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Specializations

In addition to a core set of courses that provides a foundation in governance, quantitative skills and the practice of public policy, the Master of Public Policy (MPP) and Master of Public Management (MPM) provide the opportunity to dive deeper into policy areas of interest through specializations. 

Pre-designed Specializations

The Environmental Policy specialization explores and examines policy approaches for environmental protection in different regulatory and development contexts. Taking an interdisciplinary approach that brings together science, economics, management and ethics, this specialization provides the theoretical foundation and methodological skills needed for analysis and policy making across the range of domestic and global environmental issues. 

Requirements

  • PLCY740 Public Policy and the Environment
  • PLCY741 Quantitative Aspects of Global Environmental Problems
  • PLCY745 Human Health and the Environment
Electives

One course from the following (or similar environmental-related course approved by specialization head):

  • PLCY742 Environmental Ethics
  • AOSC – Water and Climate Systems
  • PLCY689L Science and Technology Policy
  • PLCY699B Intersections of Technology and Policy: Modernizing the Energy System
  • PLCY784 Disease, Disasters, and Development
  • PLCY798O Energy Security
  • PLCY789N Energy Economics
  • PLCY699Z Energy Policy
  • PLCY744 Environment and Development
  • PLCY743 Ecological Economics

Sample Plan of Study

Semester 1
  • PLCY688E Normative and Political Dimensions (3 credits)
  • PLCY640 Microeconomics (3 credits)
  • PLCY610 Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 2
  • PLCY688T Policy Lab (3 credits)
  • PLCY688G Leadership, Management and Accountability (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 3
  • PLCY699W Capstone Project, Part 1 (2 credits)
  • PLCY688I Macroeconomics (2 credits)
  • PLCY688R Public Finance and Budgeting (2 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
Semester 4
  • PLCY790 Capstone Project, Part 2 (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)

Specialization Head

For more information, contact Lucy Qiu at yqiu16@umd.edu.

The Energy Policy specialization examines current and possible future energy systems and how they can interact with policy and society. Our goal is to understand four dimensions underpinning energy policy — as economic wellbeing, energy security, environmental protection and energy access.

We take an interdisciplinary approach to understanding these dimensions, including: the science and technology of energy; energy & society; innovation in energy technologies and the possible roles of government in supporting it; technological change and its implications for long-term energy futures; modeling and technology assessment; energy access for development and the goal sustainable energy for all; geopolitics of energy and other aspects of energy security; efficiency, renewables and transportation; Maryland state energy policy; and nuclear energy.

Requirements

  • One course on energy politics and policy (e.g. PLCY699Z Energy Policy)
  • One course on energy economics (e.g. PLCY798N Energy Economics)
Electives
  • Two energy-related courses, such as:
    • PLCY699B Intersections of Technology and Policy: Modernizing the Energy System (cross-listed as PHYS662)
    • PLCY798O Energy Security
    • PLCY689L Science and Technology Policy
    • Other courses approved by the Specialization Head

Sample Plan of Study

Semester 1
  • PLCY688E Normative and Political Dimensions (3 credits)
  • PLCY640 Microeconomics (3 credits)
  • PLCY610 Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 2
  • PLCY688T Policy Lab (3 credits)
  • PLCY688G Leadership, Management and Accountability (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
Semester 3
  • PLCY699W Capstone Project, Part 1 (2 credits)
  • PLCY688I Macroeconomics (2 credits)
  • PLCY688R Public Finance and Budgeting (2 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
Semester 4
  • PLCY790 Capstone Project, Part 2 (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)

Requirements prior to Fall 2018

Students admitted to the Master of Public Policy or Master of Public Management program in or before Fall 2018 may meet the Energy Policy specialization requirements by completing the four courses specified above or the following five courses:

  • PLCY699Z Energy Policy
  • PLCY740 Public Policy and the Environment
  • PLCY741 Quantitative Aspects of Global Environmental Problems
  • PLCY745 Human Health and the Environment
  • One energy elective, such as:
    • PLCY798N Energy Economics
    • PLCY798O Energy Security
    • PLCY698L International Environmental Agreements
    • PLCY699B Intersections of Technology and Policy: Modernizing the Energy System (cross-listed as PHYS662)
    • Another course approved by the Specialization Head

Specialization Head

 For more information, contact Lucy Qiu at yqiu16@umd.edu

The International Development (IDEV) Policy specialization focuses on the economics, political, demographic, health and ethical dimensions of development. Our courses cover topics such as economic stagnation, poverty, unhappiness, food insecurity, political repression, ethnic/religious conflict, population displacement, and health. Students acquire the tools and skills required to identify development challenges and to measure accurately the effects of interventions on development outcomes.

