The Master of Public Policy (MPP) is the industry standard among public policy degrees. It emphasizes the analysis of data and other relevant information to assess public problems, develop appropriate policy responses, and evaluate program effectiveness. Northeastern University’s MPP program is dedicated to studying and implementing policies that create more just, equitable, and resilient cities.

Offered both online and on campus, this degree allows students to exchange diverse views, consult with faculty, and work collaboratively no matter where they are in the world. MPP graduates enter careers as policy analysts, researchers, consultants, program evaluators, and policymakers in a broad range of public, nonprofit, and private sector settings.

“Public and nonprofit organizations need professionals with the right mix of policy analysis and program design skills. The MPP program delivers those skills, grounded in experience, that will help students meet those needs.”

LINDA KOWALCKY, professor of public policy and director of the Master of Public Policy program

Northeastern MPP at a Glance

  • Flexible options to take courses on campus, online, or both.
  • The upcoming start date is May 8, 2023.
  • Tuition: $946 per credit hour; $37,840 total plus fees
    • Courses taken at Northeastern University outside of the College of Social Sciences and Humanities are subject to different tuition rates. This includes courses in the cybersecurity concentration.

Master of Public Policy Overview

The Northeastern MPP takes a practice-oriented, research-based approach. Students build a toolkit of core analysis, evaluation, statistical, economic, and decision-making skills. They also gain advanced technology skills, including Big Data analytics, data visualization, programming languages such as R and Python, GIS applications, and artificial intelligence.

Our students get to participate in rewarding, practical experiences. All of our courses incorporate real-life case studies and we partner with public and private organizations to offer on-the-job training through co-op, capstones, and internships. In addition, many graduate students make valuable contributions to our highly collaborative scholarly community by joining multi-generational research teams.

Students can choose to take everything online, on campus, or move between both modalities. All online classes are offered asynchronously and all on-campus courses take place after 5 p.m.

The ultimate goal of our MPP is to prepare students to be effective in a dynamic and increasingly diverse professional environment. This includes assisting students in every possible way to secure internships, post-graduate employment, and career advancement.

Master of Public Policy Learning Outcomes

The Master of Public Policy (MPP) emphasizes the analysis of data and other relevant information to assess emergent public problems, reduce structural inequities, develop appropriate policy responses, and evaluate program effectiveness. The goal of the program is to equip graduates with the conceptual, analytical, and methodological tools necessary for rewarding careers as policy analysts, researchers, consultants, program evaluators, and policymakers in a broad range of public and nonprofit settings, ranging from local to international, and in the private sector. The program is centered on prioritizing social, economic, and racial justice.

As a professionally-oriented graduate program, the MPP is firmly focused on “developing leaders for a changing world” through:

  • Coursework that combines methodological rigor, diverse analytical tools, and real-world relevance through applied policy projects (e.g., program evaluations)
  • Policy-relevant internships and opportunities to work with faculty on applied research with a social justice lens
  • Team-based capstone projects that deliver actionable advice to a range of local and regional clients

Learning outcomes:

  • To analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make decisions
  • To identify and explain the institutional, structural, and political contexts of policymaking
  • To employ analytical tools to collect, analyze and interpret data, including appropriate statistical concepts and techniques
  • To anticipate in and contribute to the public policy process
  • To communicate results of analysis and interact productively with diverse audiences

Master of Public Policy Admission Requirements

  • Completed online application
  • Application fee ($75)
  • Personal statement
  • Unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Resumé

Applicants to the MPP program are not required to submit GRE scores.

Visit our admissions page for more details about application requirements, tuition, and financial aid.

“Northeastern is an exciting and dynamic place, and we attract students who reflect that.”

Alicia Sasser Modestino, associate professor, School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs and the Department of Economics

Master of Public Policy Program Curriculum

The Master of Public Policy at Northeastern consists of 40 credits and can be completed in as little as 1.5 years (4 semesters as a full-time student). Both our online and on-campus modalities include the same core courses, and are taught by exceptional faculty.

