The MA in Public Policy is available as an option for students who elect to earn it as a formal credential while en route to their Ph.D. or who are opting to exit the Ph.D. program prior to completing all requirements for the PhD. In all cases, the student must meet departmental and Graduate School degree requirements for a master’s degree, including 30 earned credit hours, two full semesters of residence credit, passing an exam requirement, and completing a thesis or (thesis substitute) project.
In Public Policy, the 30 credit hours will be earned through core and elective courses, generally completed in the student’s first two years in the program. Students earning the MA while en route to their PhD must take and pass the written core exam (and complete a field exam or paper) to earn the MA credential. The format of the field paper is a critical literature review of a maximum of 40 pages (double spaced) in length.

Students nearing completion of their core courses and intending to exit the program without completing the Ph.D. may petition to the DGS to write an approved thesis substitute with an (oral) exam defense.
The oral defense will occur before at least three (3) committee members and will cover appropriate core course material from the program in lieu of sitting for the written core exam. The thesis substitute format will be determined by agreement between the student and the faculty committee and may include a literature review or discussion/research paper.

Students who decide to exit the program by completing these latter MA requirements may not later choose to continue for the PhD without taking and passing the core written exam.

The following core and elective courses are required for the MA (30 credit) degree:

PLCY 716/717, Politics, Institutions & Public Policy I & II (6)
PLCY 780, Normative Dimensions in Policy Analysis and Research (3)
PLCY 788/789, Advanced Economic Analysis for Public Policy I & II (6)
PLCY 801, Design of Policy-Oriented Research (3)
PLCY 881 (Regression) (3)

Ph.D. elective courses (6)
PLCY 992 Master’s (Non-thesis) (3)