Requirements

  • PLCY781 International Economic Policy
  • PLCY782 International Development Economics
  • PLCY689R Development Challenges OR PLCY699J Pathways to Development
Electives

One course from the following:

  • PLCY688X Human Dignity
  • PLCY798T Sustainable Development, Environmental Policy, and Human Rights in Peru
  • PLCY798I India: Education and Project Management with Delhi’s NGOs
  • PLCY783 Development and Foreign Aid
  • PLCY744 Environment and Development
  • PLCY720 International Security Policy
  • PLCY784 Disease, Disaster, and Development
  • PLCY689V Forecasting and Analyzing Political Violence
  • PLCY689J Food, Economics and Health
  • PLCY689I Indonesia: Social-Ecological Systems, Environmental Policy, and Sustainable Development in Indonesia
  • PLCY689E Program Evaluation and Cost-Benefit Analysis

Sample Plan of Study

Semester 1
  • PLCY688E Normative and Political Dimensions (3 credits)
  • PLCY688I Macroeconomics (2 credits)
  • PLCY640 Microeconomics (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 2
  • PLCY688T Policy Lab (3 credits)
  • PLCY688G Leadership, Management and Accountability (3 credits)
  • PLCY610 Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 3
  • PLCY699W Capstone Project, Part 1 (2 credits)
  • PLCY688R Public Finance and Budgeting (2 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
Semester 4
  • PLCY790 Capstone Project, Part 2 (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)

Specialization Head

For more information, contact Susan Parker at swparker@umd.edu.

Over the past half-century, national governments have addressed international security and economic issues largely along separate tracks. The ISEP specialization is built on the premise that this no longer makes sense. The process commonly known as globalization is setting the context and posing the principal problems expected to drive public policy for the foreseeable future. This involves interactions across a range of substantive issues in general, and between security and economic issues in particular. Hence we need a new generation of public officials versed in both.

The International Security and Economic Policy specialization addresses this need by offering grounding in both spheres, with students brought to address first-order 21st century challenges ranging from international financial crises and trade conflicts to the rise of endemic conflicts involving terrorism and increasing access to destructive technology. The program also confronts the gap between the need for international management of these issues and the state of current international institutions. Finally, students are encouraged to take courses in related specializations such as Environmental Policy and International Development.

Requirements

  • PLCY720 International Security Policy
  • PLCY780 The American Foreign Policy-Making Process
  • PLCY781 International Economic Policy
Electives

One course from the following:

  • PLCY798M Arms Control and Nonproliferation
  • PLCY700 US Trade: Policy and Politics
  • PLCY798C Science, Technology and International Security
  • PLCY698C Intelligence and Policy
  • PLCY782 International Development Economics
  • PLCYXXX Global Health Policy
  • PLCY699Y Globalization, Business, and Development
  • PLCY789V Forecasting and Analyzing Political Violence
  • PLCY689A Federal Acquisitions: Concepts and Management
  • PLCY784 Disease, Disaster, and Development
  • PLCY688N Development Diplomacy and Leadership
  • PLCY783 Development and Foreign Aid
  • PLCY688C Cybersecurity
  • PLCY699K Civil Conflict

Sample Plan of Study

Semester 1
  • PLCY688E Normative and Political Dimensions (3 credits)
  • PLCY688I Macroeconomics (2 credits)
  • PLCY640 Microeconomics (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 2
  • PLCY688T Policy Lab (3 credits)
  • PLCY688G Leadership, Management and Accountability (3 credits)
  • PLCY610 Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 3
  • PLCY699W Capstone Project, Part 1 (2 credits)
  • PLCY688R Public Finance and Budgeting (2 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
Semester 4
  • PLCY790 Capstone Project, Part 2 (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)

Specialization Head

For more information, contact Nancy Gallagher at ngallag@umd.edu.

