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Josef Korbel School of International Studies


Public Policy Program

Master of Public Policy (MPP)

The master's of public policy (MPP) is a 60-hour, two-year program. The MPP gives you the opportunity to analyze, create, and articulate innovative public policies responsive to the most challenging issues facing this nation, while respecting and supporting your passion to serve responsibly.

Master of public policy students must complete:

The required courses build a broad perspective of policy while giving students the capabilities for strong analysis and quantitative skill. In addition, MPP students are encouraged to pursue customized concentrations.

academic emphasis

In conjunction with other graduate programs at the University of Denver, MPP students can take specialized and approved courses in various policy specific areas. Policy emphasis are available in the following areas:

  • Education policy
  • Business and government
  • Energy and environmental policy
  • Social policy and nonprofit management
  • Communications and public affairs

Each emphasis has a distinct list of requirements that will fulfill the MPP elective credits. Additionally, students are encouraged to explore experiential learning opportunities such as internships in their specific areas of emphasis as well as complete the required Policy Memorandum on a topic that is relevant to the specialization.

A typical full-time student schedule will include 10 credit hours per quarter (3 quarters a year). Please see our example schedule (PDF).

Program Resources

Scholarship & Financial Aid

The Institute for Public Policy Studies recognizes a graduate education is an important investment for its students. We strive to provide competitive scholarship funding for students who demonstrate merit.

  • Tuition information—MPP students take a full courseload of 10 credits per quarter. Tuition at this level is calculated as a 3/4-time student. See DU's full tuition information.
  • Scholarship—The Institute for Public Policy Studies provides several departmental scholarships. All applicants that meet the priority deadline of February 15 will be automatically considered for scholarship funding.
  • Financial aid—We encourage students to work with the Office of Financial Aid for additional funding opportunities.
  • Are there minimum or average GPA and GRE requirements?

We admit competitive, above-average students. The average undergraduate GPA of our admitted student is well above 3.0 and the average test scores are above the 60th percentile.

  • Are there course prerequisites? I wasn't a political science or public policy major as an undergrad. Is this a problem?

There are no course prerequisites. Most students have undergraduate majors in the social sciences, such as sociology, political science, or economics, but we admit students from virtually any discipline. Students from non-policy-related disciplines are expected to rapidly fill in any gaps they may have in their knowledge of policy-related material.

  • Can I complete the MPP in two years?

Yes. There are three regular quarters in the academic year: fall (September-November), winter (January-March) and spring (March-June). To complete the MPP in two years, a student must take about 10 hours each of the three quarters for two years, totaling 60 hours. Ten hours each quarter equals two regular courses (4 hours each) and one Great Issues Forum (2 hours). Ten hours is considered full-time status; however, if a student wishes to take more than 10 hours each quarter, then he or she may complete the MPP in less than 2 years.

  • Are there specializations/emphasis in particular policy areas?

In conjunction with other graduate programs at the University of Denver, MPP students can take specialized and approved courses in various policy specific areas. Policy emphasis are available in the following areas:

—education policy
—business and government
—energy and environmental policy
—social policy and nonprofit management
—communications and public affairs

  • How many years of experience does the average MPP student have?

Approximately one-third of the students who are admitted to the Program are very recent graduates of undergraduate colleges or universities. Another third of the students have 1-5 years of public policy related experience (or other non-public policy professional experience) prior to being admitted to the Program. The remaining third of the students are current DU graduate students pursuing the JD/MPP or another dual degree.

  • Do most MPP students work full or part time when they are students in the program?

Yes, most students work full or part time to help finance their education. The MPP program is a professional degree (as opposed to an academic degree that provides fellowships) and, therefore, students are expected to fund most of their education or obtain loans offered by the Student Financial Services Office. Employment is also a good opportunity to gain practical public policy experience while completing your coursework.

  • Is it possible to begin my studies in the winter instead of the fall quarter?

At this time the program only admits students to begin in Fall quarter.

  • Should I have my transcripts mailed directly to DU?

If the colleges/universities give you the option to have the transcripts mailed directly to you instead of DU, (then you mail them with the rest of your application materials), this is preferable because you can track if/when the transcripts were mailed.

  • Do I need to request transcripts from every college or university, even if I only took one or two summer classes?

Yes. University policy requires transcripts from every college or university, even if you only enrolled in one or two courses.

  • What are the specific details of the personal statement in terms of length, format and content?

A personal statement of professional objectives is required. The personal statement should be two to three pages, preferably double-spaced, and should address these three areas.

- What led you to your interest in pursuing this degree? Do you have a particular policy topic that interests you?

- What are your professional and career goals? Ten years from now, what type of work do you hope to be doing in the field of public policy?

- How would a degree from the Institute for Public Policy Studies at the University of Denver help you achieve your professional goals?

  • Do the two letters of recommendation need to be from professors, or can I include professional recommendations?

If you are currently an undergraduate student (or a very recent graduate), then yes, the letters of recommendation need to be from professors who can speak to your academic abilities and personal qualities needed for success in graduate school and beyond. If you have been out of school for a number of years and you would find it difficult to track down three former professors, then you may use professional recommendations.

  • Can I pursue a dual degree at DU?

The MPP program has arranged a formalized MPP/JD dual-degree program with the Sturm College of Law. The MPP/JD can be completed in approximately 4 total years (if you are admitted to the day division at the law school, or 5 years if admitted to the evening division). Students must apply to both programs separately and, if admitted to both, can then pursue the dual degree.

Students may apply to pursue a flexible dual degree between the MPP and any other master's-level degree program at DU (but not a PhD program). Students must apply to each program separately, and if admitted to both, can then complete a "Flexible Dual Degree Proposal," which will be submitted to the Graduate Council for approval. Examples of flexible dual degrees include the MPP/MBA; MPP/MS in finance; MPP/MSW; and the MPP/MA in education, among others. Find more information about flexible dual degrees at the University of Denver.

  • I'm a University of Denver law student. Do I need to re-submit all of the application materials?

Yes. However, the Sturm College of Law will provide us with your LSAT scores, if you choose to submit LSAT scores in place of the GRE.