course Material Online: One-paragraph course descriptions on the site above but no publicly available online syllabi. 

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; Financial Sector and Pensions


Quantitative Methods




Ratio of Quantitative Courses to Total Courses Required


Sum of Tools and Skills and Management Functions


Sum of Institutions and Context and Policy Sectors



Source: At and related sites (accessed 21 February 2015).

Page Created By: Ian Clark on 21 February 2015, updated by Dave Marshall on 3 April 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.

Northwestern MPPA 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

  MPPA 407 Public Policy (R)
  MPPA 408 Organization Theory Analysis (R)
  MPA 419 Strategic Policy Environment

 Economic Analysis

  MPPA 404 Microeconomics (R)

 Quantitative Methods

  MPPA 401 Research Methods (R)
  MPPA 404 Statistics for Research (R)

 Analytic Methods

  MPPA 406 Analytic Methods (R)

 Leadership Skills

  LEADERS 481 Leadership (R)

 Communication Skills

  MPPA 409 Writing and Communication

 Professional Practice

  MPPA 498 Capstone Project (R)

Institutions and Context

 Democratic Institutions and Policy Process

  MPPA 403 Fundamentals of Public Admin (R)
  MPPA 411 The Legislative Process

 Ethics, Rights and Accountability

 Social and Political Context

 Intergovernmental and Global Context

  MPPA 432 Intergovernmental Relations
  MPPA 440 International Institutions

Management Functions

 Public Financial Management

  MPPA 402 Public Finance and Budgeting (R)

 Evaluation and Performance Measurement

 Human Resource Management

  MPPA 417 Public Human Resources

 Information Management and Technology

 Program and Service Delivery

 Regulatory Policy and Management

  MPA 435 Regulatory Policy

 Nonprofit Management and Advocacy

  MPPA 413 The Nonprofit/NGO Sector

Policy Sectors

 Macroeconomic Policy

  MPPA 450 International Macroeconomics

 International Development

 Social Policy and Welfare


  PUB HLTH 301 Behavior, Society, and Health
  PUB HLTH 304 Introduction to Epidemiology
  PUB HLTH 412 Control and Prevention of Infectious Disease in the Community


 Employment, Labour and Immigration

 Cities, Urban and Regional Development

  MPPA 452 The Global City

 Environment and Sustainability

 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