Based on a long tradition of an outstanding faculty of scholars and practitioners, we offer a specialization in leadership and management in cross-sector engagement and partnership. The Leadership and Management specialization prepares future leaders and the individuals who will assume major management responsibilities at the local, state and/or federal level. Leadership and management are needed now more than ever. The public demand for excellence in the management of public resources has never been stronger. Virtually every level of government faces unprecedented pressure for improved accountability while striving to provide high levels of service at low cost. This growing challenge requires a keen understanding of complex financial mechanisms, management and leadership theories and practices, and the ability of government to work with the private and nonprofit sectors.

Requirements

  • PLCY698T Networks: Leading and Managing Across Sectors
  • PLCY689X Performance Management: Leading for Results
Electives

Two courses from the following:

  • PLCY798Y Nonprofit Management and Leadership
  • PLCY689A Federal Acquisitions: Concepts and Management
  • PLCY717 Federal Budget
  • PLCY688F State, Local and Nonprofit Financial Management

Sample Plan of Study

Semester 1
  • PLCY688E Normative and Political Dimensions (3 credits)
  • PLCY688G Leadership, Management and Accountability (3 credits)
  • PLCY688R Public Finance and Budgeting (2 credits)
  • PLCY640 Microeconomics (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 2
  • PLCY688T Policy Lab (3 credits)
  • PLCY610 Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy (3 credits)
  • PLCY640 Microeconomics (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 3
  • PLCY699W Capstone Project, Part 1 (2 credits)
  • PLCY688I Macroeconomics (2 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
Semester 4
  • PLCY790 Capstone Project, Part 2 (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)

Requirements prior to Fall 2019

Students admitted before Fall 2019 may meet the Management and Leadership specialization requirements by completing:

  • PLCY698T Networks: Leading and Managing Across Sectors 
  • PLCY689X Performance Management: Leading for Results
  • One elective public management and leadership course from the following:
    • PLCY752 Managing Differences
    • PLCY798Y Nonprofit Management and Leadership
    • PLCY699G Leadership in Groups & Organizations
    • PLCY689Z Strategic Management for Nonprofit and Public Organizations
    • Any "Leadership" course in the following specializations: Management & Leadership, Nonprofit Management, Public Sector Financial Management, and Federal Acquisitions.
  • One public finance or acquisitions course

Specialization Head

For more information, contact Elizabeth Duke at eduke1@umd.edu.

Nonprofit organizations, philanthropy, and social entrepreneurs are major players in how public policy gets developed and implemented as well as how change occurs in our society. In the United States, the nonprofit sector encompasses more than a million organizations, annually reports trillions of dollars in revenue and assets, represents approximately 10 percent of the workforce, annually generates more than 400 billion dollars through donations and volunteers, and is primarily funded by government resources.

Today’s policy challenges require that tomorrow’s leaders be well versed in innovative, collaborative cross-sector solutions. Expertise in the area of nonprofit management and philanthropy is critical to School of Public Policy graduate students in a variety of policy specializations. 

MPP students of all professional interests will find a number of interesting career opportunities in the nonprofit sector; ranging from social or environmental policy, to international development. Since policy students will likely become nonprofit leaders in a particular policy field, the specialization in Nonprofit Management and Leadership (NML) will require at least four courses, and the focus will require at least three courses. This three-course package will allow MPP students to potentially specialize in a policy field and still achieve a NML credential.

Requirements

  • PLCY798Y Nonprofit Management and Leadership
  • PLCY688F State, Local and Nonprofit Financial Management
Electives

Two courses from the following:

  • PLCY689Z Strategic Management for Nonprofit and Public Organizations
  • PLCY689P Strategic Philanthropy
  • PLCY689Y Nonprofit Fundraising
  • PLCY688O China’s Dynamic Philanthropic and Social Sector: Policy Management and Perspectives
  • PLCY689D Social Entrepreneurship
  • PLCY798I India: Education and Project Engagement with Delhi’s NGOs

Sample Plan of Study

Semester 1
  • PLCY688E Normative and Political Dimensions (3 credits)
  • PLCY610 Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy (3 credits)
  • PLCY640 Microeconomics (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 2
  • PLCY688T Policy Lab (3 credits)
  • PLCY688G Leadership, Management and Accountability (3 credits)
  • PLCY688R Public Finance and Budgeting (2 credits)
  • PLCY688I Macroeconomics (2 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 3
  • PLCY699W Capstone Project, Part 1 (2 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
Semester 4
  • PLCY790 Capstone Project, Part 2 (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)

Specialization Head

For more information, contact Angela Bies at bies@umd.edu

Public financial management is an area in which SPP has traditionally excelled with nationally recognized faculty and significant publication, as well as outstanding teaching and internship mentoring. The Public Financial Management specialization prepares future leaders and the individuals who will assume major management responsibilities at the local, state and/or federal level. The public demand for excellence in the management of public resources has never been stronger. Virtually every level of government faces unprecedented pressure for improved accountability while striving to provide high levels of service at low cost. This growing challenge requires a keen understanding of complex financial mechanisms, management and leadership theories and practices, and the ability of government to work with the private and nonprofit sectors. 

