Why Study Public Policy?

Why study public policy?

The economy, education, health care, transportation, housing, the environment, energy, jobs — virtually every aspect of daily life is affected by public policy decisions at all levels of government activity. Who makes important policy decisions, in what manner, and based on what evidence or criteria are issues of utmost importance, especially as public problems grow ever more complex, interconnected, global, and multi-generational. These challenges demand rigorous analysis, the capacity to weigh multiple and often equally compelling policy choices, and a subtle understanding of the strategies needed to turn policy choices into impact.

The graduate programs at the School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs are designed to provide that training and experience.

The Masters, PhD, and joint MS/JD programs in Law and Public Policy (LPP) takes a highly interdisciplinary approach to the study of public policy. Policies are not always created through the legislative process, and economics is not the only lens through which policy can or should be analyzed. The law also matters, and pivotal gains in public policy are often as not the result of the combined efforts of legislators, social movements, and legal action. Individuals committed to social change should have a deep understanding and training in all the levers to achieve policy change.

The Master of Science in Urban and Regional Policy (MURP) focuses on the challenges and opportunities confronting cities and their broader regions, both in the U.S. and internationally. Most people will live in metropolitan areas by mid-century. What are the advantages and benefits that come from living and working in more densely populated arrangements? What are the challenges? How do we create policies and practices that contribute to more vibrant, sustainable, and enjoyable communities? Students in the MURP program will gain training and experience to enable them to shape the policies affecting urban areas for decades to come.

The Masters of Public Administration (MPA) program builds on Northeastern’s reputation for experiential education and real-world problem solving. Students examine a full-range of administrative strategies, including policy analysis, budgeting, human resource and organization management, and political leadership. Through the MPA program you will develop solutions to today’s governance challenges and be prepared for management and leadership careers in the public and nonprofit sectors.


Useful Resources

The National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration maintains a separate website designed just for individuals considering a graduate degree in public administration or public policy.


However, you should note that at this time, the directory at NASPAA only lists our MPA program and does not yet list the MURP or MLPP.



Somewhat similar in content to NASPAA’s website is one called publicadministration.net.

It provides information about the different types of degrees, typical jobs that graduates with these degrees obtain, and so on.

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