University of Maryland


Among public policy graduate schools, the University of Maryland School of Public Policy is young, innovative and confident, daring to challenge the established expectations for a school of its kind. Founded in 1981 as a small school with big ideas, we have become a major player in a short period of time, experiencing incredible success and momentum in building our program and earning our reputation. By reaching beyond our intellectual community, we have created a new standard for what schools of public affairs can accomplish.

What sets us apart from our peers? We expect our students to move, to work and to think across the public, private and nonprofit sectors during their careers and we prepare them accordingly. Our educational approach emphasizes the development of the knowledge, skills and enthusiasm needed to formulate and improve public policies and their management through the use of multidisciplinary tools, scholarly findings, and the insights of the best practitioners.

To realize our vision of excellence, MSPA has built
1) a community of renowned scholars and scholar-practitioners who represent the many disciplinary perspectives that must be brought to bear in the formulation and implementation of public policies,
2) a unique academic program that is at the heart of our commitment to meeting the needs of public policy practitioners throughout their careers,
3) a talented and diverse student body, and
4) high quality research centers and publications.

APSIA Membership: Full APSIA Member School



School of Public Policy
University of Maryland
2101 Van Munching Hall
Maryland School of Public Policy
College Park, MD 20742-1811

  • (301) 405-6331
  • (301) 403-4675
  • email


School of Public Policy
Admissions Office
University of Maryland
2101 Van Munching Hall
College Park, MD 20742-1811

  • (301) 405-6331
  • (301) 403-4675
  • email

Career Services

School of Public Policy
Associate Director, Careers & Alumni
University of Maryland
2101 Van Munching Hall
College Park, MD 20742-1811

  • (301) 405-4845
  • (301) 403-4675
  • email

Degree Requirements

M.A. in Public Policy (MPP) - 2 years

  • A 48 credit degree program that emphasizes the multidisciplinary tools of policy analysis. After completing 21 credits of required courses taken from the core curriculum, students typically choose one or more specializations. With permission from their program director, they may also choose electives from among other MSPA courses, courses offered by other University of Maryland departments and even courses offered by most other consortium universities in the Washington area.

M.A. in Public Management (MPM) - 2-3 years

  • This 36-credit degree program targets professionals who have at least 5 years work experience in policy or policy-related fields. This degree program begins with 18 credits of required core courses. Students then have the option of choosing an existing specialization or designing, with an advisor, their own program of study. Though free to take courses whenever they wish, mid-career students normally attend classes during the late afternoon and evening hours and typically take 2 courses per semester to finish the program in 3 years (although they have up to 5 years to complete all requirements).

Intensive M.A. in Public Management (MPM) - 1 year

  • for mid-career professionals who have the opportunity to engage in full-time study. To accommodate this select group of students, MSPA offers admission for the summer session, allowing them to complete the degree requirements over a 12-month period.

Doctorate in Policy Studies (Ph.D.) -

  • The doctoral program at the School of Public Affairs is designed for individuals who have received or are in the final year of a Masters degree at the School or a comparable institution; or who have a distinguished record in public policy or a related field, such as economics, political science, statistics, physics or philosophy.

Fields of Specialization

After mastering a rigorous interdisciplinary curriculum that emphasizes economic and quantitative approaches to policy analysis, political theory and institutions, public sector finance, and ethics, students then choose an academic program and an area of specialization. The School has four program areas:

  • Environmental Policy
  • International Security and Economic Policy
  • International Development
  • Management, Finance and Leadership
  • Social Policy

    Each of these program areas offers multiple specializations designed to enhance the educational experience and employment opportunities of our graduates.

    Building on the School's core curriculum, the International Security and Economic Policy (ISEP) program provides students with the means both to analyze the challenges and opportunities in the new international economic and security environment and to develop the options and strategies available to the United States.

    ISEP offers four specializations:

  • International Security and Economic Policy
  • International Security Policy
  • International Economic Policy
  • International Development Policy

    The specialization also focuses on the processes by which policies are formulated, debated and implemented within the American body politic. Building upon this ISEP core, students can further specialize in a number of different areas, including international economic policy, international security policy, and international development. ISEP prepares students for a variety of career opportunities involving international issues in the public and private sectors.

    The School's Washington location enables students to observe first-hand the making of U.S. international security and economic policy. Resident faculty are internationally recognized experts in their fields and have occupied senior positions in the Department of State, Department of Defense, Department of Commerce, office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, Congress, and the International Monetary Fund.

    After selecting a policy program, students choose a specialization that guides their course selection. Samples of specializations, include:

  • INTERNATIONAL SECURITY and ECONOMIC POLICY - U.S. Security Policy After the Cold War, American Foreign Policy Process, International Economic Policy, International Security & Economic Policy Project, Global Security Studies, U.S. Trade Policy, Information Technology and Society, Terrorism and Democracy; Conflict, Cooperation and Strategy

  • INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT POLICY- International Development Economics, Environment and Development, Development and Foreign Aid, Sustainable Development and Economic Policy

    Joint Degrees

    Students may pursue joint degree programs with:

  • The University of Maryland Colleges of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BA/MPP)
  • Business and Management (MPP/MBA)
  • Conservation Biology (MPP/MS)
  • The School of Law in Baltimore (MPP/JD)

    Core Courses

  • PUAF 610 "Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy" OR PUAF 611 "Quantitative Analysis of Social Policy Issues" (for those who have already mastered the topics covered in PUAF 610)

  • PUAF 620 "Political Institutions and Leadership"

  • PUAF 640 "Microeconomics and Policy Analysis"

  • PUAF 641 "Macroeconomic Theory and Policy Analysis"

  • PUAF 650 "Moral Dimensions of Public Policy"

  • PUAF 670 "Finance"

  • PUAF 711 "Public Management and Leadership"
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