Master of Science in Public Policy

Master of Science: 45.0 quarter credits

About the Program

The Master of Science in Public Policy program is a general professional masters degree designed for people who work, or who would like to work, for government or a nonprofit organization.

The program has a required core curriculum of nine courses, specifically designed for students to:

  • develop an understanding of the social, political and ethical context of policy research, and how this understanding can be applied to an applied practice of policy analysis;
  • conceptionalize, design and conduct social research for policy purposes, as well as comprehensively analyze existing social research data;
  • recognize the history of public policy institutions in America and the management and governance of nonprofit organizations; and
  • understand the concept of sustainability as it relates to policy planning, design, and implementation.

In addition to the core courses, the program has a focus on case study research as a unifying element of the curriculum. The curriculum reinforces coursework with a series of accompanying 1-credit, online, Case Study Research co-requisites. Students are required to choose a specific case study topic that they will work on for the duration of the core curriculum. In each subsequent Case Study Research course, students continue further research and writing on their chosen case study topic. Thus by the end of the program students will have produced a polished, in-depth analysis of a specific case that they can use to demonstrate expertise in a given policy area.

With the approval and support of the program director, students can craft a specialized course of study with their three electives, or they can take courses in one of three tracks:

  • Educational Policy
  • Environmental Policy
  • Urban Systems Management

The degree can be completed part-time in two years. Select students will also be able to apply for an intensive full-time track in which they complete the degree in a single year.

For additional information, view the Center for Public Policy page on the College of Arts and Sciences' website.

Admission Requirements

Acceptance for graduate study at Drexel University requires a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in the United States or an equivalent international institution. Although admission requirements vary by program, regular acceptance typically requires a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 for the last two years of undergraduate work. The GPA for any graduate work must be at least 3.0.

The admission committee evaluates all credentials submitted by applicants to determine a student’s ability and potential to succeed in graduate study. In addition, the committee is interested in the applicant’s ability to contribute to his/her program of study and to the University community as a whole.

Though part-time at 8.0 credits, Drexel is extending the same scholarship opportunities to Master of Science in Public Policy students who enroll that are usually only available for full-time programs.

Visit the Graduate Admissions website for more information about requirements and deadlines, as well as instructions for applying online.

Degree Requirements 

Required Courses
BUSN 502Essentials of Economics3.0
ECON 616Public Finance and Cost Benefit Analysis3.0
COM 705Data Analysis in Communication3.0
INFO 680US Government Information3.0
PLCY 503Theory and Practice of Policy Analysis3.0
PLCY 504Methods of Policy Analysis3.0
PLCY 506Institutional Dynamics of the Policy Process3.0
PLCY 507Nonprofit Organizations3.0
PLCY 509Sustainability & Public Policy3.0
Case Study Courses 9.0
The curriculum reinforces coursework with a series of accompanying 1-credit, online, Case Study Research courses. In the first, students are introduced to case study methodology and practice, and required to choose a specific case that they will work on for the duration of the core curriculum. In each subsequent Case Study Research course, students continue further research and writing on their chosen case study topic. Thus by the end of the program students have produced a polished, in-depth analysis of a specific case that they can use to demonstrate expertise in a given policy area.
PLCY 511Case Study Literature Review1.0
PLCY 512Case Study Document Review1.0
PLCY 513Case Study Interviews1.0
PLCY 514Case Study Research I1.0
PLCY 515Case Study Colloquium1.0
PLCY 516Case Study Research II (1-credit course taken 3 times)3.0
PLCY 517Case Study Final Project1.0
Elective Courses
Elective courses are taught under the PLCY 590: Special Topics in Public Policy, or by one of the participating departments.
Special Topics in Public Policy
Total Credits45.0


Courses

PLCY 503 Theory and Practice of Policy Analysis 3.0 Credits

The aim of this course is to develop an understanding of the social, political, and ethical context of policy research, and how this understanding can be translated into an applied practice of policy analysis.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

PLCY 504 Methods of Policy Analysis 3.0 Credits

Course focuses on the logic and procedures used in carrying out social research for policy purposes. The aim of the course is to develop the student’s capacity to conceptualize, design, and conduct research.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

PLCY 506 Institutional Dynamics of the Policy Process 3.0 Credits

Introduces students to the American policy process, looked at through the lens of historical institutional analysis.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