The MPP is designed for students whose career goals are to analyze problems, devise policy options to address those problems, advocate for solutions, and assess the impacts of the resulting policies. The curriculum is focused on developing competencies in statistical analysis, research methods, policy analysis, and program evaluation. Our courses teach students to think strategically and act ethically. MPP courses include:

  • Techniques of Program Evaluation
  • Techniques of Policy Analysis
  • Research Methods in Social Sciences
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Economic Analysis for Policy and Planning
  • Strategizing Public Policy
  • Capstone in Public Policy and Urban Affairs

MPP students who would like to specialize in a particular field of interest can choose to pursue the following certificates:

  • Nonprofit Sector, Philanthropy, and Social Change
  • Urban Analytics
  • Urban Studies
  • Data Analytics
  • Information Ethics
  • Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  • Security and Resilience Studies

See our certificates information page to learn more.

Master’s students in both the on-campus and online modalities have the option to concentrate in Healthcare Management and Policy or Sustainability and Climate Change Policy. However, a concentration is not mandatory for this program.

Our experiential learning opportunities are a hallmark of Northeastern’s educational mission. Our students acquire hands-on experience through capstone projects, partnerships with research labs and centers, and work opportunities—no matter whether they take the MPP online or on-campus. Students finish with practical skills and a broadened professional network.

  • In-Class: Courses incorporate case studies, small group exercises, and applied projects
  • Research: Students collaborate with faculty on groundbreaking research in class and with our research centers
  • Co-op: NU’s signature program lets students earn credit for six months of full-time, on-the-job training
  • Capstone: Teams partner with local, state, or federal agencies or nonprofit institutions to assess a problem, produce a policy analysis, and recommend solutions
  • Internship: Students gain practical experience through part-time work in public and nonprofit organizations

Visit our curriculum page for more information, including a full course list with descriptions.

Master of Public Policy Careers

Why Pursue an MPP?

Well-planned and implemented policies can make people’s lives better and strengthen citizens’ trust in their communities. A career in public policy means having a direct influence on how the government and other institutions approach issues such as affordable housing, biotechnology development, education funding, energy choices, urban redevelopment, and many more. They are prepared to move into a broad range of public, nonprofit, and private sector settings.

Public policy jobs generally involve analyzing problems, weighing solutions, implementing changes, and then assessing whether the solutions worked (and fixing those that do not). Many positions require employees to occupy multiple roles, and so a well-rounded, interdisciplinary education like the Northeastern MPP program is essential.

Northeastern also offers a Master of Public Administration (MPA). For more information, view our article discussing the differences between an MPA and an MPP.

Public Policy Salaries

The median salary for a policy analyst is $64,474, according to the job-analysis site Burning Glass. And it estimates that graduates with a master’s degree earn a salary 5% higher than those with a bachelor’s degree alone.

However, a salary can vary widely depending on whether someone is working in the public, private, or nonprofit sector. A report from the Congressional Budget Office estimated that federal employees with a professional degree made 18% less than private-sector employees.

For those at the beginning of a government career, $45,627 is the entry-level national salary for the pay classification of GS-9, defined by FederalPay as “the starting grade for most employees directly out of school who have a Master’s Degree.” The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration estimates that federal workers are promoted one or two steps up in their pay grade every year.

What Can You Do With an MPP?

Earning a master’s in public administration offers a variety of career benefits for professionals at any stage of their career. For those who want to move into a public policy career, an MPP allows them to develop a deep understanding of the workings—and regulations—of government and other such sectors. For those who want to advance further in their existing public policy careers, an MPP can update and expand their skills in ever-changing areas such as programming, GIS applications, and AI.

Careers of Recent Grads Employers of Recent Grads
City manager
Cyber security analyst
Development director
Energy specialist
Hospital policy analyst
Program evaluator
Project manager
Boston Children’s Hospital
College Access Now
City of Boston
City of Buenos Aires
Federal Emergency Management Administration
National Coalition for the Homeless
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
The World Bank

Master of Public Policy

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You can also email or call us toll-free at +1 877.377.2739 or at +1 617.655.6736 to talk with one of our admissions counselors.

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