Public Policy

Major: Public Policy
Degree Awarded: Master of Science (MS)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours: 45.0
Co-op Option: None
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 44.0501
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code: 11-1031

About the Program

Drexel’s MS in Public Policy is similar in its core curriculum to a Master of Public Administration (MPA) and a Master of Public Policy (MPP) program as it is designed for people who work, or who would like to work, for government or a nonprofit organization. It is innovative and distinct in at least two key respects: Its focus on case study research and its distinct tracks of specialization.

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
  • Conceptualize, design, and conduct research for policy purposes, as well as comprehensively analyze existing research
  • Understand the history of public policy institutions in America and the management and governance of nonprofit organizations

In addition to the core courses, the program has a focus on case study research as a unifying element of the curriculum. Students are required to choose a specific case study topic that they will work on typically for three terms during the program. 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.

Specialization Tracks: 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 the following:

  • Economic Policy
  • Education Policy
  • Environmental Policy
  • Health Policy
  • Information Policy
  • Nonprofit Management

Additional Information

For more information, view the Center for Public Policy page on the College of Arts and Sciences website. For current Drexel Thomas Kline School of Law students, please see the page on joint JD-MS Public Policy degrees for more information.

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. There is no pre-requisite undergraduate major or specific coursework. 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.  Applicants to this program should also include their intended area of focus (see the admissions page for the essay prompt) and are often contacted for an information interview. The committee is interested in the applicant’s ability to contribute to their program of study and to the University community as a whole.

Drexel is extending the same scholarship opportunities to Master of Science in Public Policy students who enroll in 8.0 credits that are usually only available for full-time programs (minimum enrollment of 9.0 credits for full-time status).

Additional Information

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

Degree Requirements

Students take required courses for the MS in Public Policy from multiple schools within Drexel University, including the Center for Public Policy in the College of Arts and Sciences, the LeBow College of Business, and the College of Computing and Informatics.

Students are required to receive a grade of “B” or better in all core coursework in order to fulfill the requirements of the MS in Public Policy degree and be eligible for graduation. This policy is in addition to the Drexel University Graduate College policy that requires all graduate students to maintain a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA per term as well as an overall 3.0 GPA for graduation purposes.

Required Courses
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
One of the following economics courses (taken before ECON 616)3.0
Essentials of Economics
Managerial Economics
ECON 616Public Finance and Cost Benefit Analysis3.0
INFO 680US Government Information3.0
URBS 530Quantitative Methods & Reasoning for Urban Strategists3.0
Statistics - Choose 13.0
Data Analysis in Communication
Intro to Econometrics and Data Analysis
Econometrics
Business Statistics
Statistics for Business Analytics
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.
Introduction to Case Study Research
Case Study Research II (1-credit course taken 3 times)
Case Study Final Project
Approved Public Policy Elective Courses*9.0
Total Credits45.0

Sample Plan of Study

First Year
FallCreditsWinterCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
PLCY 5063.0BUSN 5023.0PLCY 5033.0VACATION
PLCY 5043.0INFO 6803.0PLCY 5103.0 
URBS 5303.0PLCY 5073.0ECON 6163.0 
 9 9 9 0
Second Year
FallCreditsWinterCredits  
PLCY 5163.0PLCY 5173.0  
Statistics (Choose one from the list)3.0Approved Elective3.0  
Approved Elective3.0  
Approved Elective3.0   
 9 9  
Total Credits 45

Public Policy Faculty

Rebecca Clothey, PhD (University of Pittsburgh) Associate Department Head. Associate Professor. Comparative and international education, education of ethnic and linguistic minorities, sociology of education.
Richardson Dilworth, PhD (Johns Hopkins University) Director, Center for Public Policy. Professor. American political development, urban politics, public policy.
Christian Hunold, PhD (University of Pittsburgh). Professor. Environmental policy; comparative politics; urban wildlife; political theory.
Franco Montalto, PhD (Cornell University). Professor. Effects of built infrastructure on societal water needs, ecohydrologic patterns and processes, ecological restoration, green design, and water interventions.
Gwen Ottinger, PhD (University of California, Berkeley). Associate Professor. Social studies of science and technology, environmental justice, environmental political theory, citizen science, science and engineering ethics.
Mark Stehr, PhD (University of California at Berkeley) Director School of Economics. Professor. Health economics; health behaviors; public finance; public policy.
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