Requirements

  • PLCY717 Federal Budget
  • PLCY688F State, Local and Nonprofit Financial Management
Electives

Two courses from the following:

  • PLCY698T Networks: Leading and Managing Across Sectors
  • PLCY689X Performance Management - Leading for Results
  • PLCY798Y Nonprofit Management and Leadership
  • PLCY689A Federal Acquisitions: Concepts and Management

Sample Plan of Study

Semester 1
  • PLCY688E Normative and Political Dimensions (3 credits)
  • PLCY610 Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy (3 credits)
  • PLCY640 Microeconomics (3 credits)
  • PLCY688R Public Finance and Budgeting (2 credits)
Semester 2
  • PLCY688T Policy Lab (3 credits)
  • PLCY688G Leadership, Management and Accountability (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 3
  • PLCY699W Capstone Project, Part 1 (2 credits)
  • PLCY688I Macroeconomics (2 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
Semester 4
  • PLCY790 Capstone Project, Part 2 (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)

Specialization Head

For more information, contact Philip Joyce at pgjoyce@umd.edu.

The federal government is the world’s largest single buyer of goods and services, spending hundreds of billions of dollars to meet the country’s many critical requirements. Today, as the nation faces unprecedented budgetary pressures, the need to acquire these goods and services efficiently and effectively has never been greater.

Leaders and managers who can deliver better acquisition outcomes to support diverse areas, such as military operations, homeland security, the provision of health care, response to natural disasters, energy research and development, etc. are desperately needed. Even as federal government spending has soared in recent years, the acquisition workforce has not kept pace. Furthermore, based on current workforce demographics, well over half of the federal acquisition workforce will be eligible to retire within the next ten years. As a result, thousands of new acquisition management employees are now beginning to be hired.

Similarly, as state and local governments feel their budgets increasingly squeezed, along with a simultaneous increase in demand for those services, they also see a need to hire “smart buyers.” Though this program focuses on federal acquisitions, the experience and education offered will be of great value to students seeking to help state and local governments expand their capabilities to meet this need.

Requirements

  • PLCY698A Acquisition: Concepts and Management
  • PLCY689F Current Issues in Federal Acquisition
Electives

Two courses from the following:

  • PLCY689T Networks: Leading and Managing Across Sectors
  • PLCY689X Performance Management - Leader for Results
  • PLCY798Y Nonprofit Management and Leadership
  • PLCY717 Federal Budget
  • PLCY688F State, Local and Nonprofit Financial Management

Sample Plan of Study

Semester 1
  • PLCY688E Normative and Political Dimensions (3 credits)
  • PLCY610 Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy (3 credits)
  • PLCY640 Microeconomics (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 2
  • PLCY688T Policy Lab (3 credits)
  • PLCY688G Leadership, Management and Accountability (3 credits)
  • PLCY688R Public Finance and Budgeting (2 credits)
  • PLCY688I Macroeconomics (2 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 3
  • PLCY699W Capstone Project, Part 1 (2 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
Semester 4
  • PLCY790 Capstone Project, Part 2 (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)

Specialization Head

For more information, contact William Lucyshyn at lucyshyn@umd.edu.

The Social Policy specialization acquaints students with the relevant history and institutions of social policy, develops their quantitative skills for program evaluation and the analysis of large data sets, and helps them grapple with the moral issues raised by inequality. Our required courses (Quantitative Analysis of Policy Issues, Foundations of Social Policy, and Program Evaluation) anchor flexible master's degree programs for pre-career and mid-career students who may select courses in health, education, poverty, criminal justice, housing and social services management, among others. A resident faculty with nationally-renowned expertise in various fields is complemented by a broader menu of relevant course offerings across other units of the College Park campus.