PLCY 507 Nonprofit Organizations 3.0 Credits

This course focuses on distinctive features of managing and governing nonprofit organizations and draws on current theories, concepts, and real world examples to explore particular management challenges. Course includes a mix of lecture, discussion, case applications, and presentations by practitioners from the local nonprofit community.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

PLCY 509 Sustainability & Public Policy 3.0 Credits

Course introduces students to the concept of sustainability as it relates to policy planning, design, and implementation, and examines how different definitions of sustainability (e.g. environmental, economic, and social) can be translated into best practices, performance benchmarks, and other metrics.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

PLCY 511 Case Study Literature Review 1.0 Credit

A tutorial course for public policy students to review and report on academic literature relevant to their chosen case study topics.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PLCY 504 [Min Grade: C]

PLCY 512 Case Study Document Review 1.0 Credit

A tutorial course for public policy students, to collect and report on original documents(legislation, hearing transcripts, reports, etc.) relevant to their chosen case study topics.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PLCY 504 [Min Grade: C]

PLCY 513 Case Study Interviews 1.0 Credit

A tutorial course for public policy students to interview personnel relevant to their chosen case study topics.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PLCY 504 [Min Grade: C]

PLCY 514 Case Study Research I 1.0 Credit

A tutorial course for public policy students to engage in literature reviews and/or original research relevant to their chosen case study topics.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PLCY 504 [Min Grade: C]

PLCY 515 Case Study Colloquium 1.0 Credit

A group discussion course for public policy students to consolidate and report on their case study research and to comment on the research of other students.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PLCY 504 [Min Grade: C] and PLCY 511 [Min Grade: C] and PLCY 512 [Min Grade: C] and PLCY 513 [Min Grade: C]

PLCY 516 Case Study Research II 1.0 Credit

A tutorial course for public policy students to collect and report on original documents (legislation, hearing transcripts, reports, ect) relevant to their chosen case study topics.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PLCY 504 [Min Grade: C] and PLCY 515 [Min Grade: C]

PLCY 517 Case Study Final Project 1.0 Credit

A final tutorial course for public policy students writing their case studies. Students complete and submit their final case study reports. Passage of this course is contingent completing an oral defense of their case studies.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PLCY 504 [Min Grade: C] and PLCY 515 [Min Grade: C]

PLCY 590 Special Topics in Public Policy 0.5-12.0 Credits

Course covers on a rotating basis a variety of topics of interest to students in public policy, including (though not limited to) urban policy, environmental policy, and technology.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Can be repeated multiple times for credit

Interdepartmental Faculty

Robert Brehm, PhD (Drexel University). Associate Teaching Professor. International infrastructure delivery; response to natural catastrophes; risk assessment and mitigation strategies; project management techniques.
Robert J. Brulle, PhD (George Washington University). Professor. Environmental policy and politics, critical theory, marine risk, social movements, environmental sociology.
Richardson Dilworth, PhD (Johns Hopkins University) Director, Center for Public Policy. Associate Professor. American political development, urban politics, public policy.
Patrick Gurian, PhD (Carnegie-Mellon University). Associate Professor. Risk analysis of environmental and infrastructure systems, novel adsorbent materials, environmental standard setting, Bayesian statistical modeling, community outreach and environmental health.
Christian Hunold, PhD (University of Pittsburgh). Associate Professor. Environmental policy and comparative politics.
Roger A. McCain, PhD (Louisiana State University) Department of Economics and International Business. Professor. Computational economics, game theory.
Franco Montalto, PhD (Cornell University). Associate Professor. Effects of built infrastructure on societal water needs, ecohydrologic patterns and processes, ecological restoration, green design, water interventions.
Joseph V. Mullin, PhD (Pennsylvania State University). Senior Lecturer. Structural material behavior, engineering economy and design.
Sabrina Spatari, PhD (University of Toronto). Assistant Professor. Research in industrial ecology; development and application of life cycle assessment (LCA) and material flow analysis (MFA) methods for guiding engineering and policy decisions; specific interest in biomass and bioenergy, biofuels, and urban infrastructure.
Mark Stehr, PhD (University of California at Berkeley) Department of Economics and International Business. Associate Professor. Health Economics, public finance, public policy.
Robert Stokes, PhD (Rutgers University) Coordinator, Environmental Policy Program. Associate Professor. Economic and community development, sustainability planning and governance, urban planning and public health, public security and violence prevention.
  • Schedule of Classes
  • All Course Descriptions
  • Co-op
  • Academic Advising
  • Admissions
  • Tuition & Fees
LEARN MORE