Requirements

  • PLCY689E Program Evaluation and Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • PLCY734 Foundations of Social Policy
  • PLCY611 Quantitative Analysis of Policy Issues
Electives

One course from the following (or similar social policy-related course approved by specialization head):

  • PLCY688V After the Wire: Restoring Baltimore and other Chronically Depressed Cities
  • TLPL788 Contested Control: School Choice, Localism, and Centralization
  • TLPL670 Economics of Education (formerly EDPS615)
  • TLPL671 Education Policy Analysis
  • PLCY699D Examining Social Identity and Pluralism in Public Policy
  • PLCY735 Health Policy
  • PLCY688X Human Dignity
  • TLPL672 Impact Evaluation for Education and Public Policy
  • TLPL767 Law, Equity and Diversity in Education
  • TLPL788F Policy and Politics of Education Reform (formerly PLCY732)
  • TLPL687 Politics of Education
  • PLCY698A Poverty Measurement and Alleviation
  • URSP664 Real-estate Development for Planners
  • PLCY737 Strategies of Equality
  • URSP688O U.S. Housing Policy and Planning

NOTE: PLCY698E Program Evaluation and Cost-Benefit Analysis must be taken in your first spring semester.

Sample Plan of Study

Semester 1
  • PLCY688E Normative and Political Dimensions (3 credits)
  • PLCY688G Leadership, Management and Accountability (3 credits)
  • PLCY610 Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy (3 credits)
  • PLCY640 Microeconomics (3 credits)
Semester 2
  • PLCY688T Policy Lab (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement: PLCY734 Foundations of Social Policy (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement: PLCY611 Quantitative Analysis (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement: PLCY698E Program Evaluation and Cost-Benefit Analysis (3 credits)
Semester 3
  • PLCY699W Capstone Project, Part 1 (2 credits)
  • PLCY688I Macroeconomics (2 credits)
  • PLCY688R Public Finance and Budgeting (2 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
Semester 4
  • PLCY790 Capstone Project, Part 2 (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)

Specialization Head

For more information, contact Chris Foreman at cforeman@umd.edu.

The Health Policy specialization acquaints students with the relevant history and institutions of health policy, develops their quantitative skills for program evaluation and the analysis of large data sets, and helps them grapple with the moral issues raised by inequality. Our required courses anchor flexible master's degree programs for pre-career and mid-career students who seek to specialize in health policy. A resident faculty with nationally-renowned expertise in various fields is complemented by a broader menu of relevant course offerings across other units of the College Park campus.

Requirements

  • PLCY698E Program Evaluation and Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • PLCY611 Quantitative Analysis of Policy Issues
  • PLCY734 Foundations of Social Policy
  • PLCY735 Health Policy
Electives
  • One health-related course approved by specialization head

NOTE: PLCY698E Program Evaluation and Cost-Benefit Analysis must be taken in your first spring semester.

Sample Plan of Study

Semester 1
  • PLCY688E Normative and Political Dimensions (3 credits)
  • PLCY688G Leadership, Management and Accountability (3 credits)
  • PLCY610 Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy (3 credits)
  • PLCY640 Microeconomics (3 credits)
Semester 2
  • PLCY688T Policy Lab (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement: PLCY734 Foundations of Social Policy (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement: PLCY611 Quantitative Analysis (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement: PLCY698E Program Evaluation and Cost-Benefit Analysis (3 credits)
Semester 3
  • PLCY699W Capstone Project, Part 1 (2 credits)
  • PLCY688I Macroeconomics (2 credits)
  • PLCY688R Public Finance and Budgeting (2 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 4
  • PLCY790 Capstone Project, Part 2 (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)

Specialization Head

For more information, contact Chris Foreman at cforeman@umd.edu.

The Education Policy program acquaints students with the relevant history and institutions of education policy, develops their quantitative skills for program evaluation and the analysis of large data sets, and helps them grapple with the policy issues raised by inequality. Our required courses anchor flexible master's degree programs for pre-career and mid-career students who may seek to specialize in education policy. A resident faculty with nationally-renowned expertise in various fields is complemented by a broader menu of relevant course offerings across other units of the College Park campus.

Requirements

  • PLCY689E Program Evaluation and Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • PLCY734 Foundations of Social Policy” (taken in the first spring)
  • PLCY611 Quantitative Analysis of Policy Issues
  • PLCY732 Education Policy and Reform or TLPL788F Policy and Politics of Education Reform
  • TLPL670 Economics of Education (formerly EDPS615)

NOTE: PLCY698E Program Evaluation and Cost-Benefit Analysis must be taken in your first spring semester.

Outside of the specialization requirements, you might be interested in the following general electives:

  • TLPL673 Federal Education Policy (formerly EDPS625)
  • TLPL687 Politics of Education (formerly EDPS614)
  • TLPL671 Education Policy Analysis (formerly EDPS620)
  • TLPL767 Law, Equity and Diversity in Education (formerly EDPS751)
  • TLPL788D Using Stata to Clean and Analyze Big Data in Education
  • TLPL788 Contested Control - School Choice, Localism, and Centralization
  • TLPL672 Impact Evaluation for Education and Public Policy

Sample Plan of Study

Semester 1
  • PLCY688E Normative and Political Dimensions (3 credits)
  • PLCY610 Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy (3 credits)
  • PLCY640 Microeconomics (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
Semester 2
  • PLCY688T Policy Lab (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement: PLCY734 Foundations of Social Policy (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement: PLCY611 Quantitative Analysis (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement: PLCY698E Program Evaluation and Cost-Benefit Analysis (3 credits)
Semester 3
  • PLCY699W Capstone Project, Part 1 (2 credits)
  • PLCY688I Macroeconomics (2 credits)
  • PLCY688R Public Finance and Budgeting (2 credits)
  • PLCY688G Leadership, Management and Accountability (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 4
  • PLCY790 Capstone Project, Part 2 (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)

Specialization Head

For more information, contact Chris Foreman at cforeman@umd.edu.


Dual and Self-Designed Specializations

For MPP students, attempting dual specializations is a complex topic. With 11 specializations, we have 55 possible pairings for dual specializations. Considering several combinations is a challenging task. To reduce potential complexity, students should answer the ‘why’ of a specialization prior to the ‘how’. This can help the student to focus on the value of the program instead of novelty. Among our master's programs, only the MPP program has room for dual specializations.

Students should restrict themselves to completing not more than 48 credits or 4 traditional semesters if full-time. This becomes more important because the 55 pairings don’t articulate what is feasible within a traditional program, only what is possible without considering an actual schedule with course times and conflicts.

Students may pursue more than one specialization by meeting the requirements of both specializations, double-counting no more than one course towards each specialization. 

Given scheduling variations, dual specializations are most available when combining ISEP and IDEV or for combinations within the MFL area (i.e., Leadership and Management, Public Financial Management, Acquisitions, and Non-Profit Management).

Some specializations should not be paired. For example, Energy Policy cannot be finished with either Health Policy or Education policy within the traditional 48 credit program. 

Recommended approach

A student’s most flexible option for exploring multiple areas is to use general electives for the secondary specialization area. All graduate-level courses within the School are eligible for general electives. Most specializations have room for 3 general elective courses, so students have the opportunity to take several classes in an area outside of their primary specialization.

Students who wish to complete two specializations should make a course plan when they enter the School. The course plan should also include an alternate plan with a single specialization as a back-up plan. Doing this early alleviates disappointment and reminds students of the specialization that they value most.

Requirements

Self-designed specializations must:

  • Have a clearly defined focus on a public policy and/or management subject
  • Consist of a coherent set of courses that are feasible to complete within the program timeline
  • Be conducted under the supervision of a School faculty member with expertise in the subject
  • Have a proposed specialization plan approved by the School

Self-designed specializations do not have to be proposed and approved prior to applying to, or commencing, the program. It is recommended that students wishing to develop a self-designed specialization begin the process in their first or second semester. 

Developing a Plan

Self-designed specializations need to be clearly defined. Students must have their proposed specialzation plan approved by the School of Public Policy. An approval’s likelihood is enhanced when the plan follows the process outlined below, but approvals are on a case-by-case basis.

Process:

  1. Contact the graduate academic advisor to discuss your ideas for a self-designed specialization
  2. Write an initial synopsis with expected outcomes (e.g., a specific policy career path you wish to pursue) as an overview
  3. Develop a specialization title
  4. List potential faculty members you would like to advise your process
  5. Detail how your proposal improves upon the School's pre-designed specializations to meet your goals
  6. Explain the quantitative and qualitative methods this specialization requires
  7. Explain additional skills this specialization requires
  8. Create a study plan for your specialization with a proposed list of classes by semester
  9. Describe how your specialization prepares you for your professional goals